Tuesday, June 07, 2011

CD Spotlight: North Hangook Falling

I first heard Mike Park through the fantastic ska punk band Skankin’ Pickle in the mid 1990s.  After than band disbanded, Park started The Bruce Lee Band and focused much of his energies on running Asian Man Records.  For whatever reason, I stopped following Park’s work after Skankin’ Pickle until earlier this year when I came across some videos of his solo work on YouTube.  I was intrigued and had the nice folks at Guestroom Records order a couple of his CDs for me. 

North Hangook Falling is Park’s second solo record and was released in 2005.  The record is a mix of folk, indie rock, and indie pop not too unlike Kevin Seconds’ solo work.  Much of the album deals with identity issues and North Korea, but there are also songs about love and family.  One of the best moments is the heart wrenching “Asian Prodigy” a song about not living up to parental expectations.  Other stand out moments include the extremely catchy “Keeping This Seat Warm” and “Born to Kill.” “I Can Hear the Whisperings,” and the title track.  Park is a liberal activist and that is something that comes through in his music.  In a lot of ways this record feels a like a modern day, Asian American, Woody Guthrie record.   

If you have never heard any of Mike Park’s work, then I suggest giving North Hangook Falling a listen.  His solo debut For the Love of Music is also an excellent record worth checking out.  This is great for fans of Kevin Seconds, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, and Frank Turner. 

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