Korean music has established itself in the entertainment industry through worldwide thanks to k-pop. That has inevitably made many people turn to South Korea to discover a little more about its different musical scenes.

With that in tow, it’s time to talk a little about the rock of that country. we know that maybe the genre on the international scene is not at its peak today. And even if it were, it must be said: very few people – even with all the possibilities that the internet offers us – raffle off the mission of meeting artists from those parts.

5 Korean Bands (That Aren't K-Pop) To Keep On Your Radar
Illustrative image. Photo: Pixabay.

In the West, pop and urban music predominate, and in the case of rock, there is still a significant hegemony of American or British artists. And it’s not bad that it is this way; this is the musical consumption at the end of the day historically. But suddenly, it’s cool to explore other alternatives around the world.

So if you are lovers of discovering new bands or delving into the work of other artists who may not have been on the radar so much, here we bring you a brief but very interesting list with 5 South Korean Music Projects That Aren’t K-Pop.

Rolling Quartz

Hard rock with different influences and a powerful voice… Rolling Quartz It’s a band that’s been around for a short time, but they’ve already earned a place in the k-rock scene as one of the coolest projects right now.

This band, which is the union of two different projects (Rolling Girlz and Rose Quartz), started his career in 2019 with some presentations in Seoul, managing to attract the attention of the local scene. However, the pandemic came and they had to focus their promotion through social networks.

Thus, in 2021 came his debut album Hola and in February 2022, they released an EP called fightingwith a powerful style of guitars and hard riffs for those lovers, as we said, of hard rock.


From heavy guitar rock, we went to the coolest indie-rock you’ll hear these days. SURL They gained a lot of notoriety after they won the Shinhan Card Rookie contest in 2018 and since then, they released an EP that same year called aren’t you.

A year later, they released another short-lived production called Yo lo se that cemented them as one of South Korea’s must-see emerging groups. Their rise in their country has been marked and it paid off when, at the end of 2022, they finally brought their first full-length album: Of Uswhich will take them on a tour of the United States in April 2023.

If you like rock music like Kakkmaddafakka, Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys (of yesteryear), Circa Waves or softer indie pop, this bandage is the option.


It’s time to talk about Nell. Surely many will already know them because they have been active for more than 20 years. But for those who don’t, you should know that this is one of the most iconic South Korean bands in history.

The band have reinvented themselves over time and their influence is quite varied, with songs that feel like 2000 British indie rock to dance-pop, psychedelic pop-rock. It sucks to pigeonhole them into one style, really.

Let’s say if they like the influence of Radiohead, Placebo, The KillersAmong other things, they’ll quite like Nell if they haven’t heard them.


From our list, hyukoh is another band that many of you may already know. And it is that they are as raffled as controversial, because at some point their theme “Lonely”which many found similar to “1517” from The Whitest Boy Alive.

That case was dismissed and the label that represented Hyukoh released a statement in July 2015 clarifying the controversy, saying that Erlend Oye had been with the band in March 2015 and they had even played the song together. In other words, the controversy did not go any further.

Whatever, hyukoh is a band that has gained a lot of recognition beyond all that, with a fusion that has many different types of rock from garage to indie.

End These Days

Well, it was already a lot of indie-rock, wasn’t it? We return to rock hard guitars and frenetic rhythms with this spectacular band called End These Dayswhich in recent years has become the spearhead of the metalcore scene (very booming in South Korea) and hardcore.

Perhaps the only quarrel is that they are not as recurring with their full-length releases, since they let a lot of time pass between materials. In 2014 they released an EP, in 2017 their first full-length record material with ambivalenceand the last release they had was in 2020, with another extended play called dead end.

Either way, they’re a worthwhile bandit if you’re into heavy breakdowns and non-stop headbanging.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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