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

KGG Staff 2013 Live Faves

Here are the live performances from Korea (and other countries around the world) that Korea Gig Guide’s staff (Shawn, Mark, Jon, and Dain) enjoyed the most in 2013.  We hope to see all of you at lots of concerts throughout 2014!

And if anyone is interested, our 2012 lists of top shows can be checked out here.

A reunited Jurassic 5 at Japan's Fuji Rock Festival (photo by Keiko Hirakawa/Fujirock Express '13

A reunited Jurassic 5 at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival (photo by Keiko Hirakawa/Fujirock Express ’13

Shawn Despres
1. Jurrasic 5 @ Fuji Rock Festival (Japan) on July 27 (live photos here)

2. Jambinai @ Veloso on October 12

3. Bo Ningen @ Fuji Rock Festival (Japan) on July 28 (live photos here)

4. Dirty Projectors @ V-Hall on January 27

5. Goonam @ Yales Café Bar (Wrexham, Wales) on April 27 (live video here)

6. Hellivision @ Prism Live Hall on November 3

7. Galaxy Express @ Studio 2 (Liverpool, England) on May 3

8. Shugo Tokumaru @ Sangsang Madang on March 24

9. Mojo Project Sound System with Eshe @ Freebird on November 29 (live video here)

10. Bulssazo @ Sangsang Madang on March 30

Japandroids at Citybreak

Japandroids at Citybreak

Mark Russell
(shows listed by date)

Holly Odell and Damned Hillbillies @ VIPs (in Barcelona, Spain) on Jan. 18

Japandroids @ Citybreak on Aug. 18

Vidulgi Ooyoo @ Badabie on Nov. 2

Genius @ Strange Fruit on Nov. 9

Daikaiju at Double A Studio. Photo by Jon Dunbar.

Daikaiju at Double A Studio (photo by Jon Dunbar)

Jon Dunbar
1. Slackers @ Pawn Shop (Edmonton, Canada) on June 15 and 16  (live photos here)

2. Kingston Rudieska @ Prism Live Hall on December 29 (live photos here)

3. Autocratics @ Prism Live Hall on February 9 (live photos here)

4. Heimlich County Gun Club @ Hongdae Playground on May 25 (live photos here)

5. Daikaiju @ Double A Studio on August 4 (live photos here)

6. Yuppie Killer @ Club Spot on October 26 (live photos here)

7. Dr Ring Ding and friends @ Club Ta on August 3 (live photos here)

8. Funkafric & Boostdah @ Blue Star on April 5 (live photos here)

9. Oki Band @ Kuchu Camp on September 7 (live photos here)

10. Epaksa and the Mimi Sisters @ Sangsang Madang (Label Market) on January 19 (live photos here)

Metallica at Citybreak

Metallica at Citybreak

Dain Leathe​m
1. Metallica @ Citybreak on August 18

2. The XX @ Ansan Valley Rock Festival on July 26

3. Japandroids @ V-hall on February 14

4. Galaxy Express @ Rolling Hall on January 20

5. The Killers @ Olympic Hall on October 5

6. Placebo @ Jisan World Rock Festival on August 3

7. Supreme Team @ Green Plugged on May 17

8. One Drop East @ Club Ta on May 17

9. Shut Da Mouth with Pinnacle the Hustler @ Jisan World Rock Festival on August 3

10. WhoWho and Glen Check @ Club FF on July 13

Gogol Records Label Party Tonight at Club FF

Gogol Records are holding their first label concert tonight (December 13) at Club FF in Hongdae.  Formed last spring by Apollo 18, this year the Seoul indie imprint released Romantiqua’s eponymous EP, Modsdive’s “The Stasis of Humanity,” and Juck Juck Grunzie’s “Psycho.”

Gogl Records Logo

“All of the musicians on our label are familiar with each other, but many of them don’t know each other well,” says Apollo 18’s Choi Hyun-seok.  “So I wanted to bring everyone together to hang out and have a party.  I hope to create a strong family vibe among all of the Gogol Records acts.”

