rudies can’t fail

July 16, 2006

It’s been a busy few months for SA’s snappiest ska band, The Rudimentals. Ross became a dad – and Rocco is either a great name for the tiny rudeboy, or a precursor to many, many years of therapy. On the other hand, they could have gone for ‘Punk’ or ‘Ska-face’, so I shouldn’t be too quick to criticise. The ‘Mentals recently signed to international Indie label Moonska – home to former 2-Tone stalwarts The Selecter, The Toasters and Jamaican Supergroup,The Skatalites – for distribution of their debut album throughout the UK, Europe and parts of Asia. They also found time to ‘Set it Proper‘ – that is, release their long-awaited second album, which, by all accounts, is a corker – and added some weight to an already hefty rhythym section by persuading skate and City Bow(e)l ska-punk pioneer, Errol Strachan, to join them on bass.

Errol, a.k.a. ‘Bong’, started out playing guitar and then bass for the Sons of Sellassie, but that’s not important. He’s really known around these parts as The Guy Who Replaced Me, Barb, in the legendary, albeit short-lived, punk band Brain Slaughter, thus stifling my shot at one day comparing strap burns with the likes of Sean Yseult and Melissa Auf der Maur. Instead, here I am. Hanging out with you guys.

Admittedly I might be basing my appointment on a remark made in passing, possibly in jest, by the vocalist – but still, I do take exception to being replaced before I even made it to my first rehearsal. Sure, the sangoma and six times skateboarding champ can actually play his bass without staring at his fingers and mouthing the chord sequence (if only my parents had sent me to this Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls instead of a convent in Port Elizabeth), but I do look a darn sight cuter on stage.

If you don’t believe me, catch Bong and the rest of the Mother City’s rudest at the Zula Sound Bar, 194 Long Street on 21 July. I’ll be the attractive one at the bar, mouthing along to those chord sequences.

jou deftige duiwel

June 6, 2006

Laat ons sien hoeveel mense van my hou! Moet 'Kersfees' met 'Johan Stemmet Dag' verruil? Stem hierso!

Die man met die hare wat skrik vir niks, die man wat nooit "nooit" sê nie, die man wat die "ken" in "kennis" sit, ons eie Dawie Hasselhof… dames en here: Johan Stemmmmet!

Die wêreldwye web is somtyds 'n wonderlike ding.

~*~

Ag, dankie, Jo'Blog!

currying favour

May 12, 2006

The Hellphones are hard at work in the SABC studios, piecing together their debut album with renowned Squeal frontman and producer, Dave Birch. Hellphone Fredriguez is documenting the wild and emotional ride – which, at this early stage, seems to consist largely of sneaking off to the "smoking room" (why is it smoking?) and a review of the curry from the staff canteen. Which is all quite endearing until they mention firing up some incense to get them in the mood. I hope it was the Sulphuric Vapours of Hades variety, or I'm going to have to stop mentioning them in my posts.

Still, people seem to like this fly-on-the-wall sort of thing, so in an effort to increase my readership without having to disable my spell-checker, I think I'll install a webcam at my desk so you can watch me practise my ninja moves and staple people's fingers to the ceiling. Or whatever the hell it is I actually do around here.

ride, don’t walk

May 8, 2006

The Mochines play hard, furious, mouth-punchingly energetic rock 'n roll. They sound too loud even when the volume dial is all the way to the left. Their frontman's shirts will burn shapes on your retinas. Loudly. Their logo looks like someone knocked off one of Joe Dredd's shoulder-pads. They'll have you screaming "YEAHHH" and gooing windmills for no apparent reason. They're like a giant, spiky bowling ball thundered down the N1 yesterday and crushed all the emo kids and guys with long, stringy hair. They come from Kraaifontein. I think I love them.

Download Miles Away and Doghouse from the album Hire the Losers. Do it now.

Local band Cassette signed to Sony-BMG onstage at the Splashy Fen outdoor Music Festival recently – to chants of "don’t fucking do it" from an onbeskowwe crowd. Because nobody likes it when their friends become famous. Or, indeed – bands I've never actually heard until today.

On the bright side, they can count at least one moustache (no, not the one on the left) and a member of The Buckfever Underground in their favour – and I am looking forward to asking one of Musica's intellectually-challenged sales staff for "the new Cassette CD" in the not-too-distant future. Congratulations.

If you're reading this, stop it. You know you should be over at The Mad House in Oude Molen, Pinelands for the Cape Town leg of the highly-anticipated Witchfest. So highly-anticipated, in fact, that I forgot it was on this weekend. A shocking bit of negligence on my part, but if I put my skates on I could still catch the likes of Man in Suit, Tonight We Die, Three Chord Theory and my favourite drunk punks, Half Price.

On the other hand, a quick glance out the window confirms that an ill-wind blows through a city already swathed in unflattering grey cloud – and I'd really rather stay home and watch The Triplets of Belleville.*

Don't let my indifference and torpor dissuade you from what looks to be a sterling lineup, though. Make yourselves useful – be my eyes and ears. And don't forget to heckle.

