Festival season offers the perfect opportunity to conveniently broaden your musical horizons. It's pretty obvious that K-pop and J-pop are finally starting to have their moment in the U.S., so, as a handful of the coolest artists in the genre make their debuts Stateside during festival season, take the opportunity to soak it all in.
Plenty of the biggest festivals are having history-making moments, with their first-ever K-pop and J-pop artists featured on their rosters. Coachella and SXSW are the festivals most saturated with groups to discover, from the massively famous BLACKPINK to artists on-the-rise, like Perfume. And beyond straight-up pop, there's plenty of punk and hip-hop groups to discover, too.
If festivals aren't your thing, but the buzzy genre has piqued your interest, there's no harm in splurging on a ticket and heading out to a separate concert date. BTS is hitting up some of the biggest arenas across the country, but lesser-known and equally talented artists like KNK, Astro, and NYLON fave Tiffany Young will be performing at clubs and venues across the country in coming months.
Below, NYLON has rounded up some of the most exciting K-pop and J-pop acts that can be heard across the U.S. at music festivals in 2019, so you can happily stumble upon a new favorite group as you sweat it out on the festival grounds.
Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
Not only is BLACKPINK one of the biggest and most talked-about girl groups in the world right now, it's officially the first K-pop girl group to rock the Coachella stage. The band is quite fond of making history, actually, also becoming the first K-pop group to tour the world with a live band. If you've never listened to any group from the genre, BLACKPINK is definitely the way to start (because powerful women first, always).
Required listening: BLACKPINK IN YOUR AREA
Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
Another historical moment is being made as Monsta X becomes the first K-pop group to play iHeartRadio Music Festival. There's plenty of time between now and September, which means plenty of time to deep dive into their music if you don't want to go in blind. The group was originally formed on the short-lived Korean reality series NO.MERCY, and has clearly been thriving since.
Required listening: Take.2 We Are Here.
Photo by Julien Kelly Gross
It doesn't really get any cooler than CHAI. This four-piece J-Pop group will have you fired up and ready to go with basically whatever song you choose to queue up. CHAI is probably the most accessible this festival season, too—they'll be making appearances at both SXSW and Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho, both of which have killer lineups to back them up. Per CHAI's biography, they're determined to redefine your idea of "kawaii," and, in the process, there's no way you won't become addicted.
Courtesy of BMF
After you've added BLACKPINK to your Coachella schedule, make sure to pencil in Perfume. Just as the former is making history, Perfume is as well, becoming the first-ever J-pop group to play the festival. They just dropped an album last year, Future Pop, so there's plenty of fresh new material to pore over as you get ready to check them out in between dying over Ariana Grande's and Lizzo's inevitably perfect performances on Sunday evening.
Required Listening: Future Pop
Photo by MNH Entertainment
We all love a good girl-group-member-goes-solo story, and Chung Ha is here to provide. After popular K-pop group I.O.I broke up in 2017, she didn't let the momentum drop and saw massive success immediately. She just dropped a new track, "Gotta Go," at the top of the year, and, if you head out to see her at SXSW, you might just get the chance to hear whatever else she's been working on.
Required listening: Offset
Photo via @hyukoh2000 on Instagram
A little less pop and a little more indie rock, but nonetheless a band you're going to have to check out if you find yourself in the Coachella Valley.
Required listening: 24: How to find true love and happiness
Photo by Jumei Yamada
Last time I forced a friend to listen to this Japanese group, they responded without hesitation that Otoboke Beaver was like if J-pop and riot grrrl had a musical love child. If that's not enough to get you over to their SXSW set, then I honestly don't know what else to do but to force you to listen as well.
Required listening: Love Is Short!!
Courtesy of Higher Brothers
Maybe you're not into pop music, but still want to get in on the trend. That's totally understandable, and Chinese hip-hop group Higher Brothers is here to satisfy your need. They just dropped their sophomore album, Five Stars, which came chock-full of features from hip-hop icons like Schoolboy Q and Soulja Boy. Make sure to check them out amidst your time at Rolling Loud.
Required listening: Five Stars