CD reviews: Rock Tigers and …Whatever That Means

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A version of …Whatever That Means’ CD Review was published in the June 2010 issue of the Groove.

Rock Tigers – Rock’n’Roll Licence

Being the self-proclaimed ‘pioneers of Korean rockabilly’ comes with some responsibilities. On one hand, you have to stay true to the genre that fans love. On the other hand, you have to add your own touch instead of just playing covers of songs made popular by other people.


A version of …Whatever That Means’ CD Review was published in the June 2010 issue of the Groove.

Rock Tigers – Rock’n’Roll Licence

Being the self-proclaimed ‘pioneers of Korean rockabilly’ comes with some responsibilities. On one hand, you have to stay true to the genre that fans love. On the other hand, you have to add your own touch instead of just playing covers of songs made popular by other people.

With their 3rd full-length album, the Rock Tigers have managed to bridge these two mindsets in elegant fashion. Being a Korean band, most of the lyrics are Korean, but there’s enough English to make the lyrics worth paying attention to. Thirteen songs prove the band’s ability to take a familiar genre / formula and make it their own – I can’t imagine Elvis ever singing ‘Baby Baby Kimchibaby’ in one of his songs.

What exactly is rockabilly, you ask? In its basic form, a blending of rock and hillbilly with blues, bluegrass, and country. Think Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, although the genre influenced artists from the Beatles to the Stray Cats. A slap guitar serves as the genre’s most distinctive instrument, although guitars and drums are also part of the mix.

The quintet plays well enough, although Geena’s voice makes the songs shine. Who cares if most of the words coming out are Korean? She’s still fun to listen to. There’s also enough variety within the CD to make it worth putting on shuffle.

They play enough live shows around Korea, and they’ll be playing songs from this excellent album for a long time to come. Energetic, fun to listen to, and fun to watch; I’ll be looking forward to more of the Rock Tigers in the future.

For more Rock Tigers, check out their website at http://www.myspace.com/therocktigers. I’ve blogged about their excellent music before in the past.

…Whatever That Means – The Newest Hope

Forget the cute cover art showing the quartet as Star Wars characters. Imagine Green Day and Good Charlotte got together and made babies. Later on, they incorporated a cute Korean girl into the band and began making a name for themselves in the Korean live music circuit. OK, stop imagining already – …Whatever That Means claimed my attention and its 15 minutes of fame for the release of its six-song EP, which was released last month. Being labeled as ‘American / Korean punk’ just doesn’t do them justice – even if a husband-and-wife team makes up part of the disturbing cover (Jeff on guitar and vocals looks like Luke from Star Wars; Trash on bass and vocals has a Leia-like hairdo).

With only a three-song promotional CD previously done, the EP offers the professional quality sound you’ve come to expect from gigging bands. Be aware that two of those six songs are rather short – ‘All Alone’ clocks in at 40 seconds and is more like an intro to the next song, while ‘Crazy’ is just over a minute long. The quartet plays fast, furious, and tight – I have no complaints to their style, though I’d love to hear more variety in their next release. The power chords may change, but the frantic speed doesn’t change much from one track to the next. Their rock and punk influences are easy enough to identify, and I appreciate how they promoted their tattoo artist within the liner notes. Tells me they have their priorities straight.

It’s very danceable music, and the technically challenging guitar solos are a highlight of the CD. If you’re a fan of Green Day or Good Charlotte, you’ll appreciate WTM’s straightforward and direct style – tune in and zone out, or listen to the intelligent lyrics presented.

Their two week tour to promote the EP will take them to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore in May and June – not bad for a group that formed as a single-show project in 2009. They’ll also be playing around Seoul in May for all you expat teachers in the Hongdae or Itaewon areas. The lead guitarist will be moving on and making way for someone new, however, so don’t be surprised to see a new face in the lineup.

For more …Whatever That Means, check out http://www.myspace.com/whateverthatmeansmusic

Disclosure: Chris in South Korea received complimentary promotional copies of the CD’s to review.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2010

This post was originally published on my blog, Chris in South Korea. If you are reading this on another website and there is no linkback or credit given, you are reading an UNAUTHORIZED FEED.




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