Modsdive:

In addition to the bands listed above, Gogol Records’ roster also includes Yang Chang-keun and National Pigeon Unity.  The former guitarist for The Magicians, Yang will release his solo debut on January 21 through Gogol.  The 10-track offering was produced by Apollo 18’s Kim Dae-inn.  National Pigeon Unity are still completing their military service but plan to start working on an album in spring.

“I first saw Chang-keun play three years ago,” says Choi.  “I thought his singing and playing were really good, and I said I wanted to work together with him in the future. 

“We’ve been friends with National Pigeon Unity for a long time.  They will be finished their army stuff in March.  They have been working on new music during their vacations from the army.  I think they will put out a new album on Gogol in maybe May or June.”

National Pigeon Unity were unable to get time off from the army to join tonight’s bill at Club FF, but all of the other Gogol Records acts will perform.  Apollo 18 (who are currently signed to 9 ENT) and Hollow Jan will both play at the show as well.

Next week, Gogol Records will also be opening a small record shop in Hongdae.  Located near Sangsu Station, the shop will be above Reggae Chicken and right next door to Shim, the tattoo space owned and operated by Romantiqua bassist Griffin Shim.  The shop will be open Monday through Saturday from noon until 11 pm.

Gogol Records Shop

The Gogol Records shop will stock releases from all of the label’s acts and Apollo 18 albums and merchandise too.  Choi plans to also eventually sell discs from some of the overseas bands Apollo 18 have become pals with while touring abroad.  Music videos and live clips from all of the bands with material in the shop will be screened on one of the space’s walls and there will also be listening posts for folks to check out any albums they are interested in.  Choi would like to hold some acoustic performances at the venue as well.

Juck Juck Grunzie (performance starts from 47-second mark):

For 2014, Choi hopes to have the label’s acts playing bigger events in Korea and doing some gigs abroad.  This year Modsdive and Romantiqua appeared at the Ansan Valley Rock Festival and Juck Juck Grunzie played at City Break.  Juck Juck Grunzie and Romantiqua both also performed in Taiwan as well.  Juck Juck Grunzie were there in April for Spring Scream, and Romantiqua flew over in September for Beastie Rock Festival.

Romantiqua:

Gogol Records’ label concert takes place on Friday, December 13 and will include performances from Apollo 18, Hollow Jan, Juck Juck Grunzie, Modsdive, Romantiqua, and Yang Chang-keun.  The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 15,000 won.  Here are the set times for tonight’s concert:

8:00 – 8:20 Yang Chang-keun
8:30 – 8:50 Romantiqua
9:00 – 9:30 Modsdive
9:40 – 10:10 Juck Juck Grunzie
10:20 – 11:00 Hollow Jan
11:10 – 11:40 Apollo 18

Gogol Records Concert

Back For More: !!! Play Their Second Korean Gig of 2013 this Weekend in Seoul

Dance-punk band !!! will be playing at the newly opened MUV Hall (formerly known as Mansion) in Hongdae on Sunday, December 1.

Chk Chk Chk's Nic Offer making new friends at Pentaport.

!!!’s Nic Offer making new friends at Pentaport.

Renowned for their high-energy, party-like concerts, the American group were last in Korea in August for an appearance at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival.  It was their second time to play the event, and front man Nic Offer says the group had a blast both on and off stage.

“That was a really fun show,” says Offer.  “I especially liked jumping in the pool afterward.  I wish there was a pool to jump in after every show I play.  I also went to a bath house and jumped in a lake in Incheon.  I was wet a lot while I was in Korea.”

