Best Tracks of 2014
selected by Joonoo Park from Weiv

Amado Lee Jaram Band
“Naeui Gananeun”

Lee Jaram, the leader of Amado Lee Jaram Band (아마도이자람밴드, meaning Maybe Lee Jaram Band), studied Pansori singing and you can hear that education in her vocals.

On the band’s latest release, “Crazy Vagabond”, all of the lyrics come from Korean poet Cheon Sang-Byeong’s works – including “Naeui Gananeun” (나의 가난은), which could be translated as “My Poverty”.

Amado Lee Jaram Band on Facebook, Twitter.

Chaboom (차붐)
“Ansan Noir” (안산 느와르)

“Ansan Noir” is the first single off the Chaboom’s first album, “Original”. His lyrics are filled with the language of daily life, including some fine examples of Korean slangs.

Ansan is satellite city/suburb of Seoul. Even if you can’t catch what Chaboom exactly means, I guess you will be able to feel Korean street behind “Ansan Noir”.

Chaboom on Soundcloud.

Choi Gonne (최고은)

Choi Gonne’s music is travelling the world and she herself appeared at 2014 Glastonbury Festival. Choi usually writes lyrics in English, and she has studied Korean singing method called Pansori. But she stopped learning and started making songs instead.

Absorbing folk, pop, rock and various other genres and themes, she has developed her very own method.

Choi Gonne on www, Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.

Danpyunsun and the Sailors
“공 Ball”

Psychedelic folk band Danpyunsun and the Sailors’ first album “Animal” appeared on many media’s year-end lists.

It’s not only about the vocals of the group’s leader, Danpyunsun, but also the sessions musicians – the Sailors. Together they mix local folk, Korean pop songs and Western indie music.

Danpyunsun on Soundcloud, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook.

Graye (그레이)

Graye is an electronic artist from Gunsan on the western coast of Korea, a middle-sized city facing the sea. It also has a future-oriented electronic scene, including the crew Addvaluer.

Graye is one of those future-oriented artists from the so-called “beat scene”, who lead the Korean scene in its way to modern sound based on electronic beats and textures.

Graye on www, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

Jerry.k feat. Jeong Cha Shik
“Meonji Sain Guitar”

Jerry.k (제리케이) is an independent rapper who has his own label. He’s graduated from a prestigious university – he already played music when he was a student – and got into a major company. But he quit the company and restarted his music career, focusing on social issues.

Jeong Cha Shik (정차식) is a dignified Korean singer known from the band Rainy Sun and solo albums depicting Korean men, including himself. In the new song the’ve made together they tell a story about workers who give up music to make their living. Its title “Meonji Sain Guitar”(먼지 쌓인 기타) means “Dust Covered Guitar”.

Jerry.k on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud, Tumblr. Jeong Cha Shik on Facebook, Bandcamp.

Kirin (기린 )
“Yojeum sedae yeonae bangsik”

Kirin is a South Korean singer/rapper associated with the New Jack Swing, a style that became popular in the late 80s and 90s. In Korea, it was put on the map by the hip hop group Deux.

In “Yojeum sedae yeonae bangsik” (요즘세대연애방식), meaning “This Generation’s Way of Love”, Kirin catches this genre and reinterprets it into his own style with not forgetting about the sense of humor.

Kirin on YouTube, Facebook.

Loro’s (로로스)

“U” is the single from the 2nd album from Loro’s called “W.A.N.D.Y”. The record was released after 6 years, because of member’s military service and other projects. Loro’s post-rock music has its own ambience and imaging.

It’s not only their cello/string sound and the band’s affinity to noise, but also because of their compositions and full control over emotions. On “W.A.N.D.Y.”, Loro’s music is brighter and bigger than first album. This song is a proof.

Loro’s on Facebook, Twitter.

Lucite Tokki (루사이트 토끼)
“Let Me Dance”

Lucite Tokki is a Seoul-based pop duo formed in 2005. When they debuted, the duo presented warm vocals and acoustic sound. But since 2012, their music has become more danceable and closer to dream pop, and lyrics more direct.

This video comes from the movie “Frances Ha”. Interesting thing is, the main characters in the movie are of similar age, and are good old friends – just like Lucite Tokki.

Lucite Tokki on www, Facebook, Tumblr.

Min Chae (민채)

Korean jazz-pop vocalist Min Chae (민채) has debuted quite late and “Rain” is the first single off her first LP released in April 2014.

A female crooner, Min Chae sings about love and – in the case of “Rain” – a break up with a boyfriend. Although the lyrics may be sorrowful, her calm voice makes the song only sentimental.

Min Chae on Facebook.

Neon Bunny (야광토끼)
“It’s You” (너여야)

Neon Bunny (야광토끼) started her career as the keyboardist of indie band The Black Skirts. In 2011 she turned solo though releasing an electropop debut album and later an EP.

Her single “It’s You” (너여야) offers simple lyrics in the mood of love and a clubby beat delivered by DJ Demicat, which resulted in one of the best 2014 songs not only in the South Korean music scene.

Neon Bunny on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Twitter, Facebook.

PingNPong (핑앤퐁)

Two-man project PingNPong consists of the producer/beatmaker Viann and art director Rarebirth. They release their works periodically and always for free – while keeping best quality at the same time.

In the Korean indie scene, beat/electronic music is gradually getting more and more attention, and Viann is one of the most recommended artist.

PingNPong on Soundcloud, Instagram, YouTube.

Ska Wakers (스카웨이커스)

8-year-old Korean ska/reggae band Ska Wakers released their first LP “Riddim of Revolt” recently. “Firebomb” perfectly shows their teamwork and the variety of sounds and instruments they employ.

This song is just like the most energetic and powerful ska songs you know very well, but they have hidden a message in the music video as they do at their performances. “Stop Nuclear Power”.

Ska Wakers on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Naver.

Unchained (체인드)
“Porcupine” (호저)

Seoul is not the only music scene in South Korea. Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, has been known for heavy music. Formed in 2001, Unchained (체인드) have been a vital part of the Busan’s landscape with their music inspired by Seattle grunge bands like Alice In Chain and Soundgarden.

The idea for “Porcupine” (호저) comes from “Porcupine’s Dilemma” by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. The songs appears on the band’s new album “Thorn” (가시), which describes relationships, conflicts and inner weaknesses – but Unchained’s preserves energy and a local color.

Unchained on Facebook, Twitter.