Long, long ago in a land faraway, I spent all night in a noraebang (singing room) in Seoul and didn’t come out until the sun came up. During our clumsy late-night sing-along, there was a voice that I swore was an actual recording of a famous song that would take some serious talent to belt out at 3 or 4 or 5 am after a long day and night of frolicking around Seoul. It turns out that this was no recording--it was my new friend Maggie.
Throughout half a decade of neighborly cups of coffee, nights out on the town, Christmas dinners, egging each other on, and drinking way too much vinegar juice and vodka (just that one time), Maggie became one of my best friends and biggest inspirations. She stormed after what she wanted and made it happen. Maggie played with at least three bands in Korea and is now playing her way across Europe with another good friend and incredibly talented human from Seoul, Eilis. Their latest incarnation Party Fears will be playing in Berlin, the UK, and Ireland starting on August 18th. If you’re there, you must go and fill me in. I will live vicariously through you, until I can make my way out on a wish and a shoestring.
Before you embarrass yourself by showing up and mumbling along like you know the words, you can listen to Party Fears’ first album on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. This album is part sway, part frolic, and part full on angsty dancing. Party Fears takes you by the hand and gallops off into the smudgy dusk of a Berlin or Seoul night full of good intentions and a thirst for life. 'Spoiled Fruit' twirls you around in a tiny open space crammed between the neon lights of a late-night Tokyo bar crawl. 'Magazines' finds you kicking empty beer cans down an alley with a glower on your face and your hands in your pockets. 'Marina' leaves you swept up in a fury of disappointment enough to fuel your spite motivation for a hundred years. (I’m not just a pretty face, eh?)
'Waiting Room' makes you want to skip and dance and throw your cup while making the world a more just place for everyone. 'The Ones You Love' gives you a playful shove and a hug and then cries while watching you walk through airport security. 'Mosquito' enters your brain whispering for you to grow out your nails in preparation for clawing your way into something better and new. Every song gives the impression that you are witnessing a very personal piece of art and inspires you to make your own--whether it is an actual thing or just a way of living. But don’t take my word on what this album is. Have a listen and find out for yourself.