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Wednesday
Mar122014

The Huffington Post : SXSW Lady Gaga Does K-Pop, Coldplay Does iTunes, Bieber Doesn't Leave

SXSW was once known as indie-rock spring break. It's still spring break, but it doesn't feel so indie. At least not on the first night of the 28th edition of Austin, Texas' sprawling South by Southwest festival.

Though the inteGaga does K-Popractive and film streams of the festival had been going strong since last Friday, attracting everyone from Edward Snowden and Seth Rogan to Chelsea Clinton and George Takei, SXSW's original raison d'etre, music, finally erupted in full on Tuesday.

In fact, even the last major Interactive speaker was Neil Young, talking about his new high-res music player and digital store, Pono.

Lady Gaga, who will be SXSW's keynote speaker as well as performing at a small (for her) show on Thursday night, made an appearance at a packed K-Pop showcase, and stayed for a couple hours, even going to the bar to fetch her own drinks.

Perhaps she felt comfortable because, unlike her previous night's appearance at a Vice/AT&T party, she wasn't surrounded by incessant selfie-takers. Where else could Gaga have gone, anyway, where she wasn't the star attraction?

K-Pop may be a niche here in North America, Psy aside, but these acts are arena-filled back in Korea and the crowd was way more star-struck by the likes of mega pop star HyunA, EDM badasses Idiotape and Jay Park, who is basically the Korean Bieber but a way better rapper. (He even got shirtless by the end of his much-shrieked set.)

HyunA @ 2014 SXSW KPop Night Out

Oh, and the Canadian Bieber was still around, too, lighting up twitter as he showed up at Media Temple's SXSW Interactive closing party celebrating Def Jam's 30th anniversary, alongside Kanye and Jay-Z. The latter two are playing their own small show tonight, while Kanye will doing an even smaller solo gig on Friday. You can thank Samsung and Yahoo, respectively, for those. And Doritos for bringing in Gaga.

Oh, and iTunes for bringing in Coldplay. (In fact, the iTunes side-festival will be going all week, bringing in everyone from Kendrick Lamar and Soundgarden to, ugh, Pitbull and, yay, Willie Nelson.) Chris Martin and company made some news by playing two new songs from their upcoming album "Ghost Stories" -- "Always In My Head" and "Another's Arms."

Yep, the superstars are sucking up most of the oxygen so far, but the festival has five more days to go and plenty of time for breakouts. After all, barely anyone knew Icona Pop and Haim when they first played here last year and that worked out pretty well even with Justin Timberlake and Green Day holding court.

By Joshua Ostraff (Senior Editor of The Huffington Post Canada)


2014 KOCCA KPop Night Out Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x SK Planet/SL Communications
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (Jay Park)




Wednesday
Mar122014

Austin360 : SXSW: K-Pop Night Out thrills diverse capacity crowd



K-Pop fans, including Jackie Sue Guana, center with purple hair, filled Elysium to capacity on Tuesday night. (Photo by Erin J. Walter)
South by Southwest's annual K-Pop night filled to capacity from the start—and for good reason. Fans of Korean pop and rock music wait for this night all year.

As the line in front of Elysium stretched past the club, four-piece band NELL unleashed swirling rock to cheers of a young, diverse but predominantly Asian-American crowd. The group's last song bore a striking resemblance to Faith No More's "Epic," sans vocals, and indeed, ended NELL's set on an epic note, with fans screaming for guitar picks and sprays of water.

Hollow Jan followed, hailed as Korea's "one and only screamo band." Some members of the audience spoke and understood Korean, responding to the performers stage banter, but even those with a language barrier had no trouble experiencing the emotions of the music.

"It's universal," said Jackie Sue Guana, 26, of Austin. "The K-Pop community is growing — it's awesome."

Guana DJs an occasional K-Pop night at Elysium and attended the SXSW showcase with regulars and friends from a local K-Pop DJ collective Demographics, which she helped start after struggling to find K-Pop in Austin clubs.

"We call it Demographics for a reason," she said. "It's not just Koreans. I'm Hispanic. It's very diverse—K-Pop is for everybody."

