Monthly Archives: October 2010

New Beginnings

By Shawn Despres

Texture/Fragile, a new concert promotion company run by musicians Park Daham (Master Musik) and Dydsu (L’Ange), are bringing American acts Grouper, Sun Circle, and Ben Vida to Seoul this weekend for a trio of shows in Hongdae.

The aim of Texture/Fragile is expand the fan base for noise, ambient, post-rock, and electronic music in South Korea.  Park Daham and Dydsu previously teamed up to bring Asuna to Seoul last year, but this is their first offering under the moniker Texture/Fragile.

Here are the deets for all three of the Grouper, Sun Circle, and Ben Vida gigs:

Friday, October 29 @ Obeg (500)
8:00 – 8:20 Big Baby Driver
8:20 – 8:50 Grouper
8:50 – 9:10 Frenzy
9:10 – 9:40 Ben Vida
9:40 – 10:00 Vidulgi Ooyoo
10:00 – 10:30 Sun Circle

Saturday, October 30 @ Live Club Ssam (Ssamzie Space)
7:30 – 7:50 404
7:50-8:20 Ben Vida
8:20 – 8:40 Sunkyeol
8:40-9:10 Sun Circle
9:10-9:30 Sperm King
9:30-10:00 Grouper

On Sunday, October 31 Grouper, Sun Circle, Ben Vida, and Astronoise will perform at Saii (near Sinchon Station, check out our Hongdae venue map here) alongside a film screening by Goksa.  Tickets for Friday and Saturday night are 25,000 won and Sunday costs 15,000 won.

Also on Sunday, October 31, the first “Logos” show take place at Kuchu-Camp.  Organized by Swimming Doll, the concert series strives to showcase the shoegaze and experimental sides of the local indie scene.

The inaugural event will feature performances from Swimming Doll (who will be issuing a new EP in November), Kohji Isle, Segyemollakgam, and Poe.  This past summer, Poe performed at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival and the Busan International Rock Festival.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets cost 10,000 won.

Oso Ona! Berri Txarrak Rocking Seoul

By Mark

For those of you looking for something fun and different this weekend, you should catch one of the shows by Berri Txarrak, who will be playing two shows in Hongdae. Hailing from Basque country, Berri Txarrak are one of Spain’s best and best-known rock bands, and these are their first shows in Korea, so this is a real treat for music fans (and anyone looking for a good time, really).

BT have been playing their Basque-language songs since 1994, and recording together since 1997, racking up plenty of awards and critical acclaim since then — you can check out some of their music on their Myspace page. These shows are a great price (just 10,000 won and 15,000 won), plus they will be playing with some of Hongdae’s best bands, so this is one of the best deals you are going to find in town anytime soon.

Berri Txarrak plays at Club Ta on Saturday night at 11pm, along with Bedroom States and Seoul City Suicides, for just 10,000 won.

Then they play at Club FF on Sunday night at 7pm, together with Apollo 18 (a great match for BT, imho), Yellow Monsters and Banseom Pirates.

For more information, you can check out their Facebook page.

A big thanks goes to Patrick and Ian from Exit 6 (and from Angry Bear and other bands) for organizing these shows, too. Exit 6 has a Facebook page, too.

(Btw, I have no idea if “Oso ona” makes sense in Basque. But Google tells me that it means “very good.”)

Tera Melos Expanding Their Asian Fanbase

By Shawn Despres

California’s Tera Melos are performing in Seoul on Saturday night (October 23) and in Busan on Sunday (October 24).  Currently finishing up a two-week Japan jaunt – which included an appearance at Asagiri Jam (“the real Fuji Rock”), and shows with the very cool Tokyo math- and post-rock act Lite and Mike Watt and The Missingmen – expect the gents to be in high spirits when their flight arrives in South Korea on Saturday afternoon.

“Japan has been amazing,” gushes vocalist Nick Reinhart. “Asagiri Jam was the first festival we’ve ever played.  It was pretty unreal.  We were still jet lagged and our brains were generally tweaked from how awesome Japan is.

“We played at 11 a.m. on the second day, so people were pretty much just waking up and then here we are, blasting out these noisy, bizarro pop songs.”

“The rest of the shows have been awesome as well. The Mike Watt and The Missingmen thing is crazy.  We found out that we’d be touring with them from a post on Twitter!  We didn’t even believe it at first.”

Although they’ve now toured Japan twice, this weekend’s concerts will be their first time to perform in another part of Asia.

“I’m excited about coming to Korea because it’s a country that I never imagined I’d get to visit,” Reinhart says. “That was another thing I couldn’t believe that was actually going to happen. For us, traveling to all these rad places is one of the greatest benefits of playing music.”

Tera Melos are gigging in support of their new “Patagonian Rats” full-length.  Although some song parts were first composed a few years ago, the bulk of the disc’s material was written in 2009 in different places around California and Texas.  The group began recording the album last October and finished it in the spring.

A very cool mix of psychedelic pop and angular indie rock, the well-crafted “Patagonian Rats” has rightfully been garnering much high praise.  Check out a review here.

