Monthly Archives: June 2013

Some Great New Post-rock to Dive Into

Seoul post-rock quartet Modsdive will be playing on Friday night (June 28) at Mudaeruk in Hongdae in support of their recently issued debut “The Stasis of Humanity.”

Modsdive is comprised of guitarist Yoon Sung-hoon (ex-Donawhale), guitarist Kim Yun-ki (ex-Poe), bassist Choi Gyung-hoon (ex-Misty Blue), and drummer Kang Min-suk. The act was originally conceived as a solo project for Yoon in 2011 called Auhm. Wanting to turn it into a proper band, he began recruiting other members in early 2012. Kim and Choi were both friends of Yoon, while Kang was found through an online ad.

“We started working on music together right after we had our lineup solidified,” says Yoon. “There were songs and ideas that I had already come up with, but once we started jamming on them together everyone’s different styles began mixing together and the songs became something different and new. We had great chemistry together, which allowed us to carve out our own sound as Modsdive.”

This past winter, the group spent two months crafting “The Stasis of Humanity.” The band recorded the album’s drum parts at a proper studio. But everything else was recorded at Apollo 18’s rehearsal space.

“The monitor sound in the rehearsal space was horrible,” says Yoon. “We couldn’t hear a thing we were recording. Apollo 18’s bassist Kim Dae-inn came in at one point and asked us how we could possibly record there. Luckily, when Gyung-hoon played everything back at his house everything sounded fine.”

“The Stasis of Humanity” was issued in April by new local imprint Gogol Records – an indie label founded by the members of Apollo 18. On June 1, the band held a special showcase for “The Stasis of Humanity” at Badabie, and performed album cut “Hide in the Fog” live for the first time at the concert.

Modsdive’s dynamic, powerful instrumental post-rock sounded fantastic at their Badabie showcase gig. The night easily proved that they are definitely a band on the rise in the Korean indie scene. The group are already thinking of ideas for the follow-up to “The Stasis of Humanity” and plan to start work on their sophomore full-length this winter. They intend to introduce new tracks into their live sets during the coming months, which should give you plenty of reason to check out one of their concerts.

“There’s nothing more exciting than seeing how audiences react to new material at live performances,” says Yoon. “Our next album will cover a much wider spectrum and will include more of the unique colors of Modsdive.”

Modsdive play on Friday night at Mudaeruk. The show starts at 7 pm and tickets are 20,000 won.  Romantiqua, Toyshop, Rukh, and Platanus are also on the bill.

DIY Music Market Record Pyeheo

Looking for a fun way to spend your Sunday?  We recommend you head to Hongdae and check out Record Pyeheo at Salon Badabie this afternoon.  Organized by No Control’s Hwang Kyung-ha and Badabie’s Bae So-yeon, the DIY music market first took place in June 2012.  Today marks the fourth edition of the event.

“We want to give support to more DIY labels and musicians,” Hwang explains about the reason for the project. “I want to make our underground scene able to support itself.”

Record Pyeheo will have music for sale from local indie bands and labels and will also include 20-minute live sets from a dozen very cool acts.  Scheduled to perform are No. 1 Korean, Yukari, Kuang Program, Telefly, ECE, Kumca, Sae, Boochoolaamaa, A Better Tomorrow’s Seo Bong Jin, Kwak Pureunhaneul X Danpyunsun, Tour Les Jugum, and Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae Jung.

Check out photos from the inaugural Record Pyeheo here.

Record Pyeheo will take place today from 3 pm – 9:30 pm at Salon Badabie in Hongdae.  The cover charge is only 5,000 won.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

Here’s the timetable for today’s performances at Record Pyeheo:

3:00-3:20 Yukari
3:30-3:50 ECE
4:00-4:20 Sae
4:30-4:50 Boochoolaamaa
5:00-5:20 Seo Bong Jin (from A Better Tomorrow)
5:30-5:50 Kwak Pureunhaneul X Danpyunsun
6:10-6:30 No. 1 Korean
6:50-7:10 Kuang Program
7:20-7:40 Tour Les Jugum
8:00-8:20 Kumca
8:30-8:50 Telefly
9:00-9:20 Seedless Watermelon Kim Dae Jung

Rock, Punk, Shoegaze … and Shimmies!‏

Co-presented by Korea Gig Guide and Dream Dance Studio, the Shake Shop Vol. 5 will take place tonight (Friday, June 21) at Club Freebird in Hongdae.  This month’s edition of the collaborative event between indie acts and bellydancers will feature Harry Big Button, The Strikers, and Vidulgi Ooyoo performing alongside Eshe and the troupe she directs, Navah.

Seoul hard rockers Harry Big Button recently made their return to the local live scene.  Guitarist and vocalist Sungsoo Lee was injured in a car accident last autumn forcing the band to take several months off.  While there is obviously never a good point for something like that to happen, the collision occurred at an especially bad time – mere days after the release of Harry Big Button’s “King’s Life” full-length debut.

