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* aural cavity located on the sides of the head for insertion of local music scene
The COMPASS Group, May 2007

U.TA: The Little Band with a huge D.I.Y. ethic

By Don Quan Translated by Ann Lee Photos by Michael E

Check out song samples on their page:
Their blog (in Chinese): http://blog.yam.com/uta25

A newer band that is quickly gaining recognition in the scene is the duo known as U. TA. Comprised of singer/guitarist U-Ray and bassist Garry, this pair has been together since 2005. While many underground bands in Taiwan either adopt a heavier punk sound or experiment with electronics in their music, U. TA elects to keep music sparse and simple and uses only a strummed acoustic guitar and electric bass. Occasionally they will incorporate percussion or viola, but the stripped-down sound is their trademark. This is in stark contrast to Garry's other band, As Time Goes By, which performs punk/ska music.

U-Ray's voice is reminiscent of Dolores O'Riordan, which makes this band sound at times like an unplugged version of The Cranberries. However, this influence stems more from U-Ray's adulation of Hong Kong pop megastar Faye Wong , who also shares a similar vocal style with O'Riordan. U. TA's other influences include ethereal trailblazers Cocteau Twins and American indie darlings Mazzy Star and Yo La Tengo. Fans of any of these bands will definitely dig the sound of U.TA.

Despite the pleasant melodies in their songs, the lyrics are hardly about smiles and sunshine. Song subjects on their homemade EP (everything about the packaging was done by hand, including the woodcut prints that comprise the CD cover) include ambiguous or unrequited love and human despair. U-Ray says their new songs are about “bad things and rotten people” that she encounters in daily life.

The band recorded their debut EP in Hualien and only began formal performances late last year. Despite being relatively new to audiences, they have won over many listeners with their entrancing shows. They don't get the chance to gig that often right now, as Garry is currently serving his mandatory army stint, and U-Ray is busy with her other vocation as an artist. However, they are expecting to perform as often as their schedules permit, and also have plans to record new material this summer.


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