Chk Chk Chk Album Cover

!!! are touring in support of their fifth full-length, “Thr!!!er.”  Released in April through Warp, the album was mostly written in 2011 and the bulk of its recording was done in 2012.  According to Offer, most of the recording took place in Texas, but the group also spent time in studios in New York, London, Sacramento, and Santiago, Chile while working on the nine-track album.  All Music Guide gave “Thr!!!er” a 4.5/5 rating saying, “… it one of the best modern dance punk records to date, right up there with LCD Soundsystem’s best.”

“It’s the record I’m most proud of,” says Offer.  “Making records is fun, and I always enjoy being in the studio with the guys.  I think we learned a lot about how to write songs on (2010’s) ‘Strange Weather, Isn’t It?’ and on ‘Thr!!!er’ we got better at it.”

Those who caught the act at Pentaport in 2011 or this past summer know how much fun !!! are in concert.  Constantly on the move, Offer is like a cool-as-f#ck aerobics instructor who is determined to get every single person in attendance moving to the band’s infectious, funky tunes.  For those going to Sunday’s gig at MUV Hall, Offer has two promises for you.

“It will be the best live show you can see and I’ll be wearing shorts.”

The band plan to start writing and recording their next full-length in the new year.  With Korea getting a double dose of !!! in 2013, is there any chance we’ll see them here again in 2014?

“Sure,” says Offer. “If I have a Saturday free next year, I’ll pencil it in.”

!!! play on December 1 at MUV Hall in Hongdae.  The concert starts at 7 pm and tickets are 69,000 won in advance and 77,000 won at the door. Gogo Star and Victim Mentality will open the show.  Advanced tickets can be purchased in English here and in Korean here.

Chk Chk Chk Seoul Poster

Shake Shop Vol. 10 To Feature Hollow Jan, My Way Killing, and Mojo Project Sound System Tonight at Club Freebird

Since February, Korea Gig Guide has been co-presenting the Shake Shop concert series with Dream Dance Studio (which recently moved to a new location near Hapjeong Station).  Dream Dance Studio specializes in bellydance lessons, so the idea behind the event is to mix bellydance with local indie music.  Shake Shop Vol. 10 will take place tonight (Friday, November 29) at Club Freebird in Hongdae and will have Hollow Jan, My Way Killing, and the newly formed Mojo Project Sound System doing live collaborations with Dream Dance Studio director Eshe and her Navah troupePast versions of Shake Shop have started at 11 pm, but tonight’s gig will start at 8:30 pm.

Hollow Jan

Screamo/post-rock hybrid act Hollow Jan were one of the first Korean bands to be announced for next year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas.  They were also pegged by popular music rag Spin as one of the “See These” acts from SXSW’s initial lineup announcement.

“We couldn’t believe that we were invited to SXSW!” says bassist Jung Dong-jin.  “We want to let the world know about our music scene, and we’re grateful for any opportunity that will let us do that.”

It’s been seven years since Hollow Jan released their excellent “Rough Draft in Progress” album.  The sextet are nearly finished work on the disc’s follow up, which is titled “Days Off.”  The seven-song effort should finally surface sometime in the next few months.

Although unfamiliar with bellydancing, the group were intrigued by the idea of pairing up with Eshe and Navah and are quite curious about how things will turn out.

“This is our first time doing a performance like this, and trying new and experimental things always makes us excited,” Jung says.  “To be honest, we never thought bellydance would work well with music like ours.  But the challenge of mixing different art forms always makes for interesting results.  I think this is going to give people a different perspective on our music and their performances.”

My Way Killing Photo

My Way Killing is comprised of guitarist Gregor McGhee, bassist Nahm Sang-ah (3rd Line Butterfly), and drummer Son Kyung-ho (ex-The Moonshiners).  The band came together in early August and played their first show shortly after that.

“Sang-ah, Kyung-ho and I thought for years about making some music together, but it never went any further than drunken talks on what kind of music we would like to play,” says McGhee.  “So one morning I just woke up and said to Sang-ah, ‘Okay, enough is enough.  Let’s do this.’  I called Kyung-ho to check his schedule and then called up Strange Fruit and asked them to book a gig for us sometime in the next two weeks.”