“Frustration, frustration, frustration,” says Lee when asked about having to take so much time off after issuing a new album.  “My cervical vertebrae, collarbone, and shoulder bone were all fractured.  I’m still recovering now, but thankfully the broken bones are almost healed.  The doctor said I was lucky because in serious car accidents like I had, many people are paralyzed.  To be honest, I was worried about not being able to play music again.”

Lee is back and feels that Harry Big Button are stronger than ever.  Wanting to continue to strengthen their sound, the band have recruited a new bassist, Inseok Oh, and drummer, Seungwan Seo.  Happy to be back on stages, Lee promises that fans can expect to see more passionate, powerful performances from the group.

Having a bunch of lovely ladies spinning and shimmying to their tunes during their Shake Shop gig should definitely make Harry Big Button’s Freebird appearance more exciting.

“There is a pretty big contrast between hard rock and bellydance,” says Lee.  “I think mixing the two of them together will make a bigger impact than having similar stuff paired up together.  I hope this collaboration gives the audience some mystical experiences and energy.”

The difference in styles is also what attracted skate punks The Strikers to join the bill for this month’s Shake Shop concert.

“When Eshe asked me about it, I was very surprised,” says bassist Avail Ahn.  “We had a band meeting to discuss it and thought it would be a cool challenge.  Hard, straight punk rock being mixed with beautiful bellydance – who would imagine such a unique pairing?”

The Strikers are currently penning material for the follow-up to 2011’s “Screaming Youth.”  With any luck, fans will get to hear the album sometime in the coming months.

“Our new songs aren’t finished yet, but a few are almost done,” says Ahn.  “I’m not sure when we’re going to complete them.  We’d like to release our next album before the end of this year.”

The always excellent shoegaze quartet Vidulgi Ooyoo will round out the bill for tonight’s Shake Shop show.

The Shake Shop Vol. 5 takes place on Friday, June 21 at Club Freebird.  The show starts at 11:00 pm and the cover charge is 10,000 won with one free drink.  Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Harry Big Button, The Strikers, and Vidulgi Ooyoo.  For more information about The Shake Shop Vol. 5, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Rocking Apgujeong

Hello, Korea Gig Guide readers. It’s been a heck of a long time since I posted here. But it is definitely good to be back. I started the KGG way back in early 2008, but after moving to Europe, I thought it did not make much sense for me to write about live music in Korea. Fortunately, Shawn was doing such a great job* here, it was the easiest thing in the world to give him the reins.

*And by “job,” I mean toiling away endlessly for free.

Anyhow, after a few years in Barcelona**, I’m back in Korea again, at least for a while, and I am getting back into the local music scene. So far, it does seem like things have been getting better since I’ve been gone. There are a lot more buskers out on the streets these days, in various parts of town (especially in Insa-dong). And there are more indie-music shows on Korean TV, which is pretty important for exposure. Plus there are so many more music festivals now, it’s kind of amazing.

**Barcelona was pretty dire for music — it has some decent bands and a surprisingly fun bluegrass scene, but there’s just very little grassroots interest in indie music there. Big festivals do great, like Primavera and Sonar, but not so much the clubs.

Last Sunday, Shawn and I traveled down to Apgujeong, of all places, to catch some shows at a relatively new venue called Keu Keu (aka Club Kklvsht, aka “Live Shit Keu Keu”). In the past, Apgujeong was better known for trendy clubs and discos than for live music, but I am happy to see live music escaping from Hongdae as often as possible. Plus, with the new subway line finally open, it is much easier to get to that part of town.

Keu Keu is one of the more interesting locations I’ve seen in Korea, with two large rooms and four smaller room, full of funky art and low, beanbag chairs. Booze was really pricy, but that’s what you get in Apgujeong, I guess.

The day had a pretty full lineup of performers, artists, and music, but we were mostly there for Modsdive, Jambinai, and Kumca. Modsdive was pretty typical postrock — pleasant enough, but a lot of the chord progressions and structures typical to the genre.

Jambinai is one of my favorite Korean groups, however, as soon as the show started, Kim Bo-mi’s haegeum broke, leaving the group rather incapacitated. They tried gamely to keep going, but the haegeum is such an integral part to their sound, they had to call it quits early.

Jambinai

Kumca gets a prize for one of the weirder names I’ve come across in Korean music. That’s short for “Kkume Kamerareul Gajyeoolgeol” (“I Should Have Brought a Camera to My Dream”). Despite having a singer, Kumca was also very postrock, but in a dreamier, more psychedelic style.

Like many of the bands on Sunday, Kumca played with a variety of videos playing in the background, adding to the eerie ambiance (although doing little to add to my lousy photography skills).

But it looks like Keu Keu is getting some pretty good usage. Exit Six held a fundraising concert for their Rockdo festival there the night before. 360 Sounds has also had shows there.  Young, Gifted, and Wack is doing a concert to celebrate their first anniversary there this Friday.  And Super Color Super is putting on an 11-band gig at the space on Saturday night.  More info about both of this weekend’s shows can be found in our “Coming Events” section.

So if you are in that part of Seoul, Keu Keu is worth supporting.