Monthly Archives: July 2010

Fest End Girls

By Dain

Yes, the ears are still ringing from Pentaport, but there is hardly anytime to rest this weekend as the Jisan Valley Rock Festival, the biggest music event of the year, is taking place this weekend, just south of Seoul.

By now most people probably know who’s playing, but for those who have not been paying attention, let’s recap. Among international acts, we have:
Friday – Belle & Sebastian, Vampire Weekend, Massive Attack, Martina Topley-Bird, Diane Birch
Saturday – Pet Shop Boys, Friction (Japan)
Sunday – Muse, Kula Shaker, Third Eye Blind, Corinne Bailey Rae, Toe (Japan)

Plenty of Korea’s top bands will be playing, too:
Friday – 3rd Line Butterfly, Bullabangstarsausage Club, Seoul Electric Band, Guckkasten
Saturday – Jang Kiha and the Faces, Sister’s Barbershop, Kingston Rudieska, Crash, Art of Parties, Apollo 18, DJ Soulscape
Sunday – Galaxy Express, Moonshiners, Achime, Taru

Of course, there are plenty of great Korean bands who will not make it to Jisan Valley. So if you are staying in Seoul, you can still find some solid offerings (such as the Saturday punk show that Jon mentioned).

Furthermore, this Friday is also Clubday, featuring a whole host of clubs and bands, all for one low price of 20,000 won. Sure, this is going to be a much quieter Clubday than usual, but there is still a bunch of good acts to check out, including:
Club Spot – Ta-Copy, Johnny Royal, the Strikers and new girls on the block “Rubber Duckie”
FF – Telepathy and Oh! Brothers
Live Club Ssam – Monni and the Gogoboys
DGBD – Koxx and Third Stone

Here is Koxx’s brand new video for “Trouble Maker”, filmed at FF

Return of Punk

By Jon

Lately the Korean punk scene has been all but dead. To rectify this, some of the punk bands are joining together in something called The Purge Movement. They plan to get things going again by exposing people on the street to live music.

This weekend will be their first show, a free show in Hongdae Playground. It will start as soon as the market shuts down around 6pm. Featured are:

RUX (streetpunk)
The Cripples
Swindlers (punk rock)
철남138호 / Chulnam138
First Round Heroes (streetpunk)
Return Boi!s (pogo punk)
…Whatever That Means (melodic punk)
Skasucks (ska/punk)

If you want to watch some good bands play outside this weekend, but don’t want to travel forever and pay way too much to see a bunch of bands from a distance, then Hongdae Playground might be the place for you.

Pentaport Rundown

By Mark

So last weekend was the Pentaport Rock Festival, held over in Incheon. I thought I would write up my impressions. But feel free to add you own, if you went and if you want.

Actually, the only day I attended was Saturday, so that is all I can report on. The highlight for me was seeing LCD Soundsystem, who were as bouncy and dancy as I had hoped (although I think their new album is not as fun as their previous ones, imho). And because most of the crowd was slow in getting over for the start, it was really easy to get a good spot up near the front. Wagdug Futuristic Unity (a side project of Hiroshi Kyono, of Mad Capsule Market) had their moments, but did not excite me so much.

As for Korean music, the band Ynot had a pretty good turnout; an enthusiastic, uptempo set. Vassline was WAY TOO LOUD, but from a distance they seemed pretty enthusiast. YB band was their usual solid self, if you like their sound, and for a lot of people there, I think YB was the highlight of the night (judging by how many people seemed to leave once YB was finished).

No way was there 27,000 people there, as reported, but it was a decent turnout. As usual the fans were enthusiastic but polite. A surprising good diversity of food in the food area, and lines were all reasonable. All in all, a good time.

Actually, my Pentaport started on Thursday, as I was a participant at the first Pentaport Music Conference, which was an industry event that featured some big music professionals from the United States and around Asia to network with the local music scene. Among the speakers was me, which was a little strange — as a writer, my only audience is usually cats. But it was fun (and a little scary) speaking before a big room of music industry professionals. And it was great to meet so many new people in the music biz.

