Up And Coming Bands Summer 2014

It’s not just Hello Rookie that highlights the many talented but unknown bands that Korea has to offer. In addition to the announcement for the Hello Rookies of August, last week also offered lists of the finalists from 3 other music competitions.


2014 K-Rookies


Let’s start with K-Rookies. This is a competition created by KOCCA–the Korean state sponsored Korea Creative Culture Agency–and 2014 is its 3rd year of running. To be fair this list is already 2 weeks old, but it was only last week that KOCCA’s English language webzine posted an article about it. The article already has a decent introduction to all the bands, so here’s just a quick summary:

Out of 303 contestants 12 were chosen for the K-Rookies live audition, held at the Olympic Hall on June 28th. Indie rock band 18gram, modern ‘heaviness’ band Messgram, emo band we hate jh, electronic rock bands Love X Stereo and LudiSTELO, pop duo Long:D, female singer-songwriter duo Cacti, acoustic duo Seen Root, alternative rock band A’Z bus, male singer-songwriter Yoo Gno, britpop influenced band Cranfield and crossover band Tanemotion.

During the event the top 6 was named: 18gram, Love X Stereo, LudiSTELO, Seen Root, A’Z bus and Cranfield. The top 6 will be supported by KOCCA for promotional activities for the rest of the year. Additionally, three of the bands will be selected to perform outside of Korea, though I have yet to figure out any details regarding that.


2014 Penta Super Rookie

Just like last year, the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival is looking to crown super rookies to perform at the festival.

The top 16 challengers were presented end of June. There was we hate jh, Messgram, Seen Root, A’Z bus and Cranfield, just as in the K-Rookies qualifications. There was last year’s K-Rookie winner Oops Nice as well as this year’s August Hello Rookie The Roosters. And there was rock bands Gutz, Gloomy 30’s and Party Maker; pop punk band Gold Member; emo band Reflex; hard rock band VenEZ; modern rock band Speakout; pop band Jannabi; and indie pop band The Lads.

Over two days the weekend before last the bands all battled it out at the SangSang Madang Live Hall. The top 9 bands selected as finalists were the following: Gutz, The Roosters, Reflex, Seen Root, A’Z bus, Oops Nice, Jannabi, The Lads and Cranfield. The final will be held at V-Hall on July 22nd, and this year Pentaport itself will take place between August 1st-3rd.


2014 Band Discovery

In previous years SangSang Madang has been running the Band Incubating competition to nurture new talents. This initiative appears to have now been replaced with Band Discovery, where bands compete for a chance to perform at the 2014 Sangsang Fest in November.

From 421 acts, 6 were chosen as finalists. There’s Cranfield, that did well also in the other 2 competitions mentioned here; The Lads, that has also been successful in this year’s Penta Super Rookie try-outs; Pavlov, that was named Hello Rookie of August this year; and MAN, that was picked as a wildcard during the live audition for Hello Rookie of August; Black Russian, that almost made Hello Rookie of May this year; and new bluegrass & country band Country Gongbang.

The final, during which the top 3 is selected, will take place in the SangSang Madang Live Hall on August 23rd. The winning band will be named the Super Discovery, awarded 5 million won and gets to be featured on Naver Onstage. The other two will each be named New Discovery and awarded 3 million won.

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