Wednesday, February 29, 2012

[drama review] shut up flower boy band ep. 1

I normally wouldn't do single episode reviews for TV shows, but I just watched the first episode of 닥치고 꽃미남 밴드 (Shut Up Flower Boy Band) and thought I'd jot some thoughts down about it. Because it's been  ages since I watched a Korean drama (lie. I finished White Christmas two months ago) and because it seems promising and I'll probably keep on watching it. And I feel like this is a good habit to develop.

So yes, I won't get into the summary or anything because that's really boring. I normally don't watch a lot of dramas, but I have heard a lot of good things about this drama. On top of that, the cast is beautiful, and the music is directed by the guys of Loveholics, so it seemed quite promising. And the first episode didn't completely let me down! There are some good things, some things that could definitely be improved, but all-in-all, a fun ride.

First of all: acting. A huge reason why I started watching this was because of Lee Hyun Jae, who is the drummer for the band Mate, and a total babe. Seriously. He is so beautiful. He deserves a solo shot in this post because he is so gorgeous. I was initially very skeptic of his acting chops - could he actually do it? We saw a bit of it in the Mate movie Play - but he wasn't all that good in it. So I really expected him to be a bit cringe-worthy, but alas! He actually doesn't have a big of a role, and he is totally bearable. You go, Hyun Jae, you go.
As for the general cast (and the main band 안구정화), it's definitely Lee Min Ki who pulls everything together. He is so perfectly cast and extremely charming. His character is funny, charming, cute, and a bit pathetic - basically you start rooting for him right away. It's a shame that it's only a cameo because Lee Min Ki totally makes the drama a whole lot better. Sung Joon, the other male lead, is also a lot of fun. His character has a lot of potential and seems promising, although at times his lines seem a bit too staged. But Sung Joon has definitely gotten a lot better since I last saw him in White Christmas, which is good to see. The other band members are all quite interesting and just from the first episode you can really see their characters. I am loving the chemistry between Kim Min Seok's character and Yoo Min Kyu's character. They are super adorable and seem comfortable enough with their roles. L though, despite all the hype and pre-existing popularity from Infinite activities, is the black hole so far. He is extremely stiff, almost all of his lines seem forced, and his expressions are at times over the top. I'm hoping that he gets better though, because he is also quite nice to look at. The whole band, I say, the whole band!

As for the supporting cast and the love interest (who could forget!), I remain unimpressed. Jo Boa, the main love interest, is the epitome of "extremely pretty actresses who can't really act". Everything she seems to do is so self-conscious, so forced, so gimmicky, it was really disappointing. Although it's not surprising that Lee Min Ki's character falls for her at first sight because she is a doll. As for her acting, I'd have to watch her more.
The rival character, played by Jung Ui Chul, also seems a bit shaky. Not so much because of Jung Ui Chul's acting, but because of the writing for the character, which is so cliched and trite.

Speaking of writing. I know I shouldn't expect much quality from Korean dramas, but I couldn't help it, not after watching White Christmas. But yes, don't expect an amazing script from this one, it's your generic Korean drama writing. Which isn't a completely bad thing, but not a really good thing either. The editing was also mediocre; most of the time it was a bit too much, when simple cuts could have been better. The camerawork wasn't also great, it was too all over the place when simple slo-mo or simple panning could have done the job perfectly. No need for fancy camera works, guys, when you don't know how to do it. I'll blame the low budget though. If this was picked up by a major broadcast channel, I'm sure it could have been that perfect drama I'm Beautiful (or any other "band" dramas that were on major broadcast channels) tried to be but failed.
There were a couple of scenes that really got me though. One being the image above, when Im Soo Ah (Jo Boa's character) falls into Kwon Ji Hyuk's (Sung Joon) arms instead of Joo Byung Hee's (Lee Min Ki). Some great, heart-wrenching foreshadowing for those who are aware of what's to happen, I'm sure. And any scenes with the whole band were pretty awesome. They really work well together.

I think it will be sad to see Lee Min Ki go because he does dominate the screen and makes everything a whole lot better, but I have a lot of hope for this drama. The initial premise is already interesting enough to keep me watching, and I love how raw and precious the main band is. They just seem so real - driving in a beat-up laundry van, making ramyun in a small, dim rooftop room ... I can already foresee some golden moments of them in this drama. It's probably not going to be perfect, especially technically, but I'm excited to see more, for sure.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

120211 @ cowboy monkey; part 3

finally, the last part! I really like some of the pictures I took for the main act, The Dirty Feathers. and their music was really really great. apparently they're a local band - I hope to see more of them in the future! you can download their EP for free on their website. just google the dirth feathers. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

