Crayon Pop to Open for Lady Gaga for US Tour
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 20th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Quirky girl group Crayon Pop, which burst onto the scene last year with their weirdly infectious hit, “Bar Bar Bar,” will be the opening act for pop superstar diva Lady Gaga this summer in the United States.

Gaga announced the news via Twitter, saying the winsome quintet will be joining her “Artrave: The Artpop Ball” tour from June 26 to July 22, which includes dates in Boston, Chicago, Houston and ends with two concerts in Los Angeles at the Staples Center.

The group unexpectedly became popular after a long period of grassroots marketing and do-it-yourself public performances. Their initial fan base was middle-aged men. Continue Reading »

Wonder Girls Leader to Become Long-Term Missionary in Haiti
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 20th, 2014
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Sun-ye and husband James Park.

Rumors of an impending breakup of once wildly popular girl group The Wonder Girls hit a fever pitch this week as leader Sun-ye said she plans to serve as a missionary to Haiti for five years.

“My husband and I have decided to spend the next five years in Haiti from this July conducting missionary outreach projects,” she said, in a statement.

Sun-ye said her fellow group members as well as her label, JYP Entertainment, “understand my decision and have given me their full support.” She added, “I hope I can pay them back for all the trust they’ve put in me.”

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March Cover Story: Run River North Chases the Dream
Author: Steve Han
Posted: March 16th, 2014
Filed Under: Back Issues , BLOG , FEATURED ARTICLE , March 2014
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Roots Run Deep For Run River North

The indie rock band’s music and identity find inspiration in its immigrant heritage.

by STEVE HAN

As Daniel Chae tells it, he and his bandmates often liked to jam inside their cars while on their way somewhere. They all lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles, meaning these could be long drives. Lead singer Alex Hwang would start strumming his guitar from the backseat, while the others would start singing and harmonizing. So as they prepared to release their first single in 2012 and were brainstorming of unorthodox—and low-budget—ways to shoot a music video, the idea of performing their song, “Fight to Keep,” inside lead singer-songwriter Hwang’s Honda Fit naturally came up. That’s when Chae said, “Let’s just put drums in the car and actually record it.”

The resulting video shows the musicians, sometimes in the backseat, sometimes in the front, headphones on, Chae and Hwang playing guitar, Sally Kang on tambourine. John Chong, over 6 feet tall, is hunched over in the compact trunk playing the drums, with a small camera strapped to his head. They take turns at the mic, as the car is seen driving around town, including through a McDonald’s drive-thru, and their sound gradually builds—and builds. “Fight to keep the fire burning,” their voices boom to the up-tempo chorus.

Without a label or an album at the time, the band uploaded the video to YouTube, and it also found its way to some unlikely fans: Honda executives.  So impressed by the video, they invited the band to perform for hundreds of Honda employees, only to tell the band members when they arrived that the concert had just been canceled. Continue Reading »

SXSW Hosts More Music From Korea
KoreAm
Author: KoreAm
Posted: March 14th, 2014
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Love x Stereo performs at the Seoulsonic Showcase at SXSW on March 13. Photo via Seoulsonic Facebook page.

by JONATHAN CHA

The Seoulsonic Showcase at Icenhauer’s proved the strength and diversity of Korean music at SXSW in Austin, Texas, on Thursday night.

Smacksoft opened the show with a powerful, “post-punk” punch to the face. One of the early influencers on Korea’s indie scene that lists Bach as an important influence on their “sound that defies easy categorization,” Smacksoft jump started the festivities with Whang Bo Ryung rhythmically rattling everyone at the venue down to the tent covering the stage.

Big Phony fielded a wedding proposal and asked the crowd to buy at least four CDs in his quest for a new guitar while simultaneously charming them with his soulful songs. A definite crowd favorite, many fans traded camera phones as they snapped pictures with the singer long into the night.

Glen Check quickly transformed their set into a raucous dance party as fans grooved to the front of the stage and jumped into the air. Their flying guitars and upbeat energy inspired the crowd to chant for more when it seemed as of they had finished. Continue Reading »

2NE1 in Controversy Over Quran Lyrics
Y. Peter Kang
Author: Y. Peter Kang
Posted: March 13th, 2014
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CL, leader of 2NE1.

Top K-pop girl group 2NE1 is under fire from Muslim groups after it was revealed that one of their songs uses verses taken out of the Quran.

The Korea Muslim Federation demanded that record label YG Entertainment to “swiftly delete” the lyrics in the song “MTBD” or revise the song and make an apology to all Muslims, according to the Chosun Ilbo.

The questionable content consists of an audio sample of children reciting verses from the Quaran, providing background vocals to CL’s rapping. The 8-second snippet is reportedly from Sura 78, Verses 32-34 of the Quran, which describes heaven. Continue Reading »

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