Seoul’s music scene
There’s a lot going on in the music scene in Seoul that people miss.
A push going on right now amongst musicians is to get out of Hongdae. The reasons are varied. Many would go to the common cry of our generation: gentrification. Too many corporations now go there to try to prove how hip they are, and it doesn't sit right in an artistic scene. Some sounds are tickling a tired spot in fans as well.
The best places to find new sounds are away from Hongdae. Take in a new hood, a live show in Union (Itaewon), Ccott Dang (Itaewon), Jeonju Salon (Yongsan), Lowrise (Mullae), and the new DIY venue POWWOW! designed by Open Your Eyes x Super Color Super in the old Laughing Tree Lab (Noksapyeong) space.
Don’t just read this; check out one of these bands or venues for yourself. Let’s see what we can dig up now, shall we?
Hell-bent, tongue-in-cheek grindcore. Very fast, heavy and loud, some songs time-in at under 20 seconds. They sometimes dress up in Korean police uniforms with pro-President Lee Myung-bak and Swastika markings. When I saw them last, the drummer asked between songs: “Who likes soccer?” The crowd answered “YEAH!” and the drummer barked “FUCK YOU I HATE SOCCER,” before breaking into a thrashy song. Oh, and they had an ironic powerpoint presentation about politics, too.
Online: http://www.myspace.com/bamseom and look them up on YouTube.
This is some scrilly-willy multi-genre stuff. A quilting-together of soft singing, hip hop freestyling, punky guitar beats and handheld percussion. WeDance are reminiscent of Cibo Matto.
Online: http://wedance.co.kr and look them up on YouTube.
Kuang Program’s drums and rocky guitar play along with glitchy sample and electronic bits. The guitarist is really bouncy and kicky. He gets a good garage, shreddy tone to de-dorkulate the electronic aspects.
This two-piece is good for fans of Album Leaf, Interpol, old m83 and big rusty machines that don’t work (the latter is not a band).
Online: http://soundcloud.com/kuangprogram and find them on YouTube.
They’ve been around awhile, but aren’t really up in people’s faces like they should be, even though they are very unique. Using traditional Korean instruments such as gayagyem and haeguem with a guitar, they make heavy folk post-rock. Epic explosions of guitar distortion balance the pluck and squeal of traditional Korean sounds.
Online: www.myspace.com/jambinai and look them up on YouTube.
Recommended live music venues
You can find these and other indie bands regulary performing in the next venues. For more information about roster and/or schedule contact the venue directly
Directions: Noksapyung Station Exit 2
B1, 559 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Address: 72-1, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 14-863
Directions: Hangangjin Station Exit 3
683-1 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea
Directions: Line No. 1, Yongsan Station, Exit 3
Yongsan-gu, Hangangro-3-ga 16-9 Jeonja Land, New Building, Number 34
Directions: Munrae Station exit 7
Address: Munrae-dong 3-ga 58-77, 3rd floor, Seoul, Korea 150-768