“I always wanted to try something different from 3rd Line Butterfly,” adds Nahm.  “Funk is something I’ve never tried before.  And Gregor definitely has funk in him.  I’ve worked with Kyung-ho before and I loved playing with him.  He has a great drum tone and touch.  Also, in this band I get to play bass, which is a lot of fun!”

The trio’s noisy cuts easily fall into a number of different genres making it tough to pigeonhole their sound.  Thankfully McGhee already has an apt comparison to help describe My Way Killing to folks.

“I often say punk funk but that’s kind of a shortcut really,” he says.  “With music, I think the melody is central, and I like riffs, and something to dance to.  But our band is young, so right now we play fast and we play loud – think Sonic Youth meets Prince.”

My Way Killing plan to release some before next summer and are now thinking about  concepts and songs for the recording.  They are also talking about doing some live dates in Europe at some point during 2014.

As for right tonight’s Shake Shop concert, both McGhee and Nahm are very much looking forward to working with Eshe and the shimmying sirens in Navah.

“I’m very curious to see how the dancers will interpret the songs we do,” says Nahm.  “I believe if something has any sort of beat at all, you can dance to it.  And I also believe that different genres and art forms are meant to be mixed.”

“Any opportunity to show our music under a different light is welcome,” says McGhee.  “I’m really anticipating the show and am wondering what will happen.  I watched some of Eshe and Navah’s performances with other bands and they were great.  I’m sure those ladies can dance to anything ranging from absolute silence to white noise.”

Mojo Project Sound System

Mojo Project Sound System will make their live debut at Shake Shop Vol. 10.  The trio features guitarist Choi Hyun-seok (Apollo 18), bassist Seo Ho-sung (ex-The Plastic Day, ex- Momguamaum), and drummer Kim Yun-beom (ex-The Plastic Day, ex-Art of Parties).  All three members have been friends for a long time and have played together at different times in the past.

“We’ve all known each other since high school,” says Choi.  “We’ve worked together on different things before, so making a new band together seemed like a natural thing to do.”

Since they’ve only been playing together since early November, Mojo Sound Project System will be showcasing new material and also jamming on some tracks from The Plastic Day and Apollo 18 during their Shake Shop set.

“The idea to make Shake Shop our first show came to me while I was hanging out with Eshe one night,” says Choi.  “We’re all good friends with Eshe and have collaborated with her on different things in the past.  So I thought this would be a good way to start our new band.”

Shake Shop Vol. 10 takes place on Friday, November 29 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 Hollow Jan, My Way Killing, and Mojo Project Sound System. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for tonight’s show:

My Way Killing 8:30 – 9:15
Navah 9:15 – 9:45
Hollow Jan 9:45 – 22:30
Mojo Project Sound System 22:30 – 23:00

Shake Shop Poster

Franz Ferdinand Make Their Korean Return on November 28 at Uniqlo-AX

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

Franz Ferdinand will be making their long-awaited return to Korea this month when they play at Seoul’s Uniqlo-AX concert hall on Thursday, November 28.

Franz Ferdinand

The popular Scottish rock act first rose to prominence with their excellent 2004 eponymous debut.  The album spawned five singles and helped the band capture the 2004 Mercury Prize, and the Best Group and Best British Rock Act at the 2005 Brit Awards.  The disc was also included on Pitchfork’s “The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s” list and in The Guardian’s “1000 Albums to Hear before You Die” feature.  The quartet showcased the infectious, punchy post-punk anthems from their first album and 2005’s equally praised “You Could Have It So Much Better” when they appeared as a headliner in 2006 at Korea’s inaugural Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival.  Here’s some live footage from that gig:

This past summer, the group issued their fourth full-length, “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.”  NME gave the disc an 8/10 ranking and said the album “might be their best ever.”  November has the band playing throughout Australia and Asia in support of their latest offering, which means more than seven years after playing at Pentaport, Franz Ferdinand will finally be performing in Korea again.  Here’s “Right Action,” the lead single from “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.”

