Tuesday, January 3, 2012

korean indie in 2011; part 3

at last. the final installment of my lackluster 3-part series, korean indie in 2011. I actually enjoyed making these lists, not just because I normally enjoy making lists but because I got to talk about some albums and artists that I really enjoy. And I realized that I should probably listen to more recent korean indie music, which is good. Let's hope that I don't give up on that & the end of year lists for k-indie in 2012 would be much, much better.

this will be the post where I will talk about k-indie albums of 2011 that could have been. This topic sounds like a vague one, and it is - so I divided it into two parts: albums that were disappointing considering the talent behind them, and albums that I wish I gave a listen to because they seem to be promising. Yes, this is where I rant about albums that were less than spectacular, and lament about albums I wish I've remembered to listen to / had a chance to listen to. These lists are not in any order, unlike the previous posts. And a warning beforehand - this is perhaps the messiest jumble of nonsensical writing out of the 3. So let's move on: 8 k-indie albums of 2011 that could have been.

4 disappointing k-indie albums of 2011.

장기하와 얼굴들 (Jang Kiha and the Faces) - 장기하와 얼굴들
Who'd knew. Who'd expect that the oh-so-great Jang Kiha and the Faces' second album - and self-titled, no less - would be such a let-down. This album is so forgettable and so boring. Excluding that one song I really liked from this album 그렇고 그런사이, I don't have any recollections of this album, despite listening to it numerous times. It's still a decent listen, but I'd really rather listen to their first album over this one. I don't know, maybe it will grow on me, maybe I'll realize its greatness one day, but I just was not excited about this album, and still isn't. Disappointing, because it's getting lauded by everyone. Maybe it's because they don't excite me like they used to. To tell you the truth, I think it might have something to do with the fact that Jang Kiha lost his 'stache and glasses. Now he looks too suave. I miss his glasses.  and the Mimi Sisters.

Mimi Sisters - 미안하지만 이건 전설이 될꺼야 
Speaking of Mimi Sisters... They are next on this list. From the beginning days of Jang Kiha and the Faces, I really liked the Mimi Sisters. I thought they were really, really cool. They made Jang Kiha and the Faces really great, and fun to watch. So obviously I was sad when they announced that they would be going separate ways. And rightly so, because their first album wasn't exactly the legend its title promised to be. (title roughly translates to: sorry but this will become a legend) in fact, it was far from being a legendary album. They still look great, and the album packaging seemed awfully nice, but... Sorry. Your music isn't quite there yet.

10cm - 1.0
I suppose this is cheating a bit because I was never a huge fan of 10cm, but here it is anyway. Maybe it's because of all the hype that they are on the list, but I really didn't enjoy their first full-length album, 1.0. I like the simplicity of their music, and they're cute and I like their sound in general, but Kwon Jung Yeol's voice is something I just cannot, simply cannot warm up to. I can stand it, in songs like 사랑은 은하수 다방에서 or 오늘밤은 어둠이 무서워요, but his voice is not something I'll avidly seek out and listen to willingly. I'm not a voice expert so I don't know how to describe it, but I'm sure anyone who's ever listen to 10cm will know what I'm talking about - just the way he sings, the way he sounds (as awful as that may sound). Which is really a shame,  because I think other than his voice, 10cm can be quite nice.

Pia - Pentagram 
Pia is a great band. Otherwise they wouldn't have lasted so long in the industry. They are absolutely fantastic live, and super fun. I thoroughly enjoyed their 3rd and 4th album, Become Clear and Waterfalls, and I absolutely adored what they did with their 2008-release Urban Explorer. I liked their sound a lot on those three releases. Unfortunately, their follow-up, 5th album Pentagram, doesn't really live up to those albums. I liked how they still had a certain progressive, experimental sound that they had in Urban Explorer, but overall, they failed to achieve the effect they had in that EP. It's not a bad album, but it's just not as good as it could have been.

enough of me ranting. now
4 k-indie albums of 2011 that I missed but still need to check out because I have a feeling I'll love them 

Deli Spice - Open Your Eyes 
Deli Spice. Another veteran that cannot be ignored. I'm ashamed to admit that I completely missed their 7th album, released in 2011 after 5 years of no new albums since their 6th Bom Bom in 2006. There I was, listening to 챠우챠우 like the usual, not realizing that there was a brand new album I could be fawning over.
Anyway. I really liked Deli Spice's previous albums, so I'm sure I'll like this album too.

Idiotape - 11111101  
Did I miss a one there? No, the more important question is, how did I forget about Idiotape's 1st full-length album? I was always dying to find out when it was going to be released! I even tweeted about it, and the band tweeted back saying that it'd be released in early fall. (It was sort of exciting..) And then. I forgot about it. It's my fault, really. Similar to Deli Spice above, Idiotape is a group that I have listened to before and really liked. I've listened to their EP, 0805, and loved it. I was so excited for their 1st full-length, but when it was actually released - I missed it. And just managed to remember it when I was coming up with this list.
I should be embarrassed.

Summer Here Kids - Summer Here Kids 
Summer Here Kids is a band that consists of musicians that have been around for a while - Kim Won Joon from Pony, Choi Young Hew of Cheezstereo, Kim Mi Sook of Look & Listen, Choi Ook No from Seokyo Group Sound - and from the little I have heard from them, they seem to sound amazing together. Of course, I have only listened to the songs with the music videos, Fish & Chips (first k-indie MV in 3D) and 자니. I really liked their sound though, and I've been meaning to listen to their first full-length album for the longest time, but I simply didn't have the opportunity to do so.

한강의 기적 (miracle on the han river) - 한강의 기적 
Isn't the cover so great? When I'm looking for new artists, I tend to look at their album covers first. Although the quality of the album art isn't reflective of the content, most of the time it's easy to get a general idea of what the album - or the band - will sound like. Take Mot, for example. One look at the Non-Linear album cover and you know that it's going to be dark. Or Kwon Milk's album covers - you know it's probably gonna be some silly retro fun. So when I looked at the album art for 한강의 기적, I got an idea of a simple, maybe acoustic, but definitely low-key sound. Exactly the stuff that I normally enjoy so much. And the face. So adorable! I really should have checked this album out, because I had a good feeling about it when I first came across it.

I have access to all 4 albums on the second list of this post, so I'll probably post a review about them one of these days. I'm so excited! And in the future, I think I'll try to keep up with the recent stuff.

And that concludes the 3-part k-indie in 2011 series! Let's hope that in 2012 I listen to more k-indie and have lots to choose from when coming up with the lists.

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