Monthly Archives: August 2012

Korea Live Music Festival — Live and Loud at the Hangang River

The seventh annual Korea Live Music Festival will be held this weekend at Nanji Hangang Park in Seoul. The event will feature nearly 70 acts playing on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 10 pm.

The Korea Live Music Festival was created by the Live Music Development Association, an organization founded in 2003 to aid in the development of Korea’s music industry and concerts.  Members of the Live Music Development Association include staff from venues, local record labels, and musicians.

“We tried to create a great weekend resting place where people can enjoy gigs from many great Korean bands,” says Lee Ji-yeon from the Live Music Development Association. “We wanted the event to be able to satisfy people’s various tastes in music so we chose musicians from many different genres including modern rock, hard rock, punk, garage rock, ska, metal, hip-hop, and K-pop.”

This weekend’s bill will include performances from the likes of Crying Nut, Pia, The Koxx, Dynamic Duo, The Moonshiners, Downhell, Loro’s, Kingston Rudieska, Mongoose, Black Bag, and many more. There will be two stages at the festival – the main stage and a mobile stage in the food zone.

Fast-rising hard rock quartet Harry Big Button will appear on Saturday afternoon at 1 pm. Comprised of ex-members of Crash and Art of Parties, the group performed at this summer’s Jisan Valley Rock Festival and are really excited about playing their first outdoor show in Seoul. Harry Big Button are currently in the midst of recording their debut full-length album, which should surface sometime this fall. Expect the group to preview some new material alongside tracks from their 2011 “Hard ‘n’ Loud” three-song single.

“Our album is coming along really well and everything is on the right track so far,” shares guitarist and vocalist Lee Sung-soo. “A couple of days ago, we had around 15 vocalists join us in the studio to record some chorus parts. It was a lot fun! The songs on the new album convey greater musical diversity and will be harder and louder than our past material.”

Napalm Death are the only overseas act to play at this year’s Korea Live Music Festival. They will perform on Sunday evening at 7 pm. This will be the British metal titans’ second visit to South Korea. And in addition to their appearance at the Korea Live Music Festival, they’ll also do a headlining set on Saturday night (September 1) at Rolling Hall in Hongdae. Napalm Death are currently touring in support of their latest effort, February’s “Utilitarian.”

“Fans can expect full-on energy and us playing like our lives depend on it at both Seoul concerts,” says Napalm Death vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway. “We have a lot of albums and a certain set list that really works on this tour, so the set will pretty much be the same both nights. I hope we have a certain spontaneity that gives both shows a certain different flavour though.”

Tickets for the Korea Live Music Festival can be purchased at the main gates of the festival. A one-day ticket costs 43,000 won and weekend pass costs 65,000 won.  The set times for the main stage acts can be found here.

Mono Make Their Long-Awaited Korean Return

This Sunday (August 26), Tokyo’s Mono will play their first Korean gig in five years at Sangsang Madang in Seoul. Widely recognized as one of the top post-rock bands in the world, the quartet previously performed in South Korea in 2006 and 2007.

“We’ve been wanting to return to Seoul for some time,” shares guitarist Takaakira “Taka” Goto. “We tried to get over a couple of times before, but there were scheduling conflicts.”

“Since we didn’t get the chance to visit during the release of our previous album, ‘Hymn to the Immortal Wind,’ we’re excited to share songs from our new album, ‘For My Parents’ with our fans in Korea. One of my best friends once told me, ‘Music is like a bridge where people can meet and share.’ We hope we can share and connect with those who come to see us.”

“For My Parents” is Mono’s sixth full-length. It will be officially released in South Korea on September 4 through Seoul imprint Pastel Music. But those attending the Mono show on August 26 will have the opportunity to buy the album several days early.

Written in 2010 and 2011, Mono recorded “For My Parents” in New York with producer Henry Hirsch this past February. “For My Parents” is Mono’s first album since 2002’s “One Step More and You Die” not to be done with by famed underground rock producer Steve Albini.

“Even though Steve Albini has been so amazing to us over the years, we thought it was important to try something unfamiliar and challenging even if it was risky,” explains Goto. “We read about Henry Hirsch and were interested in working with him. His studio is a converted church so it has a very special, spiritual atmosphere. We used analog tape and an old vintage mixer so it made the sounds really soulful.”

