Op hoërskool, as jy ‘n oulike jong dame in die oog gehad het maar nie seker was hoe om jou gevoelens aan haar te openbaar nie, kon jy altyd ‘n mix CD maak. Dis nou oor ek in die vroeë 2000’s (na die tyd van kasette) op hoërskool was – ek vermoed hulle maak deesdae speellyste op hul gunsteling aanlyn musiekstroomdiens. Bogenoemde CD was dan propvol liefdesliedjies, sodat sy sou seker wees. As CD-maker was dit jou werk om ‘n versameling goeie liedjies te kies, hul in mekaar te laat vloei deur noukeurig die volgorde uit te werk, maar belangrikste van alles: om sonder twyfel jou verliefdheid uit te druk. Nou het die mense agter Coleske Artists, Supra Familias, en Afrikaans is Groot saamgewerk om ‘n mix CD te maak wat vir ‘n wye gehoor van alternatiewe Suid-Afrikaanse musiekliefhebbers: Alternatief is Groot.
When you press play, it knocks politely with somewhat muted tones, before it breaks down the door. After those first few seconds, Twin Atlantic’s latest album, GLA, makes an explosive first impression with its opening track, Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator.
It’s their fifth release since a debut EP in 2008 (A Guidance From Colour), “mini-album” Vivarium, and two acclaimed full-lengthers, Free and Great Divide. They quickly built up a great reputation and within their first four years, had played supporting shows for Smashing Pumpkins, Blink-182, Say Anything, Taking Back Sunday, The Gaslight Anthem and My Chemical Romance. Now, they decided to bring us 2016’s release, another full-length album called GLA.
The first single off the record, No Sleep, features a heavily distorted, insomniac singalong chorus, interspersed with funky, bassy guitar riffs, and infectiously catchy verses. Musically, it’s big, yet intimate – balanced between celebrating and contemplating: I was never absolutely sure whether the song is complaining about not sleeping, or embracing it.
And while that one was somewhat ambiguous, angry/bitter songs like You Are The Devil don’t need much interpretation, right? There’s also a fair amount of anxious frustration on the album in Ex El, for example, which focuses on a promise to change, and a desire for a different future.
My biggest disappointment in the album is a degree of monotony – especially on the first half of the disc. Although every track is different, and dwells on different feelings, there are a lot of tonal similarities between songs. In a certain sense, it helps make GLA feel like a complete whole, independent entity, but there’s also a sense of everything melting into one. It gets broken up somewhat with standout tracks like Whispers, Missing Link, Mothertongue, and the acoustic sad-ballad A Scar To Hide, but those tracks feel very much like an advertisement break to specifically distract you from the 7-track streak that preceded it.
Maybe the only flaw I’m actually noticing is the almost-antiquated album format. If these songs were packaged and judged as individual tracks, they would have scored high by any measure. And for a successful modern band like Twin Atlantic, maybe this is the definite sign that it’s time to focus on singles rather than CDs. It’s not like anyone listens to albums straight-through and in-order anymore, is it?
If you love fuzzy, distorted, bass-rooted guitar riffs, driving, punching beats, and an exciting, lively brand of alternative rock, GLA is probably the album for you. Through it, Twin Atlantic proves that they’re not close to dying out or drying up. They certainly know their own brand of music, and they excel in it.
PS. Urbandictionary.com has several definitions of what GLA might stand for. Though my favourite is Good Looking Ass, official word has it that in this case, GLA is the abbreviation for Glasgow. Or maybe it refers to the one of the playable factions from real-time strategy game Command & Conquer: Generals.
Twin Atlantic is an alternative rock band from Scotland. Their latest album, GLA, is out today.
Akkedis bestaan uit die bebaarde langhaar tweelingbroers van Somerset-Wes, Rudolph en Arthur Dennis, met AJ Graham as derde lid. Hulle musiek het ‘n element van klassieke eenvoud, ten spyte van hulle voorkoms. Dis ‘n soort pseudo-folk blues-rock met ‘n groot fokus op lirieke, en sterk Afrika- invloede. Hulle sing hoofsaaklik in Afrikaans, met bietjie Engels en ander tale bygevoeg vir afwisseling. Portugees kom spesifiek op een liedjie op hulle nuutste album, Onder Ou Tafelberg, voor: Nos Amamos Mozambique is ‘n ode aan Mosambiek en Ponta Malongane, en daarmee saam waarskynlik STRAB, die jaarlikse musiekfees wat dáár plaasvind.
