All posts by Shawn

Big Phony, Streetguns, and Bad Trip Live at Shake Shop on April 25

Big Phony, Streetguns, and Bad Trip will all team up with bellydancers Eshe and Navah for April’s Shake Shop show. Co-presented by Korea Gig Guide, this month’s showcase of local indie music and shimmying will take place on Friday night (April 25) at Club Freebird in Hongdae.

Big Phony

In February, the excellent Korean-American singer-songwriter Big Phony released two new albums, an acoustic disc titled “Bobby” and an electronic one called “Love Live the Lie.” Both charted very well on iTunes in the US, with “Bobby” reaching no. 75 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Music Chart and “Love Live the Lie” climbing all the way to no. 10 on the iTunes Electronic Music Chart.

The man behind the Big Phony moniker, Bobby Choy, explains why he decided to issue both of the albums at the same time.

“I was working on an electronic album mainly because it was something I was dabbling in that turned into a lot of fun,” shares Choy. “As I was getting closer to finishing that project I had the idea of releasing a stripped-down acoustic album that featured the sound and style that people mostly associate with Big Phony. I wanted people to know that although I was releasing an electronic album, I wasn’t changing genres necessarily. I’m still a singer-songwriter at the end of the day.”

Last month, Choy showcased his new material during a string of US dates that included a stop at Texas’ famed South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. According to Choy, the trip had a lot of positives and one minor (but quite enjoyable) downside.

“My tour went incredibly well,” says Choy. “I met so many great people along the way and loved playing night after night. I think my vocal chords improved because of it! The singer-songwriter showcase I performed in at SXSW was a really special night for me. It was a great crowd and perfect venue for my kind of music.

“I gained some weight during the tour as well. I had a lot of BBQ in Texas, and I drank lots of beer, whiskey, and fine wines. Also, for some reason there was an abundance of Girl Scout cookies everywhere I went.”

Eshe and Choy have spoken a few times about performing together at Shake Shop over the past several months, but due to scheduling conflicts the collaboration wasn’t possible until now. Both are very happy to have Big Phony’s name on the bill for Shake Shop Vol. 14.

“I’m so happy that we were able to finally find a date to do this,” says Choy. “I’m not entirely sure how this will pan out but I have faith in Eshe and Navah and in their artistic choices. I’m thrilled that they’ve asked me to take part in what I’m sure will be a memorable night.”

Streetguns Photo

Rockabilly band Streetguns made their live debut in March, but these hep cats are far from newbies. Streetguns is comprised of members from the popular Seoul indie band The Rock Tigers. The Rock Tigers parted ways with their front woman, Velvet Geena, late last year. Wanting to make a fresh start, they hired a new male crooner named Chulsoo and re-branded themselves as Streetguns.

“We’ve all been working hard doing this for many years, so everyone agreed that it was maybe a good time to make some changes,” says guitarist Tiger. “We’ve got a new vocalist but our musical style has not changed that much. We’re still playing kimchibilly and are looking forward to building upon the career we established with The Rock Tigers.”

Members of Streetguns actually attended a past Shake Shop event and enjoyed the concert making them very open to the idea of collaborating with Eshe and Navah.

“We went to the Shake Shop show with Kingston Rudieska and Galaxy Express,” says Tiger. “It looked like a lot of fun and we thought that we’d like to be a part of the concert one day too. Shortly after that, Eshe contacted us and asked us to perform. The timing was good for us, so we decided to join the ladies for a special performance. Rockabilly with bellydance is a definitely a unique combination, so I think this is going to be a cool night.”

Bad Trip

Bad Trip’s tunes are a mix of hard rock, garage rock, punk, and psychedelic sounds. The trio issued a three-song single titled “Rain Drop” late last year through Steel Face Records. According to guitarist and vocalist Kim Young-saeng, the act plan to issue more new music sometime this year.

Kim previously played with the psych-tinged alt-rock band Humpbacks. In 2012, Humpbacks invited Eshe to collaborate with them at their CD release party. Kim liked the experience, and is eager to work with bellydancers again with his current group.

“Last time I performed with Eshe, our pairing felt so fresh and new,” says Kim. “When Eshe suggested doing something together with Bad Trip it was our pleasure to accept her invitation. Bellydancing and Bad Trip’s music are very different, but I think that is what will make it interesting to see.”

Volume 14 of Shake Shop takes place on Friday, April 25 at Club Freebird. The show starts at 8:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with one free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Big Phony, Streetguns, and Bad Trip. For more information, visit the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for tomorrow night’s gig:
8:30 Big Phony
9:15 Navah
9:30 Bad Trip
10:15 Streetguns

March 22: The Geeks, Startline, and 4 Brothers at Shake Shop

The Korea Gig Guide co-presented concert series Shake Shop takes place tonight at Club Freebird.  This month’s show features The Geeks, Startline, and 4 Brothers all collaborating with the bellydancer Eshe and her Navah troupe.

