It’s time for post no. 10 in our Top Band 2 band introduction series, getting into each and every one of the bands that made it through the first round of auditions for KBS band survival show. In addition to myself and Chris from Korean Indie we also have Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real and Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle share their opinion on this batch of bands. We disagree a bit on some of these bands, so we’re very interested in learning what you think! And what is your opinion on “Smoke On The Water” covers? Share your view in the comments!
Named after Ella Fitzgerald’s “Misty”, modern rock band Loose Misty formed in 2008. The four members have since released two digital singles, the first in 2010 and the second as recently as March this year.
Loose Misty – “너에게로”
Lightinthemind: I think they could be a really good modern rock successor of more established bands. What I always liked in their music is a good catchy melody which is easy to follow with addition of bass and drums which make this rather decent song. Just I think they need to work a bit with their stage image, not to be seen as amateurs, it doesn’t suit the music. Want to listen to their first single to find out more.
Chris: It’s strange because after listening to this song, I can’t help but be reminded of Japanese rock bands like Asian Kung-Fu Generation and Straightener. Loose Misty have a very similar style in how they present the music, especially in the chorus. I do find the song fun to listen to and I’m interested to see how far they can go.
Dahee: Oh, Asian Kung-Fu Generation is a good comparison. I’m reminded of them, too, at least in this song specifically. But they also generally remind me of every Korean modern rock band ever, which might not be such a good thing. I kind of like them, but they don’t seem to be very unique.
Anna. I had failed to notice the release of their new single, but do like Loose Misty from before and am fairly certain I’ve been digging their audition song too. Listening to them again I can’t find anything to dislike, but Dahee is definitely right they’re not all that unique. They could probably stand to gain quite a few fans from Top Band, but as much as I appreciate their music when I listen to it there’s not much to say I’ll go back to them specifically next time I’m in the mood for something of this kind.
Bang Bang Tree
Taking the Korean name for holly, rock band Bang Bang Tree formed at the very start of 2011. They have yet to release any music and didn’t list any achievements on their application, but claim to create music together with the audience in an indie laboratory.
Bang Bang Tree – “Smoke On The Water”
Lightinthemind: I wasn’t expecting much from the cover of “Smoke on the Water”, honestly who yet hasn’t tried to sing this song? My expectations became true, but I decided to search for something else performed by the band. Somehow they have their own songs and even MV for “탈진”. And with this song it occurred to me that the vocalist has that baritone which I like with a feeling of damaged cords giving roughness to the melody. And I also liked “기억뿐”. Can’t say that their attempts are original in rock sound, but at least they have something to stand on the stage with other bands.
Anna: This is so not for me. While I can accept the greatness of “Smoke On The Water” in original, I simply cannot stand bands that cover it. I’m sorry Bang Bang Tree. Your own songs aren’t half-bad and maybe with time I’ll come to like you, but while I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn another plant name in Korean I need to hear much more awesomeness from you to counter the cover with which you chose to first present yourself to me.
Chris: There are music rules. You never play “Smoke on the Water” in a music shop on guitar. Second, you never play “Smoke on the Water” unless you’re at a party and everyone is insanely drunk. Third, you just never play “Smoke on the Water.”
Dahee: Seriously, bad song choice for their audition video. It’s a shame, because I don’t think they’re actually a terrible band or anything. They just made a terrible mistake in song selection. That being said, I wasn’t overly impressed with their original efforts, either. Maybe they should come back after a little more experience.
Crimson Butterfly Ensemble
Merging post-grunge and nu-metal Crimson Butterfly Ensemble formed in 2005. With an oftentimes growling female vocalist the band aim to express beautiful sensibilities. In 2010 Crimson Butterfly Ensemble decided to step up their game and released their first EP 나비서곡. The next year they ended up one of the top three Korean competitors in Yamaha’s Asian Beat Festival, placing right after fellow Top Band 2 competitors Quartz.
