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Tizzy Bac

Tizzy Bac is one of Taiwan's first truly indie bands to vie with the Mando-pop stars produced by the music factory of Taiwan's major record labels, and its music is already starting to spread much farther afield than the Chinese speaking world. The trio, led by the mesmerizing voice and talented fingers of female vocalist and keyboarist Chen Hui-ting, has sold out a premium 3,000 seat Taipei arena for solo performances, a feat not even every music factory idols can manage, and the band has also played top international music festivals, including Fuji Rock (Japan, 2005), Liverpool Sound City Music Festival (UK, 2009) and SXSW (US, 2010), to which it will return in 2011. Tizzy Bac was founded in 1999 while all three members were still in college, and it was a conscious decision to form a rock band around the piano. In place of electric guitars, Hsu Che-yu applied various grades of distortion to his bass, and Lin Yuan completed the outfit with an economic precision on the drums. The sound was truly eclectic, mixing alternative rock, Chen's effortless, siren-like voice, jazz flourishes, and even the occasional trip-hop beat. Even before their first album, they won top prize at Taiwan's Indie Music Awards in 2002, and the first full-length album followed a year later, Anything Can Tempt Me (2003). Comparisons were quickly made to the Ben Folds Five, but Tizzy Bac has less ragtime and boogie woogie (and also less improv), while managing to sound much more modern. Tizzy Bac's later albums moved to a slightly stronger but still highly idiosyncratic rock sound, and a 2007 EP, La Rose de Victor, experimented with a collection of French-style chanson compositions. Chen's lyrics, mostly Chinese with smatterings of English, are the stuff of clever pop, tending towards postmodern ballads of relationships gone wrong and life's trials. (And here we mean "ballads" in the good sense ~ Billy Joel or Elton John, not Celine Dion.) Tizzy Bac's Taiwanese label continues to insist the band has a cult following, but as the fans continue to grow, cult status may not last long. Discography: Albums: Anything Can Tempt Me (2003) It's All My Fault (2006) Let's Talk ~ unplugged live recordings (2007) I'm Not Afraid of Demons if I've Seen Hell (2009) EPs: Charlie Brown and Lucy (2004) Summer Strokes (2005) La Rose de Victor (2007) Don't Change (2010)

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Friday, March 18