After a few requests to continue the previous post on an ongoing basis, I figured, why not? I listen to so much k-pop that I decided to give the public what it wants with more under the radar music that came out this month. And let me tell you something, September was a big month for k-pop releases. Brown Eyed Girls (finally!) made their long-awaited comeback, Brown Eyed Soul‘s Sung Hoon released his first solo album, ‘Lyrics Within My Story‘, and the following acts had me looking forward to what was coming next. So, without further ado, here’s a few (or several) lesser known stuff you need to know!
Acoustic Collabo – “사진”
Acoustic Collabo is a male-female duo that performs simple, acoustic guitar music and they have released their third single called ‘한 여름 밤의 꿈’. On the b-side “사진”, the vocals are stretched and sound sweet and smooth. The background vocals harmonize well, and the guitar playing provides the emotional backing necessary for the song. Though a b-side, “사진” is a fully realized tune, feeling more complete in song structure and musical execution. This track is a clear showing of Acoustic Collabo’s talent as a duo.
B2Lady – “Nobody Knows”
A debut girl group based on vocal prowess, B2Lady is a quartet, each represented on the mini’s cover, though I’m not sure who’s who. On the first full track on ‘Happy Birthday’, “Nobody Knows” opens with a 20 second acapella segment sung entirely in English. This leads to a jazzy/R&B tune that is reminiscent of 90’s R&B group, En Vogue. The vocals are a diamond in the rough; not as good as they can be, but the raw talent is there, and with more work, these ladies can go far on the k-pop vocal scene. The rest of the mini has more jazz influences, but is equally as amazing. Don’t miss their fabulous remake of Peggy Lee’s infamous hit, “Fever”.
Kim Bo Kyung – “아파 (It Hurts)”
Kim Bo Kyung was eliminated from South Korea’s “American Idol” counterpart, “Superstar K2”, but has stayed busy putting her great vocals on OSTs, as well as her debut mini, ‘The First Day’. For her new single, “아파 (It Hurts)” – a burner of a track – Ms. Kim borrows “Because of You” from one of her idols, Kelly Clarkson, and makes it her own. With a voice similar to her idol, Bo Kyung’s singing is powerful and full of feeling. “아파 (It Hurts)” takes Bo Kyung in a different direction from her recent musical projects, going for loud guitars, thundering drums, and sweeping strings. Her new mini, ‘GroWing’ is not to be missed.
Interesting fact: When Kim Bo Kyung heard that Kelly Clarkson was to be a guest judge on “Superstar K2”, she auditioned with “Because of You”. And life comes full circle :)
Monday Kiz – “너를 처음 만난 그때”
Does anyone want a happy, spirit-soaring song? Part of their ‘Nostalgia’ series, Monday Kiz take their trademark vocals and R&B musical style and rev them up for their cover of “너를 처음 만난 그때”. Starting slowly with a guitar and whisper-vocals, more and more layers are added, making for a feel-good vibe that flies higher the more you go along. The trio does not disappoint, going from an intimate setting, to sound like angels from high, with background vocals impeccably placed for the right effect. Very well executed and the right pick-me-up when you’re down in the dumps.
Simon D – “Stay Cool” feat.ZionT
Let’s keep the good times rolling, shall we? Part of hip-hop group Supreme Team, Simon D released a solo single this month that slows down from the fast paced tracks the group is known for. On “Stay Cool”, Simon D puts his rap on a mid-tempo R&B track. Everything here speaks to the title of the song, from the chill instrumentation, to Simon D’s cool style, and Zion T’s delivery. Zion T, an up-and-coming R&B singer, ad-libs throughout the song, adding a smoother feel that compliments Simon D’s delivery. “Stay Cool” is the R&B answer to the feel-good vibe, making you smile without realizing it.
Bye Bye Sea – “바보버스”
I can’t let this post continue without adding at least one rock track. Bye Bye Sea cover this 90’s hit for the fascinating ‘Tribute90’ series for Daum (which everyone needs to take a look at. Their YouTube page is here), adding an electro-rock spin. The band plays melodically and takes advantage of the synth loops to make a dance track. During the beginning of the second verse, there is an almost-reggae section that is too short, feeling out of place, but it is easily forgotten. The chorus will have you singing along to the whoa-oh-oh’s and dancing along to this upbeat song. The ‘Tribute90’ series is a collection of covers of 90’s hits by modern bands, with acts like Urban Zakapa, W&Whale, and Casker. A must listen for those wanting a history lesson of pre-Hallyu Wave k-pop.
Humming Urban Stereo – “D.D.D.” feat Instant Romantic Floor
And one more for the party animals! A relatively unknown band, Humming Urban Stereo is one for the clubs. “D.D.D.” is an electronic remake on the disco genre, with synth-production a mainstay on HUS’ music, adding modern dance elements. The singer’s voice is mousy, creating a dreamy atmosphere that is in contrast to the deeper elements of the production style, the rapping from IRF, and the male vocalist heard throughout. As to what “D.D.D.” means, I have no clue. As if anticipating this, HUS and IRF ask, Do you have a DDD? / Don’t you understand my question? Does it even matter what it means? Nope, because I’ll be cutting a rug to this fun disco track. And for more, take a listen to HUS’ previous single, “i.myss”.
So there you have it! There’s something here for everyone: from dance, rock, R&B and hip-hop. There are plenty of great vocalists and hooks for the pop-lovers, the happy-go-lucky, and even some tear-jerkers. Enjoy! :)
Hi! My name is Xtian, and I’m a total pop music whore. I’m from NYC and can be seen dancing in the streets with headphones permanently glued to my ears. I may not have had a musical background, but I’m a lover of all things music, so I’m excited to be bringing a new voice to the McRoth’s funhouse. Y’all can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or better yet, follow me on twitter, where I do most of my social media-ing, @drowningn00b. See y’all lataz!