The sixth batch of bands that made it through the first round of auditions for KBS band survival show Top Band 2 is now ready for presentation as we continuing where we left off yesterday. The full panel of commentators have shared their opinions meaning I have the company of Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle, Ranya of K-Underground Sweden, Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real and Xtian aka drowningn00b.
Listen to the bands, read what we have to say and let us know what you’d like to add in the comments! What are your thoughts on what turned out to be the most controversial band so far joining the competition?
Emotional modern rock band Monni formed in 2005 and released their first album the same year. Taking it easy for a with only a couple of minor releases it wasn’t till five years later that they returned with second full-length album This Moment. Since then there has been a steady stream of new music from Monni, most recently EP 소년이 어른이 되어 released in March. Monni was awarded Best Artist at the Olleh Music Indie Awards in January.
Monni – “언제까지 내 맘속에서”
Anna: I’m still trying to grasp that a band could voluntarily go from expert judge to contestant in the same competition, but I’m hoping Top Band 2 has got something so fantastic up its sleeve that it will make sense once the show starts airing. I took a liking to Monni as soon as I laid ears on their first album many years ago with “소나기” in particular reminding me of the Muse I had loved so much that was lost after Origin of Symmetry. Although I don’t mind what I’ve heard from Monni since they haven’t wow-ed me like that again, but nevertheless they always deliver and I trust their popularity will take them far in this competition.
Dahee: Okay. Rant Time: Why in the holy name of peanut butter and honey sandwiches did they decide to go on this show? It’s not like they’re unknowns. I think that compared to most indie bands, they’re actually pretty well-known in the mainstream. They were even judges in the first season – which means they actually KNOW some of the judges personally(!!). So WHY? Because they’re bored? Because they felt like it? “Oooh, that looks fun! Let’s try it!” PUH-LEEZE. If you want to take on a challenge and be competitive, go on Immortal Song 2 instead. Or even I Am A Singer – Yoon Do Hyun’s lobbying for them to go on the show, which blows my mind, because HOW can a band that could possibly be considered for a show like I Am A Singer take part in a show like Top Band?? Frankly, I think that allowing a band of this level of popularity to go on this show is incredibly unfair to the bands who are just starting out. Where’s the level playing field? You can’t just stick together a bunch of amateur bands with established ones and hope that it’ll stick. It’s like mashing together Superstar K and I Am A Singer and hoping no one will notice. And you know what makes it worse? I like Monni. I have a couple of their albums on my iPod. They’ve never blown me away or anything, but I think they’re a solid, endearing band. But this…Ugh. UGH. I need a drink.
Ranya: I’m just staring at Dahee’s rant above and trying to figure out what to say after this, because…yeah, I don’t really know how I’m supposed to feel right now. I have liked my share of Monni songs and enjoy them, but at the same time find it slightly unfair that a band already so established take part in the contest. I’m not even gonna go into the whole judging thing in fear of it turning into a page long rant.
Lightinthemind: I’d better wait for the screening to see what the hell was going at the show than trying to guess now. Just a crazy thought. Are Mate, Delispice, Jaurim and Nell on the list? What? No? Why?
Xtian: Nothing else to add but a big ol’ ditto.
All female band DOT formed in 2006, released debut EP Drive On Top in 2007 and followed up with first full-length album Candid Breath in 2010. Branded Korea’s top female musicians by their label vocalist Kim Hyo Su has lent her voice to both Cho Yong Pil and Girl’s Generation as a session chorus member, pianist Kim Jin Ah has been a session player for Lucid Fall, drummer Lee Jung Yoon has been a member of the well respected Ryu Bok Sung Latin Jazz Allstars and bassist Yang Hye Young is considered some kind of CCM star.
DOT – “행복합시다”
Anna: If it wasn’t for Monni from the same label auditioning first I would’ve been fairly surprised to see DOT on this list too. I liked their EP when it came out, but for some reason couldn’t really get into the album. They may be able to do well on the show, but frankly I find them a bit boring.
Dahee: They have a pretty and soothing sound, which is good for when I’m in a specific kind of mood. I like them during those moods. But it’s hard to distinguish them from other bands that have a similar sound, which may become their downfall. Also, this kind of music tends to make people sleepy – it’s not really ideal for a television broadcast type of setting. Let’s hope the viewers don’t fall asleep on them…
Ranya: A band I feel that if you aren’t a fan of before or really like their music, you’d use the time they were on to do something else and nothing is worse than being the bathroom break band. That being said, their sound isn’t unpleasant and is quite nice to have playing in the background.
Lightinthemind: Seriously it isn’t the type of music I like to listen to. I always tried to keep myself aside this. I suppose it’s a sort of music going well with advertising, radio translation somewhere in shops, maybe TV series. If having a choice between these soft ballads, bossa nova sometimes sound and pretentious korean pop love songs/ballads I’d prefer the last ones.
