With today being the January 31, 2012 in San Francisco, CA and most of the people I know in Seoul still celebrating 2013 in the early hours; I thought it would be a good time to post my favorite albums of 2012. Not in any particular order, these albums are the ones that highlighted 2012.
From what I know, 2013 is going to have a lot of great releases and the growth of Korean indie will continue.
Not entirely a Korean indie release, Hee Young’s first full-length continues the amazing songwriting that started on So Sudden and with songs like “Sally Mason,” the next EP or full-length will continue my enjoyment of her work.
I really enjoy the energy of 고고보이스. The surf rock style of the band is refreshing and a lot of fun to listen to. Every song on the album is upbeat and keeps the album moving.
A young band who are playing indie rock with great energy. There isn’t a song on 최고의 연애 that I don’t enjoy and their growth should be something to watch.
It’s been an interesting year for electronica and synth-based music. A lot of bands brought elements into their music, but the experimental style of Floating Ones is amazing. It’s going to take a few listens of the album to appreciate everything, but that’s what makes the album so great.
“Bitchquito” is still a song I’m addicted to and Square the Circle’s single is amazing. It’s pretty much a rock single, but they play it so well.
Anna introduced me to No Respect For Beauty. It’s incredible post-rock that constantly surprises even on the slower songs. There’s a lot of bands playing post-rock or shoegaze now, but No Respect For Beauty is one of the best in 2012.
The fourth album from 3rd Line Butterfly is the return of the band. They released Ice Cube for English audiences, but dreamtalk is an outstanding album.
Galaxy Express evolved on their self-titled. It released kind of late in 2012, but it’s worth every second on every song. The latter half of the album is calmer in tone, but contain a couple of the best songs on the album.
As a self-professed fan of Yellow Monsters, there hasn’t been a song that I haven’t enjoyed from the band. Each time they release something new, they retain their signature style while improving their sound. I actually enjoy their Japanese version of We Eat Your Dog a little more because a couple of the songs are in English rather than Korean, giving the songs a slightly different energy.
Bands to watch in 2013
A band that was recommended by JaeHyuk Choi of Yellow Monsters, I was able to catch one of their shows in Hongdae during my visit. Their British garage rock style is high energy and their live show was amazing. They only have a single right now, but I’m waiting to see what they do in the future.
They released an EP early in 2012, but their live show is more impressive. I asked the band if they would have new music any time soon and it sounds like they’re planning on something for 2013.
Love X Stereo
A band I originally found on bandcamp and met during my trip, their electro-rock sound is a lot of fun. Comparing their official releases to their live show, it sounds like Love X Stereo have a lot more music in store.
2013 might be a transitional time for Korean indie with a lot of bands working on new music and other musicians who haven’t released new music in a while working to have a new release. There are a lot of younger bands working on amazing music, but haven’t released anything official.
Each year that passes, the indie genre expands and allows for more experimentation. Hopefully 2013 will have a lot more amazing releases.