The Geeks

Undeniably one of the country’s top hardcore talents, The Geeks are finally preparing to unveil their long-awaited sophomore album.  The band’s 2007 “Every Time We Fall” debut was a critically acclaimed affair, and fans have been eagerly awaiting its follow up.  While no proper release date has been set yet, according to Geeks’ vocalist Seo Kiseok the disc will definitely be out sooner rather than later.

“We’re working on a new album and it will come out this year for sure,” says Seo.  “It will come out in Korea through Townhall Records and overseas on Think Fast Records.  We just finished mixing and the artwork.  Now we’re working on a release timeline.  We’ll announce our full plans soon.”

Last year saw The Geeks doing an American tour and performing at Texas’ massive South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival.  Although the members of the band all have very busy schedules with work and family commitments, the group are hoping to play some international concerts in support of their upcoming record.  No gigs have been confirmed yet, but Seo says the US, UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan are “top priorities” for The Geeks and are on their list of places to try and make it to.

Hardcore and bellydance are not a combination most people would expect to see, but for Seo that’s what makes The Geeks collaboration with Eshe and Navah at Freebird tonight so interesting.

“The Geeks are all about pushing the limits and living life to the fullest,” Seo says.  “We like to push the envelope and move the needle. This is an extremely great opportunity that will enable us to try new things and progress as a band. I never thought we would be invited to collaborate with bellydancers.  This is just so amazing!

“One of my favorite hardcore bands 7 Seconds says, ‘If we can walk together, why can’t we rock together?’  Our music and our performance is known for its unmatched high level of energy, which I think can be well translated into the main essence of dance.  And the lyrics for one of our new songs were inspired by the German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch. So I think us and the bellydancers have a lot in common. This collaboration is going to be cool.”

Startline

Formed in March 2013, melodic punk trio Startline features members of Gumx and Copy Machine.  The ambitious act issued their first EP last September, the six-cut “Light My Fire,” and in November flew to Indonesia to participate in the Asian Beat Grand Final 2013.  They placed third in the competition, and drummer Choi Gun was crowned best drummer at the event.

Looking to further build on last year’s momentum, Startline will put out their full-length debut this spring.

“We’re planning to release our first album in May,” says Choi.  “We’re going to record it in April and it’s going to full of great punk songs with awesome lyrics.  We have so many ideas we want to try and are still deciding which songs should go on the album.  We’re working really hard right now and will continue to challenge ourselves to create great stuff.”

Like The Geeks, Startline are excited about teaming up with bellydancers tonight at Club Freebird.

“We’re very open minded to all new experiences,” says Choi.  “We know Eshe and Navah have been doing great things with a lot of great bands so we also want to try working with them.

“We have lots of fast songs.  We’re going to play them like we normally do and see where the bellydancers can lead us.  We think art and music create really good energy together, so tonight should be a lot of fun for everyone.

Poppy vintage rockers 4 Brothers will round out the bill for Shake Shop Vol. 13.  The band are gigging in support of their 2013 full-length, “The Riot of Decadence.”

Shake Shop Vol. 13 takes place on Saturday, March 22 at Club Freebird. The show starts at 8:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with one free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside The Geeks, Startline, and 4 Brothers.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for tonight’s gig:
8:30 4 Brothers
9:15 Navah
9:30 Startline
10:15 The Geeks

Shake Shop 13

Smacksoft to Bring True Korean Post-Punk to US

By: Tom Rainey-Smi​th

From the streets of New York to the underground clubs of Seoul, Smacksoft frontwoman Bo Ryung Whang has been fashioning her own blend of electronica-infused post-punk since she first started performing in Seoul in the late 1990s. Smacksoft was established shortly after, taking on its current form in 2007 when Bo Ryung returned from a stint at art school. Her whispery vocals betray a rawness and honesty that reflect her unapologetic commitment to creating self-expressive art.

Smacksoft 3

Smacksoft  released their fifth album titled Follow Your Heart at the end of 2012, which earned them a nomination at the 2013 Korean Music Awards for “Best Modern Rock Album,” and is planning to bring out their sixth full-length by the middle of this year. The band will join other Korean acts including Crying Nut and Jambinai  at Texas’ South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival next week before heading off to California and then on to Amsterdam. In order to raise funds for their upcoming tour, the band will be performing a special tour fundraiser gig on Friday, March 7 at Nest Nada in Hongdae.

Korea Gig Guide had a chance to interview Smacksoft’s frontwoman Bo Ryung to ask her about the evolution of Smacksoft and their upcoming tour.

Smacksoft 13

Q: What is the meaning behind the name Smacksoft?

A: The sound of the words “smack” and “soft” both sound like they feel. I like the inherent duality in putting these two things together.  For me, they represent an anti-violence and anti-authoritarian attitude. I like mixing these punk/anarchy and pro-peace ideas together. It is confrontational and serious but also has some humor to it.

