Posted on May 10, 2014

Tripper Sound is one of the unsung heroes of the Hongdae indie scene, a music label which has worked hard for five years to promote a diverse array of crowd-pleasing and critically acclaimed bands to both local and foreign audiences. To celebrate the recognition they have at last been getting, all five of the top-quality bands currently under the Tripper Sound label will be performing at Prism Hall near Hapjeong Station on November 23rd.

Label shows are always great fun, because they are like mini music festivals. There is guaranteed to be something to suit everyone’s taste, and this is especially true when considering the variety of genres Tripper Sound’s five bands have to offer—despite the name of the label referring to being taken on a “trip” of the psychedelic rock variety.


Achtung may be the best-known band to Korean audiences, due to their success on last year’s TV survival show, Top Band 2. Billed as an acoustic folk-rock trio, I find that their music, which includes pop and jazz rhythms, defies this simple categorization. Their no-frills reliance on the vocalist’s unique tone (not to mention his unique hair!), acoustic guitar and bass brings out their true strength which is melody.


24 Hours have been one of the darlings of the Hongdae club scene over the past year, winning all kinds of rookie awards and getting audiences to dance feverishly. At the forefront of the young garage rock trend, this energetic group of friends (all the members are 23 years old) have an unmistakably British sound which has also caught the attention of the expat crowd. Just try to resist joining in the chorus to their song “Jane”!


Coreyah are unique among the bands in this lineup, as they are a true world music/fusion band, who combine Korean pansori singing (but a fresh young interpretation thereof) and traditional instruments with lesser-known sounds from South America, Africa and the Balkans, and even a touch of western pop and folk-rock. Their live shows are whimsical and dreamlike, as much about visual appeal as aural, and what I love about them is the unexpected nature of their music—no songs sound the same, and you never know quite what’s going to happen—or which instrument (out of several dozen) is going to be played—next.



Javo Island are the one band under the Tripper Sound label I have yet to see in person, but I gather they have a large following due to their easy, happy indie pop melodies, somewhat in the spirit of bigger bands like Daybreak or Bulldog Mansion, to my mind. The touches of jazzy groove and funk in some of their songs tie into their name which they chose to evoke the feeling of chilling out at an island resort.


Phone Booth are a good old-fashioned rock ‘n roll band of brothers; or rather, of five mates who came together back in 2005 when they were in high school. They went on to tour Asia, but, like so many other great bands in Korea, had their career interrupted by military service in 2010. But now they’re back with more passion and a wider range and playing as often as they can. I love their classic Brit-rocker look and the fact that their vocalist is called Laser.

The Tripper Sound 5th Anniversary show starts at 7pm (doors open 6:30 and I recommend getting there early if you want a good spot as it’s a standing show in a mid-sized venue) and you can book tickets on for 30,000 won.

------------------ By Rock ‘n Rose

For more information about Tripper Sound and profiles of their bands (in English and Korean), visit

You can watch an 11-minute video introducing the concert, including interviews with the bands:

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