So last week we began to have a look at all the nominees for this year’s Korean Music Awards – the Album, Song, Artist and Rookie of the Year – which means this week we’ll get onto the genre nominations. Recycling a bit of text on the albums and songs already covered in this series, we’re starting off with the nominees for best rock album & song.
Best Rock Album
404 – 1
Guitar & drum duo 404 released their first official demo 11/4/4/13/8 in 2011 and followed up with first full-length album 1 end of August 2011. It was all recorded at Lowrise by Stereobay vocalist Chun Hakju, who also remastered the album, with the bare concrete walls of the live venue lending the songs a raw sound.
404′s 1 also got the duo nominated for Rookie of the Year with opening track “숲속에서” nominated for Best Rock Song.
Lowdown 30 has by many been considered Korea’s best blues rock band since the release of Jaira in 2008. With the release of second full-length album 1 in March the band managed to reach a new audience while sticking to their original sound. Album track “Asphalt” was nominated for Best Rock Song already for the 9th Korean Music Awards held last year after having the song released on a digital single featuring Joosuc end of 2011.
Metal band Method made their album debut in 2006 with Survival ov the Fittest, promising a “new wave ov trash metal”. Three years later came second album Spiritual Reinforcement which landed the band a nomination for Best Rock Album at the 7th Korean Music Awards. With three years between each album, third full-length album The Constant was released in July 2012. It was mastered by renowned Swedish metal producer Jens Bogren and has received praise also outside metal circles.
Jeong Cha Sik – 격동하는 현재사
Rainy Sun vocalist Jeong Cha Sik has been receiving plenty of critical acclaim for his solo efforts. The first solo album released under his own name was nominated for Album of the Year last year, and continuing with his eclectic and captivating style of music second full-length album 격동하는 현재사 followed suite this year. For the album, fellow Rainy Sun member Kim Tae Jin has been playing the guitar.
격동하는 현재사 is also nominated for Album of the Year and also gained Jeong Cha Sik a nomination for Artist of the Year while album opening track “풍각쟁이” is nominated for Best Rock Song.
Best Rock Song
404 – “숲속에서”
As 404 released first full-length album 1 in August, it opened strongly with “숲속에서”. Complimented for their extra-ordinary sound and steady rhythm, KMA praises the duo’s for a new approach to rock as they on “숲속에서” have adopted a drumming style reminiscent of traditional Korean drumming.
In addition to getting nominated for Best Rock Song, album 1 got nominated for Best Rock Album while 404 got nominated for Rookie of the Year.
Gate Flowers – “잘자라”
Merging grunge with progressive metal, Gate Flowers took home Rookie of the Year at the KMAs in 2011 after debuting with a self-titled EP in 2010. The same year the band also won Best Rock Song for “예비역“, and now they’ve got a chance to add to the collection. Gate Flowers’ first full-length album Times was released in May 2012. Lead track “잘자라” is an invite to sleep well although the lyrics are darker than the title implies.
Kim Dae Jung – “300/30″
boonga Boonga Records released compilation 블루스 더. Blues in October, gathering some of Korea’s finest blues men. Among them was Kim Dae Jung, whose “300/30″ opened the entire compilation. To a delta blues style melody he sings of meeting a harmonica blues man and taking bus 300/30 to various locations around Seoul with a desire to eat Pyongyang naengmyun.
In addition to being nominated for Best Rock Song, “300/30″ is nominated for Song of the Year.
Yellow Monsters – “K.O”
Super trio Yellow Monsters album debuted with a self-titled full-length in 2010, nominated for Best Rock Album at the 8th Korean Music Awards with “Destruction” fighting for Best Rock Song. A year later followed second full-length album Riot! which was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 9th Korean Music Awards while the song with the same name was up for Best Rock Song. In 2012 came EP We Eat Your Dog and while there was no album nomination, 19+ age restricted lead track “K.O” did claim a nomination for Best Rock Song at the 10th Korean Music Awards.
Jeong Cha Sik – “풍각쟁이”
Jeong Cha Sik released his second album 격동하는 현재사 in January 2012. It opens with the song “풍각쟁이” – a title that can be loosely translated to something a long the lines of “a good-for-nothing” – which by KMA is commended for its liquor house narrative.
In addition to having “풍각쟁이” nominated for Best Rock Song, Jeong Cha Sik himself is nominated for Artist of the Year while 격동하는 현재사 which it came from is nominated both for Best Rock Album and Album of the Year.