Q: Tell us about your journey as a musician from your early days in the punk scene to the present. How has your sound evolved?

A: I have always listened to and played music, painted, drawn, and written stuff – whatever was a meaningful expression of myself at any given time.  I don’t follow trends or what other people are doing, but I am definitely inspired by things that are happening around me and collaborating with other musicians and artists. I think the biggest evolution in my music has occurred through technology – the amount of control I can have in the production and editing as well as playing has allowed me to exercise greater authenticity in my work.

Q: You’ve played many shows in support of various social causes such as “Rock and Resistance: Against the Naval Base on Jeju Island” and “Solidarity for US Military Camptown Women’s Human Rights.” What is your motivation to support these causes?

A: I simply believe it is the right thing to do. Human history is full of violence, war, and suffering, but it is just as equally full of beauty and kind acts. I think sometimes it’s hard to remember that we have the power to change things positively if only we will speak up and get involved.

Q: It can be quite difficult trying to survive off your music alone as an indie musician in South Korea. How do you manage?

A: It is difficult to be an artist.  There’s definitely a reason why everyone says that.  But, honestly, I never really thought about it too much. It wasn’t a question for me of whether or not to live a creative life. I just did it. I’m not really alone as an indie musician, there’s a whole core group of people working to support and promote the indie scene in Korea from venues like Club Rainbow to people who listen to our music. To make ends meet I might teach art, sell some of my paintings, or do other things like that.

Q: Do you have hopes of releasing a new album in the near future?

A: Smacksoft plan to release our sixth studio album in June. And, I just released a solo EP on February 27.  It’s called “As If Nothing Ever Happened.”

Q: You recently shot a beautiful new video for Dreamer of Myths. Tell us about the experience of filming it.

A: It was really cold but really fun. We had a great crew. The video for “Dreamer of Myths” presents my thoughts and ideas along with the music. I am wearing a mask with words – rage, betrayal, feeling lost, loneliness – and when I take that off and burn it, I felt this emotional release of actually letting go of all the human fears and suffering that we create for ourselves.

Q: You toured the US back in 2012. What was the highlight of that tour?

A: Definitely just seeing the States and getting to drive through the country was a highlight. Also, we met some great musicians when we played in Chicago at Transistor and Reggie’s. One band, Evil Twin Sister, their guitarist Mario had a friend who had just seen us play in Tijuana, Mexico so he had already heard about us – that was exciting. Playing in Tijuana was also an amazing experience. And, even though our music is mostly in Korean, people still responded to the music, which was very moving for us.

Q: What can US-based fans expect from you at SXSW?

A: True post-punk music – not the “indie” packaged, soul-less music produced by following some kind of set formula. I think we’re all going to have a great time getting to share our music with a new audience.  I think they’ll love us!

Q: Lastly, you’ll be collaborating with the belly dancer Eshe and her Navah troupe this Friday night to raise money for your trip. Tell us what is it like to take part in these kinds of music-dance collaborations from the band’s perspective.

A: Clearly, music and dance go together well – it’s a natural collaboration. I think working with any artists expands the whole creative process.  I think it shows us all what is possible and creates a wonderful experience for all of the participants regardless of whether they are dancing, listening, playing, or doing something else. Performing live is really the best feeling there is.

Smacksoft Fundraiser

Smacksoft’s US tour fundraiser show takes place on Friday night at Nest Nada.  The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 20,000 won.  Apollo 18, Rainbow99, and bellydancers Eshe & Navah will also perform.  For international fans, here are Smacksoft’s overseas gigs in March and April:

March 13 Austin, TX @ Icenhauer’s (SXSW)
March 16 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight
March 20 San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall (CAAMFest)
April 12 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Sugar Factory (PMPS Fest)

Jambinai and Idiotape Team Up for Seoul Show before Their US Tours

By: Tom Rainey-Smi​th

Korean indie acts Jambinai and Idiotape are preparing to take on Texas in March where they will join more than 2,000 bands from 60 countries at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. Before they head off to the States, the two bands are performing a show this Sunday (March 2) at Club Ta in Hongdae. Check out Korea Gig Guide’s interviews with both bands, along with their American tour dates, below.

Jambinai

photo by RIchard Yoon Chan

Fusing elements of metal and punk with traditional Korean music, Jambinai have spent much of the past year showcasing their talent around the world. Recently billed by MTV Iggy as one of the top 10 international acts not to miss at SXSW, this post-rock band are pushing boundaries and winning a diverse fan base with their unique sound. With an EP and an album under their belt, they are currently putting together material for what will be their second full-length release.

The Jambinai experience is hard to define. Their sound might be best described as listening to Meshuggah while walking through Seoul’s Gyeongbok Palace at night on acid; their deeply layered and darkly beautiful songs will leave you in an altered state. As guitarist and piri player Lee Ilwoo explains, their sound has evolved from a longtime interest in traditional Korean music and hopes to take listeners on a unique journey. Read our interview with him below.