Many fans said they were most excited to see the night's final two performers, Jay Park and HyunA, who were going on early Wednesday. The line was still one-out, one-in on Red River as Jay Park prepared to take the stage at 12:30 a.m.

"K-Pop music is very different from American pop," Guana said. "There's the cultural aspect. You may not understand the language but you're learning something new. The fashions are cute, of course, but it's all just so fun and uplifting. It makes you happy."

In the wee hours Wednesday, Twitter was abuzz that American pop star and SXSW keynote speaker Lady Gaga had been in the audience for the K-Pop headliners.

By Erin J. Walter


2014 KOCCA KPop Night Out Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x SK Planet/SL Communications
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (Jay Park)

Wednesday
Mar122014

Los Angeles Times : SXSW 2014 -- A late night of K-pop, pure noise, 50 Cent and Lady Gaga

The band Caught a Ghost performing at Buffalo Billiards in Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest festival. (August Brown)

AUSTIN, Texas — The state is known for its stalwart independent streak, but on the first night of music at South by Southwest, Austin was a place for the world to mingle.

From L.A. buzz bands to K-pop superstars and pop-rap titans, Tuesday's late-night lineup proved that, for all the worries that SXSW has become a targeted-marketing snake eating its own hashtagged-and-branded tail, there really isn't a better mile of live music in America than what's happening this week.

Our estimable hometown was well represented Tuesday night. Current Echo residents James Supercave started its set at Empire Control Room with a half-full venue and a meticulous but very slow-burning set of '70s art-pop-laced indie. But by the time the band got around to a more punk-funky and populist portion of the set, Joaquin Pastor's vocals got looser and more invigorating,and the crowds on the street streamed in accordingly. The band doesn't have an obvious standout song yet, but it had charisma and precision in spades, and came out of its set with the room of newcomers thoroughly won over.

The same went for the L.A. neo-R&B combo Caught a Ghost at Buffalo Billiards. There's no shortage of young acts with great suits mining the Stax era for inspiration right now. But Caught a Ghost simply writes better songs than most and plays them with more confidence and camaraderie. The dual-frontperson team of Jesse Nolan and Tessa Thompson traded leads and harmonies with the affectionate chemistry of a '40s screwball comedy couple. While they they're rooted in revivalist timbre of peers such as Nick Waterhouse and Mayer Hawthorne, little electro flourishes and a focus on songwriting substance over era-specific style set them apart (and their debut album "Human Nature" should be a marquee local release of 2014).

We did our level best to make it into the 50 Cent showcase just across the freeway at the 1100 Warehouse in East Austin. While the stutter-step swagger of "I Get Money" sounded reliably rousing from outside, it turns out the mainstream interest in 50 Cent is actually far greater than his recent move off Interscope and to an indie might suggest, and we got stonewalled at the door in a mess of a line. If 50 can actually pull off an indie reinvention, it'll be one of the more inspiring stories of recent rap. To judge by the response outside the warehouse, it sounds like he's off to a decent start of it.

Back across the highway at Elysium, the K-pop Night Out showcase was one of the club-circuit's hotter tickets. Someone who looked an awful lot like Lady Gaga was thronged by an entourage during rapper-singer Jay Park's set (Gaga is set to perform and give a keynote later this week). That's probably no accident, as SXSW has gotten friendlier to pop stars, the hallyu wave has gotten weirder in a way that perfectly coincides with the original missions of the festival — exposing all sorts of progressive new artists from everywhere on Earth.

Park isn't quite the genre-exploding sensation of a peer like G-Dragon, but he capably splits the difference between fizzy K-pop dance cuts and more lascivious, deep-bending modern hip-hop. Park was raised in Seattle but came into K-pop fame as a leader of the boy band 2PM. As a solo artist, his music veers from the nihilistic trap influences suggested by his full torso-tattoos to the pop-trance jams of singles like "I Like 2 Party," which sound incompatible but work together under the crazy umbrella of modern K-pop. He's a gifted MC, and as the genre evolves and figures out its next sonic palette, he's got the chops to take K-pop to new places.

