Top Band 2 Auditions: Gogoboys, Wings of the ISang, Romantic Punch, The Electric Eels

Continuing from yesterday time has come for the eleventh post in our band introduction series where we introduce all the bands that made it through the first round of auditions for KBS band survival show Top Band 2. In addition to myself and Chris from Korean Indie we also have Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real, Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle and Ranya of K-Underground Sweden generously offering their opinions on these four bands. Give them all a listen and share your opinions in the comments!



New era rock’n’roll band Gogoboys started out under the name Scumback in 2006. The first EP was released the next year and since then another couple of EPs and a couple of singles have been released, with their first full-length album out just this week. Merging disco and rock of the 70’s and 80’s, Gogoboys pride themselves with performing romantic melodies using analog sounds.

Gogoboys – “비가 내리네”

Lightinthemind: Somehow I hadn’t listen to Go Go Boys yet. I even can’t find any explanation for this, since they do that light and enjoyful 70’s rock for the heart. There are really few bands in Korea who do so, for example also Moonshiners. I really like the mood they are bringing out.

Chris: I love me some Gogo Boys.  Their surf-rock, garage rock style is a huge rush of an old style played with new energy.  Their album is one of my favorites so far for 2012 and I hope they can go far in the competition.  The video shows off they have the musical talent, it’s just their stage presence I’m wondering about.

Dahee: I discovered them about a month ago, which is pretty late. But I’m a complete sucker for this kind of old school feel, and I think they would be so much fun to see live. Indeed, I watched this performance where the entire audience was dancing like crazy, and it made me wonder why I haven’t packed my bags and headed off to Seoul right this minute. They’re fun and quirky and energetic, and I have a feeling they’re going to be an audience favourite on Top Band.

Ranya: They really remind me of the Moonshiners! Except they lean to the more infectious and dance-worthy type of surfer rock. I love them already, and can see myself listening to them frequently from now on. They make me want to put on my prettiest frock and go dancing with a fruity drink in my hand!

Anna: I’ve never been particularly fond of this kind of retro rock revival, whether The Moonshiners or Gogoboys. They came on my radar about the same time as GoGo Star that also have the retro thing going but with far more emphasis on the disco than Gogoboys. For some reason when bands are named too similarly I usually find myself only accepting one, and in this case GoGo Star was the one to win me over. As amusing as Gogoboys can be they’re just not bringing it often enough for me.


Wings of the ISang

In 2006 project duo Detuned Radio formed, but by the end of 2010 Detuned Radio reorganized and turned into the band Wings of the ISang. They’ve taken the name from legendary poet Yi Sang and his famous short story The Wings, and their so far only EP 상실의 시대 released a year ago is named after a Yi Sang poem.

Wings of the Isang – “망각”

Anna: I’ll have to confess I’m not really much for poetry, which may also explain why I’m perfectly fine with not understanding a thing of the lyrics of the music I listen to. I’m usually far more interested in the feelings evoked by music itself than whatever the words are supposed to contribute. Even so I like the concept Wings of the ISang have, at least on the surface, and they’re good enough to make me wish my grasp of Korean was at a much more refined level than is currently the case.

Lightinthemind: Not bad, not bad. Deep voice, strong bass, piano with guitar solo are all making good company. You can find almost all songs on their Youtube channel. Specifically I liked “Memento (메멘토)“ which has a dark mood and is perfect for being alone walking somewhere in the streets or forest, it is totally drifting you away like an autumn leaf on the slow water. Will keep my eye on this band.

Chris: This sounds a lot like British alternative emo rock.  They have the talent for playing, but the beat is too swaying for me.  It’s like sitting on a boat on a lake and feeling the waves chop back and forth.  I think if they have more power in their performance, they could do decently well.

Dahee: Haha, you’re all being so poetic in your descriptions! But I like poetry, so it’s okay. ;) Anyway, I think they have an interesting concept, but they’re just “okay” for me so far. They do have something going for them, though, and I think they have a lot of potential to improve and produce interesting music. (“Memento” is the most intriguing song of theirs I’ve heard so far.) I’ll also be keeping my eye on them.

Ranya: I feel Dahee there. Everyone is explaining their feelings so prettily with leaves on the wind and boats on lakes, meanwhile I’m just sitting here shrugging my shoulders and going “mjao”. The vocalist has a nice voice and the overall sound is nice, but it can use some work. I specifically noticed this at the slower piano part, which had so much potential to be really pretty, but instead fell flat for me.


