Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Free Party and Free Tunes from Loose Union

The folks at Loose Union have got an early summer treat for everyone.  On Saturday night (May 31), the Seoul-based music collective will be holding a concert at DGBD in Hongdae to celebrate the release of its first compilation album, Loose Union #1.  Entrance to the gig is free, and everyone who attends will also release a free copy of Loose Union #1.

Loose Union Comp

The comp boasts cuts from a number of notable Korean and expat acts including Vidulgi Ooyoo, Love X Stereo, Juck Juck Grunzie, Yukari, Yamagata Tweakster, The Strikers, We Dance, Guten Birds, Les Sales, Ironic Hue, Genius, New Blue Death, Table People, Tierpark, Used Cassettes, Slow Dress, and The Killer Drones.

“The compilation is something we’ve been talking about for a very long time,” says Loose Union’s Adam Hickey, who also plays bass in New Blue Death. “Loose Union was birthed with the idea of creating a sense of community between like-minded artists and musicians here in Seoul and shining whatever light we can on bands and people we think are making great music here.

“It’s been a huge collective effort. We don’t really have any resources other than each other. All the bands and individuals involved with Loose Union are following their own passions. The idea is that collectively we have a better chance of getting our voices heard both here and abroad.  So a compilation record is simply a logical extension of Loose Union’s M.O.”

New Blue Death
New Blue Death

The majority of the material on Loose Union #1 has been taken from previous releases by the bands.  However, the album does one boast exclusive cut, New Blue Death’s new “Rick Santino” single.

For those who can’t make it out on Saturday night, Hickey says that the albums will be given out at other Loose Union shows in the future as well. And digital versions of the songs will all be available on Loose Union’s website too.

Saturday night’s gig will include performances by Love X Stereo (fresh from their appearance at Music Matters in Singapore), Juck Juck Grunzie, New Blue Death, Used Cassettes, Table People, Les Sales, The Strikers, Tierpark, and The Killer Drones. The show starts from 8 pm and once again entrance is free! For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Here are the set times for Saturday night’s gig:
8:00- 8:40 Tierpark
8:40-9:20 Love x Stereo
9:20-10:00 Used Cassettes
10:00-10:40 The Strikers
10:40-11:20 Juck Juck Grunzie
11:20-12:00 New Blue Death
12:00-12:40 Table People
12:40-1:20 Les Sales
1:20-2:00 The Killer Drones

Loose Union Poster

Romantiqua Get Their Revenge on May 23

Romanitqua will be holding a special album release concert on Friday night (May 23) at the newly opened Club Freebird 2 (formerly 500) in Hongdae for their debut full-length album, Revenge. Formed in 2010, Romantiqua solidified their lineup in the fall of 2011 with the addition of drummer Anton Brinza and since then have worked hard to establish themselves as one of the Korea’s premier instrumental rock bands.

Romantiqua

Boasting a dozen dynamic cuts, Revenge was recorded between last fall and this spring. The album includes re-recorded takes of the three tracks from Romantiqua’s 2013 When and Where EP. It also features guest vocals on two tracks – Apollo 18’s Kim Dae-inn on “Drink It until It’s Gone” and Hollow Jan’s Lim Hwan-taek on “Only One Slight Eternity.”

Anton Brinza answered a few questions for Korea Gig Guide about Revenge and this weekend’s release party for the disc.

How do you feel that Revenge builds upon When and Where?

This album paints a more complete picture of what Romantiqua tries to give our listeners. When and Where was a very optimistic collection of songs. It was hopeful and inspiring. But where there is hope and inspiration there must also be struggle, doubt, and desperation. We try to convey this depth of experience in our music, and Revenge gives a more complete picture. As songwriters, we’re also storytellers. Even without vocals, these songs each tell a story. The stories vary in their topics and emotions by extremes. And that’s really what Romantiqua is all about. It’s in our name. Who has had a romance without its ups and downs? Without pain and pleasure alike?

Listening to the finished album, what are some of the things you like best about Revenge?

The album sounds great. We wanted to capture our live sound as best as we could, and we got pretty damn close. Every song stands strong on its own, but there is also a real cohesion amongst all the songs. It feels like a complete work, and not just a collection of our material. The best thing for us, though, was probably the recording process itself. We learned so much along the way, just about how to get exactly what we want out of the studio and the resources available to us. It’s already made us excited for the next album.