The K-pop singer Hyuna embodies where the music of South Korea is now — a candy-spattered and increasingly progressive strain of pop whose bright harmonies and dance-centric appeal is enough to put Gaga on notice. Hyuna's "Bubble Pop" was an early K-pop favorite, and justifiably — it sports one of teenpop's finest recent choruses in any language. But the very polyglot crowd at her short but packed-out showcase implied that K-pop has crossed the finish line into an established genre in America, and her bemused, sassy and urbane presence should keep her at the forefront of it (even if her set looked like it was almost entirely lip-synced, which is standard protocol for much pop anyway). 

Is there any better band for a 1:20 a.m. set time at Mohawk than L.A.'s Youth Code? Nope. The violent, sinuous industrial duo is at the forefront of a rediscovery of primitive synth music in L.A., but minus the goth goofiness that plagued some of its '90s practitioners. The band is a perfect balance of muscular synth drums, white-noise analog pulses and singer Sara Taylor's defiant shrieks. It's harsh stuff, but never less than riveting to watch, and a perfect rebuttal to a festival that looks ever more like a A-list party than a place to truly hear something new. Thank God Youth Code was there to fix that at the end.

By August Brown


2014 KOCCA KPop Night Out Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotions) : DFSB Kollective x SK Planet/SL Communications
International Distribution : DFSB Kollective (Jay Park)

Wednesday
Dec112013

SXSW.com/Music : Four On The Floor - Bands With Seoul

FOUR ON THE FLOOR : BANDS WITH SEOUL (PART ONE)

This week, we're taking you across the world as part of our Four on the Floor series with some SXSW 2014 artists hailing all the way from Seoul, South Korea. A mix of SXSW veterans and newcomers, these guys are a testament to the thriving electro-pop, rock and indie scenes in this beautiful modern city.

YB

YB is South Korea's most popular rock band, with leader Yoon Do Hyun known as a legend in his own right. As the first Korean band invited to SXSW in 2007, YB have paved the way for other artists from the region.

RIYL: Muse, Jimmy Eat World, 30 Seconds To Mars

GLEN CHECK

Funky, fresh and irresistibly upbeat, Glen Check is gaining momentum as one of Korea’s top electro-pop bands. The trio holds a unique place in the scene by creating live performances that are as visually stunning as they are danceable.

RIYL: Cut Copy, Daft Punk, VHS or Beta



GALAXY EXPRESS

This band tore it up so much at SXSW 2011 that they literally blew a fuse. With their electrifying on-stage performances, soaring vocals, and mind-blowing electric guitar solos, Galaxy Express is refreshingly straight up, no-holds-barred, in your face rock ‘n’ roll.

RIYL: MC5, The Stooges, The Ramones



LOVE X STEREO

They may draw from the sound of alt and punk rock from the 90’s, but with a modernized electronic production and lead singer Annie’s powerful, yet girly voice, Love X Stereo has a sound that’s all their own.

RIYL: Cults, Garbage, Phantogram


FOUR ON THE FLOOR : BANDS WITH SEOUL (PART TWO)


Here’s part two of our South Korea-focused edition of Four on the Floor. After you preview these SXSW 2014 bands originating from Seoul, we’re confident that you will make time for all four at SXSW in March! Part Two of Bands with Seoul features a good variety of sounds, from rock to electronic and more.

IDIOTAPE

Seoul's Idiotape have been making waves internationally with their live mix of analog synthesizers and bombastic drumming. It's hard not to imagine a sea of people dancing to their forward-leaning energetic live electronic/EDM.

RIYL: Cut Copy, Daft Punk, Chromeo


NO BRAIN

Punk band and SXSW alumni act No Brain's rock anthems are as rowdy as they are hooky. The band made headlines in Korea a few months back when Sire Records co-founder Seymour Stein (Madonna, The Pretenders, Talking Heads, The Smiths) announced that he was signing the band.

RIYL: Andrew WK, AC/DC, The Clash


BIG PHONY

Do you have an Elliott Smith-shaped hole in your life? Look no further than Big Phony, the heartbreakingly hushed project of singer-songwriter Bobby Choy. You may recognize Choy (or you would if he didn't have a bag over his head) as one of the stars of the popular Ktown Cowboys web series, which is currently being made into a feature-length movie with executive producer and The Hangover/Community star Ken Jeong. Expect a new Big Phony record this spring.

