Electric Muse is currently in the middle of celebrating its 10th anniversary. I’ve been following the label since the beginning and have greatly enjoyed a majority of its releases. As I can’t be in Seoul to celebrate in person, here’s a list of my 10 favorite releases on Electric Muse until now. Click the album art for each album to listen and find the respective album on Bandcamp.
Starry-Eyed – Sweet Night (2008)
I’ll have to confess to not quite getting the hype surrounding Starry-Eyed when the band’s debut album dropped, mostly because I found the vocals too weird, but a few years later I could finally accept Sweet Night as the remarkable record it is. Plenty of fuzzy guitars throughout.
Dringe Augh – Individually Wrapped (2009)
Heavily inspired by British folk, Dringe Augh’s first official EP offers one delightful track after the other. His skillful guitar play has me enthralled every time. Joining Electric Muse meant an extra boost in arrangements with both duet and the occasional piano. Still a folk favorite of mine.
Plastic People – Snap (2009)
Plastic People was an early discovery when I first got into Korean indie music. While I tend to prefer the release that makes me fall in love with a band, Plastic People turned out to be a curious case where it’s actually the band’s last album that I return to more often. A delightful mix of perfect indie pop and folk rock finishing with a slowcore masterpiece.
Vidulgi OoyoO – Goodnight Shining (2010)
While aero might be the defining album from Vidulgi OoyoO, it was the split album with bliss.city.east that finally made me appreciate the band for its full worth. Not to mention that the titular track may very well be the best shoegaze track to ever come out of South Korea.
Sunkyeol – EP (2010)
Home to one of the best songs of all-time, Sunkyeol’s debut EP offers four tracks invoking bliss. Layers upon layers of vocals, melodies and other sounds skillfully combined makes it a compelling listen with plenty to explore. A folktronica gem that has very little resemblance to what today’s Sunkyeol sounds like live.
Glittering Blackness, Fall – Untitled (2014)
I still remember how happy I was to first come across Glittering Blackness, Fall. When the band self-released its first EP I was even happier, hearing my favorite song in a great new version. After signing with Electric Muse, the band improved upon the song even further in no less than three versions for a second EP. Beautiful, beautiful post-rock track after track.
Say Sue Me – Big Summer Night (2015)
Busan’s premier surf rock band Say Sue Me has found a loving home with Electric Muse. I had somehow missed the band’s first full-length album, but fell in love with the EP that followed on first listen. A great release for any summer.
Earip – Exile (2016)
While Earip’s characteristic voice has always been what attracted me to her music, she’s proven time over time to be an excellent singer-songwriter. After a decade on her own label she opted to return with her 5th solo effort via Electric Muse, where her new label mate Honggab helped produce the album. The result was a compelling collection songs, each with its own distinctly different flavor, that somehow made me appreciate Earip’s music even more.
PAKK – A Wail (2016)
When asked for my favorite bands nowadays, I always include PAKK. The band’s debut EP is one that I would happily listen to exclusively for a very extended period time. Loud rock and complex patterns supported by strong melodies. Truly awe-inspiring.
The March Kings – Spring Will Come (2016)
Before signing with Electric Muse I only knew of The March Kings by name, but with the release of the band’s second full-length album I realized I had been missing out before. From shoegazing to do dance friendly indie pop the band somehow manages to present a coherent sound without ever sounding boring.
Secret Asian Men – Secrets Beyond The Room (2016)
Secret Asian Men’s first full-length album is indie pop perfection. Whether slow-paced and contemplative or inviting to dance, it’s all there with a sound of nostalgia.