Posted on July 01, 2014

Band Introduction Concert Preview


When Ken Robinson (gig photographer extraordinaire) invited me to “come say hi” to Dead Buttons at a punk show after-party, I hesitated, feeling outside of my comfort zone - I had never seen them play or heard their music, but knew their name because it frequently appears in the punk and hardcore lineups that tend to make me nervous. Then he said the magic words that got me curious: “They sound like The Black Keys!” A week later I put their CD on and was hooked within 30 seconds. Two weeks later and that CD had not left my stereo despite being played on repeat both morning and night. Several weeks after that, at their live gig at Freebird, I was right in front of the stage, screaming and thrashing about like a sweaty, aging go-go dancer - I have seldom fallen in love with any band so fast and so hard!

Dead Buttons is one of the most exciting and extraordinarily talented acts to come out of the new generation of underground bands in Hongdae. Having only debuted in 2012, they have already played on the Japanese side of the Korea-Japan Punk Festival, and are set to tour the UK in May, including two shows at Liverpool Sound City. Originally a three-piece band, since late last year there have been only two Buttons - drummer Kanghee Lee and guitarist / lead vocalist Jihyun Hong - yet they manage to coax a mighty rock 'n roll sound out of just two instruments. Much fuss is made of not only their great talent and good looks, but also of their youth. Jihyun, for example, despite being just 22, already has years of music experience behind him, not only playing guitar for hardcore band Combative Post, but also having played with punk groups Oi! Resolute, Sweet Guerillaz, and more.

Perhaps this experience is what led to the success of their first album, the five-song EP “Whoever You Are”, released this February. While the bluesy, rhythmic sound of The Black Keys is definitely in there, it’s obvious that they have a wide range of influences - from garage rock to punk to delta blues to rockabilly and even some psychedelic sounds. Indeed, what is extraordinary to me is the range they show within these five short songs (recorded in just as many hours!); each song has the ability to get you up and dancing. Beyond the EP though, their live sets include some assured covers and several unrecorded songs which have to be seen to be believed. The first time I saw them, in a small red-lit basement bar, I was convinced that a slower, boozy number - which starts with a riff that almost sounds like a gayageum, and lets Jihyun’s beautiful, plaintive vocals shine - must have been a cover of, perhaps, a Led Zeppelin track which I didn’t know. After the show, when they told me it was their own unrecorded song called “Hangover”, I practically dropped my beer.

Check out the interview we did with Dead Buttons before they went to England earlier this year :

We are honored to have Dead Buttons playing at DoIndie's show 'FWD Vol. 2' :

Date : 12th July @ 19:30
Venue : Club Ta (Hongdae)
Cover : 15,000
Line Up : BaekMa / Vidulgi OoyoO / Angry Bear / Kingston Rudieska / Rock 'N' Roll Radio / Ynot? / Dead Buttons


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