“I think this record is a more realized version of what we’ve been trying to do for awhile, possibly since the beginning of the band,” Reinhart shares.  “It encompasses all of our favorite things about playing music.

“I feel 100% confident and stoked on every second of it. In the past there have been parts on our records that I wished we could change, but with this one we created exactly what we wanted to hear.”

Along with Reinhart, the band also includes drummer John Clardy and bassist Nathan Latona.  Touring member Evan Jewett will also be in South Korea to help flesh out Tera Melos’ cuts from “Patagonian Rats” along with some older tracks that they’ve just started playing in concert.

“After we completed ‘Patagonian Rats’ we knew that the songs would be best represented live by adding a fourth auxiliary member.  This way, instead of Nate and I bearing 50% of the melodic responsibility, it’s spread out a little more.  I really like playing this way.  We could definitely perform songs off the record as a three piece, but this way has been very fun thus far.”

So what can show-goers expect from Tera Melos on Saturday and Sunday?

“People can expect a really fun time with lots of weird sounds,” offers Reinhart.  “We look at our music as an adventure for us as well as the listener. We’re just trying to make the world a more magical place. If people like adventure and magic in their music they should come hang.”

Tera Melos perform October 23 at DGDB in Seoul with Juck Juck Haseo Grunge and Ankle Attack.  Doors open at 10 p.m. and tickets are 20,000 won.  Tera Melos also play October 24 at Club Vinyl in Busan with Nachopupa.  Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are 10,000 won.

A Hardcore Sendoff

By Shawn Despres

Boasting eight acts and plenty of hardcore and metal fury, the 24 Bullshit Fest is happening in Seoul at Live Club Ssam (Ssamzie Space) this Saturday (October 23).

Amongst the performers are Seoul’s Firestorm, who will be playing their final gig with vocalist Kyono. The founder of Korean imprints GMC and Estella Records, at the beginning of July Kyono officially announced that he was leaving his position at the labels. Set to move to Sweden in early November, his hard work and dedication to the local underground music scene will be missed.

Firestorm will continue as a band with second vocalist Ssako (also from Maze) leading the charge.  Since the summer Ssako has also been the head honcho at GMC and Estella as well.  That awesome guttural growl he unleashes when performing should come in handy if he ever has to discipline any of his staff.

A collaborative effort between Busan’s 24Crew/Realize Records and GMC, on Saturday GMC will be selling beer and pizza on the first floor of the venue along with band merchandise.  As a special treat to fans, all of the CDs that GMC carries from overseas groups will be available for only 5,000 won each.

Also for sale will be a special T-shirt marking Kyono’s departure from GMC and Estella, Firestorm, and South Korea displaying the message “One Life One Family – Bye Bye To Kyono 2010.11.07.”  The clothing is being made by Straight Punk, the music apparel company run by Hyuck Ki from Vicious Glare.

Wanting to up the party vibes, there will be a “shotgun beer competition” held too.  The overall winner will receive 50,000 won, the runner-up will be given a free DVD, and who ever finishes third will walk away with a pair of tickets for a future GMC show.  To ensure that everyone is feeling even more … um, “festive,” Ssako has made a beer bong as well.

Wanting to express his gratitude, Kyono gave a short message to KGG to share with all.  “Thank you for supporting us and me in so many ways for so long,” he says. “I will never forget your kindness and the love you’ve shown us.”

The 24 Bullshit Fest featuring 13 Steps, Gwamegi, Noeazy, Vassline, Combative Post, To My Last Breath, Firestorm, and Fatal Fear takes place on Saturday night at Live Club Ssam (Ssamzie Space) in Hongdae.  The concert starts at 5:30 p.m.  and tickets are 12,000 won at the door.

Rocking Out On Jeju Island

By Shawn Despres

This is really short notice, but if any readers are in the area, Jeju Island’s Stepping Stone Festival is taking place today (Saturday, October 16) at Baram Cafe in Jeju City.  The annual music event was originally scheduled to take place in the summer, but was pushed back until October due to financing issues.

Sagitta at Stepping Stone 2009

Although last year’s fest boasted nine acts, only four bands will play at Stepping Stone 2010.  All hailing from Seoul, tonight’s lineup will feature 3rd Line Butterfly, Goonamguayeoridingstella, Seoul Electric Band, and Sagitta.  3rd Line Butterfly and Goonamguayeoridingstella arrived yesterday afternoon, while Seoul Electric Band and Sagitta should be landing at the airport as I’m typing this.

The musicians are all really excited to be in Jeju-do and playing the event.  Members of 3rd Line Butterfly and Goonamguayeoridingstella gave fun, impromptu performances at Jeju City watering hole Factory last night to plug Stepping Stone.  Fueled by tequila shots,3rd Line Butterfly guitarist Sung Kiwan made up a Stepping Stone sing-a-long theme on the spot that was enjoyed by all.

Stepping Stone 2010 will start at 6 p.m. and tickets are free.  There’s a review of Stepping Stone 2009 here.

