While Korean rock music has largely been overshadowed by the vibrant world of K-pop idols and the burgeoning mainstream Korean hip-hop scene in recent years, that doesn’t mean the genre has little to offer by comparison. In fact, there are many hidden (and also not-so-hidden) gems to be found in Korean rock, some of which have slowly but surely gained popularity both domestically and internationally. Will K-Rock Ever Overtake K-Pop? Seems unlikely. Still, if you don’t listen to Korean rock bands, you are missing out. Read on to find some bands that are must-haves for new and die-hard K-rock fans alike.
Please also note that while I like bands like DAY6, The Rose, N.Flying etc, I have instead highlighted groups that are a little further from the K-pop scene. You shouldn’t sleep in one of the mainstream or idol-like bands either, because they’re just as fantastic as the ones I recorded here.
SURL, winner of the Shinhan Card Rookie Award 2018, has quickly carved out a place in the Korean rock scene in recent years and SURL is sure to continue to charm listeners near and far for the coming with its catchy songs, outstanding musicality and overwhelming talent Years. I mean, how can you not be mesmerized by the way the beautiful melodic guitar lines blend in seamlessly with the singer’s warm vocals? Plus, SURL knows a thing or two about building inventive music videos.
Would a K-rock list be complete without Nell and her dark, often psychedelic sound? Even if you’re not familiar with this band, there’s a good chance you’ve heard at least one of their songs: “Time spent going through memories“That has been featured by numerous K-pop idols, including Doyoung from NCT, Sunggyu from INFINITE and Taeyeon from Girls’ Generation. This critically acclaimed group has been credited with playing an essential role in shaping the Korean rock genre. Many other rock artists have cited Nell as a source of musical inspiration and influence.
Jaurim is an alternative rock band with over two decades of experience and a clear preference for artists like The Cranberries and Alanis Morissette. Though criticized for being non-original when they first began to cement themselves in the Korean rock world, they have long since developed a breadth and depth in their music that, while still very reminiscent of external sources, is somehow unique to Jaurim.
O.O.O (which stands for Out of Office) is an indie band with a lot of character and a distinctive sound, which makes them one of my personal favorites. I love O.O.O especially for their lead guitarist’s phenomenal riffs which he always makes look so effortless. Plus, you can’t help but be drawn in by O.O.O’s rich vocals, especially when it comes to the band’s softer, more thoughtful tracks, such as:Drunk again. ”
Hyukoh may be a rock band, but their music wouldn’t be described as just rock. Since the members enjoy all kinds of music, they often mix and match elements from different genres to create novel soundscapes, with a focus on what they want to do themselves – not necessarily what the masses will like. While it’s difficult to precisely characterize their sound, I can say that many of Hyukoh’s songs have a relaxed, dreamy feel that might lull you into a deep sleep.
What do you do when you want to listen to rock music but feel like you’re living the most heartbreaking part of a K-drama? Of course, listen to some buzz. Known for its emotional rock ballads, Buzz was one of the first rock bands to gain widespread popularity in Korea in the mid-2000s, delivering a string of hits that became a karaoke staple at the time. Listen to one of their songs and you will quickly understand why it is difficult not to want to try to sing how Min Kyung Hoonwhose passionate voice is sure to captivate most of the audience.
Bursters are a metalcore band which means that you can expect heavy instruments and lots of screaming in most of their songs. While this style isn’t for everyone, it can’t be denied that it gives the band’s songs and lyrics a certain emotional depth that wouldn’t otherwise be there. That said, Bursters have some great slower, more ballad-like songs that those of you who don’t scream a lot may still enjoy, such as:Wherever you are. ”
Not to be confused with Korean hip-hop artist Huckleberry P, Huckleberry Finn is an indie band that has been on stage since the late 1990s. Classic rock fans may appreciate the band’s early works, which have a decidedly old-fashioned sound, while those who like a more modern sound will likely prefer their latest albums. Personally, I hope they continue the atmospheric post-rock path that their last album followed.
Regardless of whether it is an optimistic or a milder track, you can always count on Dasutt to deliver. Dasutt is really one of the best when it comes to producing groovy feel-good rock songs, which has to do with their melodic guitar motifs and soft, velvety vocals. If you are a Hyukoh fan you will likely enjoy Dasutt’s music too, given the bands’ similar singing styles and musical ideologies.
The way in which Guckkasten’s singer (Ha Hyun Woo) plays high notes so powerfully and clearly will always amaze me. And while Ha Hyun Woo’s strong, full voice alone is enough to set this band apart from many others, Guckkasten’s energy and passion don’t stop with hearing. They also like to play with bright, psychedelic imagery and funny, sometimes quirky creepy images that take their music to an even higher level.
Which Korean rock bands do you recommend?
see is a software engineer by day and an avid K-pop concert-goer at night. Occasionally she also appears on Twitter (@_seheee).
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