10 psychedelic/grunge Korean rock songs you oughta know

It’s said that when radios were first introduced to the peninsula in the 1910’s, everybody in Korea tuned in to the Blues stations and flat-out ignored the rest. That could be because the pentatonic scale, the five-note scale that the Blues is based on, is also used in traditional Korean folk music. Add in the elusive factor of the mournful, soulful duende, “han,” and the table was set. Psychedelic rock as we know it, with guitars and such, really officially kicked off when the 8th division of the U.S. troops stationed in Korea during the Korean war of 1950, staged auditions for the best bands and such. All throughout the rest of the century, South Korean rock music evolved quietly but consistently. You can hear something of that in this sampler.

1. Shin Joong-hyun and the Pennies – “The Lady in the Rain” | 신중현과 엽전들, “빗속의 여인”

1964, Vinyl single

2. San Ullim, “What, Already?” | 산울림, “아니 벌써”

from their 1977 album “Collection of Songs”

3. Hwang Bo Ryung, “Memory Amnesia” | 황보령, “추억 건망증”


4. Asian Chairshot – “Lord of the Ratty Rental” |  아시안 체어샷 – “반지하 제왕”

Off their first EP “Tal” (Mask), 2013

5. “Sad Song” – Cocore | “슬픈노래” – 코코어

from the album “super stars”, 2003


from their first album “Psycho” (2013)

7. 3rd Line Butterfly – “Supernatural Powers” |3호선 버터플라이 – “초능력”

live at Ssamzie festival circa 2002

8. Momgwamaeum (Body and Soul) – “Deja vu” | 몸과마음 – 데자뷰

from their EP “Deja Vu”, 2012

9. Williams Town – “Addiction” | 윌리암스타운 – 중독
from their album “Addiction” (2013)

10. Goonam, “Flu Delusion” | 구남과여라이딩스텔라, “감기망상”

Live 2012


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