More new bands as we get even closer to the end of the list of bands that made it through the first round of auditions for KBS band survival show Top Band 2. Dahee of Dahee’s Plastic Castle, Lightinthemind of Korean rock is real and Ranya of K-Underground Sweden all share their opinions on these bands together with me. Listen to these bands you too and let us know what you think in the comments!
The vocalist and guitarist had already acted as a duo for a couple of years when a drummer joined and Rock’N’Roll Radio formed in October last year. Equipped with a go-go beat the trio want to convey the image of a radio playing good music. Before auditioning Rock’N’Roll Radio had only played one gig in Hongdae, but since they’ve been playing a few more.
Rock’N’Roll Radio – “Red Moon”
Dahee: Oh my god, I hate their name. It is impossible to find any of their performances with that name. And what is with that gimmicky use of speech bubbles with lyrics? Are they trying to emphasize the fact that they added a couple lines of English to the song because we wouldn’t know otherwise? Whoever added the special effects to this video clearly did not know what they were doing. And quite frankly, all those gimmicks only serve to enhance their rather amateurish feel. Next!
Lightinthemind: Actually I found their YouTube channel and after watching several videos (ok, only two videos from gigs are uploaded) I find them not bad at all. If adding electronic sound they can be supported by the Koxx lovers (intro of “Redmoon” is sooo similar to the Koxx songs). And the songs are catchy, but what I miss is just an interaction from vocalist with audience, or showing more passion while singing. I don’t like that expression “I’m cool so please don’t bother me”. And… am I the only one thinking that chubby guy with guitar is from Disco Bongs?
Ranya: This is an example of how there is several contributing factors for making a band successful in a band competition. Overlooking the lame name, I found myself liking them more whenever I was looking away and this, isn’t really a good thing. Their sound is very nice, I can actually see myself enjoying their music, but I could just not handle how unenthusiastic the singer looked.
Anna: I think their name contributed to my liking them. Because of it I anticipated something I’d have to force my ears through, but instead there was music I could like right away. It doesn’t blow me away, but I certainly don’t mind listening to it. Enjoyed their live performance videos as well, though don’t think they’ll be making it very far in the show.
Starting out in Daegu in 1997, it wasn’t till 2007 that Ironic Hue released their first full-length album. Until then they had played several festivals, including a couple in China, as well as the clubs of Hongdae and other places around Korea. After the release of the album they headed to Canada for NXNE and in 2008 they were nominated for Hello Rookie but after that the band when on a bit of a hiatus. Ironic Hue came back in 2010 with a new drummer and claiming a ‘toxic cool sound’ recorded their yet to be released second full-length album last year.
Ironic Hue – “Rewind”
Dahee: After listening to the audition song, my main thought was “Meh.” And then I went to YouTube and dug up some other videos of theirs, and suddenly I like them a lot better. I’m actually surprised they chose “Rewind” as their audition song, because I think they have others that are a lot more appealing (it suddenly occurs to me though that the ones I liked were all from their first album, which may not bode well for their second). They seem to have moments in their songs that are a little questionable to me, and their occasional vocal harmonising could use some work. Still. This performance of “Memory” is absolutely lovely. They get points from me just for that.
Lightinthemind: I know that this band was around for a long time, but it is strange that I never jumped into their music. Maybe it was because of my strange relations with post-rock. But what I hear now is definitely music that should be given to an audience. Pleasant for listening in any state of mind and mood.
Anna: Ironic Hue is one of those bands that while they’ve been around for long still seem relatively unknown. Probably the not-being-from-Seoul thing, though I’m uncertain where they’re currently based. As I recall liking their music in the past I was surprised to see the audition video, because while I can hear plenty of potential in it it didn’t sound as coherent or immediately appealing as I had previously thought them to be. Dahee may be onto something there, and with a bit of luck perhaps Top Band will help throw them back on track.
Electro rock trio The Mu want to be the ‘mu’ in ‘music’, or let that me ‘mu-sick’. They formed a year ago, but claim no achievements so far.
The Mu – “Sick”
Dahee: …That is the stupidest explanation for a band name I have ever read. It’s even stupider than claiming to be the “DBSK of the underworld.” Setting that aside, I like this song, and the sound they’re going for in general. They could stand to improve their presence and energy, though. And while I realize that they were probably singing “I am so fine” at the end, I kept hearing it as “I am sofa” and cracking me up. I am such a child.
Lightinthemind: I feel a resemblance to Glen Check and for sure want to listen to something more, but am not able to find anything except that MU band of the 00’s. Explanation of the name and their moves in video make me upset. But I feel like I definitely will try to catch more of them.
Ranya: The nice electronic synth and beat throughout the song has me really hooked and interested to see more from them, but I have this urge to give the singer a coughdrop? The song felt lacking in some part and it makes me a little annoyed that I can’t seem to find anything else on them. Also “I am sofa, you are sofa, we are sofa”. Me and Dahee clearly have the same maturity level in this.
Anna: I actually like the ambition with their name. Don’t really mind their music either, but it’s of the kind I don’t listen to much myself.
Seoul based expat rock band Magna Fall counts three members total from Ireland and USA. They’ve been around for two years and in addition to playing in Korea they’ve also made it to both Japan and Taiwan. Magna Fall have released one EP so far and are currently planning to tour Asia.
Magna Fall – “Truer”
Dahee: Oh, this isn’t my thing at all. I kind of can’t stand this song. And listening to other songs of theirs, my opinion on this band hasn’t changed. Also, I wonder if they sing songs in Korean as well? I’m sure the show will require it of them eventually. And I have to ask: Why is one of them wearing a skirt and one of them wearing nothing but underwear during this performance? Do I even want to know?
Lightinthemind: Mmm, don’t know what to say. Maybe they have their own audience, but I can’t get the music. Don’t understand where they are going and what they suppose their listeners to do. While at the festival instead of jumping (like those at the Dahee’s link) you could probably see me laying somewhere near the stage with a beer and looking at everybody with round eyes.
Anna: I’ve seen their name many times, but never before taken the time to listen. After checking out both the audition video and the performance suggested by Dahee I was gonna write that I don’t really like their music either, but then I realized their songs would be perfectly to my liking if only the execution was a bit different. Imagine if they’d instead gone all out on the psychedelic side! Their website said everything went great for them with the second round of auditions for Top Band, so if we do get to see them in the competition I hope they’ll realize their potential and make good use of it.