Catie Laffoon


With their self-titled debut album recently released (Nettwerk Records, $15), Run River North is an up-and-comer in the indie-music world.


WHO THEY ARE: A San Fernando Valley, Calif.–based indie band of Korean-­American musicians and vocalists featuring Alex Hwang (vocals/acoustic guitar), Daniel Chae (electric guitar/violin), Jennifer Rim (violin), Joseph Chun (bass), John Chong (drums) and Sally Kang (vocals/keys/mandolin/melodica).

WHY THEY'RE THE NEXT ARCADE FIRE: Anyone who’s been following Arcade Fire from their early days will pick up on the simple strings and multi-­instrumentalist vibe coupled with melodic harmonies from Run River North’s dramatic anthems. “Sometimes I feel like we are the suburban kids that Arcade Fire always sings about,” Hwang says. “I think some of our biggest influences are bands like Arcade Fire that have that really big, lush sound with imaginative storytelling.”

INFLUENCES: Although the band’s main influences include The Shins, Simon & Garfunkel, Fleet Foxes and Modest Mouse, Hwang has someone else in mind as the role model for their music. “This is going to be a little out of left field, but I would really like for us to be the next Bill Cosby of the music world,” he says. “Not that we love pudding as much, but when Cosby started out, he stayed away from race as a shtick and hoped that regardless of who was listening to his jokes, they would laugh. As second-­generation Korean-­Americans — even though a lot of our songs deal with our identity and that whole immigrant experience — what Cosby said is very telling in terms of who we are and what we’re trying to do as a band.”

DOWNLOAD: “Monsters Calling Home,” “Growing Up” and “Lying Beast”