Are the versions of “Boris Aurorialis,” “Cold Night,” and “Play What’s Not There” on Revenge any different from the originals? Why did you want to work them into your full-length debut?

Structurally they’re the same, but they’ve each been completely re-recorded, and they sound a hell of a lot better. We wanted to include them because, thematically, they are important to the structure of the album. With Revenge, there’s a very obvious central theme being presented, and it’s kind of a loaded idea. There are a lot of different ways to think about or to seek revenge, and this album isn’t about a singular, retributive revenge. Those three songs, with their more positive spin, offer the other side of the sword, so to speak – the softer side. And they help the overall flow of the album, which presents a more accurate Romantiqua. They’re not the only positive songs on the album, but they’re an essential part of the story.

You guys decided to include some guest vocalists on Revenge. Why did you choose to do this?

We did this to push ourselves and to show that there are no boundaries in Romantiqua. Just because we don’t employ vocals all the time doesn’t mean we’re against them or anything like that. It’s a choice we make because we feel it benefits our music. The vocals we’ve used on this album, similarly, benefit the songs. We often discuss the inclusion of various instruments, and also visuals, into our music. These guest vocals have just been the first step.

Romantiqua Album Cover

What do you guys have planned for Friday night’s album release show?

We’ve got some great supporting bands lined up. Wasted Johnny’s, Hellivision, and Knockdown will be playing. There may be other special guests performing as well. There will be a raffle for free guitars from Young Chang Music. It’s going to be a party for sure.

Romantiqua have kept a relatively low profile for the first half of 2014. Will that be changing with the release of Revenge?

Absolutely! Our focus this year has been on the album. We’ve got it where we want it, and now with it finished we plan to hit the circuit hard. So look out for Romantiqua. We’re like a charging bull out for revenge.

Romantiqua play on Friday night at Club Freebird 2.  The show starts at 9 pm and Wasted Johnny’s, Hellivision, and Knockdown will all play opening sets.  Tickets are 20,000 won.

Romantiqua Gig Poster

Dead Buttons, Ludiostelo, and Counter Reset at Shake Shop 15 on May 17

Bellydancers Eshe and Navah will collaborate with Dead Buttons, Ludistelo, and Counter Reset for the 15th edition of the Korea Gig Guide co-presented Shake Shop concert series. The show will take place on Saturday, May 17 at Club Freebird.

Dead Buttons Bench

Fresh from wrapping up their first UK tour – a jaunt that saw them playing six gigs in England and appearing at the Liverpool Sound City music fest – expect Seoul rock ‘n’ roll duo Dead Buttons to exhibit no signs of jet lag as their tear through the punchy anthemic cuts from their fantastic Whoever You Are EP.

Despite Shake Shop taking place only a few days after their return to Korea, Dead Buttons eagerly agreed to team up with shimmying beauties for the show.

“We’ve seen their collaborations with other bands and they have always looked very cool and unique,” says guitarist Hong Jihyun. “When they invited us to play, we were happy to accept.  Now we’re curious about what they have planned for our collaboration and how it will turn out.”

Originally formed as a trio in 2012, Dead Buttons paired down to a duo last summer and began to write the infectious music that graces Whoever You Are. Quickly becoming one of Hongdae’s more buzzed about up-and-coming acts since the EP’s February release, the band are hoping to issue a few new digital singles over the coming months to keep their momentum going.

“We’re still working on the songs,” says Hong. “We’re planning to release one or two new songs but it’s still just a plan.  We’re writing the songs slowly and haven’t made a decision yet on when they’ll come out.  We’re going to work on them more now that our England concerts are finished.”

Ludistelo Picture

Ludistelo is an electro-pop act made up of members from Sugar Donut, The Ratios, and Copy Machine. They started making music together during a trip to Brunei in late 2012 that synthesizer player Park Sangjin and guitarist / synthesizer player Ahn Sunghoon (who goes by the stage name Ash) took together.

“We were traveling the jungles near the equator and trying to put all of those feelings into the music,” says Park. “We worked a lot on our music after the trip and started to play shows in the spring of 2013.”

The trio, which includes drummer Kim Juyeon, issued their debut full-length effort this past April. The album is titled Experience and was recorded between last summer and winter.

