K-Pop Go the Wonder Girls

Remember back in 2007, when kids around the world were posting videos of themselves doing the “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” dance? The very next year, it was The Wonder Girls “Nobody. The dance sensationalized by the all-girl South Korean pop group swept across Asia, unbeknownst to most of us Americans, who were too busy mastering how to Superman that ho. A quick search on YouTube reveals more than 12,000 videos of fans—from Filipino inmates to Thai schoolboys—performing their own takes on it. Anyway, after juggernauting to success in Asia, the Wonder Girls wanted to do what many other Asian pop stars have attempted to do and failed miserably: break out in America. They had some opening spots in the States for big pop draws here—Jordin Sparks, the Jonas Brothers, even appearing on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance. And no one (really) cared.

Their prescription of pop music might just be a bit too robotic and homogenized for American culture; while “cute” rules the roost in Asia, overt (and shameless) sexuality is still the winner here. But that’s not stopping the Wonder Girls, who just announced a June 12 date at the House of Blues with fellow Korean pop stars 2pm—another popular Asian act with a devoted fan base who have no fucking chance of making it in mainstream America. From an April 6 Heard Mentality blog post by Vickie Chang.

When we put the founders of Fullerton’s Burger Records on our cover (Albert Ching and Nate Jackson’s “Burgertime!” Oct. 2, 2009), the idea of an everything-but-CDs music store and label seemed, you know, crazy. Judging by the attention they’ve been getting, though, things seem to be going fine. They’ve curated an online-only compilation for VICE, which also includes locals such as Audacity and recently Weekly-profiled act Cum Stain (Nate Jackson’s Locals Only, “Cum On, Feel the Stain,” March 26). And it’s a pretty damn good listen, if you’ve got any fondness for snotty, catchy, lo-fi rock.

What’s more, the Burg released three Black Lips albums on tape on April 8. And in recent weeks, they’ve shown up in the pages of The Onion’s A.V. Club and Pitchfork (web pages, that is). It seems the poster children of the cassette-tape revolution are here in Orange County. Can we say we told you so? From an April 8 blog post by Spencer Kornhaber.

In the early evening of April 9 at UC San Diego, Pop Noir overcame both the cooler-than-thou-ness of front twins Luke and Joe McGarry and the initial standoffishness of a sparse, outdoor, campus audience—especially once darkness fell. The thunderous synth sample that opened the band’s take on New Order’s “Temptation” seemed to mark a turning point: The crowd had finally coalesced closer to the stage, and some kid in a baseball hat started serious grooving. In the final moments of the final song—a cover of the Rolling Stones“Paint It Black”—a jokester threw his hands up, inspiring the crowd to do the wave. Luke jumped down into the audience, inducing cries of “Woo!” If only for the last half-minute of their set, Pop Noir had started a party. From an April 12 blog post by Spencer Kornhaber.


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