Blink-182 has released a new album called California
This album is the Blink-182‘s first release since their poorly received Neighbourhoods (that’s how we spell it in South African English) in 2011, which saw the band members to scatter to the four corners of the Earth. Well, three corners.
Before I delve into California, I think I should clarify where I stand on Blink-182. See, I am, apparently, a millennial. When Enema of the State and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was released, I was in high school, and the perfect age to enjoy the finely crafted dick and balls jokes that were so expertly delivered by Tom, Mark, and Travis. I was also into guitars and playing music, so I learned a bunch of their songs, as they were easy and fun to play. In the process I took in the raw and relatively unprocessed Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch as well. Then, a couple of years later, Blink-182 released their eponymous album, which I still believe is their best work. It brought a darker, more serious sound, and showed that the three Californians were capable of more than just bubblegum punk. In fact, the 2003 release showed that they could take what they had learned thus far, and craft it into something incredibly beautiful and haunting while still displaying the barely contained anger of their punk roots. I still listen to that album from time to time. 2011’s Neighbourhoods disappointed me, so if you liked it, I won’t be hurt if you disregard this article’s opinion completely.
The band members had several side projects. Mark and Travis started +44 in reaction to Blink-182’s initial hiatus in 2005. Similarly, Tom formed Angels and Airwaves. I was never much of a fan of either band, feeling that the pop rock they delivered was weak and somewhat soulless compared to the 2003 Blink-182 album, as well as the first side project, Box Car Racer‘s only release, Box Car Racer in 2002; Tom and Travis wrote one of my all time favourite albums as Box Car Racer.
I think it’s clear from all this history that I hold the band’s earlier work in very high regard.
On to California. Apparently Blink-182 has been trying to release a new album since 2013, but Tom deLonge wouldn’t commit to picking up the guitar to write and record. Eventually, in 2015, Mark Hoppus (bass and vocals) and Travis Barker (drums) got tired of waiting and had a festival date to play. They asked Matt Skiba, vocalist and guitarist of Alkaline Trio, to fill in for Tom, and he soon became a full time replacement. It seems like the new trio gelled quickly and wrote a bunch of songs at a lightning pace, because about a year after joining forces, they released an album together.
The album, California, has its ups and downs
It starts off with a handful of songs (including the lead single Bored To Death) that still carry a strong influence of the older Blink-182 sound, even in the guitar playing. I got flashbacks to Take Of Your Pants and Jacket while listening to it. The sharp hooks of these songs immediately pull you in, and promise to earworm for the next month at least. The vocal harmonies immediately jumps out at you; it’s clear that Skiba knows how to sing and harmonize. His own style of guitar playing also shines through in interesting and highly unorthodox (for Blink-182) counterpoints using chords that they previously wouldn’t have dreamt of knowing.
The album then skips for the first time
The track Los Angeles starts off dark and driven, and stays dark throughout. Much darker than the first tracks, anyway. It’s a good song, with its sombre tone emphasised by the contrast of the bright and hopeful, highly melodic bridge. It is followed, however, by Sober, which is a generic pop rock song with nothing really special to offer, and Sober especially doesn’t fit into the tone of the album. It’s not a poor song, but I’m sure that Blink could’ve written something more tonally suitable for the album, as its inclusion is jarring.
The album really hits its stride following a brief joke track (that really might as well have gone on the cutting room floor too. At 30, I’m over the dick and ball jokes, and I can’t imagine the Blink guys really finding it all that funny anymore. Skiba cries “Is that really it?” when Mark finishes the songs, and I feel the same.) The song No Future has clear influences from the Take Off Your Pants era, and while there is a slight attempt at recapturing the feeling of being mad at all adults in the chorus, the harmonies are excellent, the guitar playing is layered beautifully, and Matt Skiba’s vocals really shine. The next track, Home Is Such A Lonely Place, again feels somewhat out of place as a ballad on a rock album, but the rest of the album is a combination of smooth vocal harmonies, good guitar work, Travis’ trademark energetic impossible drumming, seriously impressive vocal harmonies, high tempo songs with a good mixture of Blink and Alkaline Trio influences, and I can’t emphasize how well the vocal harmonies work on this album.