Franz Ferdinand play at Uniqlo-AX (near Gwangnaru Station) on Thursday, November 28. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets cost from 88,000 won. Advanced tickets can be purchased in English here and in Korean here.

Want to win a pair of free tickets to see Franz Ferdinand play at Uniqlo-AX?  Korea Gig Guide has five pairs of tickets to give away for the band’s November 28 concert courtesy of 9 ENT. 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 Monday, November 25 and we’ll notify winners by 2 pm that day. Good luck!

Franz Ferdinand Poster

 

2013 Korea/Japan Punk Festival at Prism Nov 16

Historically Korea and Japan have gotten along about as well as vinegar and baking soda. That can’t be said for the punk scenes of the two countries, which have been best of friends as far back as anyone can remember.
Poster for the 2013 Korea Japan Punk Festival
The longest-running bilateral punk collaboration would have to be the Korea/Japan Punk Festival, first held nine years ago on June 26, 2003 in legendary Hongdae punk club Skunk Hell, with nine of Korea’s best punk bands and seven bands from Japan. The following year, it was held in Anti-Knock in Tokyo.

Since then, it has been held almost every year, with the Korean shows moving to Club Spot after Skunk Hell’s closure. This year the festival is moving to the much larger and better-lit Prism Hall over by Hotel the Designers for its fifth time being held in Korea (ninth overall).

koreajapanoifest2004This year’s show brings a diverse selection of 17 great Korean bands, both young and old, together with five Japanese bands. One highlight should be the Discocks, a legendary Japanese band formed in 1992 that directly inspired the infamous Korean band Couch and Seoul’s pogo-punk scene of the mid-2000s. We’ll also get to see the Erections and 00squad, both who played the Japan/Korea Punk Festival last year. We’ll also get to see Osaka pogo band Beer Belly (who are promoted for this show as Bearbelly) and the Foolishness.

koreajapanpunkfest2011Some of the Korean highlights will be Korea/Japan Festival veterans Rux, Skasucks, and Daejeon’s Burning Hepburn, as well as  talented newcomers the Veggers and Dead Buttons, and new bands with veteran Korean punks 100 Blossom Club (with members of Spiky Brats, Cockrasher, Dirty Small Town, and the Patients) and Heimlich County Gun Club (featuring Paul Brickly, former guitarist of Rux and Suck Stuff).

Previously, the festival was known under the name Korea/Japan Oi! Fest, then Korea/Japan Oi/Punk Fest. The festival was first organised in Korea by Won Jonghee (lead vocalist of Rux and manager of Skunk Hell and Skunk Label) and Shin Hyeon-beom (Couch vocalist/guitarist). This year’s festival is being managed by Ryu Jin-seok (lead vocalist of Skasucks).
koreajapanpunkfest2012The Korea/Japan Punk Fests always make for great shows, as all the bands and their supporters always put on a big show for their Japanese guests, and the Japanese bands in turn always put on great performances. International friendships are made and the wheels are set in motion for future Korea/Japan punk collaborations, and you’ll never hear as much English spoken at a Korean punk show, as everyone falls to the common language for communication.

This show starts early at 2 pm because there are more than 20 bands to get to, but expect things to move fast as the bands whip through shortened versions of their sets to make time for everyone else.

Click here to  RSVP or find out how to book tickets in advance.

Rocking Out and Helping Kids at Second Saturdays

This month’s Second Saturdays show at Club Spot takes place on November 9 and will be a benefit gig for the Las Lomas Primary School in Las Lomas, Peru.

Jeff and Trash from World Domination, Inc. Photo by Ken Robinson.

Jeff and Trash from World Domination, Inc. Photo by Ken Robinson.