Tell us about your musical influences and how you came to create such a unique sound.

Lee Ilwoo: We all have been playing Korean traditional music since we were middle school and high school. And we’re also fans of lots of other types of music too like hardcore, punk, metal, tango, modern classical music, and many other styles. I think we combine all of our different musical tastes to try and make something new using the instruments we’ve been playing since we were kids and teenagers.

Do you approach your music as an attempt to break through stylistic boundaries or as more of a process of drawing on and fusing together different but established styles?

Lee Ilwoo: I guess we kind of do both of those things when we make music. It’s not something we do consciously, though. We just try to make the music we want to make using the instruments we love and feel really comfortable with.

Jambinai’s music is a collaborative and deeply artistic experience. Describe for our readers the process of song writing.

Lee Ilwoo: I usually come up with the framework for our songs. Then the other members add to the framework and help modify it with their traditional instruments.

You recently showcased some new material that is still as of yet unnamed. It is sounding deep and dark. Is there a specific theme or feeling that you’re going for your next album?

Lee Ilwoo: We want to try and describe feelings that represent the present. Something that has never been known before because no one has recognized that it exists. But actually it has existed the whole time. And when it is finally discovered, people will be shocked. Kind of like what happened with the coelacanth fish.*

What should concert goers expect from you at SXSW?

Lee Ilwoo: They should expect to see a band who can’t speak English well playing heavy music using instruments that they may have never seen before. We’re playing three official showcases at SXSW and two unofficial gigs during the festival as well. We’re excited to play for new audiences and hope lots of people come out see us play.

Here are Jambinai’s March US tour dates:
March 11 Austin, TX @ (7:30 pm) Elysium (official SXSW showcase)
March 12 Austin, TX @ (3 pm) International Day Stage Austin Convention Center (official SXSW showcase)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (1:30 pm) Hotel Vegas (Levitation Austin)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (12:00 am) Flamingo Cantina (official SXSW showcase)
March 14 Austin, TX @ (3:15 pm) Spider House (The Texas Rock N Roll Massacre 2)
March 16 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight

* The coelacanth fish was thought to have been extinct for 66 million years until one was eventually discovered in 1938.

Idiotape

Electro-rock trio Idiotape are no strangers to SXSW having first performed at the festival in 2011. This award-winning electronic act – which is comprised of producer and synthesizer player Dguru, synthesizer player Zeze, and drummer DR – has been pumping out the beats since 2008 when they formed in Seoul. Since then they’ve ripping up dance floors, performing to crowded audiences at a number of Korean and overseas festivals. They recorded an EP in 2010 and put out their first full-length album the following year. The band mixes synth-driven rhythms with a classic rock feel achieved by live drumming.

Not only do they promise to put on a dynamic and electrifying show, but also plan to showcase some new material for the first time when they hit Texas. As the band explains, they are an act that must be seen live to be really understood.

How would you describe your sound? What original elements do you bring into your music that makes it your own?

Dguru: We play dynamic synth-driven music will real drums. We’re kind of like an electronic rock ‘n’ roll band.

Zeze: Maybe electronic shoegaze would be a good description? We play electronic music with electronic instruments, but our mindset is based in rock music.

DR: I think we make rock music for the 21st century.

What are your musical influences?

Dguru: I’m influenced by the music and different sounds I hear everywhere I go. I think drawing is how we see, poetry is how we speak, and music is how we hear. When making music, I try to make sounds based on what I’ve heard or imagined.

Zeze: I’m influenced by the people I meet, by time, and by space. I’m really influenced by the different seasons too.

DR: My musical influences come from past memories of gigs I’ve played and how the audiences reacted at them, and from concerts I’ve seen by other bands.

Idiotape has established a solid following both locally and internationally. Do you think Korean indie music gets the recognition it deserves outside of the country?

Dguru: I don’t think it gets enough recognition yet. But that’s slowly changing. When we went to SXSW in 2011 there were only five Korean acts playing at the festival. This year there are 15 Korean acts. I think this is a really good thing and it could signal the start of a new beginning for the Korean indie scene.

You’ve played SXSW before. What are you most looking forward to about this year’s event?

Dguru: I’m looking forward to getting to know other musicians from around the world. I think we can learn a lot from watching other acts perform and getting to know them.

Zeze: The last time we went to SXSW, I was nervous and made many mistakes because it was our first overseas tour. I want to try and enjoy the festival more this time around.

Besides risking addiction to the music and involuntary body shaking, what should fans expect from your SXSW show?

Zeze: We’re going to play a new song at SXSW which we’ve never played before. People at SXSW will be the first ones to hear it.

DR: They should expect to get to experience the “real” Idiotape. I think you can’t judge our band based only by our albums. Idiotape is a band that needs to be seen live to truly understand us.