“It took a long time to record the album because we were playing shows and recording at the same time,” says Park.  “Also, we wanted to make sure that things sounded perfect!”

Ludistelo will be playing material from Experience at Shake Shop and are confident that their collaboration with Eshe and Navah will go well.

“We have no idea what kind of energy will be created by the combination of our music and bellydancing,” says Park.  “We’re excited to see how the bellydancers feel and react to Ludistelo’s music.  We play a variety of sounds and try to express ideas about the environment, common experiences, and empathy.  We guess that bellydance also sometimes expresses those same things.  So I think that even though our music isn’t traditional bellydancing music the collaboration will still be great to see.”

Counter Reset

Punk stalwarts Counter Reset have been tearing up local stages with their fast-paced melodic punk since the early noughties.  Like the other bands on the bill, they are looking forward to doing something a bit outside the norm by having bellydancers shake their hips while they play.

“It seemed like it would be fun to do together,” says guitarist and vocalist Choi Jihoon. “Our music is really different from bellydance music but the rhythm parts could work well together. The more we think about it, the idea of bellydancers performing to our music sounds awesome.”

Counter Reset released their third full-length album of original material, Born to Drive, in the summer of 2013.  Wanting to try something different, in April the group issued a two-song single called Acoustic Stories. The single features re-worked versions of the Born to Drive tracks “One of a Kind” and “All of the Days We Had.”  The arrangements have been stripped down in both songs and the lyrics have been changed.  As a result, both have been given new titles with “Acoustic Story” representing the alternate take on “One of a Kind” and “Acoustic Memory” doing the same for ““All of the Days We Had.”

Although covering themselves may be new for the band, they are no strangers to playing covers.  They’ve released three covers albums so far, Punk Eats J-Pop (featuring Japanese songs), Michael Punk Covers (featuring Michael Jackson tracks), and Punxmas (featuring Christmas classics). Is there any chance some covers may surface in Saturday’s Shake Shop set?

“Our first covers album, Punk Eats J-Pop, only came out in Japan so we don’t play those songs in Korea,” says Choi.  “And we only play our carols album at Christmas.  But for this show I think we may play ‘Ben’ from our Michael Jackson covers album.”

Shake Shop 15 takes place on Saturday, May 17 at Club Freebird. The show starts at 9 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with one free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Dead Buttons, Ludistelo, and Counter Reset. For more information, visit the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for tomorrow night’s gig:
9:00-9:35 Counter Reset
9:35-9:50 Navah
9:50-10:35 Ludistelo
10:35-11:20 Dead Buttons

Shake Shop 15 Poster

…Whatever That Means CD Release on May 10

Earlier this year, Jeff and Trash Moses celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. They also celebrated five years as a band, playing guitar and bass for …Whatever That Means, a project that debuted on their wedding night as a one-off thing for Jeff.

Now, they’re releasing their second full-length album, Sixty-Eight, Twenty-Two, a reference to the distance from Hongdae Playground to the apartment they lived in in Pennsylvania while Jeff was in grad school. The title song, with guest vocals by Jonghee from Rux, is about Jeff’s journey to Korea and turning it into his adopted home. “Where you grow up and where you’re from, they don’t always stay the same,” Jeff explains in the lyrics. Recently, they recorded a music video for the song in their Yeomni-dong rooftop home, further declaring that this is where they belong.

Impressively, they only got one call from the police.
Impressively, they only got one call from the police.

The album also includes a cover of the Suck Stuff classic “This Wasteland,” with guest vocals from Paul, the original songwriter/singer, as well as a proper recording of “Punk Rock Tourist,” Jeff’s condemnation of random people coming to punk shows and criticising the scene out of their own ignorance/experience.

10336648_248731691999847_8966933574919543865_nThe CD officially debuted at a show in Gwangju last weekend, and it comes out this Saturday at Club Spot. For the Seoul debut, they team up with Wasted Johnny’s, the only band in Korea with more confusing punctuation than …Whatever That Means, as well as Gwangju skatepunk band Bettyass, Seoul ska-punk legends SKASUCKS, Oi! Resolute, and skatepunk band 1Ton.

The show starts at 8pm, and 15,000 won gets you entry, a free CD, and the infamous free cocktail hour from 11 to 12.

RSVP on Facebook.