~*~

While we're discussing punks and drunks, the 2006 Uprising Festival has been scheduled for 29 July at The Wavehouse in Durban. Formerly known as Punk Uprisings, the festival has grown from a small and scrappy collection of unknown bands into one comprising some of the stroppiest to have gobbed from a stage in the last 6 years. The 2006 lineup is still to be confirmed, but you really should nip out and secure some tickets online or from one of these outlets right now. Because, let's face it, I can't be trusted to remind you again before the day.

~*~

* Not to be confused with The Triplets of Bellville, in which the van Breda sisters braai naked, and other stories.

cradles of filth

April 23, 2006

Like W.C. Fields, I prefer my children fried. And, in spite of me banging on about selective breeding, or better still – mandatory sterilisation – for the last few years, it appears that the rest of the world is quite content to keep spraying out babies like peanuts from a fully-automatic popgun. In fact, at least 3 people I admire and respect greatly became fathers in the last week or so, but I'm trying not to hold it against them.

Dave Grohl and Jordyn Blum's sprog-rocker made her debut appearance last Saturday, according to a notice on the Foo frontman's website. I can say with some authority that a drum kit is not a good present for anyone under the age of 27, but I think we should all club together and buy one for little Violet Maye anyway. I've been wanting to do that ever since a relative bought my brother a plastic lawnmower ("with realistic sounds!") when he was three.

After a long and difficult labour, Frank Black finally squeezed out a Hum-Vee named Lucy on Thursday morning. At least, that's what I think he's been carrying around his middle for the last couple of years. For god's sake, Charles – people are starving to death in Africa! And please, stop releasing live DVDs!

Finally, François Naudé, a man with no connection to the music industry save a shock of Bolan-esque hair, and who deserves a round of applause for snagging a beautiful wife anyway, welcomed Zoë Olivia to the household on Friday afternoon. I'm uncharacteristically pleased for Fran and Carmel – two of the nicest and most talented people I know. Heck, I'm even a little excited. I'm sure it will pass.

mash and grab

April 20, 2006

+ Metallica are offering fans downloads of all three concerts from their South African sojourn. At around $10 for an album's worth of remastered live tracks from a show you actually attended, that's not a bad little souvenir – and probably less than you spent on beer at the gig anyway.

+ The Powerzone chicks give some predictably awestruck and sweaty feedback on Robbie's Pretoria gig.

+ The Guys, Corné and Twakkie, remember Brett Goldin in the style of love and the Gold Ninja's tracksuit.

+ Jungle Brothers Fletcher and the other guy from Krushed and Sorted/African Dope Records are passing out free downloads like blotter tabs outside the school gates. Come to think of it, if Fletcher is the Fletcher I think he is, then he really did spend some time loitering outside my High School back in the day. Chatting up Catholic schoolgirls. And… stuff.

Get your Constructus, Krushed, Agents, Godessa, Surfers and Soundsystem right here, then. That's Drum 'n' Bass, Afro-Rap, IDM, Dancehall and Trip Hop to the rest of you. Perhaps not quite in that order, though.

+ Lastly, previews of the new Slayer album suggest it's shaping up to be quite upbeat and poppy. Also, doesn't Tom Araya look a bit like a hirsute George Clooney in the pic? Creepy.

Deadlines, ok?

R.I.P. crazy monkey

April 18, 2006

On an altogether more sobering note – 5 people have been arrested in connection with the execution-style murders of Brett Goldin and Richard Bloom in Cape Town over the weekend. Goldin is probably best known for his role as the diminutive B-Dog in the MTV Crazy Monkey skits and Straight Outta Benoni movie spin-off.

For shame.

Known by about three people for their accidental tunes of shot-up love, slippery democracies and the general consequences of the incorrect application of beer and freedom in the dailies of our lives, The Buckfever Underground will bring you spoken word in Afrikaans and English, large-mouth bass, slack-jawed drums, strange guitar sounds and a man with hair on keyboards.

You can catch Toast Coetzer and the Buckfever Underground's "I Shot A Muishond In Gauteng Just To Watch Him Die" Tour in Gauteng in April. And you should.

That's if you haven't already packed your veldskoen and 'shrooms for The OppiKoppiHaat my want ek vreet my hasie” Easter Festival (Fuck, what is it with these names?).

I'm only mentioning it because BVK will be there and I'm counting on Mr Fat to keep the rest of those pesky hippies under control.

Like Ben Lee, for example.

monologue in stereo

March 29, 2006

Unlike me, Johnbrij from zapunx actually saw most of the bands on Saturday's Coca-Cola Colab bill. Unlike me, he didn't find it necessary to pad his review with cracks about monkeys.

Unlike you, people actually posted comments to his article – some of which are surprisingly informative:

"And Francios van Coke got to say "Poes Off" infront of 35 000 as well as puke on the front row. Not saying I approve. I am saying that it wants to be done though. hehe"

The Hellphones, having beaten off some stiff competition at the RBF Emerging Sounds competition, have been signed by Sheer Music, home to, um… Garth Taylor, and plan start recording in a month.

