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.
The Electric Eels (전기뱀장어) : 최고의 연애
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.
Square the Circle (스퀘어 더 써클) : Slow Starter
“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.
No Respect For Beauty : Why Perish
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.
3호선 버터플라이 (3rd Line Butterfly) : dreamtalk
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.
갤럭시 익스프레스 (Galaxy Express) : Galaxy Express
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.
Yellow Monsters : We Eat Your Dog
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.
I really enjoyed this article. May I recommend some music you should watch on in 2013?
If there’s something worthwhile to keep an eye on, no problem. There are more bands I’m watching, just waiting for releases or news.
‘bands to watch in 2013’ – definitely got right!! actually I ve never caught any of Love X Stereo’s but two above are amazin X^)
dang, these bands are killing it in terms of cover art alone. god bless korean aesthetic all around. thanks for the article, and for keeping us posted on what’s fresh in the korean indie scene.