RIYL: Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie


ROCK N' ROLL RADIO

This band doesn’t sound exactly like their name. Rock N’ Roll Radio plays groovy rock music with layered instruments that combine to create a sound that makes you want to dance. The band just released their first full-length album, Shup Up & Dance, earlier this fall and will be playing at their first SXSW in March.

RIYL: Bloc Party, Two Door Cinema Club, Foals

Keep up with the list of showcasing artists here.


2014 SXSW KPop Night Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotion) : SK Planet/DFSB Kollective
2014 SXSW Seoulsonic Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotion) : DFSB Kollective
International Agent/Distribution : DFSB Kollective (Love X Stereo/Rock N Roll Radio/Glen Check/No Brain/Galaxy Express/Idiotape)

Tuesday
Nov192013

SPIN Magazine : 12 Korean Artists Selected As Must See Bands at SXSW 2014

Black Lips are still one of the best live bands in the game Photo by Getty ImagesSXSW 2014: Gary Numan, Black Lips, Blouse, Diarrhea Planet Join Lineu

List of 348 confirmed acts includes Gunplay, Tinariwen, Billy Joe Shaver, Dead C, Phantogram

November 19 2013, 2:00 PM ET

Once again, the fine folks of South by Southwest have let slip a handful — okay, a windfall — of names set to play the Austin, Texas music festival's 2014 edition. Last time we were given 182 names. This time it's 348, once again sorted with our expertise for your referential ease. Among the familiar faces leaked in this wave: New Wave icon Gary Numan, flower-punk purveyors Black Lips, bona fide madmen Diarrhea Planet, New Zealand experimental old-schoolers Dead C, Maybach Music odd duck Gunplay, Malian guitar-masters Tinariwen, and plenty of others. SXSW 2014 runs March 11 to 16. Dive in below, and revist our picks from the first performers list here.

SEE THESE
Idiotape (Seoul, South Korea)

SAFE BETS
Big Phony (Seoul, South Korea)
Glen Check (Seoul, South Korea)

GO ROGUE
Crying Nut (Seoul, South Korea)
Galaxy Express (Seoul, South Korea)
Jambinai (Seoul, South Korea)
Kiha & The Faces (Seoul, South Korea)
Nell (Seoul, South Korea)
No Brain (Seoul, South Korea)
YB (Seoul, South Korea)


Refused leader Dennis Lyxzen will appear with INVSN at SXSW 2014 Photo by Getty ImagesSXSW 2014: Urge Overkill, Lene Lovich, the Men, Saint Rich Top Bands List
Your guide to the first 182 artists, including INVSN, Eliza Doolittle, and more


October 16 2013, 1:00 PM ET

We're still firmly ensconced within the fine year of 2013, but the good folks behind South by Southwest are sharing the first names in a very long list of artists that will perform at the Austin, Texas music festival's 2014 edition. Below you'll find no fewer than 182 names, sorted with our expertise for your referential ease. Among the biggest names leaked thus far: New Wave icon Lene Lovich, alt-rock O.G.'s Urge Overkill, Bauhaus bassist David J, and Brooklyn rock'n'soul hero Garland Jeffreys. Other familiar names include Saint Rich, INVSN, the Men, Eliza Doolittle, and London Grammar. There are a lot of unknowns and also pleasant surprises aplenty. SXSW 2014 runs March 11 to 16. Dive in below.

SEE THESE
Hollow Jan (Seoul, South Korea)

GO ROGUE
Love X Stereo (Seoul, South Korea)

2014 SXSW KPop Night Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotion) : SK Planet/DFSB Kollective X KOCCA
2014 SXSW Seoulsonic Showcase (Planning/Production/Promotion) : DFSB Kollective
International Agent/Distribution : DFSB Kollective (Love X Stereo/Kiha & The Faces/Glen Check/No Brain/Galaxy Express/Crying Nut/Idiotape)

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