All posts by Brian

Guten Birds, Welcome to their Planet!

“Things what may happen on your planet” is the first full-length offering from enigmatic Seoul trio Guten Birds and is sure to delight new and old fans alike. Each track on the record is tight with driving rhythms, complex layers of guitars, and just the right blend of Mohho’s hauntingly moving vocals. Seo Hyeon drives the bass lines as Mui, one of my top five drummers on the planet, merges a kit into the music like no other. Guten Birds are often described as melodic grunge, and as a child of the grunge era, I can certainly understand the reference. However, with this record, Guten Birds have defined their unique sound on an entirely new level.

guten-album

The building instrumentals in opener “어디선가 어딘가에서” seduce your ears while simultaneously creating a drive that follows in many ways throughout the album. The vocals come home in the next song, “가나다 별곡,” as the pace quickens. This track, along with “밤신호,” seem to show a new direction for the band, and it is done so well that it is hard to believe this is actually their first full release. Having only had the album for about a week, my Korean isn’t strong enough to truly understand everything on these cuts, but Mohho’s voice still carries that power and urgency I’m so familiar with and both tracks inspire me as a painting I don’t need to understand does.

The first half of the album contains three instrumental songs, while the second half begins with an eight-and-a-half minute English track which may remind listeners of things we’ve left behind, for better or worse. The music on this song, “Sailing Out,” approaches the psychadelic, though to me, it’s without a specific genre as it builds from a soft haunting din into an aggressive yet rhythmic rock offering. The vocals continue to play a major role throughout the album’s back half, most notably on “킬빌 혹은 우울한 달,” a darker song featuring little more than light guitars and melancholy voicing. I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite amongst the 10 gems presented, but this track along with “Rolling in the Air” will certainly forever remain on my short list. But all 10 are perfect. Trust me.

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The recording was done at Tomato Studio and they have done some amazing work on this album as every aspect of each song comes shining through in impeccable sound. Find a good seat, some great headphones and immerse yourself in “Things what may happen on your planet” as you would in a gallery or poetry reading while the songs carry you on a journey of happiness, sadness, love, loss, emptiness and more.

Pick up your copy of one of the best records of the year at the special release showcase Friday October 14th at Works Hall in Hongdae. A must-have album and a must-see show. Friday’s release gig starts at 8 pm and tickets are 25,000 won at the door.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

guten-poster

Rock from around the world heads to Daegu!

Adam Sullivan and the Trees from the US along with Hays from Russia have been performing around Korea for the past week and are bringing their powerful music to Club Heavy in Daegu tonight as part of the RoK Around the World 2016 series hosted by RoK Gi Yeon Promotions.

Adam Sullivan has returned to Korea bringing with him his unique songwriting style mixed with emotional and often humorous lyrics. Filled with keys, guitar, ukulele, and even some a cappella singing, each set is a warm, heartfelt experience for all in attendance. Tonight’s show in Daegu will be Adam Sullivan and the Trees’ first time to the city.

adam

My favorite song to watch out for? “Cool Kids”, with its thought-provoking chorus, “I just want to love you forever… You’re so selfish, and cool.”

Adam Sullivan and the Trees will be opening the show tonight promptly at 8 pm.

Following Adam will be the always amazing Blue Turtle Land out of Seoul. From the moment frontman Hong hits that first key, you’ll be blown away and taken back to the time of hippies, free love, and spine-tingling rock ‘n’ roll. Enjoy their takes on Hendrix and plenty of originals and jams throughout their set.

First timers to Daegu, as well as Korea, are the Russian band Hays out of Vladivostok.

hays

They have been wowing Korean audiences since their debut show at Club Sharp in Seoul last Friday. With influences stemming from the golden days of grunge, the guys have incredible passion on stage and bring a powerful energy that every crowd has latched onto immediately. After putting on an amazing show Tuesday in Jeonju, the crowd rushed for CDs, autographs and photos of one of their new favorite bands. Expect people tonight to jump and scream during “Breathe” and sing along to the beautifully crafted ballad “Same Way to You.” The band has truly enjoyed their tour, seeing Korea, eating everything, rocking hard and partying and are stoked for their one-night-only gig in Daegu before heading down to Busan!

