Honoring Indieful ROK’s original intent of being a manual aggregator of sorts, I’ve had a look at what some Korean music blogs around have listed as the best releases of 2015 and made a summary. The blogs in question are Weiv, IZM, Music Y, and DiffSound. And to get some more input I also weighed in the list devised by 16 alleged experts over at Pikicast. The top 5 albums are listed below, all named by at least 4/5 sources.
Kim Sawol – 수잔 (Suzanne)
Kim Sawol became a name to reckon with already in 2014 when she released the stunning EP 비밀 (Secret) together with Kim Haewon. The EP earned the duo not just critical acclaim but also the Rookie of the Year award and Best Folk Album at the 12th Korean Music Awards. Come October 2015 Kim Sawol released her first solo album, 수잔 (Suzanne). All songs have been written by Kim Sawol herself and the album has been co-produced with Kim Haewon, resulting in a familiar style of compelling folk music made all the more enthralling by Kim Sawol’s sensual vocals. To lend further weight to the album, jazz saxophonist Kim Oki, Windy City bassist Noh Seon Teck, Filomela flutist Lee Kihyun, and Salon d’O violinist Jang Soo Hyun and cellist Ji Park all contribute their talents to the various arrangements.
Gongjoong Doduk – 공중도덕
Gongjoong Doduk‘s self-titled debut effort was released on Foundation Records in February 2015. Self-described as “a handful of songs written with an acoustic guitar and sent through a cheap tape with the aid of an old friend and a friend of a friend” the captivating result is reminiscent of 00’s folktronica.
E Sens – The Anecdote
Rapper E Sens has been the center of controversy a number of times over the last few years. In August 2015 he became known as the first rapper to put out an album while in jail with the release of his first solo full-length album The Anecdote. With ‘honest, often bitter autobiographical lyrics‘ 7 out of the 10 tracks have been slapped with a 19+ rating.
Black Medicine – Irreversible
With roots in some of Korea’s first generation death metal bands, Black Medicine formed in 2005. Guitarist Lee Myung He started out in Scondrel all the way back in 1991 and have since also played with Sadhu. Vocalist Kim Chang Yu held the same position in Seed during the later half of the 90’s. Claiming to be Korea’s first doom/stoner/sludge metal band since formation, it took a full decade before first full-length album Irreversible was released end of July 2015.
Trampauline – Marginal
Synthpop act Trampauline has been loved by fans and critics alike since the release of the self-titled debut album in 2008. 3rd full-length album Marginal was released in October with none other than DJ Soulscape as the producer. The result is described a blend of pop, disco, synth-electronica and funk in addition to Trampauline’s own style.
While not as popular as the albums listed above, the following 2015 releases came highly recommended by 3/5 sources:
- f(x) – 4 Walls
- Life & Time – Land
- Method – Abstract
- The Monotones – Into the Light
Listed as the best albums of 2015 by 2/5 sources:
- 3 Little Wacks
- Bye Bye Badman – Authentic
- Deepflow – 양화
- hyukoh – 22
- Yi Sung Yol – SYX