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Sounding something like a latter-day version of the Clash, Beijing's Brain Failure got together in 1997 while its members were still in high school and rocking out to Western bands like the Clash, Sex Pistols, and Operation Ivy. Singing in both Mandarin and English, their raucous street punk anthems were comparable to California's Rancid and made Brain Failure heroes in Beijing's burgeoning punk and hardcore scenes. The guys issued various demos and appeared on China's first punk compilation before putting out their debut album, Turn on the Distortion, in 2002 via Japanese indie Bad News Records. They became the first Chinese punk act to gig widely outside of the country, and tours of Asia and the U.S. followed the record's release. In time, Brain Failure caught the ear of Dropkick Murphys bassist Ken Casey, who became a huge supporter of the band. In 2003, they performed at Austin's SXSW and New York's CMJ festivals, and hit a Boston studio with Casey, who handled production, to record their next album. American Dreamer was completed by January 2004 and released through Thorp Records the following year. By then Brain Failure comprised sole original member Xiao Rong (vocals/guitar) alongside Wang Jian (guitar), Ma Jiliang (bass), and Xu Lin (drums). They spent 2005 gigging throughout North America with bands like the Unseen, Ramallah, the Business, and Roger Miret & the Disasters, as well as played several dates of the annual Warped Tour. Brain Failure eventually took some time off from the road in the summer of 2006 to record tracks (again with Casey) for a split album with Boston ska-punks Big D & the Kids Table. The resulting Beijing to Boston was issued through Bad News in February 2007. ~ Corey Apar