California has its shortcomings. The title track is another ballad-y pop song, which is not suited to the general tone of the album and the final song is called Brohemian Rhapsody… (I was steeling myself for the absolute worst, but it turned out that it is another joke track. Seems that the only way to make me thankful for a joke track is to instill fear of something much, much worse.)
In general, though, California is good, and if the evolutionary trajectory from high-school-Blink-182 to dark-and-serious-and-get-Robert-Smith-from-The-Cure-to-sing-with-you-Blink-182 continues to this Blink-182-with-Matt-Skiba, we can expect some more great albums from Blink-182 in the near future.
Blink-182 is an American rock band started in San Diego, California, in 1992. Their new record, California, released on 1 July 2016, and is available all over the place; I listened to it on Google Play Music. You can buy it on iTunes, or check out the band on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.
The last time I heard a groovy jazz-rock band who named themselves after a Japanese word with no English translation – oh wait, that’s never happened before. Enter Boketto. Apparently roughly translated, it means ‘The act of gazing vacantly into the distance, without thinking.’ Which is a pretty cool name for a band who produces smooth, soulful, jazzy groove-based music.
Ten spyte van wat Chris Chameleon graag wil hê ons moet glo, het Ingrid Jonker nie popliedjies geskryf nie. Jonker se naam vergestalt tragedie, maar ook betowerende en bewonderde poësie. Haar dogter, Simone, saam met Ernesto Garcia Marques en Paul Blom, het ‘n tribute-projek aangepak vir die 50ste herdenking van haar dood: Die Kind is Nog Jonger is ‘n dubbel-CD waarop 36 diverse bands/musikante toonsettings van Jonker se gedigte opgeneem het. Die doel met hierdie projek is om Jonker se onsterflike woorde te laat herleef, en terselfdertyd te beskerm.
Die snitlys bevat ‘n eklektiese klomp name: Van Kalahari Surfers, Victor Wolf, Inge Beckmann, Die Naaimasjiene, Beeskraal, Mavis Vermaak, Zaria, Abraham van Geenbybel, Somerfaan, Gert Vlok Nel, Francois Breytenbach Blom (van K.O.B.U.S.), The Radio Rats, Jim Neversink, Rambling Bones, tot Terminatryx.
Everybody might not have seen Bad Peter live, but the ones who have describe the band’s spirited performance as lively, compelling, and… well… damn good. They’re one of the busiest bands in the country at the moment, and recently, after signing with David Gresham Records, released their first EP, Let Go. For a five-track EP, Let Go has a surprisingly diverse set of influences and stylistic elements. Yet it maintains a distinct “Bad Peter”-sound. It’s bright, acoustic, sparkling and hair-raising – even sexy at times – while lyrically being both spirited and serious. Bad Peter is an acoustic duo consisting of PG Badenhorst and Alwyn Bekker, and we spoke to them about their career and their debut EP.
There’s something about Wolfgang Marrow that always makes me think of the live music/club scene in Black Snake Moan. And I don’t know why, but I think it’s something more than the Southern swampy Blues music they’ve got in common. Yes, the movie might be seen as an exploitative look at a sexy half-naked girl who’s chained up throughout most of the film, but behind its marketing campaign, it was a celebration of classic blues music, where it really comes from, and what it truly means. And Wolfgang Marrow‘s debut album, Bad Advice, might be the same…
Albert Frost woke up.
For such a prolific performer, his new album, The Wake Up, comes a surprising seven years after his last solo release, Devils and Gods. And for someone who’s spent 21 years as one of the Blues Broers before quitting the band last year, The Wake Up isn’t quite as bluesy as one might expect. “I’ve been slightly pigeon-holed as a blues guitarist,” Albert Frost explains – which is just how the music business works. But actually, my influences are very wide and range way further than just the blues. And I’ve never had a vehicle to explore that or felt that my voice is ready for this.”
Until now. The Wake Up, while firmly rooted in the blues [“I can’t escape it, I love it so much,” says Frost], is varied, eclectic, and certainly very different.
Scarlotte Will, a young local band, has launched their latest EP, Things Unseen. This five track mini-album promises to whet appetites for the accompanying tour, taking them all over South Africa.