Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Krock 2: The Black Skirts

How'd I go 11 months without hearing or caring about Korean rock and roll? Maybe it was the kimchi and the incessant Kpop blasting out of every store's speakers. Maybe it was that, the new Black Keys record, and the Wipers that sated me so much that there was no energy left over to delve into Krock. Maybe. As the calendar ticks ever closer to marking One Year In Korea, it's time to make amends and get back to the rock and roll. The Kpop is good--only Amy Winehouse and her '50s/60s pop ilk are better for instant bliss pop tunes--but it doesn't deliver the goods the way rock and roll can. The first year has brought forth many pop gems (see below) and while I look forward to hearing many more, the rock's probably going to played more often.

Here's another round of Korean rock (and pop) for you:

검정치마 / The Black Skirts
The Korean name is pronounced "Geom Chung Chi Ma" and they're Holiday Cho's one-man band. According to Korea's Groove Magazine, he writes and sings melodic songs that carry a strong punk influence. I've only started recently listening to him and have been enjoying what's available on Youtube. He doesn't seem to too much punk in his sound based on the songs heard so far, but The Skirts don't disappoint on the melodies: every track has a strong and hummable hook to it. One of my students, a bookish music fan named Min-jun, saw their show at the Jisan Rock Festival and he said they were good. He also recommended that I listen to the first two songs here.

"International Love Song" - A midtempo guitar hook and a pleading vocal. The guitar riffs keep this from becoming another cliche. Lovely stuff.

"Antifreeze" Good synth hook here. Listen for the drums toward the end.

"좋아해줘" (Jo ah hae jweo)

[Edit: 조휴일 is the man who records under the Black Skirts name. I don't know the song's title. I'd erroneously thought his name was the song's title because that's what came up on the YouTube heading. Apologies.]
Last but not least, a bouncy ditty. It's notable for having a few words and phrases that I can understand, though not everything's translatable yet. Anyone know the title?

"아침식사" (Achim shisa) The title translates to "morning meal," which is what Koreans call breakfast. The bounce continues.

"기사도" (Gi sa do) Here's where the punk comes in, but only as far as punk means distorted guitars and driving beats, so this is more Buzzcocks than GBH for those of you who know your British punk bands. This sound and the previous one come from the album Don't Worry, Baby (I'm Only Swimming)

If any of you out there know of any more good Krock, don't hesitate to leave some recommendations. Cheers.

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