A lifelong music fan with diverse taste.
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Twitter - @nathan_sartain
OurR - 'can't' EP Review
There's an appealing distinctness to OurR. For one, vocalist Hong Dahye has an unmistakable vocal style, one which captures attention instantly, and provides a gripping rawness which nestles in seamlessly amidst sonically rich soundscapes. But just as much so, there's an authenticity to the trio's music; an unshakable honesty which trades happy-go-lucky melodies for a blunt candour. It makes for compelling listening, and ensures that one can never accuse OurR of being anything other than wholly themselves.
LambC Interview: The Singer-Songwriter Discusses His Approach to Music, Recent Single, and More
It's fair to say that if you're not tuned in to what LambC is doing, you are missing out. From the catchy "Treat You Right," which bristles with a jazzy flair as its rippling bassline and partially falsetto chorus entice the listener, right the way to the attention-grabbing "Love Like That," a warm, melodious pop ballad, there's always been an evident air of unbridled creativity within the singer-songwriter's music. Undeniably a jack of all trades, the consummate self-production omnipresent in each and every track is the hallmark of the gem of a talent, and the consistent growth evident with each passing release a sign of forever exciting, expanding potential.
SHINee - ‘Don’t Call Me’ Album Review
There’s no denying that SHINee are K-Pop royalty. After all, their ‘Princes of K-Pop’ moniker feels only natural given the chart-dominating, sonically rich history the group have. From electronically-infused anthems akin to “Everybody”, to ‘80s tinged retro floor-fillers (“1 of 1”) all the way to the permeating moombahton rhythms of an offering like “Who Waits For Love,” nothing has ever been out of the picture for SHINee when it comes to their discography. Uncompromisingly diverse, the chameleon-like charms of the foursome gives them an unpredictable, bold appeal, and their ever-changing, inclusive soundscapes serve as an ample a testament to their wholly adventurous nature.
Bobby - ‘LUCKY MAN’ Album Review
In many ways, 2017’s Love and Fall should have been a catalyst for greater solo success for iKON’s Bobby. A former winner of the famous Show Me The Money television show - and the only K-Pop idol victor in the rap competition’s run thus far - his floaty, highly accessible full-length debut was never going to be perfect, but it still showcased the young rapper in a broader, more sonically refined space. However, opportunities were seldom afforded to the Korean star in the time that followed the release, seemingly unfairly sidelining the upstart, and potentially stunting his growth too.
Epik High - ‘Epik High Is Here (Part 1)’ Album Review
2019’s Sleepless in __________ was a decisive return to independence for the Korean hip-hop trio Epik High. Across the seven-track EP there was a pronounced thematic tact, and a congruent narrative theme which allowed for the veterans to flex their songwriting chops in a broad space. Now, though, it’s time for their first full-length venture since leaving the shackles of a major label. Titled Epik High Is Here, the two-part album seeks to further explore the human condition and, if its first instalment is anything to go by, successfully does just that with a slew of substance.
Junoflo Interview: The Independent Rapper Discusses Moving Back to the US, New Releases and More
For Junoflo, 2020 has been a reset of sorts. Moving back to Los Angeles after a period in Korea, the 28-year-old finds himself free from any record labels, and free to create however he sees fit. Returning to the place he calls home for his own “sanity,” the year has been an understated success for the rapper. His latest album, 222:AM, hit almost half-a-million streams in its first 24 hours on Spotify. His “BOUT TIME” t-shirt which accompanied the record, in addition to merchandise released under the Good Loox banner, marked an interesting step into the fashion world for the versatile rapper, something he passionately describes as a “huge” part of his life. But, perhaps most importantly, Junoflo has rediscovered the “joy of making music.”
SURL Interview: The Indie Band Talk Through Their Successful Year, Collaborations and More
Of all the indie bands battling to break out of the competitive, packed domestic scene, SURL feel most equipped to do so. Offering a refreshing take on the genre’s typical style, floating between slightly dirty, roughened vintage-tinged melodies and lyrics depicting a true-to-life stories on life, they’re undeniably interesting as a unit. From the catchy, singalong “Dry Flower,” which bursts with an understated sonic vibrancy, right to the recent “Don’t Say No,” a blockbuster collaboration with Jay Park which seamlessly combines rock and hip-hop to create a genre-bending, melodic look at hidden feelings, the band have a clear knack for hit-making, and an obvious talent in their atmospheric, mature approach to music.
DICKPUNKS Interview: The Band Discuss Their Career “Second Chapter,” ‘Ordinary Days’, and More
For DICKPUNKS, Ordinary Days, their first EP in five years, marks a new chapter in their career. More sonically mature, it’s a step forward for the band born out of the famous Hongdae scene, and a showcase of the artist growth the foursome have undertaken throughout their near-fifteen year career.
Kai - ‘KAI’ EP Review
There’s nothing new about EXO’s Kai stealing the headlines. For years now the artist has been a hugely captivating presence within K-Pop, with his idiosyncratic, enthralling style of dance, and dedication to enrapturing live performances standing out as particularly striking. Compilations and videos involving 26-year-old often amass views in the millions, and are lined with comment sections heaping praise onto the singer.
Mino - 'TAKE' Album Review
If XX was a bold, reasonably solid first attempt at entering the solo arena for Song Mino, then TAKE is a natural, but nonetheless exhilarating progression. Bolder, grander and more sonically expansive, the WINNER member's sophomore full-length effort is streets ahead of its predecessor, and breaks free of any typical pop formulae.
Woo - 'BLACK OUT' Album Review
In many ways, 2018’s Af was the true kick-start of what would evidently be a successful career for Woo Won-Jae. Sure, there were songs like the magnetically fast-paced chart-topper “We Are,” and the introspective double-single Anxiety, but it wasn’t until the 23-year-old tried his hand at a long-form extended play that audiences got a true taste of what the young rapper was all about. Thus, when the unabating pensiveness of his prior releases was allowed to combine with a more fluid, coherent structure and larger-scale ideas, it was only natural that fans started to flock to the man who was, at the time, AOMG’s youngest signee.
Zico - ‘RANDOM BOX’ EP Review
Last year saw Zico go introspective. His genre-bending Thinking LP, an amalgamation of two stellar extended plays which showed the artist at his most vulnerable, was firmly rooted in both obvious, and subtle, self-reflection. Shifting from mid-tempo acoustics (“Balloon”), to striking piano melodies (“The language of flowers”), all the way to abrasive, cocky trap-infused hip-hop (“another level”), the 27-year-old offered a masterclass in musicality throughout the album’s 36-minute runtime, triumphing in his attempts to show a fresher, more self-effacing side to himself. Despite its minimal mainstream popularity, Thinking undoubtedly cemented Zico’s long-term sustainability as part of Korea’s musical backbone, and further proved that he was more than just a surface-level hit-maker.