Say Sue Me, Where We Were Together (2018)

How about the best newish thing out of South Korea?

And don't give me BTS.  Frankly, I'm not entirely sure who or what BTS are; all I know is that when I started seeing BTS references show up in my music news feeds, I got totally excited that finally, FINALLY, indie rockers Built To Spill were getting some attention.  But apparently not.

No, let's talk Say Sue Me.  Now there's a Korean band I can get behind.  Low key dream pop, with wispy female vocals (mostly in English with a couple exceptions), shimmering and simple surf-y guitar hooks, and just the slightest hint of shoegazy distortion around the edges.  It's pretty bubblegum, sure, but it sure sounds nice, calling to mind everyone from the Primitives to the Raveonettes, all delivered with Choi Su-mi's lightly accented, disarming poignancy.  (Su-mi... Say Sue Me... get it?)

Highlights of their second full-length release (which isn't terribly dissimilar from their first, also worth checking out) include the perfect pop of "But I Like You," an absolutely wonderful little ditty that was among the best of 2018, and the jaunty, jangly "Old Town." Beyond that you've got retro, almost Motown-ish pop like "I Just Wanna Dance" (where the Primitives nod is particularly apparent) and the dreamy ballad "Funny and Cute"; but, honestly, it's all pretty damn sweet.

Here's "But I Like You," live in the studio:
..and a slowed-down live-in-studio take on "Old Town":