I was introduced to 1TON by JaeHyuk of Yellow Monsters. I hadn’t heard of the band before, but he told me that I should listen to them. I was able to pick up a copy of their album in Seoul and was blown away by the melodic punk that they play. The album was recorded in South Korea, but mastered in Japan which gives it a presentation of how many Japanese punk band albums sound.
Tiny Old Tape is excellent. The nine songs (one being the “Intro”) capture and present the talent of the band. The recording on Tiny Old Tape is perfect because it mixes the three piece together without drowning out any of the elements. Punk music isn’t as widespread in South Korea, but there are a lot of bands. “Missing Memories” is a great song that uses the distorted and crunchy guitar to lead the song while the bass and drums provide the necessary support for the energy. 1TON’s album could easily fit within punk music in the United States.
There are a lot of similarities with Japanese punk bands through the recording, but 1TON are able to make a distinct voice. “Tiny Old Tape,” “Tonight,” and “Map of Heart” buffer the middle of the album, but don’t lack of the power and energy from the start or end. My favorite song has to be “When I Was Young.” The introduction to the song is perfect with a tempo that’s incredibly fast while the vocals play out in half-time. The drumming on the song is some of the best that I’ve heard among other bands. Even though it sounds simple on the surface, the technical ability of No Hyun Min is amazing. The song isn’t that different from other songs, but carries a slightly different emotion.
Tiny Old Tape is one of the best albums that I’ve heard this year and one of the best for Korean punk rock. The melodic punk style is captured perfectly and you can’t miss the energy of 1TON on any of the songs. Even the slower ones like “Rain” still feel natural. Exploring Korean punk is difficult with many bands lacking distribution, but 1TON is a band you need to watch now and in the future.