By Shawn Despres
As Ian mentioned in his Lazy Magnet post below, this weekend marks the return of Tokyo’s awesome Melt-Banana to South Korea. The band, who last played in Seoul in January of 2005, are one of Japan’s best known underground rock exports and have rightfully built a cult following around the globe for their blistering brand of punk- and hardcore-infused noise rock.
Formed in the early 90s, vocalist Yasuko O., guitarist Agata, and bassist Rika (along with several guest drummers) have turned out six studio full-length discs, the last of which was 2007’s brilliant “Bambi’s Dilemma,” and a slew of EPs, singles, and splits with the likes of Fantômas, The Locust, Big D and the Kids Table, and Discordance Axis. They worked with underground music icons Steve Albini and Jim O’Rourke on their early releases and John Zorn issued their “MxBx 1998/13,000 Miles at Light Velocity” live album, which included a cover of “Surfin’ USA,” on his cool-as-hell Tzadik Records.
As strong as their recorded material is, live is where Melt-Banana truly shine with Yasuko O.’s intense high pitched squeals cutting through an awesome array of loud, fast-paced, angular guitar noise. If you’ve got the means to get to one of the band’s Seoul concerts, I’d definitely recommend it. This year has also seen the group performing in Taiwan and the U.K. where they appeared at The Breeders curated version of All Tomorrow’s Parties with Teenage Fanclub, Gang Of Four, Shellac, and other acclaimed peers.
Tickets for both gigs are 25,000 won.