Technically, Pentaport is not over yet, as there is still the Incheon Fringe Festival and the Incheon Arts Festival (which will have better Korean indie bands, imho). No information on them in English yet, but they are worth checking out. I will try to write up something about those events in the next few days.

PS: The esteemed Niels Footman has already posted his take on this year’s Pentaport over at his website.

‘Hold the Sound’ – Good Music for a Good Cause

By Mark

A mix of great Korean and foreign bands will be playing at three venues in Hongdae this Saturday (July 24) in a special event, with all proceeds going to the Hope Charity (they provide English lessons to needy children for free).

Personal favorites include Mineri, Vidulgi Ooyoo (aka Pigeon Milk, playing two times) and Hwang Bo Ryung (aka Smacksoft) … But, really, all the bands in all three venues are pretty good, so you cannot go wrong.

DGBD, Club Ta, and Freebird are the participating clubs, with DGBD kicking things off at 7pm, and Ta and Freebird joining in after 11. You can get into all three shows for just 10,000 won, too, so it is a great deal.

7pm – 7:45pm 프렌지 (Frenzy)
8pm – 8.45pm On Sparrow Hills
9pm – 9.45pm 비둘기 우유 (Pigeon Milk)
10pm – 10.45pm Smacksoft (황보령)
11pm – 11.45pm We Need Surgery
12am – 12.45am Bridget and the Puppycats.

Club Ta
11.30pm – 12.15am Mountain Man
12.30am – 1.15am 비둘기 우유 (Pigeon Milk)
1.30am – 2.15am Used Cassettes l

11pm – 11.45pm Ankle Attack
12am – 12.45am Pinnacle and the antidote.
1am – 1.45am 미내리 (Mineri)

For more information, you can also check out the event’s Facebook page.

(Note: Both the Korean band Mineri and the foreigner group We Need Surgery are going to be leaving Korea soon, so try to check them out while you still can).

Kafka Saving Showgoers Some Won

By Shawn Despres

As Dain previously mentioned, the next three weeks should make South Korea-based music fans happy with high profile outdoor events the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, Jisan Valley Rock Festival, Summer Week&T, Busan International Rock Festival, and possibly Peace At The DMZ (is anyone else getting the feeling that this one may not go down?) all taking place between July 23 and August 8.

For those looking to save some cash to help fuel their festival fever, tonight (July 17) Kafka will be playing a *free* CD release concert for their new EP, “The Most Beautiful Thing.” The show takes place at Hongade’s Yogiga Expression Gallery and starts at 6:30 p.m. The always cool Vidugli Ooyoo (who will be touring China in early August) and Rainbow 99 will open the gig.

“The Most Beautiful Thing” is Kafka’s first new recording in three years. It mixes elements of electro-rock, dream pop, and trip hop. You can check out three tracks from the album here or here. Indieful ROK’s got an interview up with the Seoul duo here. They’ll be featured in August’s Groove Korea magazine as well.

There’s a really simple map to Yogiga here.

Here’s the music video for “The Ninth Moon” from 2007’s “Nothingness” full-length.

Ink Bomb Explodes in Seoul

By Mark

Hard to believe, but just a couple of years ago, kids in Korea were still going to jail for tattooing and getting tattooed. But when things change in Korea, they do change quickly.

If you want to check out the state of the ink scene, this weekend features a two-day conference for the tattoo arts, going on at Platoon Kunsthalle in Gangnam. Here is what the organizers have to say:

Date: Friday, July 16, 2010 – 13:00 – Saturday, July 17, 2010 – 22:00
Ink Bomb International Tattoo Convention is the biggest tattoo convention in Korea, bringing in artists from Japan and the U.S., as well many from the peninsula. Now in its second year, 2010’s event promises to be bigger and better than last year, having upgraded to a larger venue and with a huge roster of tattooists coming to participate.

