It’s already been four years since I arrived in Seoul for my study abroad program (am I that old already?) I was excited and ready to wander the city. It’s a good thing I did, because that’s how I discovered Hongdae. Hongdae is a very small neighborhood surrounding the artsy Hongik University; the site of Korea’s first punk band Crying Nut and where Korean indie music has lived for the past twenty-some years. The whole area surrounding Hongdae is in fact a hotspot for young people, as the nearby Yonsei University, Sogang University, and Ehwa Women’s University bring in more students and their college-aged friends.
Each year here at Michigan State, the Korean Student Organization puts on the Grand River Gayoje. Roughly meaning “song festival,” the Gayoje is a sort of talent show for local students to show off their musical talent, and a chance for the local community to enjoy some Korean pop culture. Performances range from the hottest K-pop dance hits to heartfelt ballads, and the KSO members themselves usually provide some entertainment as well.
This year’s Gayoje will be at the Pasant Theatre at the Wharton Center and is on Saturday, April 7th, 2012. Our very own Asian Invasion host Danny will be performing again, and I can’t wait to see his performance! Tune into the Asian Invasion tonight from 8 – 10 PM for your chance to win tickets to the Gayoje!
Jay Park, formerly known as Park Jaebeom of 2PM, just released New Breed, his first full-length studio album as a solo artist. New Breed is more than just a debut as a solo artist; it’s a symbol of all the hardships of being a K-pop artist in the spotlight, and Park’s personal expression.
After training hard for years, JYP Entertainment debuted brother groups 2PM and 2AM in September of 2008. 2PM was always the flashier, dance-driven group while 2AM focused on ballads, bringing 2PM into the spotlight and into the hearts of millions of tween girls around the world.
It was interesting to see my co-host Danny’s picks for the Top 10 K-Pop songs of 2011. I’d only met him last spring, scouting him out at KSO’s annual Korean “Gayoje” song festival, but in the several months that we’ve been hosting the Asian Invasion together, I’ve come to have a better understanding of his taste in music. Just as I was this year and probably will continue to be a sucker for sugary-sweet bubblegum pop (Hyuna’s “Bubble Pop!” was my #1 song), Danny seems to be a sucker for catchy hip-hop and fierce female vocalists.
Have a look yourself; it will be a completely different view of 2011 than my own, (with the exception of Sistar19′s “Ma Boy” and 2PM’s “Hands Up,” which made it onto both of our lists).
10] Phantom – “Hole In Your Face”
Phantom made it in time before the year ended, and they sure left quite an impression.
Each year here at WDBM, the station staff votes for our favorite songs of the past year. I love year-end lists, and usually have no trouble contributing my votes, however when I looked at the hundreds of songs that have been added to The Impact’s daily rotation in the past year, I couldn’t find more than a few songs that I had even heard.
Sure, I’ve become somewhat discouraged with indie music – how can you not with band names like “Girls,” “Boat,” “Yuck,” or “Wire?” But this isn’t to say that indie rock isn’t good enough; it’s simply that in 2011, K-pop has become more relevant than ever. I’ve been immersed in it completely, and it’s highly addictive. If you’ve heard about the Korean Wave or K-pop and are wondering what it’s all about, keep reading. If you are more into indie music and would rather die than listen to pop music, KEEP READING.
Last night was my first time seeing Melt Banana live. Although fellow Asian Invasion co-host Danny and I had interviewed front-woman Yako about their current American tour, and had been listening to their music we really didn’t know what to expect. Melt Banana’s studio albums are certainly not for everyone, but with a record of sharing the bill with such artists as Slipknot, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Le Tigre, and Tool, I was really interested to see what the live show would be like.
When I arrived at Mac’s Bar, the parking lot was packed and cars were spilling out into lots of surrounding businesses, or any sort of pavement that resembled a parking lot. We took our spots near the front to get a good view of the band, but were completely unprepared for what was about to happen.
Japanese punk/noise-rock/experimental band Melt Banana are currently on their 2011 Lost & Found: NekoNeko Tour in the US and Canada, they’ll be stopping right here in Lansing at Mac’s Bar on E. Michigan Avenue this Thursday, October 20. The show is 18+ and Fisherking and the Plurals will be opening.
If you missed the interview with Yasuko Onuki aka Yako of Melt Banana on last night’s Asian Invasion, you can hear the whole thing here!
Elise Yoon: WDBM East Lansing: You’re listening to the Asian Invasion, Elise here with Danny, and we’re talking with Yako, founding member of Melt Banana from Tokyo and they’re currently on the Lost and Found: NekoNeko Tour here in the US. So, how’s the tour been going so far?
Yako Onuki: Very well, so far we are doing very well
The Impact will be presenting the Frontier Ruckus show at the Loft in downtown Lansing Saturday night! Doors open at 8:00 PM and if you find someone with an Impact shirt, say “WDBM” to get a prize while supplies last!
Get your tickets at Fusion Shows or at the door, but this show is likely to sell out!
We’ll see you there!
If you’ve been listening to the Asian Invasion you might have heard me mention ShutoCon, an anime convention that will be at the Lansing Center Friday and Saturday March 25 – 26, 2011. This year, ShutoCon will be accepting donations that will go to the Red Cross for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief efforts at the convention registration desk. You can also donate to Japan relief through the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org. Whether you’re a fan of Japanese culture or not, this is a great cause!