Korea Rocks profile #2: Galaxy Express

Four top bands are coming to the UK this month as part of the Korea Rocks tour presented by Hyundai Card Music. Here’s a profile Galaxy Express, who featured in LKL’s Critics’ Choice for 2011.

Award-winning South Korean rockers Galaxy Express formed in 2006 in Seoul. The trio of guitarist/vocalist Jonghyun Park, bassist/vocalist Juhyun Lee, and drummer Heekwon Kim immediately attracted attention with their infectious blend of tightly wound garage rock, punk, and psychedelic sounds and explosive performances.

Galaxy Express 1-1000

Receiving high praise for their 2007 EPs (“To the Galaxy” and “Ramble Around”), anticipation was high for Galaxy Express’ 2008 “Noise on Fire” full-length debut. The scorching double album did not disappoint and was honored as “Best Rock Album” at the 2009 Korean Music Awards. That summer the trio wowed audiences at South Korea’s Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival, Taiwan’s Rock in Taichung, and France’s Le Fete de la Musique.

While debuting with a double album is certainly an ambitious move, it was nothing compared to what Galaxy Express had planned for their sophomore offering.  The group announced on April 1, 2010 that they planned to write, record, and release their next album in just 30 days.  Dubbed the “Wild 30” project, band members tweeted and blogged their entire creative process with fans eagerly following along and offering comments and suggestions.  As promised, the end result surfaced on May 1 and was fittingly titled “Wild Days.”  Galaxy Express celebrated its release by performing in Hong Kong at the Music Matters festival, and at large-scale local summer outings the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival and the Jisan Valley Rock Festival.

In January 2011, “Noise on Fire” was ranked #22 on 100Beat.com’s 100 best Korean CDs of the 2000s.  A month later, “Wild Days” netted Galaxy Express the “Musician of the Year” prize at the 2011 Korean Music Awards.  In March 2011, the band toured North America and performed at Canadian Music Week (CMW) and South by Southwest (SXSW).  That summer they also appeared at Japan’s famed Summer Sonic festival and opened for Linkin Park in Seoul.

In March 2012, Galaxy Express embarked on their second American tour.  Performing 17 shows in as many days, the act made stops at SXSW and Arkansas’ Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, and garnered accolades from the likes of the New York Times and the Austin Chronicle.  Filmmaker Seunghwa Baek (who also plays in the Korean band Tobacco Juice) traveled with the group and filmed a documentary about the tour called “Turn It Up to Eleven 2: Wild Days” (Baek previously made a 2009 flick about Galaxy Express and Tobacco Juice named “Turn It Up to Eleven”).  The movie was screened at Korean film festivals in 2012 and will be shown overseas in 2013.

On November 26, Galaxy Express released their eponymous third long-player.  Written right after the band’s American tour, the 10-song, self-produced effort was recorded between August and late October.  Like “Noise on Fire” and “Wild Days” before it, “Galaxy Express” is brimming with more of the raw and raucous rock ‘n’ roll that has helped push Galaxy Express to the top of South Korea’s music ranks. In March 2013, the group toured the United States in support of “Galaxy Express” playing 26 concerts in 13 states over the course of one month.

Press Quotes:
“With their amped energy and stage exhibitionism, they’re the best live act to come out of Korea since…well, maybe ever.” – MTV Iggy

“Galaxy Express, from South Korea, harked back to the crashing, roiling protopunk psychedelia of the MC5, slamming away with conviction.” – New York Times

“Galaxy Express are on the fast track to success with no sign of that train slowing down.” – SXSW.com

” … leather jackets and Misfits t-shirts – they rocked so hard the power literally went out (I saw the sound guy flip the breaker back!)” – Sophia’s Rock Beat

“These guys can perform and rip up a stage like no other, and they’re certainly proving themselves to be worth the buzz that precedes them.” – Allkpop

“The kings of Korean indie.” – hellokpop

“Pure rock awesomeness …” – Smashing Mag

“(Galaxy Express) unload balls-out rock and roll by the boatload … ” – Busan Haps

“If you are ever asked who are one of the best Korean rock bands, you can safely say ‘Galaxy Express’.  They rock the house whenever they play, are tight with catchy songs, and do some amazing & fun things on stage.” – CG Weekly

Discography:
2012 Galaxy Express
2011 Naughty Boy EP (Split EP with Crying Nut)
2010 Wild Days
2009 Come On & Get Up! EP
2008 Noise on Fire
2007 Ramble Around EP
2007 To the Galaxy EP

Links:

http://www.galaxyexpress.co.kr/
http://www.facebook.com/GalaxyExpressKR
http://galaxyexpress.bandcamp.com/
http://www.twitter.com/galaxyexpresskr

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