Organized by World Domination, Inc. (the promotion group/label run by Jeff Moses and Trash Yang Moses from the Seoul punk act … Whatever That Means), the Second Saturdays concert series originally began back in February 2011 and was held monthly until December of that year. At that time, … Whatever That Means embarked on an American tour, and afterward Jeff and Trash stayed in the US so that Jeff could get his master’s degree. The couple resumed Second Saturdays this past June.

“If there’s one thing that sets Second Saturdays apart from other shows, it’s consistency,” says Jeff. “There are a lot of good shows in Seoul these days, but it’s kind of random where and when they pop up. Second Saturdays at Club Spot is a guarantee every month. On that night, there will always be six great punk, ska, and hardcore bands all playing together, good people to hang out with, and an hour of free cocktails to really help you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth! We always do our best to mix up the lineups every month. Seeing as how the scene isn’t very huge in Korea, that’s not always easy, but we do what we can. A lot of times that includes having out-of-town Korean bands crashing at our house for the weekend, but that’s all just part of the fun.”

The funds from this weekend’s show will be used to purchase books and other educational materials for the Las Lomas Primary School. A friend of Jeff and Trash’s is currently volunteering at the school, and after they heard about the serious lack of resources available for teachers and students there they decided to do something to try and help.

“Our friend Ryan Ihm actually came to us with the idea,” says Jeff. “Our friend Caroline Pardue left Korea a few months ago after several years of teaching here. She relocated to Peru to volunteer as the Education Coordinator for the HELP English program in Las Lomas. Her school is publicly funded, which she translates to ‘no funding,’ so the teachers and students don’t have much to work with. We decided that we’d use one of these shows to raise some money to buy as many new books for the school as we could.”

The Second Saturdays benefit gig will include performances from No. 1 Korean, … Whatever That Means, Heimlich County Gun Club, My Man Mike, Dead Buttons, and a reunited Seoul City Suicides. Seoul City Suicides parted ways back in early 2012 when drummer Raymond P Fontesque moved to New Zealand. He is visiting Korea right now, so the band will be briefly playing together again.

Seoul City Suicides

Seoul City Suicides

“Second Saturdays is always a fun night , but this month you also get the satisfaction of knowing you’re not just lining the pockets of a local club or a bunch of bands,” says Jeff. “Just by coming and having a good time, you’re helping to contribute to a school that could really use some help. But if you don’t care about that, there’s also the fact that nobody knows when you’ll get to see Seoul City Suicides again. Even if it weren’t a benefit show, that’d be enough to get me out for the night!”

Saturday’s gig starts at 10 pm and will feature No. 1 Korean, … Whatever That Means, Seoul City Suicides, Heimlich County Gun Club, My Man Mike, and Dead Buttons. Tickets cost 15,000 won and there will be free cocktails available from 11:30 pm – 12:30 am. Proceeds from the show will be donated to the Las Lomas Primary School in Las Lomas, Peru. For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

Second Saturdays Poster

Juck Juck Grunzie Release Their Long-awaited Full-length Debut Sunday at Prism

Seoul’s Juck Juck Grunzie are finally issuing their debut full-length, “Psycho.” And to celebrate the occasion, they will hold a special CD release concert on Sunday, November 3 at Prism in Hongdae.

Juck Juck Group Photo

Some local acts rush to put out discs too soon after forming. Juck Juck Grunzie have done the exact opposite, waiting over six years to unveil their first long player.

“Putting out your first album quickly or putting it out slowly are both good ways of doing things,” laughs vocalist and synth player Lee Ah-reum. “The most important thing is to keep releasing music after that first album!

“It wasn’t our plan to wait so long to make this album but there have been lots of unexpected twists and turns along the way. All of them were worthwhile experiences. We’ve learned a lot from making this album.”