Here are Idiotape’s March US tour dates:
March 11 Austin, TX @ (11:30 pm) Elysium (Official SXSW Showcase)
March 20 San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall (CAAMFest)

Club Ta Poster

Jambinai and Iditoape will play a show together on Sunday, March 2 at Club Ta.  Ynot? are also on the bill.  The show starts at 6 pm and tickets are 15,000 in advance.

 

Shake Shop Turns One with Kingston Rudieska, Galaxy Express, and Asian Chairshot

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Shake Shop.  The brainchild of Seoul bellydancer Eshe, the concert series debuted in February 2013 and mixes Korean indie music with bellydance.  Co-presented by Korea Gig Guide and Dream Dance Studio, Shake Shop Vol. 12 takes place on Saturday, February 15 at Club Freebird and will see local heavyweights Kingston Rudieska and Galaxy Express along with the fast rising Asian Chairshot all collaborating with Eshe and her troupe, Navah.

Kingston Rudieska

Seoul’s top ska band, Kingston Rudieska are quite accustomed to getting rooms full of people dancing with their uplifting tunes.  So playing while a bevy of beautiful bellydancers move their hips shouldn’t be a big stretch for the gents.  Trumpet and flugelhorn player Oh Jeong-seok shares why he thinks Saturday’s show is going to be a lot of fun.

“In my opinion, bellydance is a very beautiful dance,” Oh says.  “I think it’s also a very flexible dance and is well-suited for every kind of music.   I know Eshe and Navah have danced with many kinds of music and I think having bellydance collaborate with ska and reggae will be a very good match.  Dance and music may be different forms of expression, but they share a common language.”

Collaborations are definitely something that Kingston Rudieska are all about these days.  In March, the band will release a new collaborative EP with German reggae and ska musician Dr. Ring Ding.  The album will be distributed across North America, Europe, and Japan.  And Oh says they the group are also planning to start a new concert series called “Rudy’s Open House” which will have them collaborating with different artists each month.

Galaxy Express

Trippy garage rock trio Galaxy Express are in the process of writing material for their fourth full-length album.  The band’s 2008 “Noise on Fire” debut won “Best Rock Album” at the 2009 Korean Music Awards, their 2010 “Wild Days” sophomore effort helped them net “Musician of the Year” at the 2011 Korean Music Awards, and their 2012 eponymous disc was nominated for “Album of the Year” at last year’s Imagene Awards.  Based on that track record, it is not a stretch to assume that whatever Galaxy Express are cooking up is going to be pretty damn good.

“We’re working on new songs right now,” say bassist Lee Ju-hyun.  “We want the new songs to be more vivid and feel more alive than our previous work.  We’re planning to record in April or May and hope to have the album out this summer.”

Although Galaxy Express’ raucous music isn’t what you would usually expect to hear at a bellydance gig, Lee says the act are happy about the collaboration.

“Our music is very different from traditional bellydance music, but I’m certain things are going to turn out well,” he says.  “We’re so excited about playing at Shake Shop!”

Asian Chairshot have a bit of experience with working with dancers.  The fantastic Korean butoh dancer Hong Ra-moo stars in the band’s “Mask Dance” music video.  But Shake Shop will be their first time teaming up with bellydancers.

“We’re always down for working together with other art forms,” says drummer Park Kye-wan.  “I think collaborating with other kinds of art allows our music to be seen in another way.”

This past December, Asian Chairshot recorded their debut full length in Seoul.  Smashing Pumpkins’ guitarist Jeff Schroeder produced the album and Ryan Grostefon was the recording engineer.  Grostefon was also the engineer on Smashing Pumpkins’ 2012 acclaimed “Oceania” disc.  The still untitled album will come out sometime in April.

“We had a great time recording with those guys,” says Park.  “I think our new album has a more varied sound than our (2013) ‘Mask’ EP.  Some of the new songs are very heavy and some have a very mellow, melancholy feel.  All of the songs have different feelings and emotions.”

Asian Chairshot

Shake Shop Vol. 12 takes place on Saturday, February 15 at Club Freebird. The show starts at 8:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with one free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Kingston Rudieska, Galaxy Express, and Asian Chairshot.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the estimated set times for Friday’s show:
8:30 Asian Chairshot
9:15 Navah
9:30 Galaxy Express
10:15 Kingston Rudieska

Shake Shop Vol 12

Mogwai and Daughter Live in Seoul on February 16

**KOREA GIG GUIDE HAS FREE TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY FOR MOGWAI AND DAUGHTER’S SEOUL CONCERT. DETAILS ON HOW TO WIN THE TICKETS ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST**

Scotland’s Mogwai and England’s Daughter are teaming up for a Seoul gig at Uniqlo-AX on Sunday, February 16.

