The Johannesburg-based rock group Pollinator is relatively new on the scene, but has been making tongues wag as a live act with immense chutzpah. The energy that Evert Snyman (vocals, guitar), Louise Eksteen (vocals, bass) and Tim Edwards (vocals, drums) eject has set many venues alight. The question is whether their debut album, Honeyeaters, will ignite the same fire in the hearts of music lovers.
Cherry Vinyl’s debut album, Busking Cape Town, is a fun and energetic, melodic folk-rock offering. In a nutshell, this sounds like an album made by lovers of music. Everything sounds bright and light, with a positive attitude and hopeful lyrics beaming from the speakers. It’s also evident that these musicians know what they’re doing – when it comes to skilled use of their individual instruments, but also the production and arrangement involved in crafting each song, these songs are top class.
Bloc Party, slightly re-organised, is back with Hymns – their fifth album. After a hiatus starting in 2013, frontman Kele Okereke and guitarist Russell Lissack remain, together with Justin Harris and Louise Bartle (respectively the new bassist & drummer). It’s been four years since their last, more guitar-driven, album: Four.
De Wallen is a dirty rock ‘n roll band that reminds you of the phrase “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll”. They’re raw and rough and cut to the bone, with dirty, rich, electric guitars, rocking loud and fast.
Crackerjack, the first single off the EP, is a powerful rock track with fat guitar riffs. It’s a fun, exciting and upbeat track that sets the energetic tone for the whole EP. The arrangement is neat, guitars are unreserved, and the vocals sound like a relatable tough guy. You know: The slightly intimidating guy with the stubble and tattoos who turns out to be the nicest guy you’ve met. Plus, in one of their publicity stills, his microphone is literally on fire.
Yes, I’m old enough to remember a time before Fokofpolisiekar. When the South-African music scene was fine, but certain popular genres were just left untouched in Afrikaans. Until Karen Zoid came around. The press dubbed her “South Africa’s rock chick”, and her rocking take on Afrikaans (with touches of punk & hip-hop) reinvigorated the genre for Afrikaans-speaking music lovers and musicians, and paved the way for the Fokofpolisiekar-generation.
Scarlotte Will isn’t easy to write about – mostly cause I have no idea whether their name means something. Even geographically, they refused to be boxed in: They hail from Gauteng – that is, Randfontein, Pretoria, and Kempton Park. However, the four-piece alternative rock band have been working hard to hang on everyone’s lips. They are one of the hardest-working and constantly-gigging bands I know of that teeter on the edge of “underground”. Whatever that means these days. They pop up regularly on stages at The Bohemian, Railways Cafe, and Arcade Empire, practically opened the main stage at Oppikoppi this year, and had a stint high up on the Tuks FM top 30.
It’ll be easy to call Tim Hendricks’ new album, Contemplating Change, a pop record. But that’s not necessarily true, or fair. It has a distinct, easy-going sonic quality that places it somewhere between soft rock and pop, but ends up comfortably standing out between adult contemporary albums, while adding measures of funk, hip-hop, and spanish without fear.
Van my gunsteling dele van Bittereinder se vorige album was verwysings na die dood en vergaan. Spesifiek die gedagtes van ouer word in Jou Tyd Sal Kom en aanvaarding van die dood in Doodsberig. ‘n Jaar later reik Bittereinder hul vierde plaat, Dans tot die Dood, uit – en soos die titel insinueer is daar baie dood en vergaan op die album. Maar net soveel dans.
“Op die lem van die mes lê die einde van die storie
Hier’s die sedeles: Ek is nog nie dood nie.”
I distinctly remember nodding in agreement at a recent festival where BCUC exclaimed from the stage: “Real rock stars don’t do covers.” However, I’m sure that after 7 years, 5 albums, and many awards (including a SAMA) Van Coke Kartel has earned their rock star stripes. In fact, my biggest criticism on their previous releases was that it was too much of the same. In fact, I had hoped very hard that they would break out and do something completely unexpected and different. And now they have, with their new cover EP, Energie.
After a self-titled debut, Thomas Krane’s crowd-funded sophomore album, Bone Tower, is here. No, it has nothing to do with Tom Waits’ Bone Machine, but rather claims to be “a collection of left field pop songs about loving someone a bit too much.” I’m sure most people can relate.
Just like on the first album, Thomas Krane (band name/nom de guerre of Dan Hampton) makes beautiful, electric guitar based poem-songs. While this one is a proper studio production rather than the product of bedroom recordings, it retains the simplicity and cut-to-the-bone emotion of the previous release. Especially tracks like Dark Corners and Ode to Divorce respectively reminds me of Does that make you feel weird? and (ironically?), A song for our wedding day.