Romantic Punch

‘Cool, bling bling romantic multi-rock’n’roll band’ Romantic Punch formed already in 2002 and released two EPs under the name Wadish. However, it was not until 2009 when they took on the new moniker that they really started to make a name for themselves. Since then they’ve played a number of festivals all over Korea while also getting picked for Hello Rookie in 2010. Romantic Punch released their first full-length album in 2010 and were awarded Best Artist at Olleh Music’s Indie Awards in September 2011 for their latest EP, It’s Yummy. When the audition song was released on album rock veteran Kim Bada was featured on the track.

Romantic Punch – “Right Now”

Anna: I have a feeling I should like Romantic Punch more, but though I can’t pinpoint what exactly there’s just something about them that doesn’t really go well over with me. I’ve seen videos on YouTube where they rock out a bit more and I like that, but then they have this other side… Hopefully I’ll come to appreciate them the way I suspect I could if I get to see more of them on Top Band.

Lightinthemind: Those guys :) I always remember my feelings while seeing them live. So much energy and fun from performing on the stage. What surprised me the most is that they are much better live than on record, I think they put more hard sound and joy into live performancea . And of course screaming girls waiting for the vocalist and guitar player after the show to sign something for them. They have been active since 2002 if not earlier but have released only one full album. And even for the audition they chose “Right Now” which already became a sort of trademark of the band. Not quite sure if participation will help them or not, but definitely they should have the possibility to write and record new songs.

Anna: After seeing Lightinthemind’s comment I realized we actually saw this band together–so much for the memorability of Romantic Punch! Or I was just too overwhelmed by other bands later that night, something I (unfortunately) have reason to come back to later on in this commentary series…

Chris: Pass, can’t speak anything positive.

Dahee: I’ve never liked Romantic Punch, and I doubt I ever will. I don’t even have a concrete reason for my dislike – it’s not that they bore me, exactly, but they’re not interesting, either, and nothing about them seems particularly outstanding to me. I just don’t like them. Period.

Ranya: This song sounds like it could make quite the catchy commercial jingle. I feel like the vocalist seems to have a slight rocker’s identity crisis with the dressing like Prince, having Steven Tyler’s microphone stand and dancing like Axl Rose


The Electric Eels

Indie rock band The Electric Eels have been around since 2009, often playing in Hongdae. They released their first EP before the summer of 2011 and followed up with a second EP last month.

The Electric Eels – “송곳니”

Anna: There’s nothing not to like about The Electric Eels. Their music may not be terribly engaging, but it’s perfectly agreeable and after being reminded of them again last month I’ve been listening to them on YouTube every now and then. I imagine them playing on a semi-outdoor stage somewhere in Stockholm this summer while I’m drinking beer with good people, enjoying one of those fantastic Swedish summer nights. As unremarkable as The Electric Eels may seem at first, that setting would make them one of the best bands ever.

Lightinthemind: Some resources are naming them Electric Eel, but they are calling themselves The Electric Eels. They seem to be so young, as if just a senior year’s college students. But already they have two EPs. And though they are not doing original music at all (at least you can name 10+ bands who are doing the same if not more) I have a sort of addiction to this band, since they were the first with whom I got into contact in early 2010 when I just started exploring unknown Korean indie bands. I can’t tell you whether they could survive among other outstanding bands who already have some renovations in sound, but my heart want them to get as much as they deserve in live.

Chris: I think I’ve heard The Electric Eels before.  Or at least this song.  It’s true they don’t play anything overly original, but they are performing their own version of the indie rock which I can appreciate.  They do have that “new” band tone, but they play well together.  I hope they do well because it would be a great experience for them to grow.  And I like when girls play instruments.

Dahee: Yes, they’re not original, but there’s something strangely endearing about them. Their music is catchy and easy to listen to, and I think they have potential. Will they become the winners in this competition? No. But I think through this show they’ll improve and hopefully gain new fans. More power to ‘em.

Ranya: They have this charming indie pop/rock quality about them where I could see myself being totally besotted with them if I was some innocent schoolgirl in knee-socks, catching one of their live shows on some early summer night and skipping home after with one of their EP’s hiding in my canvas tote bag (will you look at that, I got slightly poetic!). Bringing out girls inner teenagers might be a really good thing they have going there, I am enjoying it.

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