From 1 pm until 9 pm on July 16th, and 1 pm until the party ends on the 17th, Platoon Kunsthalle in Nonhyeon-dong, Gangnam-gu (near Dosan 4-geori) will be the place to be to meet tattooists, check out their portfolios, and even get ink done on-site!

Other attractions include a barbecue, live music on Saturday night, a live graffiti demonstration, a custom chopper show, merchandise and apparel booths, tattoo supplies and much, much more. This is the best place to come see and experience subculture in Korea!

Tickets are 30,000 at the door/25,000 in advance for a single day pass and 50,000 at the door/45,000 in advance for a two-day pass. For ticketing information, check out our facebook event page here or email us at

We look forward to seeing you all there!

FYI, if you are interested in the concert, Rock Tigers, Kwon Oooyoo and Atom Returns are scheduled to play, beginning at 7pm.

Klassic Korean Elektronica

By Mark

Sorry for posting this last-minute, but I wanted to point out that LIG Art Hall in Gangnam is holding three really good electronica shows over the next week, as part of this year’s Composer series.

The first show, on July 14, is Choi Soo Hwan, who was a member of the important 1990s band Yellow Kitchen. Yellow Kitchen started out as a Drug Club band, but soon morphed into a low-fi electronic, experiemental outfit.

Then on July 17, LIG features Kwon Byung Jun, who I do not know so much about but he has put out seven albums since the 1990s and today works as a music engineer in Holland (which is kind of funky).

The third show, on July 20, features Ryu Han Kil, a former director of the electronic collective Relay. Relay is sort of the electronic version of the Bulgasari group (who are more familiar to most people around here, I think).

The shows on the 14th and 20th start at 8pm, while the 17th show starts at 6pm. Each costs 30,000 won. LIG Art Hall is located close to Gangnam Subway Station, exit 8.

Summer Music Festival update

By Dain

The next 3-4 months are so busy, especially for outdoor music festivals. It is MORE than just choosing either Jisan valley or Pentaport  (why not go to both), there are a whole lot more outdoor events happening from now until October.

Jisan Valley & Pentaport have both finalised their line-ups.  Like last year, Saturday for Jisan looks relatively mellow on the main stage, though its good to see Jang Kiha back. Best stick to the “Crazy for Crash” line-up in the tent. Just what will the Pet Shop Boys be like? Pentaport probably has the stronger Saturday (in my opinion) with LCD Soundsystem, Hoobastank and pretty much good rocking all day long.

Peace at the DMZ (don’t call it “Woodstock”) has announced their second lineup, including Santana, Simple Plan, Dead by Wednesday, Eddie Halliwell, Smile Empty Soul & other international acts. Local performers include Tacopy, Wiretap in My Ear, Achtung, Dr. Core 911, N.E.X.T., Napoleon Dynamite & more.

Summer Week&T has set the weekend after Jisan, August 7 & 8, and seems to be a Hip Hop and dance-oriented festival. Acts so far include Kanye West, Scottish performer/ producer Calvin Harris, Irish electro/indie group Two Door Cinema Club, Gildas, Does it Offend You, yeah?, dance duo autokratz, 80Kids, DIM and more.  Tix start at 120,000 won, and it’s to be held in Naksan Beach, on the east coast, near Seoraksan.  English information can be found here.

The annual Busan Rock Festival has announced some acts for the 3 day, free outdoor festival. Held in Busans Dadaepo Beach, it is now into it’s 11th year. So far Friday just has Japan’s Nontroppo & Yellow monsters, but Saturday has King Lychee (HK), Crying Nut, Americans Firehouse, Windy City & others. Sunday will see performances form YB, Guckasten, Super Kidd, Ynot?, Pia. What better way to set out of Seoul.

The Grand Mint Festival 2010 will be held October 23-24. No line-up has been announced yet, but tix are 80,000 won for both days. Check our previous line-ups to get an idea, and the Olympic Park setting for GMF is absolutely beautiful place to enjoy music.