Mono’s rightfully praised back catalogue is filled with epic instrumental compositions that shift from gorgeous cinematic soundscapes to awesome cacophonies of distorted, soaring guitars. The group were backed by an orchestra on “Hymn to the Immortal Wind,” and that disc’s tracks were some of the strongest that Mono have ever created. On “For My Parents” Mono were joined in the studio by The Wordless Music Orchestra, which previously backed the band on their “2010 Holy Ground: NYC Live With The Wordless Music Orchestra” album.

This is the music video for “Legend,” the opening number from “For My Parents.”

“For this new album, I just tried to think less and feel more. I trusted that the songs would come naturally if I focused on what I wanted, instead of what we should do. The album is different because it was inspired by different emotions. A lot of change happened since ‘Hymn to the Immortal Wind.’ There have been miracles, tragedy, growth, and loss and I think with each album we’re getting closer to whatever it is that we’re trying to say without words.”

The act toured heavily in support of “Hymn to the Immortal Wind,” and Goto feels that they are a better band because of it. They’ll promote “For My Parents” in a similar fashion, and after their current string of Asian dates, they’ll spend September, October, and November gigging throughout North America and Europe.

“We traveled around the world non-stop and met many wonderful people who have touched our lives. This record would not have been possible if we didn’t experience all of those people and places. We now have a clearer vision as a band, but we’ll always have an open mind and heart because you never know how inspiration will spark. It’s one continuous journey, one learning experience, and I hope it makes us stronger as humans and musicians.”

Mono play on Sunday night at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae. The show will start at 8 pm. Tickets are 44,000 won in advance and 50,000 won at the door. Advance tickets can be bought in Korean here. To order advance tickets in English, email

Thrashing Around and Throwing Down on Tuesday Night

This Tuesday (August 21), two very loud local acts – metalcore band Vassline and thrash metal act Method – are pairing up for a free concert at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae.

Currently in the midst of recording their fourth full-length, Vassline will be previewing material from the disc (which will be titled “Black Silence”). Method released their third album, “The Constant,” in July and will be offering up plenty of fast-paced, headbang-worthy cuts from the offering.

Tuesday’s show will be filmed for Naver’s On Stage series, so both groups want plenty of folks to come out and get good and riled up during the gig. Vassline guitarist Cho Min-young (aka Chainsaw Cho) took a few minutes to fill Korea Gig Guide in on what the band are up to, and why they are psyched about their Sangsang Madang concert with Method.

1) How are things coming with the new album?
We’ve finished recording the instruments and our vocalist (Shin Woo-seok) is now laying down his vocal tracks.

2) When do you think the album will be released?
We announced in June on Korea Gig Guide that we would be releasing the album sometime between late summer and early fall. But we’ve pushed the release date back. Our goal is now to release the album sometime before winter comes. Hopefully all these delays make for a better album.

Vassline live at the 2012 Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival

3) Why are you excited to play with Method on Tuesday night at Sangsang Madang?
Method are one of the most talented thrash bands in the Korean metal scene today. Since Vassline operate in a slightly different scene, we’ve only played shows together a few times before. Those shows have always had six or seven bands on the bill, so there weren’t many chances to actually sit down and hang with the Method guys. So it will be pretty cool to finally play and share the stage only with Method.

Actually, Method’s guitarist Kim Jae-ha gave us the main riff to our song “The Awakening” from our last album “Permanence.” We’re not going to play the track on Tuesday, but it was our opening song for almost five years.


4) What can fans expect from Tuesdays night’s gig?
We’ll play four songs off the upcoming album and six songs from our previous records. If it’s been a few months (or longer) since you’ve seen us play, the new songs will blow your mind for sure. Part of the show will be filmed for Naver’s On Stage program, so hopefully fans will go even more nuts to get themselves included in the live footage that airs.

5) The show’s poster says Vassline vs. Method. Is this a musical battle between the two bands? If so, who will win?
Although it seems like a match between us, it won’t be about who wins. It’s more about two bands from different scenes creating synergy. Some people tend to come to shows to watch only the bands they like and then leave the venue. But this time, we hope everybody will come at the beginning of the show and stay until the very end. That way Vassline fans can see how great of a band Method is, and hopefully Method fans can learn about Vassline too.

