Self-titled Slumberland Records
After the appearance in Seoul on February 21st of indie up-and-comers The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, it behooves us to add another of that band’s stablemates to this month’s review mix. While not quite as brashly dynamic as The Pains, the U.K.’s Veronica Falls scores with emotive, often darkly reflective lyrical explorations that better showcase the more sober and less jangly side of indie pop. This debut release, built on a few years of catchy, well-received singles, completes the band’s journey to the alt-plateau. The tunes, all of which point the way down a newer path of Brit indie music, contain a distinctly similar lyrical feel, but a couple – most notably “Bad Feeling” and “Beachy Head” – rev up the mood enough to satisfy even more. Regardless of the pervasively somber tone, Veronica Falls works: not so much like a dose of fresh air, but akin to the negative ion buildup before a storm – where you can’t wait to feel what comes next.
Oh, Great City Roundkid Records
Even more notable indie music to throw your way and help kickstart spring in the ROK. Future Ghosts, a great new addition to the alt. stable, are a rock quartet from Greensboro, NC (not to be confused with a quintet from Chicago of the same name) who have opened more than a few eyes – and ears – with this powerful contemporary blast that evokes aural and lyrical comparisons to bands like Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, and Jet Black Berries. While only a 7-song effort, this album packs a powerful punch in every tune, from the invigorating stride of “Spotless,” through the guitar attack that drives “Distiller,” to the wonderfully expressive piano that paves the way for the alt.rock mélange of “It Was the Pilot.” Future Ghosts display a musical maturity and sensibility that many of their contemporaries can only dream of. Essential listening to accompany the spring blooming, even here in Korea!
Words by Michael Berry
Touch, JYP Entertainment
It was only a matter of time before American producer Skrillex hit the shores of South Korea. His bass-heavy, screeching version of electro house that often masquerades under the term “dubstep” already influenced Big Bang’s Taeyang and now it serves as the powerhouse behind Miss A’s new mini album Touch. With nary a track missing a stylized punctuation of distorted drum patterns, Miss A’s mini album trades sentiment for a hyperphonic mix of pop and house. This 8-bit disco plays a large role in making Miss A’s sound unlike past efforts, blending catchy tunes of independence with subtle sonic furniture, from underlying bass lines to whole record-scratching bridges, a treasure hunt for audiophiles and casual fans alike. While exceeding expectations, Touch may rely too heavily on an already expired genre; but what it lacks in innovation, it makes up for in being one of the few to experiment so successfully without simply
Words by Anna Orzel