It was brought to my attention by a fellow English teacher still living in Korea that (MY K-pop band), 2NE1 was recently in tha’ Pitchfork house – and more interestingly enough, they were being interviewed by James Brooks from Elite Gymnastics – A wonderful combo of two of my favorites in their respected genres: K-pop literally meeting Electro-pop.
Back in April at a show, I mulled around Elite Gymnastic’s merch booth pointing out their lack of …well, merch and curiously asked Josh Clancy, who is now no longer in the band (!), about their obvious obsession with and the influence of K-pop on their band. “Have you ever actually been to Korea?” I asked. “Well, no.”
I don’t think it’s possible to understand the wide, weird world of K-pop, unless you’re fully forced/immersed into it. Having lived in Korea for a year as an English teacher, I fully grasped the madness that is K-pop mania, and when I first landed in The ROK, I quickly realized that K-pop would be the only exposure to music I’d ever experience outside the comfort of my own computer. Like kimchi, Koreans breath, sweat and eat up every ounce of K-pop – You can’t and won’t ever escape it. The interesting thing about it, however, is that everyone in the country is obsessed. Three-year-old babies and/or 75-year-old ajummas picking up trash in the park gladly sing along and more importantly, dance to it. Apparently once you K-pop, you can’t stop.
Giving in, rather than resisting the never-ending ear wash of catchy K-pop jams playing in every possible direction undoubtedly made my year in Korea easier, and to my guilty-listening-pleasure, 2NE1 became my fav ‘edgy’ K-pop group. I mean, according to Wikipedia, 2NE1’s official color is Hot Pink. – Doesn’t get any edgier than that. Now on to the good stuff…
Elite Gymnastics, the New York by way of Minneapolis electro-pop band (of now one), with a serious K-pop crush recently released Andreja 4-ever for the Adult Swim’s Single Series. I hear he’s also going to be touring with Grimes in the near future.
Elite Gymnastics – Andreja 4-ever
This is my all-time favorite Elite Gymnastics jam, and one that I still listen to on repeat for ungodly amounts of time.
Elite Gymnastics – Omamori
You can’t mention 2NE1 and NOT post this video, ‘cus it IS “the best.”
2NE1 – I Am The Best
The trio (Zach Hill, Stefan Burnett, and Andy Morin) hail from Sacramento (woah, they even have a wikipedia page) and released their first album, The Money Store, April 24th with Epic Records. (Psst… the whole damn thing is available on Spotify).
While absorbing the magnitude of Death Grips’ sweet beats in my cubicle via Spotify, my coworkers were also eyeing the titles of The Money Store’s songs flood their Facebook feeds: “Fuck That,” “Bitch Please,” “Hustle Bones” – I undoubtedly scarred and/or scared them, but Oh GOD (!) is it worth it.
Give this entire album a thorough listen, or at least join in my addiction for songs like “Hacker” and “I’ve Seen Footage.”
Also, if you can resist the urge to roll your eyes and tell me to f**k off for referring you to Pitchfork, they have an interesting interview with the “riotous, shit-starting Death Grips.”
Death Grips – Hacker
Death Grips – I’ve Seen Footage