Tuesday’s Vassline and Method gig starts at 8 pm and Sangsang Madang. Entrance is free. Vassline will kick things off and Method will close out the concert. Both bands are scheduled to play 40 minute sets.

Ash Play Their First Korean Gig in Five Years at Pentaport ’12

This weekend (August 10 – 12), the 7th annual Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival will take place at its brand new home, Gyeongin Ara Waterway Incheon Terminal.

With over 90 acts scheduled to perform over the event’s three days, the lineup for Pentaport ’12 includes a wide range of international and homegrown talent.  Some of the more notable performers include Crystal Castles, Snow Patrol, Manic Street Preachers, Ash, The Inspector Cluzo & The Fb’s Horns (The Inspector Cluzo are fantastic live – definitely watch their set if you can), The Koxx, The Moonshiners, Crash, Kingston Rudieska, and My Skin Against Your Skin.

Irish rock trio Ash will perform on the fest’s main stage on Saturday night from 7:30 – 8:30 pm.  This will be their third time to play in South Korea and their second time to appear at Pentaport.

“We first played in Korea in 1999 at the Triport Festival,” shares drummer Rick McMurray.  “A typhoon came in right at the end of our set and the rest of the festival was cancelled.

“We came again in 2007 to play at Pentaport.  We had a great time there. We were onstage quite early in the day, but the audience reacted like they were watching a headline set. They were awesome.  This summer’s Pentaport will be our first time to visit Korea in five years, so we’re really looking forward to it.”

This year marks Ash’s 20th anniversary as a band.  Rightfully proud of the accomplishment, McMurray does not see himself, guitarist Tim Wheeler, or bassist Mark Hamilton packing things in anytime soon.

“Reaching 20 is a big achievement,” says McMurray.  “Not many bands are around longer than that length of time.  Most of our peers have split up, reformed and split up again! As long as we’re enjoying it, and there’s still an audience out there for us I don’t see any reason not to still be around doing the best job in the world in another 10 or 20 years, or maybe even longer.”

Can Korean fans at Pentaport do anything to help make the group’s 20th anniversary more memorable?

“A few birthday banners would be cool!” laughs McMurray.

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Ash issued an EP of cover songs called “Little Infinity” in June.  The seven-track effort sees the act putting their own spin on classic songs from the likes of Bobby Freeman, Carly Simon, and David Bowie.

“We recorded the covers at various times over the past decade,” explains McMurray.  “We just had a load of covers we never got round to releasing so we thought we’d put them out to coincide with our 20th anniversary. We would sometimes start a recording session by recording a cover just to get into the vibe of being back in the studio.”

Does McMurray have any personal favourites on the EP?

“I love our version of Carly Simon’s ‘Coming around Again,'” he says.  “It was a song we covered when we were 17, but we felt we didn’t really nail it, so we came back to it a few years ago and it turned out great.”

McMurray thinks it’s unlikely that Ash will play some of the covers from “Little Infinity” at Pentaport.  But he does promise that there will be plenty of the group’s highly infectious punk-infused power pop anthems.

“We’ll be playing a set crammed full of hits.  It always makes for a good time vibe!”

The Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival runs from Friday to Sunday at Gyeongin Ara Waterway Incheon Terminal. The site is a 10-minute bus ride from Geomam Station.  Free shuttle buses will run every 20 – 30 minutes to transport fest-goers from the station to the site.

One day tickets for Pentaport cost 77,000 won on Friday and 88,000 won on Saturday and Sunday.  Two day tickets for Friday and Saturday cost 132,000 won and two day tickets for Saturday and Sunday cost 143,000 won.  Three day tickets for the fest cost 165,000 won.  You can buy advance tickets for the festival in English here.  Music will run from 12 pm – 4 am on each day of the event.  Check out the full timetable here.

For more information about Pentaport, visit here.

Steel Face Records Throws a Bash to Celebrate New Compilation

This Saturday (August 4), local indie imprint Steel Face Records will hold a Seoul release party for their new compilation album, which is fittingly titled “Steel Face Records Compilation 2012.”

