Monthly Archives: August 2009

Melt-Banana Finally Return to South Korea

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.

Melt-Banana play tonight (August 22) at Club Freebird in Hongdae. Doors are at 10:00 p.m. Also on the bill are Lazy Magnet, We Need Surgery, Swingset Committee, Mineri, and Frazer from Mixtape.

Melt-Banana will perform on August 23 at Club FF in Hongdae too. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Lazy Magnet, Guckkasten, The Plastic Day, and Sato Yukie will open.

Tickets for both gigs are 25,000 won.


Lazy Magnet Attracting Attention in Seoul

*Please note, Lazy Magnet have canceled their Korean tour. All shows listed below are still happening, but Lazy Magnet will not be a part of them*

By Ian Chiasson

With all the hype surrounding the return of Melt-Banana, the coming of the equally as noisy (at times) and schizophrenic Lazy Magnet is getting a bit sidelined.


Providence, RI’s Lazy Magnet (Corleone Records) embarked on a “world tour” on August 1st and is hitting everywhere between Belgium and your mom’s house … including Korea for six shows!

Lazy Magnet’s label describes them as “10 bands in one” as they tend to genre bounce from folk to metal to downright experimental. Check out this vid to get a general idea of where Jeremy Harris (founder/gang leader) is coming from.

Here are the dates for Lazy Magnet’s Korean tour:

August 22 Seoul @ Freebird w/ Melt-Banana, We Need Surgery, Swingset Committee, Mineri, and Frazer from Mixtape

August 23 Seoul @ Club FF w/ Melt-Banana, The Plastic Day, Guckkasten, and Sato Yukie.

August 27 Seoul @ Mudaeryuk w/ Yano Shiku, Urasawa Satsuki, Sen Yukie, Fujieda Musimaru, and Sato Yukie

August 28 Seoul @ Salon Badabie w/ Sato Yukie and Kopchanjeongol, Anakin Project, Kawaguchi Masami’s New Rock Syndicate, Lee Han Joo & Jo Young Min, Scott & Angela, and Itta

August 29 Hongcheon, Gangwon-do @ Love Camp

August 31 Seoul @ Siru’s Wine Bar


(Of course, full details are in the calendar).

Rocking August, from the Mainstream and the Fringe

By Mark

Even though Pentaport and the Jisan Valley Festival are the biggest two music events in Korea (at least in many people’s minds), August has a lot going on, too. Busan has an International Rock Festival and a Beach Party Techno Weekend (sadly, the Beach Party website is considered by my computer to be a malicious website, so I will not link to it here).

There is another rock festival in Dongducheon, the Freebird 14th anniversary weekend from the 14th-16th, and of course Seo Taiji’s ETP Fest on the 15th.

But for me, August makes me think of the Seoul Fringe Festival (but no English yet). For 11 years now, the Fringe Festival has been one of the major artsy events of the year, with a refreshing lack of pomp and importance.


This year the Fringe Festival runs from Aug. 13 to Aug. 29, and features a wide array of music, art, installations and random oddness, scattered across the Hongdae neighborhood. I will post more about the Fringe Festival as I hear more about it (or one of this site’s many contributors might post about it).