Top Band 2 Auditions: Fantastic Drug Store, No.1 Korean, Met, Sumiara & Phonestuber

We’re at post 20 in our series looking into the bands that made it through the first round of auditions for KBS band survival show Top Band 2. Sharing their opinions on the band together with me this time are Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle and Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real, but of course we’re also really interested in learning what you think so please make good use of the comment section!


 

Fantastic Drug Store

Garage rock band Fantastic Drug Store formed in the beginning of 2011. They won the title Next Indie Star at the September edition of Gap Born To Rock but have yet to release any music.

Fantastic Drug Store – “Bad Girl”

Anna: This is my first time listening to Fantastic Drug Store, but though I wouldn’t claim the audition song to be fantastic there’s something about them I really like. That bass line perhaps? Looking them up on YouTube I find even more material to my liking. They remind me a lot of several bands that I’m a fan of while putting it all together into a sound of their own. These guys are great! I definitely want to both hear and see more of them. Will have to try to catch them live next time I make my way to Korea.

Dahee: They seem to have tons of potential, and while I think they’re still a little raw, they could definitely go places. It took a couple of listens for me to get into “Ahjusshi,” but “Bad Girl” caught me right away, and “Ordinary Day” is soft and pleasant. Yay for a guitarist whose hair is like a waterfall of glory that makes him look vaguely like Cousin Itt. This is a compliment, by the way.

Lightinthemind: Oh, why I haven’t heard them before? Need to dig up their other performances. Agree with others that the band really has potential but that is exactly that time when they need good coach to polish skills.

 

No.1 Korean

‘Exciting rock’n roll ska punk band’ No.1 Korean have been around since 2004. They’ve been gigging extensively since, also heading to both Japan and China to play their music. No.1 Korean’s third full-length album was released a year ago. The band’s vocalist is Kwon Milk who since a couple of years ago has The Greatest Voyageon the side.


No.1 Korean – “로사”

Anna: I’m usually not into extensive use of brass instruments, but there’s something about No.1 Korean that’s made me like them regardless. They’re fun and energetic with catchy songs. I’ve only seen them play at the Hongdae Playground, but they had gathered a decent enough audience then and I suspect they could get might popular with both audience and judges on Top Band.

Lightinthemind: I adore No.1 Korean! Kwon Milk was the first musician to whom I was introduced (thank you Rose). And I saw him performing live that day. I should admit that I’m getting too excited when I hear his deep voice rubbing my heart. But still there is a difference between recording and live. No sound and mastering can transmit all energy pouring like water from the stage when No.1 Korean are standing there. Another thing totally driving me crazy is that after standing on the club scene, I saw them a week later performing comfortably at the Hongdae playground (actually I was there with Anna). I heard that this is not a rare thing for Korean musicians but it was undeniably surprising.

Dahee: Hehe, they’re cute. And I have a nagging feeling that I’ve seen them somewhere before, but for the life of me I can’t remember where. While I’m not normally into this kind of sound, and I can’t see myself buying their albums or anything, their laidback yet energetic presence is totally winning me over. They could bring some really fun covers to the show.

 

Met

Met started out as a sole singer-songwriter, releasing his first single in 2009 and another couple after that. With most lyrics in English, in February came EP Have We Met? which included his first published song in Korean. At the time Met was still considered a one man band, but as of some time 2012 Met appear to have turned into a proper band.

Met – “Trolley”

Anna: I like Met. I’m fairly sure I encountered his name already a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t till the music video for “Do You Know” came out that I really listened to him. His English may not be perfect, but in Korea that doesn’t matter much. Unfortunately Met’s music may be a bit too soft compared to the rest of the bands on Top Band. And even though I find the occasional insecure feeling in the songs charming, I think he/they need to step it up a notch not to risk coming out completely as amateurs.

Dahee: Interesting that he’s become a band. His use of English seems like a bit of a gimmick, but his sound is pleasant and softly emotional enough that I forgive him for it. I like them too, and think his voice has a strange charm to it, even if it’s not the most powerful one out there. I hope they last just for the sake of a little diversity on the show, but I’m not feeling too optimistic about their chances at the moment. Random thought: I wonder what he looks like without his glasses? They seem to be an essential part of his face/image…

Lightinthemind: I first heard Met when EP Have We Met? was released. Wasn’t much surprised with the music as for using English. It is really giving a sort of delicate spice to the soft consistency. Don’t know about the lasting on the show but as for other scene life I can see how he (band) gets attention of the audience and frequent visitors of Hongdae clubs.

 

Sumiara & Phonestuber 

Sumiara & Phonestuber signed their first record deal in March 2011 and released their first full-length album half a year later. Being unique and all sorts of fun is what the five members of Sumiara & Phonestuber are all about.

Sumiara & Phonestuber – “베이비찰리”

Anna: This is strange. I was gonna add some Sumiara & Phonestuber links that I’ve used before, but they’re all dead! Did they have a bad fall out with Pastel? My first encounter with Sumiara & Phonestuber was the weird Pastel Music box music video for “쟤 뭐니” that has since disappeared from YouTube. I didn’t like the song much, but they were highly amusing to watch nonetheless. Their “Baby Charlie” music video too was quirky, but again I didn’t care much for the song. I still find their music annoying, but if we do get to see them on Top Band I expect eccentric performances to make up for that.

Lightinthemind: It was the same time I heard about them. Never was fond of the music but was caught by the artsy ideas put into performances and videos. Laughed at “Baby Charlie” while watching the video several times. But easily forgot about the band afterwards. If they could continue what they are doing they could come closer to Super Kidd.

Dahee: Since Daum doesn’t seem to want to cooperate with me right now, I listened to “Dancing Toward the Sea” first, and found it nice and soothing, if a little too sleepy. And then I watched this video, and was like, “Is this really the same band? And is he wearing a friggin’ jester’s hat?”. The music itself I find to be a little insufferable, but they’re undeniably quirky and have stage presence. We’ll see if they last or not.

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