Top Band 2 Auditions: Javo Island, Sad Legend, Stone Project, Daybreak

Continuing from yesterday we’re at post 14 introducing the bands that made it through the first round of auditions for KBS band survival show Top Band 2. Offering their opinions on this batch of bands together with me are Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle, Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real  and Ranya of K-Underground Sweden. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!


Javo Island

Calling themselves leaders of the indie pop scene, Javo Island with their funk infused pop/rock music have been around since 2004. They released their first single in 2005 and put out a couple of more before releasing their first full-length album in 2010 as a duo unit. Since then they’ve turned into a full band again and for the audition they’re performing a song from the self-titled debut effort.

Javo Island – “Rodeo Night”

Anna: It’s this whole funk thing. It’s really not for me. I’ve been tricked to listen to Javo Island a number of times, lately mostly because their label keeps sharing YouTube links on Twitter and I feel like I have to check them out every time just in case there’s something new hiding behind it. Because of the repeated exposure I’ve sort of come to appreciate them in a Ynot? kind of way, mostly because of “뜨겁게 하라”. I recognize that Javo Island have the potential to do well on the show, one of those bands that should be very embarrassed to be eliminated in favor of a rookie band, but they will likely not be one of my favorites.

Dahee: Was this one of the songs you were tricked into listening to? Tee hee. They seem to have a nice energy onstage, but sadly, that’s where it kind of ends for me. I certainly don’t mind listening to them, and they’re fun enough, but they don’t seem to be one of those bands I would actively follow or listen to of my own accord. Let’s hope I don’t get tricked into anything myself…

Lightinthemind: I find this band more suitable for attending their live performance than for listening to in recording. I can even imagine what they would create out of any tasks at the show – just adding the rhythm they’re used to and the melody they are used to. Nothing to expect.

Ranya: If they’re calling themselves the leaders of the indie pop scene, why the hell did they decide to audition for this? I really hope Top Band doesn’t turn into some Dancing with the stars-type of variety where the half forgotten come to get a bit of publicity boost. Now that I’ve finally said that, I need to go grit my teeth and try to put it aside for the other bands that make me feel this way.


Sad Legend

Melodic death metal band Sad Legend were one of the forerunners of death metal in South Korea having formed already in 1997. The first full-length album was released in 1998, but the second album did not come out until 2009.

Sad Legend – “도끼”

Anna: Out of all the unlikely Top Band aspirants this year, the one that surprised me the most was definitely Sad Legend. They served as my introduction to Korean death metal many years ago and though I can’t claim to have become a fan then I returned to them every now and then and my appreciation for their music grew. Having been around for so long, being recognized far outside of Korea, I don’t think they have any business to audition for Top Band. I suspect most of the audience will not be open to Sad Legend’s brand of music anyway, but more than anything I’m curious to see how the judges will react to them.

Dahee: This is certainly a “sad” turn of events for a supposed “legend,” all right. Or maybe their stint on this show will end up being a “sad legend.” (Okay, I really need to stop making these corny jokes. Someone gag me.) I find it kind of hilarious that they actually debuted just three years after one of the judges, Kim Kyung Ho, released his first album. I really look forward to seeing the moment when they meet and Kim Kyung Ho has to critique them. Har har. Maybe they’re looking to secure a more mainstream fanbase through this show, but sadly, I don’t think they’ll find much success in that regard. ‘Tis a shame, because I like what I’m hearing. Oh well.

Lightinthemind: My biggest hope is that in some time we could see Sad Legend judging another show for metal bands. I bet it would be the next step in promoting the sort of music that is not pinked all over and polished with smiles and pretty looks, but for true metal-heads. Then I would grab my leather clothes and ‘new rock’ boots and fly immediately to Korea. I just can’t understand how Sad Legend could compete with… for example Monni? Who will win in the round? How could they put bands so different in the line ? For sure this is the craziest competition.

Ranya: I am the worst when it comes to judging metal, I don’t really listen to it, so I can never tell if something is good metal or bad metal. Pass.


Stone Project

New wave modern rock band Stone Project formed as recently as this February, but among the five members are three musicians that have been active in other bands for much longer. Guitarist JJ used to play guitar in airbag, vocalist Lee Jae Suk used to sing for Goldrush and bassist Choi Su Won used to play bass in Acoustic Perfume and also replaced JJ as bassist of The Glam many years ago. Though the band is fresh the song is their own.

Stone Project – “Spiral”

Anna: I had never heard of Stone Project before, but I was very excited to learn that one of the airbag members was involved. Unfortunately the vocals can barely be heard in the audition video, but I did find another performance of the same song where the sound was a bit more balanced. Unfortunately I’m not sold on Stone Project from just this one song, but considering how much I’ve enjoyed airbag doing covers under JJ’s production in the past I’d love to hear what his new band can accomplish.

Dahee: Wow, very new band indeed. I’m not completely sold yet either, but I like the kind of sound they’re going for, and think they have potential. It’ll be interesting to see how they do on the show – I’m hoping they’ll wow us with a kickass cover of a kickass song.

Lightinthemind: Though I feel pop-ish notes I like the song and the guy singing. They are adding guitar solos to the performances and go that way that I like. So maybe I’m not sold but I’m alarmed to wait for a decent contribution to the show.

Ranya: Even when  managed to find a video where I could properly hear the singer, I wasn’t so fond of his voice. Their sound has potential and a lot of room for improvement and I would like to see how they work a stage before casting judgment.



With their base in pop, Daybreak likes to spice up their sound by incorporating a bit of rock, jazz and latin music. They formed in 2007 and released their debut album the same year. Daybreak took part in Hello Rookie 2009 after which they got signed to Happy Robot. Daybreak released their third full-length album earlier this week.

Daybreak – “Rock & Roll Mania”

Anna: Daybreak is one of those bands already more successful than any of the bands that were accepted for the first season of Top Band. I’ve never been particularly fond of their music and I dislike them even more for this, but they should be able to find plenty support both in the audience and among judges.

Dahee: When I saw their name on the list, my eyebrows shot up until they landed on the back of my head. (Must…not…rant…again…) I also have never been a fan of theirs, and…I’m just going to leave it at that. And try not to fastforward through their parts on the show.

Lightinthemind: I swear just the participation of this band will attract a rather big audience. I just remember how I was trying to get through the crowd of girls going into the stage to watch Daybreak at GMF2011. Confession: I’m not their fan at all but at least hope they could show something on the show. That is always a curious thing about established bands, whether they are able to show something different from their usual path of performing or not.

Ranya: Why did they even audition? I don’t understand this, I don’t understand this at all. I checked out their latest MV a few days ago and seeing the audition video, I have to say that this isn’t something I would listen to, but maybe their fanbase will help them out.

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