The closing act for tonight will be Hongdae locals Project: Impair. A relatively new hard-rocking duo that features members Jun (of WhoWho) and Eun-Ho (who has been playing with Space Papa and Igloo Bay). Their energy on stage is raw and powerful and Jun’s speedy, aggressive guitar playing matches well with Eun-Ho’s fast-paced drumming. Look forward to being blown away by the sound coming from these two as you add a new Korean favorite to your list!

It all happens tonight (October 6) at Club Heavy from 8 pm until late and tickets are only 10,000 won. Don’t miss out on any of these acts who so rarely, if ever, have found their way to Daegu. For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

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The Dizzy Brains and Ko Ko Mo live in HBC!

Anyone paying attention to the buzz at Zandari Festa this past weekend should already know the names The Dizzy Brains and Ko Ko Mo. And luckily for music lovers in Seoul, there’s one more chance to see them before they leave Korea as the bands are teaming up for a bill at Thunderhorse Tavern tonight (October 5).

Musicians and fest-goers alike have been talking nonstop about both acts since their first Zandari performances. And trust me, the praise is well warranted. Hailing from Madagascar, The Dizzy Brains lit the stage on fire during each of their three sets at the festival. France’s Ko Ko Mo were equally entertaining, giving the roaring crowd a bit of retro flair mixed with raw talent and seemingly limitless energy.

I caught up with  Ko Ko Mo to chat about what their Korean tour has been like thus far, and why everyone should head to the Itaewon area to see them tonight. When asked about the highlight of their Korean tour so far, guitarist and vocalist Warren Mutton said, “As of right now, it has been the French Spirit Night because the crowd was really happy  and crazy as well!”

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The passion that Mutton brings to the stage as well as his far-reaching vocals definitely left the crowd in awe during Ko Ko Mo’s Zandari gigs. And the special French showcase was a brilliant example of what they feed into each performance. Because of their impressive stage presence, I wondered how the duo felt about the reactions of Zandari audiences.

“We hope our music helped bring everyone together and made them feel united,” says drummer K20. “We also hoped they felt the energy and the rock ‘n’ roll vibe we were trying to give them.”

Finally, I wanted to know what new fans should expect from Ko Ko Mo in general as well as what everyone should look forward to at Thunderhorse tonight.

“Fans should know that we are so happy to be here in Korea, and that we love these awesome audiences,” said Mutton. “And in addition to coming to see us tonight, they should check out our first album when it is released in February!”

Ko Ko Mo and The Dizzy Brains play tonight at Thunderhorse Tavern.  The show starts at 8 pm and 57 is the opener.  Tickets are only 10,000 won.  Below are the set times for the concert, and for more information please check out the Facebook event page here.

8:00 pm 57
8:45 pm Ko Ko Mo
9:45 pm The Dizzy Brains

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Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with Terako Terao Ensemble

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide is asking a bunch of acts five simple questions.

terako

For this installment, we’re talking with the Terako Terao, who is bringing his free jazz Ensemble to Seoul from Osaka, Japan. Their style has been referred to as auditory cooking. Utilizing a variety of instruments along with unique dismantling and reconstructing production techniques Terako Terao E have a flowing jazz sound which is sure to be a special hit at Zandari when they perform on October 1 at 8 pm at Evans Lounge. Now let’s get to his answers!

Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

I am simply very excited!

What can people expect from a Terako Terao Ensemble live show?

They can expect to experience something unique. I recommended our performance to people who do not like the usual, popular music.

For fest-goers not familiar with you yet, what should they know about you?

I think we combine contemporary music and free jazz that people can enjoy well.

Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

I want to eat lots of delicious Korean food.

If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

I am not sure yet about all of the acts. But if some people are going drinking, please invite me too!

