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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Jumpin' Jimes
Swing Shift: Jumpin' Jimes rocks the Agenda Lounge Saturday.

Girl Power Trend:
Indie-pop Korea Girl goes on and on ...

I N ONE YEAR, the indie-pop wonder Korea Girl has made strides other bands often take four years to accomplish. Since forming in January of 1996, the San Jose group has released a tape, signed with Not Happy records and established a small, dedicated following. The self-titled CD is supposed to be back from the pressing plant on Tuesday (March 18), the same day as Korea's Girl's CD-release show at the Agenda Lounge in San Jose.

Vocalist and guitarist Elizabeth Yi and drummer Marc Duarte got started by putting an ad in BAM looking for other bandmates, citing Pavement and Seam as influences. Guitarist Tobin Mori and bassist Summer responded. Within two months, the crew recorded a demo on Tobin's Tascam four-track, which was released in March of 1996. Local weeklies responded favorably to the low-fi indie-pop sound and to Yi's quiet vocal presence, which was no surprise to Tobin: "I knew Elizabeth has a totally angelic voice, so I knew that people would like it."

Tobin says that Korea Girl 1997 is a lot "heavier and noisier" than the demo tape, although the folky, jangly stuff is still there. Seven songs are debuts. "Stardom," Tobin says, is about "cock rock" and how everyone is trying to sound the same. "Prozac" and "Peon" are low-fi agita in full force. "Under the Sun" is Elizabeth's "sick and twisted interpretation" of Ecclesiastes. All the tracks on the demo tape have been rerecorded with slightly altered arrangements. The current Korea Girl agenda finds the band getting tighter and more solid. Tobin also wants to get Elizabeth to sing more. "She's totally shy and hypercritical," Mori says. "I'll sing off the top of my head. She'll mull it over for a month before bringing it out."

Yi does let it out in "Conversations," a rant that Yi built around superficial chitchat. "You can't leave, and this person is going on and on," she explains. "All sorts of lame things are going through your head--like books you've read or TV shows you've watched. It's a very loud obnoxious song." For song samples and other information, tap into the Korea Girl Web site.

On With the Show

Plans for SFMX3, the third annual South First Music Experience charitable concerts, are shaping up. The show is April 17 with the Agenda, Cactus, Usual and B-Hive participating. Confirmed acts include The Hi-Fives, Crack, Sloe, Concerning Eye, the Aquamen, 10Bass T, Korea Girl, Blue Eskimos and the Kirby Grips with more to come. A voice-mail number has been set up for the latest information at 408/298-8000, ext. 333.

Jump Around

Jumpin' Jimes, a crew of good-time swing kids who are regulars at the Los Angeles retro spot the Derby, performs at the Agenda on Saturday (March 15). ... Pirate Cat Records is throwing a benefit show at the American Legion Hall (1344 Dell Ave.) in Santa Clara. Betty's Love Child, Ringwurm, Your Mother, Apeface and Hickey will perform on Saturday (March 15) at 7pm to raise funds for a city permit to allow free, in-store afternoon performances. ... Hip-hop heads converge on the Cactus Club in San Jose on Sunday (March 16), when Hierogylphics family member Casual appears along with Living Legends crew members Aesop and Murs and Gypsy Cab.

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From the March 13-19, 1997 issue of Metro

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