Exploring Christian Indie Folk with Run River North


Happy Monday friends! Today’s mania is a little band called Run River North (formerly known as Monsters Calling Home), a Korean Folk Christian band hailing from sunny California. I mention that they are a folk band because that’s the kind of music they play; soft, acoustic strumming, lots of harmonizing. I mention that they are Korean not because you can tell from the music but because it always makes me so happy to see Asian Americans/Canadians making kick ass indie music. And lastly, I mention that they are Christian, because aside from Christianity being a problematic dogma, it has given us some damn good musicians like Sufjan Stevens, Page France etc. The best part of church, from an entirely non religious point of view, is the freakin’ music. Church organs are awesome. Gospel music is awesome. Hymns are pretty cool if you don’t think too hard about the words, haha. But enough ribbing on religion and let’s get down to the music.

Alex Hwang, the lead vocalist, has got his timbre down perfectly for an indie folk frontman. He is all at once concerned, wistful, insistent, and so perfectly expresses the sense of fleetingness that runs through all of Run River North’s music. I’d pin it to a Damien Rice-esque ability to enunciate emotions that puncture your heart. Another MVP, violinist Jennifer Rim adds to the Run River North sound by providing the beautiful orchestral runs and backing to fill up the warmth of their songs. In fact, the total sextet gel so well together from the harmonies to the instrumental layering of their songs. I’ll leave you three of their songs here, an auditory tasting platter of sorts. The first one Fight to Keep is the first song I’d ever heard from the band. Apparently the band were cramped for studio space and decided to perform and record the song in their Honda. Funny enough, the advertising executives for Honda noticed the video and flew the band out to perform for their executives, only to surprise the band when they arrived that they were actually going to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Pretty cute story. The second one is a live rendition of Foxbeard where you can sit in awe of the group’s vocal abilities. I would love to see this band live as they seem to sound EXACTLY the same. And lastly, Run River North does a cover of the Killers “Mr. Brightside” that sounds nothing like the original. Fun stuff.

So if you like what you hear, please support their bandcamp here where you can buy their music. They don’t have an LP yet, but these guys are so good, there’s definitely gonna be one soon!

 (fight to keep)


(mr. brightside cover)

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