Mogwai Band Photo September 2013

Formed in Glasgow in 1995, Mogwai have firmly established themselves as one of the world’s top post-rock acts.  The band made their Korean debut in 2011 with a late November concert in Seoul while they were on the road in support of their awesomely titled “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” disc.  On their second visit, they will be showcasing material from their new album, “Rave Tapes.”  The band’s eighth full-length, “Rave Tapes” was released on January 20.  Like its predecessors, the album has been garnering plenty of positive press with Exclaim calling it “perhaps their most engrossing effort since the Young Team’s debut.”  The group’s February 16 Seoul concert comes as part of an Asian tour that will also have them playing in the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore.  After Asia, Mogwai will be gigging in Europe and North America with their itinerary including stops at major fests such as Coachella, Sasquatch, and Primavera Sound.

Hailing from London, Daughter’s music is a mix of folk and ethereal dream pop.  The trio issued their debut full-length effort, “If You Leave,” in March 2013.  It won “Independent Album of the Year” at last year’s AIM Independent Music Awards.

On February 16 at Uniqlo-AX, Mogwai are scheduled to give a 90 minute headlining performance and Daughter will offer up a 50 minute opening set.  The show starts at 6 pm and tickets are 88,000 won in advance.  Advance tickets can be purchased in English here and in Korean here.

Mogwai Daughters Poster

Want to win a pair of free tickets to see Mogwai and Daughter play at Uniqlo-AX? Korea Gig Guide has two pairs of tickets to give away for February 16 concert courtesy of Private Curve. To qualify for the tickets, simply share this story on Facebook or Twitter. Then email us at koreagigguide@gmail.com to let us know that you’ve posted the link to your Facebook or Twitter page, and we’ll add your name to the draw. The contest closes at 12 pm on Thursday, February 13 and we’ll notify winners by 2 pm that day. Good luck!

Rux, Love X Stereo, and The Greatest Voyage at Shake Shop Vol. 11

Shake Shop, the monthly show presented by Korea Gig Guide and Hapjeong’s Dream Dance Studio, is starting off 2014 with a great bill that will have Rux, Love X Stereo, and The Greatest Voyage all collaborating with bellydancers Eshe and Navah on Friday (January 24) at Club Freebird in Hongdae.

Rux Band

One of the most respected and influential acts in Seoul’s punk scene, Rux have been a band that Shake Shop creator Eshe has wanted to work with since the concert series’ February 2013 inception.  This month she finally gets her wish as the quartet will close out Shake Shop on Friday night.  The performance will be their first show since guitarist Lee Hyun-hee was seriously injured in a workplace accident in November.

“Hyun-hee works in the kitchen at a Japanese okonomiyaki restaurant,” says vocalist Won Jong-hee.  “One of his co-workers accidentally dropped a canister of butane gas into a big deep fryer and the hot oil from the fryer exploded all over the kitchen.  Luckily, no one was killed.  However, three people in the kitchen got burned very badly.   Hyun-hee had to stay in the hospital for a month because of his burns.  He’s still recovering from the burns on his legs, but he’s strong enough to play gigs again.”

It has been over two-and-a-half years since the group issued their “5000 Years of Hallucinations” EP and nearly five years since they put out their 2009 “The Eternal Kids” full-length effort.  Rux fans who have eagerly been waiting for new music will be happy to know that the group are in the midst of recording a new album and hope to have it out in early summer.

Friday night will be Rux’s first time to work with bellydancers.  Won says the band are not exactly sure how the collaboration will turn out but are looking forward to seeing how things develop.

“It’s going to be a very interesting night,” says Won.  “I still can’t picture what it’s going to be like it.  But I guess it’s going to be a pretty cool sight.  As long as we enjoy Eshe’s and Navah’s dancing, and the audience enjoys our music, I’m pretty sure everyone will have a lot of fun.”

Love X Stereo

Fast-rising Love X Stereo embarked on their first North American tour last autumn in support of their “Glow” EP to play at the renowned CMJ Music Marathon in New York.  The electro-rock act will be returning stateside in March for another tour.  This time around they will hit the road with Glen Check and Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio as part of Seoulsonic and their itinerary will include a stop at Austin, Texas’ massive South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival.

“Our tour in the fall was so cool,” gushes vocalist and synthesizer player Annie Ko.  “It definitely exceeded our expectations.   The fans everywhere we went were really supportive.  It was amazing to meet so many people who were interested in our music.  And the sound quality everywhere we went was really good.  No matter how small or narrow a venue was, the sound guys knew what they were doing and made us sound great.  We were impressed.  We were very pleased with the tour and can’t wait to go back to the US this spring.”

Love X Stereo previously performed at Shake Shop last May.  They really enjoyed themselves at the gig and gladly accepted the invitation to appear at this month’s event.

“We were on cloud nine during that show,” says Ko.  “Lots of beautiful ladies danced in front of us while we played.  It was pretty awesome to see.  And it’s pretty unique, isn’t it?  Most bands or musicians have backup dancers, not ‘front up’ dancers.  So in that way, we could also enjoy the show as an ‘audience.’  It was a really rare experience for us, which is why we we’re thrilled to play Shake Shop again.”