K-Indies Making Hips Shake

By Shawn Despres

This Saturday (October 9), Seoul belly dancer Eshe and her Navah troupe will present Nirvana Nights Vol. 2: “A Cinderella Story” at Hongdae performance space Theater Zero.

Eshe with Orgeltanz at the 2010 Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival (photo by Pentaport)

“A Cinderella Story” is a non-verbal, belly dance retelling of the tale of Cinderella that includes close to 20 dance scenes choreographed by Eshe.  The reimagined plot has a bit of a twist with Cinderella seeking a dance partner instead of a prince.

The production will feature a very cool mix of world and ambient music along with a handful of tracks from Korean underground acts.  A big fan of Seoul’s music scene, Eshe formerly was the belly dancer for folk band Orgeltanz (the group amicably parted ways this summer) and has collaborated live with a number of other acts including Cocore, Apollo 18, The Plastic Day, Sato Yukie, Lee Han Joo, wHOOL, Dulsori, and DJ collective V.I.P.

“So much of my life is South Korea has been enriched and inspired by the Korean indie scene,” Eshe shares.  “I deeply love and respect Korean music and I wanted to feature more of it in this show.”

Local recordings in “A Cinderella Story” include Apollo 18′s “Discharge,” The Plastic Day’s “The Cocore And The Mustangs,” Kingston Rudieska’s “Ska Bless You,” and the instrumental version of Bomb&Tree’s “City ‘N Lights.”

The Plastic Day & Eshe at Love Camp 2009 (photo by Koichi Hanafusa/Smashing Mag)

“I originally compiled a playlist of about 30 Korean songs that I think are especially emotionally compelling and wanted to try and use,” Eshe explains.  “Then I listened to them with certain scenes in mind.  Some worked and others didn’t.

“There were about five Apollo 18 songs that I couldn’t fit in.  I think their music is so cinematic.  Bomb&Tree’s Lee Seung Rock said if he had known about the show earlier he would have composed an original piece for us.”

Eshe is already envisioning what Korean music she’d like to incorporate into future Nirvana Nights belly dance stories.

“I’d love to use tracks from Itta and Cocore in another show,” Eshe offers.  “I would love to create something using Sanullim songs too.

“My big dream is to be able to perform a belly dance drama with a live backing band.”

Nirvana Nights Vol. 2: “A Cinderella Story” takes place on Saturday night at Theater Zero.  The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are 20,000 won at the door.  Along with “A Cinderella Story” the event will include belly dance performances from Farasha, Leyla Lee & Top Belly, Jimin Park & Bellymaster, MAy & GoldenVardo Tribal Bellydance, and Angella Kim.



Spris, Gap, Bikes, Chuncheon, and Transvestites — It’s a Busy Weekend

By Dain

The fourth annual Let’s Spris Rock Festival takes place this Saturday from 12pm. This year the event has moved down to the Han River on the western end of Seoul, near the Nanji Camping area (host to the World DJ Fest and next month’s Global Gathering dance party). The festival has a range of acts, such as rockers YB, Transfixion, Pia and No Brain, ancient ballad rockers Boohwal, Hongdae faves like Galaxy Express, Art of Parties and Copy Machine, plus up-and-comers like The Koxx and all-girl rock group Rubber Duckie. Presales are just 20,000 won, and it seems to be your last chance to rock outside this year. The timetable has just been released.

Also happening on Saturday, at AX-Korea, is the annual Gap Born to Rock Concert. Featuring an extremely solid line up including the Kim Chang Wan Band, Crying Nut, Guckkasten, The Moonshiners, Kingston Rudieska, Sisters Barbershop and acoustic duo 10CM. It starts at 6pm, but before that there is a flea market and busking from 3pm. It’s only 20,000 won in advance or 25,000 won at the door.

The Bicycle Film Festival is running from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, and it includes a rock concert being held this Sunday at Jamsil Olympic Stadium. From 2pm till 8pm, you can see Galaxy Express, Art of Parties, Seoul Electric Band, Ynot?, Sugar Donut, Dice and more. I think it’s free, but if not I’m sure it won’t cost much. (Ed.: More information about the BFF is at the Kunsthalle site).

Also happening is the Chuncheon Playground Music & Camping Festival, from Friday until Sunday. The lineup includes Tahiti 80 and Pony Rony Run Run (both from France), Paris Match (from Japan) W & Whale, Kingston Rudieska, Serengeti, Vodka Rain, Number 8 Theater, Hit Da Nine and many more. Tickets costs from 33,000-88,000 won depending on how many days you attend. All the info you could need is found here.

Lastly, it’s not purely music, but it is a musical! The Rocky Horror Picture Show is playing at Coex Auditorium, with nine shows a week until Oct. 10. The all-international cast (handpicked by Rocky Horror creator Richard O’Brien) are joined by selected Korean guests for this show full of aliens, transvestites and the corruption of innocence. There is even a 20% discount for foreigners. All you need can be found here.