Xtian: Oh, I thought I was gonna have at least one of my fellow panel members share my joy of DOT, but alas, I’m the lone wolf here. But I enjoyed this clip! Her voice is so pretty and the bass solo was awesome, considering how little I hear them from Korean bands. Frankly I’m surprised I never heard these girls before. Looking forward to more from them.
In 2005 rock band Ash debuted with digital album Dark Side of Paradise. A single later one of the band members headed to Japan and Romantic Pear was formed instead. With plenty of member changes the band turned into Romantic Fear and since a year back A Clock Work Orange. The first album under the new name is called Change The World and was released end of 2011.
A Clock Work Orange – “시간이 멈춘 것처럼”
Anna: This is the first I’ve heard of A Clock Work Orange but I was familiar with Ash and kinda started listening to them again after finding their album on Spotify last year. Judging by their album sampler their sound has grown more confident and I definitely like A Clock Work Orange more. There are many similar bands out there already, but they should be able to find their share of fans in the audience with their emo style look. Kinda like first season winners Toxic, but with more color..
Dahee: I dunno…With their current incarnation, at least, I find them a bit…pretentious? Overly eager to look cool? Like a group of teenagers focusing more on their image rather than on the music. Not that their music is bad – it’s fine. But it’s kind of ordinary, and not rough enough for my tastes. I do agree that they’ve improved since their Ash days, though. And they get props for their stage presence – although they lose points for their vocalist bouncing around shirtless and showing off his pecs in one of the performances I watched. See what I mean about the teenager vibe?
Ranya: Can you spot the G-Dragon look-a-like? You could go two ways with this band; There will be the people who think they put too much effort into image and looks, and then there will be the people who are lured in by the image and will appreciate their looks. Their kind of rock is definitely mainstream enough for a broader audience, I kept feeling that something was missing for me to stay interested though. There were parts where I would really dig it, but instead of picking up, my interest would just kind of, fizzle out.
Lightinthemind: If somebody would pull a joke on me and make me listen to the sample without saying the name of the band I suppose it would be a hard task to guess it. Rock with vocals, with that quite average jump in riffs, quite simple melody and not much changing of tempo, you can’t find something outstanding in this. So why not put a bit of visuality here and add colorful heads, some naked pieces of body and emotional performance with light vocalist crazyness? Ladies like this :) Somehow they remind me of FTIsland but less polished.
Xtian: Reading the intro makes me curious about the internal politics of this band that causes members to come and go and the name of the band changing so often. But that’s a topic for another time. But wow, they’re pretty. Like really pretty. The frontman reminds me of Yunho in TVXQ’s “Mirotic” MV, only with bad eye makeup and a questionable lip shade.
Frankly, the kids are trying too hard. Whatever it is they’re rocking to is not what’s coming through my speakers. Wait, are they in a freezer? Yeah, if it isn’t clear yet, I can’t give a rat’s ass about A Clock Work Orange. I would love to be proven wrong, but I’m not looking forward to seeing anything from them.
Neo soul and slow jam band Fellas have been around since 2004, releasing a few digital singles and following up with first full-length album Sequella in May last year. They were recently picked as one of the acts to look out for by Daum Music’s 2012 Rising Star.
Fellas – “후유증”
Anna: I didn’t think of Fellas as a band as much as an r&b/soul unit, so I was quite surprised to see them here. Not really my kind of music, but I love that cello and it is kinda smooth. I could definitely get used to them. I imagine they’d offer some quite interesting covers on the show too.
Dahee: Oh, I like them. This is one of those genres I have to be in a very specific mood to listen to, but when I’m in that zone, I’m totally into it. I dig their overall vibe, and I love that they’re going for the band image instead of the traditional Korean idea of the R&B vocal duo. More than this song specifically, I’m finding their other songs, like “Makit Cool,” to be more interesting. I anticipate them being a refreshing change of pace from the standard rock groups on this show.
Ranya: I’m a sucker for R&B, such a sucker, so this was right up my alley in so many ways. I really hope they’ll do good up against the more up-tempo rock bands in the competition, because I really liked them. It was all kinds of smooth and lovely for me.
Lightinthemind: Oh, what a refreshing song! Like a honey balm for my heart after DOT. Agree with Dahee that you need to be in specific mood for it, but if yes – it goes perfectly. Somehow I can feel the scent of red wine, burning candles or just old wooden house. With this jazzy melody, the sophisticated outcome is really worth listening to. But to be honest I can’t imagine them being rivals with any straightforward high-energy rock band. Poor judges, how will they make decision?
Xtian: Oh my gosh, who turned out the lights and put on the baby making music?! When I think of Top Band, 4Men and other male vocal groups do not come to mind. Yes, yes, a million times YES! Oh my gosh, I can’t get over these guys’ singing! It’s over the top, over sung like a Christina Aguilera performance, and I’m eating it up like a starving child. It wasn’t till this clip that I realized the lack of powerhouse singers the previous batches had. Please, give me more from Fellas!