Crimson Butterfly Ensemble – “가면”
Lightinthemind: Why? Why I haven’t listen to them earlier? Oh my god! Just first growling and I had an eargasmus… I like girls doing this sort of thing. And besides screaming and growling to be able to change at one breath to pure vocals. That is amazing to my mind. Btw, it is not only rough nu-metal but it also has melody and everything to blow you away. From now on I’m depressed cause can’t find the single and just found only one song within compilation Asian Beat 2011, the song they sent to audition. Also there is live performances at Shindulchan channel, for example for “날갯짓” which is blowing me away. Previously I knew only one girl band performing almost in the same field but more in a gothic mood – Mad Fret, that’s why I’m so excited. A sort of young Guano Apes or Eths (French band with amazing girl on vocals) if you want. If I ever had a chance to see them live you can expect me jumping all around like crazy, I promise.
Chris: I have to disagree because I grew out of nu-mental and aggro-rock when I graduated high school. I think her vocals are great, but I think the music is way too derivative.
Dahee: Oh wow, that vocalist is HOT. Her growls set my heart aflutter. I don’t think I can say that I’m head over heels in love with this band, but I’m liking what I’m hearing so far, and definitely want to headbang along with them.
Anna: This is awesome! I’m pretty sure I’ve heard their name before, but I do not understand how I could not remember their music. As long as it’s heavy and melodic it doesn’t really matter that I should’ve outgrown it years ago. I’ve repeated this live performance sample clip more times than I can count already. Not many bands in Korea make this kind of music so while they may not be all that unique from an international perspective they certainly have a place on their local scene.
Starting out as a visual kei influenced rock band in 2000, Nemesis was one of the most popular bands on demo site millim.com before their official debut with first album La Rose de Versailles in 2005. Since then Nemesis have participated on a few soundtracks and released two full-length albums more, the latest of which got them the Best Artist award in the October 2011 edition of Olleh Music’s Indie Awards. Leader and keyboardist/guitarist of the band is Ha Sebin who has also been playing with EVE since their sixth album.
Nemesis – “베르사이유의 장미”
Lightinthemind: Ok, just an introduction to my love for them. I adore them since the time I started discovering Korean rock bands. They were one of those who made me be assured that this genre exists in Korea. I can listen to them again and again. They don’t do a sort of rough rock but more melodic with piano with an amazing soft voice. When first I heard them I thought they better suit Japanese visual rock. Anyway for me it is a surprise to see them at this competition, they have a strong fanbase, they are a sort of idol band for young ladies (even in Russia). And suddenly here… And with old song from the first album, which is undoubtedly great. But I am expecting something new! So please, could you focus not on PR things, but on music, mm? Or maybe this is because their album of 2011 wasn’t so popular like previous ones?
Anna: I know Nemesis have been around for long, but I had failed to grasp just how long it’d been. Now I’m feeling old, again. EVE is part of the story of how I got hooked on Korean indie music and my curiosity of all the members past and new is what first led me to millim for which I still feel indebted to Nemesis. But in my mind they’re really too big to audition for Top Band. As much as I’ve liked them in the past they’ve got no business competing against all of these young and up and coming bands. Interesting though that they’d chose to audition with a decade old song rather than one of their more recent compositions.
Chris: I try not to “hate” music, but I really dislike the obvious Japanese visual kei style and copying of their king Gackt in Nemesis. Though I can appreciate Gackt, I cannot appreciate anything Nemesis has released. Of all the things a Korean band was “influenced” by from Japan, it had to be this annoying genre. Why not just release a vocaloid album?
Dahee: I’ve always listened to bits and pieces of Nemesis and been meaning to check them out in earnest for years now, but somehow it just never happened. This is strange, since I actually like visual kei. But listening to them now, I can definitely see where Chris is coming from, and I can’t say I was overly impressed with their audition song. I did like other songs of theirs I listened to better, though, and think they might bring interesting things to this competition – even if I am also very annoyed that they decided to participate at all. But if I start ranting about that again I’ll never stop, so I’m just going to shut up and try to relax the tic in my eye.