SsingSsing : SsingSsing 

As soon as I start listening to Ssingssing, I stand up taller, breathe better, and walk more briskly – its difficult to not be possessed by these musicians’ energy. These performers are amazing and fearless and present and so on top of everything. The first time I saw and heard them on their TinyDesk video, I felt like I received a glimpse of what it might feel like to arrive at an afterlife. 

75A : 75A 

Sexiest album of 2017, hands down, my goodness. Graye and Oyo are a power duo. They have sexiness carefully blueprinted into every pore of their music, from the tiniest of Graye’s percussive electric shards in “Kinbaku,” to Mijang’s choked and plodding guitar beat in “Blue Room,” to Oyo’s slippery lyrics and vocals in “Taipei” that slowly wrap around you like a serpent. The album also has my favorite lyric of 2017: “My children//God is praying//Drink of it//And wash yourselves.”

Xin Seha : 7F, The Void 

As soon as I turn this album on, I inhale a city night’s steely, sweaty August air, the kind that sinks heavy into your hair as it treads through it, wraps you in a film of sweat, kisses you with smells and sounds from everywhere and anywhere–basically, this album exudes pheromones, which is a success. Xin Seha is an inspiring musician and performer in that he’s always so much of himself, puts his persona front and center in a way that is somehow sincere and inviting as opposed to self-centered. I’ve had many purifying solo dance-sessions at bus stops with this one, and I hope you do too. 

3rd Line Butterfly : Divided By Zero

Going with the afterlife theme, this album is like a purgatory playplace, with No Wave, art-pop, synth-pop, indie-rock all vaporized, intermingled, and bursting confetti in the air you breath. 3rd Line Butterfly has lots of fun in this album, taking on lots of different voices with lots of muscle while still retaining their golden sonic fingerprints: wailing beats and loops, indie-rock anthems that fall apart at the seams, fiery vocal breaks, No Wave jams that hit the ground running and don’t look back – another successful installment in the band’s ever-evolving discography.

Decadent : ㅔ

Decadent’s music is stylistically ALL sprawled out but also somehow so careful, their performances frantic but somehow thrillingly well-tamed, their arrangements packed but somehow so wide and expansive… I don’t know how they do it. Their vocalist is one of the most exciting and acrobatic rock vocalists out there today, and you can hear that he is absolutely in love with the voice.

Silica Gel : SiO2.nH2O

This album is a rapid-fire series of A+’s. Silica Gel work like mad scientists in familiar musical forms and genres. They start out by inviting you to the party with hooks that are instantly likable, then add little syringes of tension with unexpected harmonic resolutions and offset rhythms, hit you with interludes that drip like hot wax, pretzel-tie and taffy-stretch the hooks they started you out on. But don’t worry; you’re always in on the experiment. Silica Gel is good at pacing their musical experiments, at stretching genre and structure norms just far enough until they are on the verge of bursting — it’s sure a thrilling ride rocketing off with Silica Gel towards their kitschy, meme-y space station in the sky! (PSA: watch all their music videos.)

A composer of music myself who has been inspired by Korean indie music for many years, specifically rock, electronic, and experimental music.