Ssamzie Sound Festival, Lets Spris Rock festival and Global Gathering websites are up, but without details yet. Since we can expect them to be held in September/ October, there is no rush.

Choose wisely, shake your thang,  and wear sunscreen.

Shugo Tokumaru: Indie Pop At Its Finest

By Shawn Despres

After bringing Toe over for an excellent showing in May, local imprint BGBG Records is presenting another of Tokyo’s top talents in Seoul, Shugo Tokumaru.  The multi-instrumentalist will be making his South Korean live debut on Friday, July 9 @ Live Club Ssam (Ssamzie Space) in Hongdae.

Although he’ll only be in town for a short time, Tokumaru hopes to do some exploring and enjoy some spicy, tasty grub.

“This will be my first time to travel to Korea,” he says.  “Of course I’m looking forward to the food in Korea first and foremost.  I’m also interested to learn about Korean culture as it is lived now.”

Tokumaru is touring in support of his latest lush mix of eccentric indie pop and folk, “Port Entropy.”  Issued in Japan in April, the disc should be out in South Korea in mid-August through the abovementioned BGBG Records.  Two-and-a-half years in the making, the album was recorded and mixed by Tokumaru.

“‘Port Entropy’ is a sequel to “Exit” as well as a summary of all my previous records,” he says.  “Even to me, it still sounds fresh, so that’s something that I really like about it.”

Tokumaru has toured throughout his homeland, Europe, and the United States and has shared stages with the likes of The Magnetic Fields, Animal Collective, and Iron and Wine.  He sold out a dozen dates in Japan in May and early June for his “Port Entropy” release tour.  I had the pleasure of watching him in 2008 at the Fuji Rock Festival and he was absolutely amazing.

“My live performances are in a way completely different from my albums, but each has its own merit and I like both,” he offers.

“Recently I’ve been playing with a band quite often, but this time it will be a solo performance.  Since I will be alone on the stage I cannot really bring anything besides my guitar, but I will do my best.”

Fans at Live Club Ssam will have the opportunity to hear cuts from “Port Entropy” along with a few gems from Tokumaru’s back catalogue.  Each of his past efforts, which includes 2004’s “Night Piece,” 2005’s “L.S.T.,” and 2007’s “Exit” are highly lauded fantastic listens (click the album titles for reviews).

“I’m surprised that my music is heard in so many countries,” he humbly offers.  “I feel really happy to know that are some people out there who love my music.

“If there’s any possibility that any single person in another country listens to my music and likes it, I’d just like to bring it there.  That’s fine by me. That’s all I would ask for.”

Friday night’s concert starts at 7:30 p.m.  Sogyumo Acacia Band, Amature Amplifier, and Earip are scheduled to open.  Tickets are 20,000 won in advance and 25,000 won at the door.  For more information, e-mail

And Caribou, Too

By Mark

In addition to the Shugo Tokumaru show on Friday night, our friends at SuperColorSuper will be bringing in yet another really good group from abroad, this time it is the highly regarded Canadian band Caribou.

Caribou will play just the one show in Seoul (no Busan or Daegu this time), but they will be playing with the popular Korean band 3rd Line Butterfly (and with Sean’s own Sighborg), so it should be first rate.

Tickets cost 55,000 won in advance (59,500 at the door), and the show will be held at V-Hall. For more information, see the SuperColorSuper website.

Doors at V-Hall open at 10pm, so you can easily go to Ssamzie, see Tokumaru and friends, then watch Caribou, too. Make it a whole night of good music.

According to SCS, *estimated* set-times are as follows:
10:45pm – 11:45pm 3rd Line Butterfly
11:45pm – 12:45am Sighborg
1am – 2:30am Caribou

Caribou interview with The Korea Times here.
Smashing Mag’s photos of Caribou’s Tuesday night Tokyo gig here.