Although they first formed back in 2007, the quartet’s noisy brand of psychedelic rock was awarded a pair of newcomer prizes in late 2012. Juck Juck Grunzie won the “Excellence Award” for finishing second in last December’s EBS Hello Rookie finals and they were also chosen as “Rookie of the Year” by Korean indie music magazine Elephant Shoe. With the media taking greater notice of the group, new music from Juck Juck Grunzie was definitely needed in 2013.

Psycho Cover

“Psycho” was recorded this past spring and summer and is made up of songs that were written between 2010 and 2013. The album is being co-released by Seoul indie imprints Gogol Records and Loose Union. The nine-track effort includes a remix of “Meth-Odd” by Psycoban and a cover of “Too Drunk to F-ck” by legendary punk act the Dead Kennedys. A staple of their live sets for a few years now, Juck Juck Grunzie’s drawn-out take on the latter starts as a slow, trippy number before exploding into a loud bout of noise that fades into an excellent Group Sounds-inspired ending.

“We love the original and we really like the changed version of ‘Too Drunk to F-ck’ that we’ve made as well,” shares Lee. “Our fans love our cover too, so we thought why not include it on the album. Someone in Italy actually told us that they searched for ‘Too Drunk to F-ck’ on YouTube and saw a video of us playing it. He loved our performance and then found us on Facebook and became a fan of our music. I think our cover expresses Juck Juck Grunzie in a really good way.”

Wanting to try some different things on the album, “Psycho” is a more experimental affair than Juck Juck Grunzie’s concerts. With very minimal instrumentation playing softly in the background, the haunting “Ah” is nearly an a cappella number. Lee’s vocals on “Dream like a Dream” are heavily filtered and she swaps her synthesizer for an accordion on the cut.

“We really love ‘Dream like a Dream,’” says Lee. “It’s our newest song, so it feels really fresh to us. It’s about ‘comfort women.’ The issue of ‘comfort women’ is a big thing, but some people think it’s not important. We knew all about the problem but forgot about it for a while. It’s not something people should forget about. I really recommend that everyone visit The War and Women’s Human Rights Museum near Yeonnam-dong to learn more about the issue.

“I’ve played accordion for a long time, but ‘Dream like a Dream’ is the first time that we’ve incorporated the instrument into a Juck Juck Grunzie song. The accordion sounds very emotional and has a lot of feeling so that’s why wanted to use it for the song.”

Sunday night’s CD release concert will be a rare chance to hear both “Ah” and “Dream like a Dream” live. Although the band have performed “Dream like a Dream” at a few select gigs, Lee says that Sunday will be the final time they will play it.

“It’s a great song, but it’s hard to make music with an accordion and the other big noisy sounds that the rest of our band makes,” says Lee. “Our release party is the last time we’re planning to do it, so that will make the show at Prism extra special.”

The group are also looking forward to Sunday’s showcase because the wonderful woman whose experience provided the name for the title track on “Psycho,” guitarist Ham Jee-hye’s mother, will be in attendance.

“The song ‘Psycho’ was based on something that happened to Jee-hye’s mom,” says Lee. “She fainted once after breathing fumes from burning bricks of coal. She heard a weird voice saying ‘Psycho, psycho. Il uh na, il uh na (wake up, wake up).’ That strange voice helped her to wake up. We made that song after hearing her story. She’s coming to our show at Prism. We’re excited that she’s going to watch our performance!”

Juck Juck Grunzie traveled to Taiwan last April to play as part of the Spring Scream Festival.  With their new album finished, they hope to do more overseas gigging in 2014 which should make international fans of the band quite happy.  According to Lee, their plan right now is do some North American dates next summer.

Juck Juck Grunzie play on Sunday night at Prism. The show starts at 6:30 pm and Hellivision, Romantiqua, and Art of Parties will open. Tickets are 15,000 won in advance and 20,000 won at the door. For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for the concert:
6:30 – 6:50 Hellivision
7:00 – 7:20 Romantiqua
7:30 – 8:10 Art of Parties
8:10 – 9:10 Juck Juck Grunzie

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