10 Songs, 37 Minutes

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About Jaurim

Jaurim is arguably Korea's most important alt-rock band. In a market dominated more thoroughly than most by club filler and pre-fab shlock-pop, Jaurim has consistently stood out from its peers who emerged during the cultural blitz that came in the wake of Korea's first direct election of a civilian president in 1993. The band's willingness to shake up its sound from track to track, and vocalist Yuna Kim's virtuosic pipes have bequeathed Jaurim a rare blend of credibility, longevity, and financial success. Its popularity in turn has paved the way for subsequent Korean alternative and indie outfits such as Cherry Filter, 3rd Line Butterfly, and I Love JH. Jaurim's sound includes fair doses of slick lounge-pop and synth-heavy harmonies, but the frequent eruption of straight guitar crunch belies the group's roots in Seoul's late-'90s underground scene. Sun-Kyu Lee (guitar) and JinMan Kim (bass) met Yuna Kim (vocals) and Tae-Hoon Koo (drums) while gigging in the Sinchon area around Hongik University in 1997. The foursome first formed Ugly Duckling before quickly changing their name to Jaurim (which translates roughly to Purple Rain Forest). The band awoke to fame in mid-1997 after recording the hit "Hey Hey Hey" for the soundtrack to a popular Korean television drama (The Man with a Flower). After the initial press-burst, Jaurim signed with Nanjang Music and released their well-received debut, Purple Heart. A second full-length, Lover, and a strong odds-and-sods collection followed in 1998. Over the following decade, Jaurim would release an LP every two years like clockwork. Supplements to this steady output include a fan-favorite live document in 2001; a pair of solo LPs from Kim Yuna, one dropped during the group's brief breakup from 2002 to 2004; a boys-only rock record released under the moniker Chococreamrolls; and the 2005 covers album, The Youth Admiration, which features versions of British and American jukebox classics, from Bowie and the Clash to Madonna and Nirvana. Over time Jaurim gradually expanded its repertoire, adding elements of light jazz and electro. In 2007, they teamed with Korean hip-hop star Drunken Tiger on an MTV single and video for the Stop AIDS/Spray Love campaign. The psych-infused Ruby Sapphire Diamond, their seventh proper full-length, appeared in June of 2008. ~ Jeremy A. Schmidt, Rovi

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