Monday, January 23, 2012

[album review] all-in-one; glen check, miracle on han river and others.

I was in a "new music" phase a couple of weeks ago and basically listened to a lot of new music. I'm still going through all the music I found, I have so many albums to go through! Here are a couple I've listened in the last few weeks. I'll start off with the singles and the EPs and move onto the full-lengths. Glen Check, 한강의 기적 (Miracle on Han River), 망각화 (Manggakwha), Summer Here Kids, Monolead. 

Glen Check - Au Revoir 
I was sort of blown away when I first listened to Glen Check's Disco Elevator. It was so fresh, so young, so hip. Glen Check - a rising star in the Hongdae electronica scene - sounded like something you'd hear on one of those cool e4 shows. The digital single they released late last year, Au Revoir, contains yet again very catchy and polished beats. Compared to Disco Elevator though, it sounds bolder, even somewhat in-your-face. The songs are more aggressive and show a more house-oriented tune.  Au Revoir is a repetitive electro track that might sound just decent at first listen - but it really stays with you, and you are bound to hum the song through the day. However, the real gem out of the two tracks is the second track, 60s Cardin. This track is a super good representation of Glen Check's sound - suave English, catchy beat, danceable tune. The claps throughout the song adds a nice touch as well.
my rating: ★★★☆

Monolead - Monolead Teaser Sound 4/11 
Monolead is my newest discovery. I don't know if you follow the k-indie tumblr but someone requested Monolead and I ended up checking them out, because I've never heard of them. I'm so glad I did because they're quite excellent. A once-anticipated modern-rock band, they re-grouped recently and released a "teaser EP" called Monolead Teaser Sound 4/11. They have a very mellow sound similar to various other popular Korean modern rock bands. Different from them though, Monolead has a certain jazz sound to their music, perhaps from the more prominent usage of the bass that can be heard in a couple of their songs. The layering of the voices are very effective as it gives the songs a dreamy feel. The best track on the album is definitely Almost Blue, which masterfully incorporates the jazz influence. Another excellent track is Film 2-607, a nostalgic song layered with electronic sounds, beautiful string orchestration and keyboard that fits the more well-known Korean modern rock genre to a tee (and sound awfully like a Nell song). I wouldn't say the vocals are anything amazing, but the songs compliment them extremely well. I'm really anticipating their next release.
my rating: ★★★★

망각화 (manggakwha) - 몹시 용기를 내어 (with great courage) 
망각화 is a band that I've heard so many good things about but never had the chance to really give a listen. 몹시 용기를 내어, their first full-length album, is an album full of stylish guitar riffs, youthful vocals and modest pop rock melodies. Actually, if I could describe this album in one word, it would be modest. There's nothing grandiose about their sound or lyrics; but it's a very listenable sound, easy on the ears. I was really impressed when I first started listening to this album. The first track (and also the title track), 너는 날, was a beautiful song that instantly drew me in. However, the rest of the album   sounded quite different from that one track. I still enjoyed the album somewhat, but it's definitely not something I'll avidly seek out.
my rating: ★★☆

Summer Here Kids - Summer Here Kids 
Summer Here Kids! If you remember, I listed this album on my albums of 2011 that could have been list. Thus I was extremely excited when I finally got a proper opportunity to give this album a listen. Like I mentioned earlier, I really loved the songs Fish & Chips and 자니, the two title tracks of the self-titled debut. They were cute electro pop-rock songs that were catchy and funny, just the kind of stuff that's perfect for a sunny summer day. The rest of the album is also pretty amazing, although it's not as bright as I expected it to be. I initially anticipated an up-beat, electro pop-rock album full of cutesy lyrics and melodies. But there are some songs on this album that are quite melancholy, even slow. I love it though; I really like how they mix the electronic sounds with the guitar-heavy alt rock sounds. Other than Fish & Chips and 자니, I really like Radio Signal, an experimental electronic track, and 부럽지 않아, a nostalgic rock song.
my rating: ★★★

한강의 기적 - 한강의 기적 (miracle on han river) 
한강의 기적's self-titled debut album was also on my albums of 2011 that could have been list. Although I'd say Summer Here Kids' album might have just missed the top 10 albums of 2011 and maybe made the honorable mentions, 한강의 기적's album would have definitely made it. This brother-duo's debut album of 10 pop-rock tracks is exactly what I'd love to listen to when I'm bored: fun, light, cute. Their songs are just downright adorable - something that I really appreciate. (I love my cutesy music!) Their lyrics are refreshing and fun to listen to. The melodies of the songs just bounce, bounce, bounce - they almost make me want to run out to a playground and let my inner child roam around freely in pure gleeful innocence. The title track (track 3) with the awfully long title is my happy jam at the moment! It's so much fun. Other songs like 해파리 and 물로켓, 글라이더, 고무동력기 are also equally fun songs that have me bopping my head to the beat. They are all such feel-good songs! It's such a feel-good album! Love it.
my rating: ★★★★

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