Steel Face Records was created in late 2010 by Sumin Jo, the bassist and vocalist for new wave- and psych-tinged punk band Patients.  In 2011, the label issued garage rockers The Essence’s “The Door to Anywhere” EP and Patients’ “Kitsch Space” full-length debut.  The “Steel Face Records Compilation 2012” is their first release this year.

“Steel Face Records is operated by band members, so we can easily understand what bands really want,” says Jo.  “I think this helps us create a better mood and atmosphere that people can feel when they come to our label shows.  We hope our label can become a good role model in South Korea’s indie scene.”

This spring, Steel Face Records fleshed out their roster by signing two more acts. The Infamous Orchestra, who play a very cool mix of ‘60s garage rock, pop, and psychedelic music, joined in March and punk band Swindlers were brought on board in April.  The Steel Face Records sampler features two tracks from both bands and a pair of songs from Patients and The Essence too.  The Infamous Orchestra cuts are re-worked versions of numbers that previously appeared on a demo they made.  Everyone else contributed brand new material.

“The Infamous Orchestra and Swindlers each wanted to release CD singles, but this isn’t a good move in South Korea’s music market nowadays,” explains Jo.  “The Essence were also thinking about releasing a CD single, and Patients have been working on new songs so we decided to just combine everyone’s work and make something together.  That’s how the first Steel Face Records compilation album was born.”

A solid listen from start to finish, the album provides a good introduction to the label and also gives fans a glimpse of what to expect from each of the talented bands in the coming months.  Here’s the music video for Swindlers’ “Ah! Ah! Ah!” song from the “Steel Face Records Compilation 2012.”

And while all of the groups in the label continue to craft new songs, it looks like Patients may be the next band to release a full-length under the Steel Face Records name.

“We have plenty of new songs for the next Patients album,” says Jo.  “And we are still making more new songs.  We will begin recording soon.  We aren’t sure when the album will come out.  Right now our only concern is making all the songs sound even better.”

The Steel Face Records Compilation 2012 Release Show takes places on Saturday at Club FF in Hongdae.  The show starts at 7 pm and tickets are 20,000 won and include one free drink and a Steel Face Records towel.  Patients, The Essence, Swindlers, The Infamous Orchestra, Pavlov, and Look and Listen will perform.  For more information about the event, check out Steel Face Records official website (here) or the gig’s Facebook event page (here).

Lose a finger in Mullae-dong

This weekend marks several milestone events at Lowrise in Mullae-dong, a machine district that is slowly being overcome by art galleries and concert halls. This show offers a special discount for anyone missing fingers, with entry priced at 1000 won per finger.

The show will see the debut of Mixed Blood, a new hardcore punk band that includes members of Shellback, Tremors, and Seoul City Suicides. They’ve been raising quite a lot of noise about the show, including issuing pro-wrestling-style trash-talk videos directed at Chadburger, one of the other bands playing.

The thrash punk band Chadburger is returning after a long, long hiatus brought on by distance, laziness, and Hong Gu. You might remember them from that time you got clotheslined/punched/piledriven by a skinny Welshman in a lucha mask. They will be selling a cassettte tape of a practice show session, which is certain to become a rare collector’s item by the next morning. Their bassist is moving to Australia at the end of the month, so catch them while you still can.

Brothers of the Hole, a mixed bag of metal and something called Vervcore, is also returning for one show. They broke up long ago when their guitarist moved away, and they might only have time for this one show before their drummer joins him overseas later in the month.

The show will also feature Something Fierce, one of Korea’s oldest grindcore bands, returning after a long sojourn in the US where they continued to be active. They’ve already played a couple shows since returning.

These bands will also be joined by Korea’s young new crasher crust band Scumraid, who’ve been making waves in the underground. Also playing is No Control, one of the flagship bands of the Independent Musicians Collective, who will be balancing the harder sounds of the other bands with their own brand of angsty punk rock. And starting the show will be two-man wrecking crew Sato Yukie and Tyler Brown, who will be putting on a noise performance until they get kicked out.

산업 재해 Industrial Accident Show in Mullae-dong 문래동
RSVP or inquire here

Update: due to government meddling, this show is no longer for profit. There is no cover, but a donation box will be by the door if you feel like supporting Lowrise.