June’21 K-Releases

Summer days of Brazilian-inspired sounds, plus a new indie delight

Let’s go, to find our freedom
DOF2D “Catch ya Later!”

The singer-songwriter DOF2D (dayofftoday) introduces herself to the world with a song inspired by the famous line, “Doby if free!”. “Catch ya Later!” is an escape from the boring, exhausted, monotonous daily lives to seek freedom. It’s a theme commonly explored by Korean musicians, but the absence of technicalities with just a simple melodic line and repetitive pop beats brings about more joyful emotions than solemness. The desire to escape feels more like a fantastical imagination as DOF2D sings as if reading a storybook and her music video follows a ghost flying off into space.

Song: Apple Music / Spotify

꽤 오래된 듯해 무중력의 상태
I can’t feel anything now
아 새로운 것도
이젠 boring boring boring해
녹아내린 지쳐있는 모습은
It’s like zombie 같은 걸
떠나자 yeah 떠나자

We don’t have to cry
나와 뒤돌아보지 말고 그냥 가

i’ve felt weightlessness for a while
i can’t feel anything now
ah even new things
are now boring boring boring
you look like you’ve melted, exhausted
it’s like a zombie
let’s go, yeah, let’s go

we don’t have to cry
let’s go and don’t look back

Scattering flowers, through summer days
화분 Hwabun [소만 Soman]

When I first heard the fourth album of Hwabun (“flowerpot” in Korean), I realized their music is the epitome of both good music to listen to and good music to enjoy. It’s music to play in the background of your every day, and music to let your mind wander into the melody.

This 12-year-old band has been exploring samba, a genre originating from Afro-Brazilian communities, but mixed with jazz, funk, and ballad. The album title, [Soman] (小滿) directly translates to “small” and “full”, or “all things gradually growing to become full”. This idea of gradual fullness can be felt throughout the collection of 12 songs, as instruments and background choirs fill the space, from spring blooming of flowers to summer’s sparkling hot sun. What I love the most is the wonderful harmony of each member’s sounds, enlivening a sense of happiness and newness of a fresh day — fitting with soman’s other meaning, “the eighth of the 24 solar terms”, which is “the beginning of grain ripening”.

Album: Apple Music / Spotify

오늘도 떠올려 지나온 시간의 거리
잠깐의 어색함
저 멀리 웃으며 서 있던 너

흐르는 땀 느려진 발걸음
너에게 기대어
흩날린 머릿결 흩어진 꽃내음
지난날 익숙함 다시금 내게로 와

그렇게 걸었지 여름의 시간들을

today, i recall the street of our passing days
a brief awkwardness
you stood there with a smile

flowing sweat, slow footsteps
i lean on you
swaying hair, scattered flower scent
the familiarity of the past, come back to me

i walked the summer days like that

That’s okay, it will be as it is
이상순 Lee Sang-soon [Leesangsoon]

I had fallen deeply into Roller Coaster, a representative indie rock band in Korea, and Verandah Project, a duo with Kim Dong-ryul, but never grasped the fact that Lee Sang-soon was one of the masterminds behind both these incredibly talented groups until I heard the first song of his first solo album. I had always been consumed by the beautiful vocals of Jo Won-sun of Roller Coaster and Kim Dong-ryul, but the moment I heard the cavaquinho sound, a small Portuguese guitar, in the first song, “너와 너의 You and Your…“, I realized it was really the melodies, the composition, and the instrumental storyline of both groups’ music that trembled my heart all this time.

[Leesangsoon] is tranquility. Bright bossanova sounds welcome you into a serene day, followed by a string harmony that feels like a soundtrack for a movie of two lovers under falling autumn leaves (“다시 계절이 It’s the Season Again“), ending with a lovely duet with sunwoojunga and a piano melody my ears keep drawing towards (“네가 종일 내려 You Are Raining All Day Long“). The four songs are also a collection of delicacy — you can sense a sensitivity in Lee Sang-soon’s lyrics, composition, and vocals, each note and each word chosen with care. This EP feels like a glimpse into the idealistic calming days of Jeju Island that I’m sure many of us have dreamt of since watching “Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast”.

Album: Apple Music / Spotify

어떻게 지내고 있는지 궁금하지만
겨우 그러려니 할 수 있게 됐어
끝내 듣지 못한 대답도 그대로지만
그럴 수도 있는 거지 그럴 테지

기다리라는 그 말도
다시 만나자는 약속도
아마 넌 까맣게 다 잊었을 테지만
오늘도 너와 너의 겁 많은 고양이가
어제보다 편안하길 기도할게

i’m curious how you’re doing
but finally i can let it be
the responses never gotten remain
but that’s okay, it will be as it is

even when you tell me to wait
even when you make a promise to meet again
you probably forgot them all

but i will pray that you and your scared cat
will be more comfortable than yesterday