The Greatest Voyage

The Greatest Voyage is fronted by No. 1 Korean’s vocalist Kwon Milk.  Kwon Milk originally planned to do some solo music as a side project from his main gig in the ska group No. 1 Korean.  He released an excellent album under his own name in May 2010 called “The Greatest Voyage.”  While gigging in support of that album with backing players, The Greatest Voyage became a proper band.

The act play really cool folk and rock compositions that are accented with bits of blues and country.  As The Greatest Voyage, they’ve released an EP (2011’s “The Commuter Blues”) and a handful of singles.  They are currently working on The Greatest Voyage’s debut full-length offering.

“We’re planning to release our first album as The Greatest Voyage this year,” shares Kwon Milk.  “We’ve got around 30 songs right now and we’re deciding which direction we want to take with the album and what tracks to use.  I think it may have a bit more of a rock feel than our previous work.”

Like Rux and Love X Stereo, The Greatest Voyage are happy to be teaming up with bellydancers Eshe and Navah for this weekend’s Shake Shop.

“We’re really excited for the Shake Shop show,” says Kwon Milk.  “We want to see how our music crosses boundaries and what new areas it can go to.”

Shake Shop Vol. 11 takes place on Friday, January 24 at Club Freebird. The show starts at 8:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with one free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Rux, Love X Stereo, and The Greatest Voyage.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the estimated set times for Friday’s show:
8:30 The Greatest Voyage
9:15 Navah
9:40 Love X Stereo
10:15 Rux

Shake Shop 11 Poster

Loud Aid Vol. 2: Good Music and a Good Cause

This Saturday (January 25), the second annual Loud Aid concert will take place at Prism Live Hall in Hongdae. Organized by GMC Records bossman (and Today X Spot vocalist) Hyunggun “Ssako” Kim and 13 Steps vocalist (and Jambinai/No Excuse bassist) Dokyo Kim, the concert will see nine rock, punk, and hardcore acts playing between 6 pm and 10:30 pm for the very low price of 5,000 won plus a canned good.

Ssako explains the reasoning behind doing a joint concert and canned food drive.

“We still believe that hardcore is decided by people’s lifestyle – not by music,” he says. “So we wanted to share the ideas behind this positive lifestyle with all people. So we planned Loud Aid last January to collect food for those in need. The show went really well, so we wanted to do it again this year.”

The pair had initially decided to donate the food from this weekend’s concert to the Korail labor union, but now that their strike is over they are considering other options. The canned goods from last year’s drive were sent to the Catholic Human Rights Committee. And Ssako says they may give the food to that organization again.

Saturday night’s concert features some great local music including Juck Juck Grunzie, The Strikers, 13 Steps, Hollow Jan, Ninesin, Things We Say, Something Fierce, and We Hate JH. Also appearing will be hardcore act Fight It Out from Yokohama, Japan who are flying over specifically to play at the show. Emo band We Hate JH are the most recent signing to GMC Records. Their new “Officially, We Hate JH” album will be released by the label on January 28. But fans will be able to buy the disc before it hits stores at Loud Aid 2.

“There were no specific guidelines for the bands we wanted to play at Loud Aid Vol. 2,” says Ssako. “We just chose bands that can make f#cking loud music. Usually people in Korea just think heavy music only pertains to one style of music. But we wanted to show people that there is awesome heavy and loud music in lots of different genres.”

Loud Aid Vol. 2 should be a really fun night, so definitely try to stop by the show on January 25 if you can. And while the cover charge is 5,000 won with one canned good, feel free to bring a few more food items along to donate if you can afford to do so.

Loud Aid Vol. 2 takes place on Saturday, January 25 at Prism Live Hall. The show starts at 6 pm, and entry is 5,000 won with a canned good. 13 Steps, We Hate JH, Ninesin, Juck Juck Grunzie, The Strikers, Hollow Jan, Things We Say, Something Fierce, and Fight It Out will all perform. For more information, check out the Facebook event page for Loud Aid here.

Here are the set times for Loud Aid 2014:

6:00 – 6:30 Juck Juck Grunzie
6:30 – 7:00 We Hate JH
7:00 – 7:30 Something Fierce
7:30 – 8:00 Ninesin
8:00 – 8:30 Fight It Out
20:30 – 21:00 13 Steps
21:30 – 21:30 The Strikers
21:30 – 22:00 Hollow Jan
22:00 – 22:30 Things We Say

Loud Aid

Vassline Showcase New Album and Musical Diversity at Battle of the Silence

Vassline will be holding their second album release party for their “Black Silence” disc on Saturday, January 18 at Prism Live Hall in Hongdae.

Vassline Band Photo

Released in September on GMC Records, “Black Silence” is Vassline’s long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s “Permanence.”  The Seoul metalcore act initially intended to put out “Black Silence” in the fall of 2012.  But with things moving at a much slower pace than planned, the quintet eventually adopted an “It’ll be out when it’s done.” mentality.