 

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with Night Marks Electric Trio

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide is asking a bunch of acts five simple questions.

nmet

For this installment, we’re talking with Marek Pędziwiatr, keyboardist and vocalist from Night Marks Electric Trio. The Poland-based trio blur the boundaries between hip-hop, soul, jazz, and the freshest electronic music. The band will perform on October 2 at 9 pm at Veloso. Now let’s get to his answers!

Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

We love to travel and share our musical information all around the world. Probably, this will be the most exotic trip of our career to date.

What can people expect from a Night Marks Electric Trio live show?

We will perform instrumental compositions, remixes, and our fresh material with lead vocals. We will share energy, knowledge of life, jazz and hip-hop culture.

For fest-goers not familiar with Night Marks Electric Trio yet, what should they know about you?

Night Marks Electric Trio includes three producers and musicians: me on keys and vocals, Spisek Jednego on drum machine, and Adam Kabacinski on bass and moog. When we were performing in London one of the critics said: “NMET is like jazz from the beat generation”.

Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

We are staying in Seoul for one week, and we want to see as many Zandari Festa shows as possible. Then … oh my gosh, we crave to experience everything. This will be a big ball of food, beverages, people, love, peace, unity and having fun!

If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

Terako Terao E

 

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with Jujumo

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide is asking a bunch of acts five simple questions.

jujumo

For this installment, we’re talking with Makoto, guitarist and composer from Japan’s expressive rock duo Jujumo. They use catchy riffs and passionate melodies which come together for a beautiful sonic experience. Now, let’s get to his answers!

Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

This is our first time going to Korea. We hope to see many music lovers at our showcase and during the festival.

What can people expect from a Jujumo live show?

Stories like a picture book will appear in front of you. You will smell it, touch it with your mind, and roll over the language.

For fest-goers not familiar with Jujumo yet, what should they know about you?

Please check out our music on iTunes, and check our Facebook and web site.

Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

We hope to see new blooming art from Korea. And we hope to eat delicious food too!

If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

Earip, EE, Light And Noise, Lass from Poland and more!

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with An Honest Mistake

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide is asking a bunch of acts five simple questions.

an honest mistake

For this installment, we’re talking with Darren Teh, guitarist and lead vocalist of the Malaysian pop-punk band An Honest Mistake. With a blend of hard hitting and melodic riffs and vocals, they bring an impressive energy to their music. Combined with their fantastic stage presence, they’re sure to be a big hit at the festival. Now, let’s get to Darren’s answers below!

Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

We’re super excited because this will be our first time in Korea and we’ve always wanted to play there. We’ve heard of the giant festivals that happen in Korea all the time and this is a perfect opportunity to experience that. On top of that, we’re just really excited to meet everyone there. Especially the bands and the amazing delegates that will be there to share their knowledge and expertise.

What can people expect from An Honest Mistake live show?

Expect a lot of sing-a-longs and lots of movement. If you’re not jumping or headbanging, it’s not an An Honest Mistake show. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves that’s for sure. But you’ll find out about those at the actual show! You’ve got to be there to witness it and be a part of it.

For fest-goers not familiar with An Honest Mistake yet, what should they know about you?

We’re a four-piece pop-punk band from Malaysia. We’ve got three albums out already and we’ve got a new track that will be out in early September. We’ve played festivals in Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, India and of course Malaysia. We used to have a female co-lead vocalist and a violinist but we’ve moved on to a different phase of the band now.

Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

We want to catch as many local bands as possible and connect with them. Getting to know the delegates will be one of our plans too. Apart from that, we really just to take the opportunity to explore the city a little bit. We’ll be doing a few extra shows prior to the festival as a warm up, so that’ll be good as well.

If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

We’re already friends with Love X Stereo, so we definitely want to go drinking with them. To be honest, I’m just looking forward to getting to know everyone. I’d like to hang with as many people at the festival as we can.

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with Masafumi Kawamoto

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide is asking a bunch of acts five simple questions.

For this installment, we’re talking with Japanese singer-songwriter Masafumi Kawamoto. Zandari 2016 will be his first performance overseas and he is anxious to share his music with new audiences. Check out Masafumi’s answers below!

Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

I am excited because everything will be a new experience for me and Korea is a country I’ve really wanted to go to.

What can people expect from a Masafumi Kawamoto live show?

You can enjoy rock music even though I am not a band, but rather a solo singer with a guitar.

For fest-goers not familiar with you yet, what should they know about you?

I play acoustic rock. I am cool and very, very friendly.

Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

I would like to try Korean food, especially Shin ramen.

If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

Everyone, including all the staff!

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with Mateusz Franczak

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide and our friends at Do Indie are teaming up to ask a bunch of acts five simple questions.

mateusz

 

For this installment, we’re talking with Polish multi-instrumentalist and improviser, Mateusz Franczak. Franczak has performed at festivals such as Jazz Fest Berlin, c/o pop Festival, Tzadik Festival Poznan, Narracje – Festival of Artistic Visual Installations, New Tradition – Polish Radio Folk Festival, Off Festival, and Open’er Festival. Now let’s get to his answers!

Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

I am really excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016, because it will be my first solo concert played at such a huge festival and so far from home. I’m sure it will be a great experience and musical adventure. Also I’ve never been to Korea before!

What can people expect from a Mateusz Franczak live show?

My live show is an intimate experience, performed, as it is, solo; just me and my listeners. I try to make my music feel familiar, comfortable, protective, while at once intoxicating and dangerous. I want my audience to share in a rare, intimate experience.

For fest-goers not familiar with you yet, what should they know about you?

I’ve been making music for more than half of my life. I started playing in punk rock bands, but I was inspired by so many genres, that after a few years I was recording not only punk, but also jazz, experimental and even rockabilly albums. I’m permanently associated with such bands as Daktari, HOW HOW and Giorgio Fazer. After many years of playing and gaining experience in different bands, I’ve decided to record my own solo album titled “long story short,” which was released on the independent imprint, Too Many Fireworks Records.

Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

I would like to see as many bands and musicians as possible. I’m really excited and eager to meet new people, learn something new and of course, learn about the Korean indie music scene. Who knows what will happen during Zandari Festa – maybe a new international music project?

If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

With all of them – one drink definitely won’t be enough.

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with Hays

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide and our friends at Do Indie are teaming up to ask a bunch of acts five simple questions.

Hays

For this installment, we’re speaking with Aleksandr Polovtcev, frontman for alt-rock band Hays from Vladivostok, Russia. Influenced by rock music of various flows, Hays create their own style in which electrifying guitars entwine with emotional tunes. Hays have opened for famed acts Keane and The Rasmus in the past. They’ve also released several singles, a couple of EPs, and put out a full-length album in 2012 called “To the Roots.” The group are working on their sophomore album now. Now let’s get to Polovtcev’s answers below!

Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

This will be our first tour to Korea. New places, new friends, new experiences through music – this is probably why we’re in music in the first place. It will be very exciting to see the reaction of the locals to our music and our performance, as we’ve never performed in Asia before. It will also very interesting to check out local acts and venues.

What can people expect from a Hays live show?

I don’t think that there’s something particular to expect. I really hope after we all get together at the venue – the band onstage and the crowd in front of it – it will feel like a proper rock festival and we are all going to have some fun out there. We’ll give all we have, and hopefully, the audience will get songs to remember.

For fest-goers not familiar with Hays yet, what should they know about you?

We are loud. The crowd should be ready to rock.

Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

We want to get to know the people there – other musicians, promoters, and fans, of course. Zandari brings together musicians from many different countries with who you can share experiences, play shows together, and learn about each other’s music scenes.

If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

Oh, so many awesome bands are going to be there. But if we have to choose some, let’s say Harry Big Button because they play classic Korean hard rock with impressive experience, Swiimers because we really enjoyed their single “Woodstock,” Uhnellys from Japan because they have have a very original style, and Unchained from Busan because I think we seem to have some genre resemblance. But honestly, we’d love to get a beer or a few with as many musicians as possible.