Wednesday, March 30, 2011

K-Pop Round up: March Madness

No IU in this post, but this is the only k-pop & basketball photo I could find

As the end of the month arrives, I realize that I have written very little about k-pop this month. Not a lot caught my attention this month, to be honest. I did have a few releases I wanted to talk about, so here we go! This month's post features Handsome People, Kim Hyung Joon, Girls' Day, 4minute, Geeks, CNBlue, Infinite, ZE:A, U-Kiss, Orange Caramel and more. Only one link per artist this time, so the playlist will be short(er).

Here's a playlist with my favorite songs off these releases if you want to listen as you read, or just have a soundtrack for your day:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Siji Wants You To "Ijo"

And at long last, I'm bringing back some Nigerian music to this blog. For those of you who don't know, I am Nigerian - and I have seriously been sleeping on the music scene of my homeland. Granted, it hasn't suited my tastes as of late, but every now and then I find a track I enjoy. Here's one of them: New York-based soul/indie artist Siji just dropped the video for his new song, "Ijo" which means "dance" in Yoruba, his native language (one of the three most widely-spoken indigenous languages in Nigeria, though there are up to 150 languages and dialects native to our country. Oh, and our official language is English.) The video depicts a casting call for dancers, featuring some Nigerian celebrity cameos and some hot dance moves. If you ever wondered how we get down in Africa, here's your chance to see it, coming to you straight from Lagos:

SIJI - 'Ijo'(Official Video) from SIJI on Vimeo.

The song is a departure for Siji's usual mellow, acoustic soul sound - it's uptempo, funky and electro, almost like a fuji-house mashup. I've recently become a dance music head, so I'm definitely feeling it. One thing I love about Nigerian music is the simplistic approach that they take to production: you don't need to have a packed soundscape or throw in a crapton of effects and instruments, as we often see in American and Korean-style pop production - sometimes the music just needs breathing space so that it can really get down.

I'm gonnat try to diversify my posts from now on, and bring you more music from other countries to make this a truly global pop culture blog. Stay tuned!

(via MTV Iggy)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Mimi Sisters Rock Out on Their Debut EP

I found a new group!!! Usually new music discoveries aren’t that exciting because I always get them on the recommendation of other people, e.g. McRoth, but this time I found one on my own! And they are all kinds of awesome! Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you... The Mimi Sisters!

If you're familiar with the indie band Jang Kiha and Faces (a band I’ve been meaning to check out), you'll recognize them as the band’s back up dancers/ singers. They have an interesting concept that centers around them dressing in 60s-style clothes, wearing matching wigs and dark shades and being completely expressionless. They do this even when they’re not performing, which apparently got them in trouble with Korean diva Insooni a while back (link via Indieful ROK). It’s an interesting concept exemplary of the quirks the band seems to hide under an unassuming indie surface – check out this performance below to see what I mean:

Anyway, so it seems the girls have gone solo (duo?) and are starting to put out their own music. I probably wouldn’t have come across this EP if I hadn’t seen the album cover on Soribada’s front page and been intrigued by the artwork and the name of the band. Rarely ever does good cover art correspond to good music, so I got lucky this time. I’m Sorry… But It’ll Be A Legend is very different from the lo-fi indie stylings of Jang Kiha and Faces. They come at you hard with crazy hazy rock music that makes them sound like a cross between The Raveonettes and The Donnas with touches of 60s rock and pop.  Anyway, here’s their debut MV for the song "다이너마이트 소녀 (Dynamite Girl)" - you can see the Sisters Midori and Miyeok rocking out on guitar and bass with  Du Seon-hwa (I think?) on drums.

After doing some digging, I found out that the album was a collaboration between the sisters and a bunch of indie music vets. In particular, the producer on the album is Yohei Hasegawa of the Kim Chang-wan Band. He used to play for Gopjang Jeonggol, a Korean band that does covers of Korean rock songs from the 60s and 70s, - basically he's a connosieur of classic rock. According to this article (and what I understand of it through Google Translate *facepalm*), he worked with the Sisters to embed  sounds from different time periods into the album - mid-70's soul, psychedelic rock from the late 60s, 60s surf rock and mid-90s grunge/punk rock. They've done a great job of it if you ask me: every track is a new, fun experience. My personal favorite is “우주여행 (Space Travel)”, – it’s actually sounds like you’re taking a ride back in time to the 60s and then into outer space. It’s 16 minutes long (!) but totally worth the time, especially as they perform it with Seoul Electric Band, another awesome indie band I only recently came across.

The Mimi Sisters are followable on Twitter, and you can also check out their Cyworld page. And if you like what you hear, buy the album!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Let's Hear It For the Boy( Band)s! Big Bang's Comeback and Related Thoughts

I'm sure you're all aware of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan late last night US Eastern Time. Please keep the victims of the disaster in your thoughts and prayers. I hope any readers in Japan are staying safe and that everyone has managed to locate family and friends affected by the quake. For ways you can help, click here.

Greetings from beyond the void, and Happy March! I'm going to start off this month's blog posts with some thoughts about Korean boy bands. I talk a lot about girl groups because I'm interested in representations of women in pop culture, but I'm actually a huge fan of the boy bands. So much so that I can't really pick a favorite - each have their own appeal for me. I'll get into that later, but for now, let's start off with my thoughts on Big Bang's comeback.