120211 @ cowboy monkey; part 2

part 2 from saturday night at cowboy monkey! second last band that performed was White Mystery. a band from chicago, they are a sibling duo (sister and brother) who make kickass music and have kickass hair. so much hair. and something I forgot about the last post - I'm supposed to watermark the gig pictures since I took them for the station. so yes, even if it's annoying, bear with me! Watermarks are what's getting me into these shows for free despite being underaged... watermarks are awesome...
and so is our station! it's a student-run station at my university, but commercial, and all about alternative music. oooooh. it plays too much 30 Seconds to Mars and Muse (I'm not complaining though; I love those bands) but yeah, good stuff. check it out online if you have time!

back to White Mystery. I really, really liked them. the singer, Miss Alex White, had a great voice, and they put on a great show. it was really fun to watch them perform. I tried listening to them online but they didn't sound as awesome as they did live. and did I already mention that they have great hair? quite possibly.  here are some pictures to prove it:

more pictures under cut!

120211 @ cowboy monkey; part 1

It's been ages since I went to a gig! I had to take some pictures for the station, so I got to go to Cowboy Monkey last Saturday and saw some bands I've never heard of before. I had so much fun, although the pictures didn't turn out so great. I'll blame the lighting. (it was so red!) I'm hoping that I'll get better at concert photography in the future - it's awfully hard, but it's super fun to edit.

To be frankly honest the first two bands were not all that exciting to me - their music isn't exactly something I enjoy on a regular basis - but they had great energy despite the small crowd. The second band, Midstress, was super interesting though. The members were all doing their own thing visually. The bassist had the hippie thing down, one of the guitarists looked like he'd belong perfectly in a frat, the other guitarist was really punk with his bleached blond hair, and the drummer looked like a gamer kind. Sort of makes me wonder how they met each other!

I don't remember what the first band was called - sorry! 
their bassist was cute, though. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

[album review] idiotape - 11111101

idiotape: increasing my productivity by 200% since 2011.  

seriously though, idiotape's music is the greatest thing to do anything to. try it. laundry? oh yes. cleaning your room? yes yes. STUDYING? awwwwww yess.

I can't normally listen to music with headphones when I'm studying - I find them too distracting. But with some good lyrics-less electronic music with a kick-ass beat I get everything done twice as fast. so obviously idiotape's 1st full-length studio album 111101 was a godsend to my troubled, distracted soul. if you remember, I included it in my albums of 2011 that could have been list, and darn I wish I've really checked this album out sooner because it's so full of awesome. all the songs that were on their previous EP are on this album and the whole album is extremely consistent so there weren't any huge surprises, but I simply can't get enough of this album. I automatically play this album when I'm studying with headphones on... so don't be surprised if you see me in the library doing stiff bodywaves in the chair while writing a paper on buddhism. I'm probably listening to Even Floor, my favourite track from this album (and from idiotape).

my rating: ★★★★★

Monday, February 6, 2012

[album review] eaeon - guilt-free

finally! eAeon released his solo album Guilt-Free last week, and although it's not a Mot album, it's still genius. seriously, it's so awesome, I almost cried. (that is a lie. I cried.) the album consists of 2 CDs, second being a collection of instrumentals of songs from the first CD. (hence thoroughly revealing eAeon's music - it's like he wants you to analyze and pick apart his music)

eAeon's music is hard to describe; it's so complicated, it's so dense, it's so dark, it's so awesome. there are a lot of good reviews and analyses of his music floating around online, and one of them said that listening to this album too much makes you go insane - and that's true. the music gets hold of you and doesn't let you go.

there's certainly a sense of loneliness, emptiness in his music, which goes really well with the destructive electronic sound. it's just really great. so great. i had so much expectations for this album and i wasn't let down at all. although this album literally had me down on the floor weeping because i was floored with emotions...

i tagged this as 'rock' but that just doesn't cut it. it's significantly more. there's definitely the electronica element, the glitch pop element. it's really something completely different. I can't really define it, you just have to listen to it yourself.

the song that really caught my attention at first was of course the title track Bulletproof ("I wish I had a bulletproof soul..."), a gorgeous and tragic song. but all the other songs got to me as well soon enough: SCLC ("mix them up and drink it down") with its addictive, strangely danceable beats; 5 in 4 with its abnormal rhythm that just had me speechless with its complexity. 무슨 일이 일어났는지는 아무도, narration-track reminiscent of 다섯개의 자루 from Mot's 2nd album Strange Season. Lovely track.

basically a flawless album that holds a lot of things you can dig through. you discover something new every time you listen to it - the music is just so intricate - and it's amazing. really. go listen to it.

my rating: ★★★★★