We’re at post sixteen introducing the bands that made it through the first round of auditions for KBS band survival show Top Band 2. The full panel is back together, meaning I’m joined by Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real, Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle, Xtian aka drowningn00b and Ranya of K-Underground Sweden as we all share our opinions on this batch. One of the bands turned out to be an old favorite of most of us. How about you?
Modern rock band Wise Apple formed in 2010, but have yet to make much noise. Their first EP will be released in May.
Wise Apple – “나를 봐”
Anna: I like what I’m hearing from the audition video and what little extra I could find on YouTube, but with the competition they’re facing I wonder if it’s really enough. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more of them though.
Lightinthemind: Agree with Anna totally. They really could be popular, in terms of ‘indie’ of course. At first I thought the audition song was ok. But later I was surprised to find out that the audition song doesn’t show enough of the possibility of the vocalist’s voice and the band overall cause bumped into this perfect ballad. I can sit and weave in time with this music for ages.
Dahee: Their name makes me conjure up a mental image of an apple with a Confucius beard. Which may or may not be a good thing, considering how much Confucius annoys me. ANYWAY. I like what I’m hearing too, but I doubt that they have the (sadly) necessary pizzazz to get very far in the competition. I for one will continue to keep an eye on them, though. And not just because I’m hungry. (…Sorry.)
Xtian: The keyboard is very Maroon 5. Liked that guitar solo. I hope they go far because I’m digging these kids, especially the dorky look of the frontman. But I agree with Dahee. Wise Apple lacks that wow factor. Hope they find it.
Ranya: Yes, very Maroon 5. I’m really liking them! They’re very easy, breezy California-ish type of rock that just might go home with the little less hardcore fans of the show. The singer’s voice could be improved just a little, and there were times when the song would sound slightly disjointed, but hopefully they’ll work on that given the chance!
Wiretap In My Ear, or Prana as they were called briefly some years ago, formed in 1996 but did not release their first album until 2001 after a change of vocalists. They’ve released four full-length albums total, the latest in 2010, and became Artist of the Month in Olleh Music’s Indie Awards November last year.
Wiretap In My Ear – “골방”
Anna: Out of all the established bands I did not want to see auditioning for Top Band, Wiretap In My Ear hurt the most. Wiretap in My Ear was a fairly early encounter in the world of Korean indie music for me and I considered myself a fan until their third album, when my taste in music had already changed. During my latest trip to Korea I ended up seeing them playing live, surprising myself as I turned into a fangirl in the process. Encouraged by Lightinthemind who was there to witness it all I even took a photo with Lee Hyuk, that I got all giggly about seeing first time the other week. I’ve realized that there’s still a fan of Wiretap In My Ear in me. I don’t like that they auditioned for Top Band and I don’t like the audition performance, but I would love to see them on the show. As far as the audience is concerned I’m sure they will be loved also by others. The amount of Korean girls waiting around for Wiretap In My Ear after that show, even though the venue was small, was an amount of excited fans I’d never before seen after a show in Hongdae.
Lightinthemind: Just proving everything said above^^ I was there taking photos of Anna and trying not to be smashed by other girls. I even had a chance to take a photo with myself and melted after somewhere cause I lost any memory of what I did after that happiest moment. As for my love to Wiretap in My Ear (or Prana) it began as soon as I started digging for rock bands. They were on the one line for me with Eve and Nemesis. And if I’m not listening to them now it’s only because I don’t have enough time to discover new bands and also keep track of older ones. I really was afraid of the moment when we needed to cover this band and am still biting my tongue (or fingers) not to type “Oh.My.F.God! What are you doing?” Oops, typed it. Sorry. Just a word: I will stay their fan just for who they are. And support them.
Dahee: Count me in as another fan, although not at the same level, it seems. This is just a tragedy. Sure, they’ll gain new fans and get a boost in popularity and probably do well on this show, but it’s a tragedy nevertheless. I think I’ll have to watch their performances through my fingers. If they get eliminated…Well. Let’s not think about that.
Xtian: Yes! Androgyny all the way, baby! I know it’s a gimmick every time it’s done, but I love it all the same. Romantic Punch, Curopa, Heechul, Jo Kwon, the list goes on. But anyway… So moody for a band so flashy. That growl in his voice is working on me, and the contrast with his falsetto is helping that along. I’ve always liked this style of moody ballad, so it’s not fair for me to evaluate them on this song alone. But some of their other stuff is good, too. The first song on this music special has an awesome bass line. And the metal and strings combo in “실험“, is heaven to my ears. Please, more!
Ranya: I have never actually listened to Wiretap In My Ear (what does that even mean?) so I guess I’m lucky to not go through all the conflicting emotions seen above? I really dig the singer, their sounds makes me think of a mix between Muse and J-Rock and I guess their look an fanbase is going to help them out a lot.
Rock band On The Spot formed in the beginning of 2011, but have already released five digital singles, the latest two in February. The singles have all had just one song each and the audition song has not yet been released. On The Spot auditioned for the first season of Top Band but only made it till the second round then.
On The Spot – “Amateur Batman”
Anna: Playing the audition video while reading up on them, I realized I had On The Spot confused with some other band. It was a negative surprise, and while I could find a few good songs on YouTube (their latest single in particular) I have yet to hear any song of theirs as good as what I had expected. Maybe they’re not all that bad, but there are plenty other bands I’d rather see go further in this season.
Lightinthemind: No, I can’t like this. Feel confused with the addition of samulnori or pianica or anything particular else to a strong guitar solo and pop-ish melody.
Dahee: Another band hoping they’ll do better in the second season? Eh. As soon as the audition video started playing my face twisted into what I’m sure was a rather unattractive expression. They are definitely not for me, and have me confused as to what they’re trying to do. It all just sounds rather weird and disjointed. Like they added those outside elements to stand out, but just ended up sounding messy. Even after watching the link that Anna posted, I remain unconvinced. I’m not expecting much from them.
Xtian: I think I’ll pass on these dudes. Nothing is grabbing my attention. That lid banging is possibly the only thing.
Ranya: My computer screen kinda went blank for a moment so all I could do was hear them, and my first thought was “Dear God what is this?”. That’s not a good thing.
With the bassist and guitarist in their early 20s, hard rock band Band EZ was formed as recently as February 2012. The vocalist has been around for longer, singing for Zihard a couple of years ago, whereas the band’s drummer used to play with uPer. The band have yet to release anything, but are auditioning with their own song.
Band EZ – “Hey! You!”
Anna: I can’t say why for sure, but I’m not usually fond of bands that have taken the name of the leader and/or uses ‘band’ in the name. Band EZ have done both, add to that that I like my hard rock to be from the time when hard rock was still good and here’s a new band I can use as an example of why a name of this kind can be taken as a hint to stay away.
Lightinthemind: Just as amateur as it should be stepping into the contest. But ‘oops’ suddenly meeting established bands these guys have nothing against them. Ok, maybe the voice. But not the arrangement of this voice. They should do something with this, cause the only one gem I see here is vocals. Everything else: melody, proficiency and courage are somewhere else.
Dahee: I totally had them confused with EZ Hyoung for a second and was all confused, so I was kinda relieved when I realized that it was a newbie band. And then I watched their audition video and felt nothing but disappointment. Sure, the singer’s good, but I can’t see them making it past the second audition.
Xtian: Dammit! Why in heaven’s name is that frontman so high pitched? The bass got me until that preteen opened his mouth. (I know he’s an adult, but still.) And his screaming isn’t any better! He’s a bad cross between YB and Kim Kyung Ho. So disappointed. And that guitar solo is so good! But I can’t get behind that voice. Sigh, what a shame.