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News, Reviews, and more about Korean indie music

Best of 2012 According to Critics

With the year of 2012 turning into 2013 a few weeks ago, there are now plenty of lists covering the best of what 2012 had to offer – so also when it comes to Korean indie music. Chris has already offered a list of his favorites on the site and our contributor has Sangha shared her lists of Top 30 Songs and Top 20 Albums of 2012 over at strange seasons.

3rd line butterfly dreamtalk


Daum Music Bar has been publishing 2012 lists over the last week, with Korean albums #11-20 shared yesterday and the top 10 Korean albums revealed today:

1. 3rd Line ButterflyDreamtalk
2. Jeong Cha Sik격동하는 현재사
3. Lowdown 301
4. Galaxy ExpressGalaxy Express
5. 9 and the Numbers유예(猶豫)
6. 4041
7. Glen CheckHaute Couture
8. f(x)Electric Shock
9. Jung Tae Chun, Park Eun Ok바다로 가는 시내버스
10. Yoon Young Bae좀 웃긴
11. No Respect For BeautyWhy Perish
12. NaulPrinciple Of My Soul
13. eAeonGuilt-Free
14. MethodThe Constant
15. Lang Lee욘욘슨 (Yon Yonson)
16. Gate FlowersTimes
17. Jambinai차연 (Differance)
18. G-DragonOne Of A Kind
19. SmacksoftFollow Your Heart
20. PrimaryPrimary and the Messengers LP

Just like last year Daum Music Bar also listed the top 10 Korean songs, although this time with more k-pop than indie tracks:

1. Psy – “Gangnam Style”
2. 3rd Line Butterfly – “헤어지는 날 바로 오늘”
3. Busker Busker – “여수 밤바다”
4. f(x) – “Electric Shock”
5. G-Dragon – “One Of A Kind”
6. Lang Lee – “잘 알지도 못하면서”
7. Lee Hi – “1, 2, 3, 4″
8. Gain – “Bloom (피어나)”
9. Naul – “Memory of the Wind (바람기억)”
10. Kim Dae Joong – “300/30″
10. Mukimukimanmansu – “Andromeda (안드로메다)”

Music webzine Weiv offered a list of the top 15 Korean albums of 2012 right around Christmas, in (hangul) alphabetic order listing:

- 9 and the Numbers – 유예
- Glen Check – Haute Couture
- No Respect For Beauty – Why Perish
- Lowdown 30 - 1
- 404 - 1
- 3rd Line Butterfly - Dreamtalk
- f(x) – Electric Shock
- Yoon Young Bae – 좀 웃긴
- The Electric Eels최고의 연애
- Jeong Cha Sik – 격동하는 현재사
- Jung Tae Chun, Park Eun Ok - 바다로 가는 시내버스
- G-Dragon – One Of A Kind
- Puer Kim
- Smacksoft – Follow Your Heart
- 블루스 더, Blues


Korean music webzine Boda published the list of top albums of the year on New Year’s Eve:

1. 3rd Line Butterfly - Dreamtalk
2. Yoon Young Bae - 좀 웃긴
3. 404 - 1
4. 9 and the Numbers - 유예
5. f(x) – Electric Shock
6.  No Respect For Beauty - Why Perish
7. Lowdown 30 - 1
8. Lang Lee - 욘욘슨 (Yon Yonson)
9. No ControlNo Control
10. Hoegidong Danpyunsun백년
11. Jeong Cha Sik - 격동하는 현재사
12. Galaxy Express - Galaxy Express
13. Glen Check - Haute Couture
14. Naul - Principle Of My Soul
15. Epitone Project낯선 도시에서의 하루
16. Kang A Sol당신이 놓고 왔던 짧은 기억
17. Primary – Primary And The Messenger LP
18. JinboKRNB
19. Smacksoft - Follow Your Heart
20. Method - The Constant


(All artist names in bold on first listing) Daum Music Bar was alone in listing eAeon, Gate Flowers and Jambinai;  weiv the only to list The Electric Eels and Puer Kim;  and Boda the only to list No Control, Hoegidong Danpyunsun, Epitone Project, Kang A Sol and Jinbo. It seems there is a pretty strong consensus on which the very best Korean albums of the year were with 3rd Line Butterfly being the clear favorite.

In addition to the lists compiled by critics and fans, there are also the awards to highlight outstanding efforts. We covered the Mint Paper Awards a few weeks ago, for some Korean indie music on the softer side, but there’s more to come. Those into hiphop may want to vote for Hiphop Playa Awards – open till February 4th; and the nominees for the most prestigious awards of all–the Korean Music Awards–will be announced next week.



  1. Why is GD on any list? His album was terrible. And no love for Yellow Monsters at all? Also Electric Shock being ahead of Electric eels. What a joke.

    • First of all, I’m a GD fan. I believe it’s fine if you don’t like GD, however, his One of a Kind album was pretty good. And what other rapper’s album would you put. I agree that Electric Eels should’ve placed higher than Electric Shock. To be honest, GD makes pretty good music and MV’s; maybe your taste is just K indie. If you speak Korean and are Korean, you can disregard whatever I said. If not, respect GD’s efforts on making a good album.

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