Indie for Your Seoul – 3 Older Groups Still Going Strong

As you may or may not know, I’ve been doing a monthly radio segment called “Indie for Your Seoul” on the weekly radio show, Radio Kimchi UK, based in the, well… UK. Gotta love the modern age were fun things like this can happen! The show plays K-pop music, talks about various Korean cultural events happening in the UK, has other segments on Korean film and dramas, and of course, mine on Korean indie music.

And as I was writing up my segment for August, which aired yesterday, I got to thinking that this was a great way to get more music articles on ATK Magazine because the question I get asked most nowadays is for music recommendations. That wasn’t always the case, but for the past two years or so, it’s definitely been true. So I asked Julia, the lovely DJ and host of Radio Kimchi UK if it would be okay if I expanded my segment afterwards into an article and she thought it was a great idea. And hence, this new column was born.

Just like in my “Indie for Your Seoul” segment, I’ll introduce three Korean bands/artists that I recommend which are loosely tied together by a theme. I’ll just flesh them out a little more and provide links for readers – and Radio Kimchi UK‘s listeners – to easily check them out. August’s theme is older Korean bands that are still going strong with great new music.

August’s Indie for Your Seoul

I can’t believe that summer is coming to an end and I’m already starting to plan for the fall. I know, I know, it’s still early but there are a couple of Korean indie concerts coming in Toronto in September that have me super excited which means I’m thinking ahead. And one of those shows just happens to be the inspiration for this month’s segment of “Indie for Your Seoul”.

You see, one of the upcoming concerts is with the Korean rock band, YB, who are coming to Toronto on September 16th (just after my birthday, yay!) and as someone who enjoys their music, it got me thinking of other older bands that are still active and putting out amazing music – and are amazing to see live. Since I’ve already talked about No Brain in an earlier segment, who celebrated their 20th anniversary last year and whom I absolutely adore – seriously, check No Brain out – I’ll talk about three other long-time bands that you should check out.


First up is YB, as they are the group that inspired this segment. YB are a five-member rock band who have been making great music for more than 20 years and were the first Korean band to play South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2007. And I was lucky enough to see them a few years ago, at the same music festival and they are a treat to see. I can’t wait until they come to Toronto next month. Lead singer, Yoon Do-hyun, is also involved in musicals and variety shows.

To get you started, I recommend listening to their song “Stay Alive”.


The newest of the three groups I’m talking about today, the four-member rock band Nell, have still been around for fifteen years which is a pretty good feat. I first caught them at a music festival in Seoul, Korea back in 2007 and have been listening to them ever since. They have a more mellow rock sound than the other two bands and you may recognize vocalist Kim Jong-wan’s voice from collaborations with K-pop artists like G Dragon and Epik High.

I love all of their music but “Ocean of Light” is definitely one of my favourite songs. It just never gets old.

Crying Nut

Crying Nut, who have one of the coolest band names, have been around for more than 20 years and are considered one of the godfathers of Korean punk music. They are a joy to see live, will pump you full of positive vibes, and their music incorporates different genres so it never gets old. The five-member group includes an accordion player and a set of twins. I once saw them perform in a record store so I can safely say that they can – and will – rock any venue.

One of my favourite songs is “Lego” for many reasons including how cute the music video is and how incredibly infectious the song is. I dare you to listen to it just once!

Final Thoughts

That’s all for the August edition of “Indie for Your Seoul”. It was fun revisiting some of the bands I’ve been listening to for ages and whom are still not only putting out great music but rocking great shows as well. I hope you check out YB, Nell and Crying Nut because they are all great bands. And as always, I’d love to hear what you think about them – here in the comment section, over on Radio Kimchi UK’s Facebook page, or feel free to tweet me! See you next month!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

7 thoughts on “Indie for Your Seoul – 3 Older Groups Still Going Strong

  • August 23, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    Calling on your expertise about older Korean rockers – I got a tour mailing last winter (fall?) about an older, (born in like 1964/5?)male Korean singer with a ponytail. The accompanying info talked about him having a punk phase and how unusual that was for South Korea. Of course, I lost the information and haven’t been able to find anything searching online using such weak parameters. Any idea who this guy was? Any truth in this promotion? I’d like to support any rockers on tour (so there will be more!) but I think I’m just digging a hole to nowhere here.

    I’d heard of these bands but never seen in person . . .

    • August 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Yikes, I have no idea. My knowledge of Korean music doesn’t go back much past 2006. Is he a solo artist or in a group? And do you know where he was on tour? That might help narrow it down… I’ve also asked a couple of people more knowledgeable than me

      • August 24, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        Sounds like he is a solo act at times but fronts a band other times. He was on tour in the US – I think with another slightly older woman singer. This is a mystery that demands solving!

      • August 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm

        And on tour in western half of US and Canada, so I remember.

      • August 24, 2017 at 1:50 pm

        Okay, I’ve asked a few people and will let you know if anyone can figure out the mystery 🙂

      • August 24, 2017 at 2:21 pm

        While I can’t find any info on a recent tour, the only artist that fits the description that one of my contacts who know more about Korean music that me is Kim Tae Won. Could that be the musician?

      • August 26, 2017 at 12:22 am

        I’ll check out his videos – I think I should remember them.

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