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– Monsters Calling Home: December 4, 2012 in Los Angeles

Boxx Music Magazine | Monsters Calling Home: December 4, 2012 in Los Angeles

Sunday 13th January 2013,


Monsters Calling Home: December 4, 2012 in Los Angeles

Cat Veit December 11, 2012 No Comments

Monsters Calling Home recently entered the world via YouTube and Vimeo. Their haunting indie folk sounds reached the hearts of many when one such music video, recorded inside their respective Honda vehicles, went viral. To their credit, they also rehearsed and recorded their eponymous EP in the tiny confines of their Accords, CR-Vs and Fits. This eventually led to an impromptu surprise performance as a special musical guest on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” back in September 2012, thanks to the Honda Corporation and their “Honda Loves You Back” promo campaign. This endearing, fun fact and recent commercial exposure gelled with their warm tenor harmonies, insatiable indie folk soft campfire songs and gorgeous, lush orchestral arrangements—all of which summoned a sold-out crowd to the Troubadour in Los Angeles to see this fledgling indie band.

Describing their sound as “gangster Oriental folk,” Monsters Calling Home’s live performance came out of left field with individuality, heart and purpose. Their style and name derives from tales of growing up as young Korean-Americans trying to relate to their parents, respect their united culture and transcend the generations. The band is comprised of three friends: Joe Chun, Daniel Chae and Sally Kang, who all met at a San Fernando Valley Church. John Chong, Alex Hwang and Jennifer Rim would eventually complete the sextet and result in a positive, cohesive unit of musicians from different backgrounds, all sharing vocal duties and laying down a mellow foundation of ethereal, atmospheric warmth with well executed, multi-layered harmonies. Each song builds in anticipation starting with a quiet intensity, whispering vocals and acoustic guitar strokes; then culminating with crashing cymbals and an engaging group-led singalong.

The band entered the stage nonchalantly yet awkwardly, indeed overwhelmed by the anticipating, howling crowd before them. Converging on the tiny stage in almost a protective circle, the sextet dove in without much fanfare or even eye contact. Their brief set was comprised of the entire six-song EP with a few new songs thrown in for practice. The title track, “Monsters Calling Home” opened the set with its sprightly string plucking and soft vocal intensity, quickly gaining momentum into bluesy folk riffs and lush, layered group vocals. “Growing Up” followed shortly with warm tones, a weeping string section and boy/girl vocal juxtaposition.

The innate nature of the performance stems from Sally Kang’s whisper-talk vocals, so bare and introverted that they organically add artful aesthetic to the ensemble’s stage presence and performance chops. To no one’s surprise, the set made an about-face ending with a fiddle-like hoedown of hand claps and congregation shouts. They concluded the set by assembling around lead singer Alex Hwang on “Goodnight Moon” with a fitting acoustic ode to family, “My dad and, oh my brother too / I love for them / I sing for you.”

The best moments of Monsters Calling Home were performed earnestly as if they were playing around a campfire or at a friend’s house party. They steadily amused their beaming audience with stories of family and fellowship, hitting the heart of a niche not often explored in pop music. Eloquent vocals and a polished stage demeanor proved impressive for a band of church kids who have only been together for about a year or so and are still in the process of building their fan base and further developing their sound and artistic identity.

Monsters Calling Home’s tour has now wrapped. Stay up to date on upcoming tours here