“We started recording in early April 2012, and we thought we could finish the recording process in about three months,” shares guitarist Cho Min-young (aka Chainsaw Cho).  “And since it had never taken us more than six weeks to finish post-production stuff before, we figured we could have the album out that autumn.  But when we were recording, we fell way behind schedule.  Our own self standards are a lot higher now, so we put way more energy and effort into ‘Black Silence’ than we have for any of our past albums.  We were trying to be more professional, perfect, and precise.

“Also, we’re all way busier than we were six or seven years ago.  A few members are married and have kids.  And our day jobs have become more demanding too.  Balancing work, family, and band commitments also made it more challenging to get things done on the album quickly.”

Vassline Black Silence Cover

Fortunately, the loud and heavy “Black Silence” has proved to be worth the wait.  A powerful listen from start to finish, the record was chosen by Hellokpop as last year’s “Best Rock and Alternative Album.”  Boasting fourteen tracks, Jambinai and members of Hollow Jan, Pia, Ninesin, and To My Last Breath make guest appearances on several of the cuts adding some different flavors to Vassline’s fantastic sonic offering.

“With (2007’s) ‘Permanence’ we wanted to make an album that was more professional and better produced than our first two albums,” says Cho.  “Our second album, (2004’s) ‘Blood of Immortality,’ won the 2005 Korean Music Award for ‘Best Rock Album.’  And we felt a lot of pressure to make a better album than our prize-winning album.  At the time, we may have said that we didn’t care that much about making something better, but honestly, we did.

“But with ‘Black Silence,’ we became free from all the pressure and expectations.  We approached the album like we approached our very first record.  Because a large gap of time had passed since ‘Permanence,’ we thought we could bring a different kind of structure and character to our music.

“I think we did a really good job on ‘Black Silence.’  I think the overall sound is more organized and refined than it has been on past albums.  Our recording and mixing engineer took so damn long time to mix it down, but he did a really great job so we can’t complain!   I really like how the vocal recordings for the main and the backing vocals came out as well.  Our vocalist (Shin Woo-seok) experiments with different styles a lot during practices and shows, but he tends to stick to one style when it comes to actually recording. So the backing vocals need to give more layers and colors to the sound. I think the balance between the main vocals and the backing vocals came out much better on ‘Black Silence’ than on our previous records.”

Saturday night’s show is part of Vassline’s “Battle of the Silence” concert series, which is meant to promote the release of “Black Silence.”  The first Battle of the Silence took place in December.  And there will be four or five more shows held under the moniker this year.  With the Battle of the Silence shows, Vassline are looking to present bills that mix hardcore acts with bands from other genres.  December’s Battle of the Silence included punk bands No Brain and Lazybone, and this weekend’s gig will feature blues rock band Lowdown 30 and the soulful, retro-flavored pop rock of Goonam.

“The main idea is to bring out some of the best bands from other scenes and mix them with our music,” says Cho.  “As the Korean underground music scene has grown, its bands have gotten separated by categories or genre and it’s getting harder to see other bands grouped together from different genres.  We’ve been around more than 17 years now and we have lots of friends in many different scenes, so we wanted to invite them and let the bands and fans experience the different vibes that other music styles have.”

According to Cho, with future Battle of the Silence gigs, Vassline wants to continue to create lineups that are as diverse as possible.

“We’ll even invite idol dance music groups to perform if we can,” he says.  “But I’m guessing that won’t happen because we don’t have any friends in that scene.  Well, not yet, at least!”

Vassline’s second Battle of the Silence show takes place on Saturday night at Prism Live Hall in Hongdae.  The show starts at 6 pm and tickets are 20,000 won at the door.  Vassline, Lowdown 30, Knockdown, and Goonam will play.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

Vassline Poster

Change of Venue and Discount for Phoenix’s Seoul Gig

Phoenix’s Thursday, January 23 concert has been moved from Olympic Hall to Uniqlo AX.  The concert starts at 8 pm and the fantastic Seoul electronic band Idiotape will open the show.

Phoenix Photo

Tickets for the gig are 121,00 won.  However, if you buy a ticket before Monday, January 20 at 5 pm, you can score yourself a 30% discount making the entrance fee 84,700 won.

To get the discount, you have to buy a ticket in advance by transferring money to VU Ent’s bank account (Bank Name : Woori Bank / Account No : 1005-802-107643 / Account Holder : VU Ent).  For more information, email vu.michelleh AT gmail.com or call 070-4010-7874.

Phoenix are currently touring in support of their 2013 “Bankrupt!” album.  Last year saw the acclaimed French quartet performing at renowned fests such as Glastonbury, Coachella, and Lollapalooza.  In 2010, the act won the Grammy Award for “Best Alternative Music Album” for their 2009 “Wolfgang Amadeus” disc.

PHOENIX Poster