Congrats. I hope you remembered to include that crucial M&Ms clause in your contract.

 ~*~

Tnx, Dave

hello, cape town!

March 26, 2006

Democracy has meant wonderful things for the people of this country. Just this weekend, f'instance, I was able to stroll a few pleasant blocks and watch one of the biggest bands in the world thunder through a 2 hour set for the benefit of 20 000 delirious white people. Oh, and there's that whole vote thing too, obviously.

Like I said, pleasant – and considerably enhanced by the fact that I arrived at Saturday's Coca-Cola Colab Massive Mix just in time for the main event, bypassing the queues and several hours of sun-baked tedium as every laaitjie within a 100 km radius waited anxiously for Metallica to take to the stage. Judging by the number of TT's and Beemers in the parking lot, their parents were there in full force, too. And so, of course, was everyone who has ever lugged an amp to the garage in the name of rock 'n roll. As a passing label owner noted, 'it's like Arties*, only bigger".

A quick poll suggested that we hadn't really missed out on anything by turning up late, although Lee Lips graciously conceded that Seether "were better than Michael Bolton." Michael Bolton, it transpired, was actually Ed Roland, vocalist for Collective Soul. I caught the last few songs of their set. Professional. Friendly. Bland. Everyone else must really like them, though – the audience sang along with the kind of gusto normally reserved for the Lumberjack Song during Rag Week. I would have joined in and all, but I was too busy evading everyone I've dated in the last 5 years.

There's a longstanding complaint – emanating from the support slots, mostly – that the headlining act's guitars are always turned up one louder, and Metallica were no exception. As the opening chords of Blackened parted the dry ice, I was a little surprised to discover Billy Crystal had replaced Lars on drums, but no one else seemed to mind, really. Then, midway through the third song, Harvester of Sorrow, I went deaf in one ear. At least that's what I thought had happened, but it turned out that the power had been cut to the right-hand side of the stage. After a few minutes, and to chants of “Eskom, Eskom” from a bemused crowd, the band lurched back into action. The momentum had clearly been lost – the sound was choppy and the band tight but workmanlike. It was only during Sanitarium, as Kirk flicked back his locks – a ray of light arcing off his ESP KH-2 M-II, and blinding Rob Trujillo mid ugga-ugga face – that everything dropped into place with a melodious clang.

Y'know – I was as bummed as the rest of you by the whole Newsted / Bob Rock thing, but when Rob isn't swinging from lianas or scraping his knuckles along the stage – seriously, the guy looks like a Jamie Hewlett cartoon – he plays the bass with the grace and ease of a Bolshoi-schooled savant. He's pretty damn awesome, actually. Somewhat surprisingly, the setlist steered clear of much of their commercial stuff, opting for a heavy ride through Metallica's earlier output – including the really thrashy stuff, which caused some pants-wetting among the purists immediately to my left. And the band looked as if they were as pleased with the results as we were. The only album that didn't get much of a look-in was St. Anger. Which is good. Because the album isn't, really.

Lastly, if anyone else is thinking of calling to tell me that I missed a chat with monkey-man Trujillo at Green Point Market the next day by electing to stay home and do my laundry: thanks, but the prospect of all that ironing is depressing me enough as it is.

~*~

*For those of you who had less complicated childhoods: Arties Cellar Pub was tiny, dank venue in the kak part of town that must have hosted every two-bit punk and metal band in the country during its 'heyday' in the early to mid 90s. The ceiling was so low that punters invariably left with their mohawks flattened to one side. S'true.

no!

March 26, 2006

In a surprise move, the SA Podcast whatsit, which updates less frequently than I do, adds Fokofpolisiekar, The Narrow and Candy Fly to their playlist for the month. Quarter. Whatever.

Download it here. Do it quickly. Or do it slowly. I don't think it really matters.

stop making sense

March 23, 2006

If you’ve seen Charlie Jade, the slick and incomprehensible Sci-fi series that has a Canadian flitting between accents and parallel universes in and around Cape Town, then the South African Music Award (SAMA) nominations will make perfect sense to you.

If not, let me try and make things a little clearer: in a place that looks a lot like this one, Kurt Darren lounges on a pile of Kruger Rands as wan label execs mop his brow and gesture to the dozens of adoring fans clutching “Vat My, Maak My Joune” to their ample bosoms. Around the back, Seether are handed a small plaque and congratulated on their ‘freshness’ and ‘originality’, before being stripped of their passports and told to trim their hair. The SAMA marketing police patrol tirelessly, handing out accordions and marimbas to kids in Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge t-shirts. In this universe – the Jo(ma se)verse, I am a P.A. named Cindy.

Fortunately I’m typing this in the next universe over. I inhabit this reality as myself, only taller and slightly whinier. Here the bands play loud, thrilling songs about drunks and Satan – on guitars, not keyboards or thumb-pianos. They even have better hair. Yes, of course the likes of Kurt Darren and Watershed still exist, but no one pretends that they own any of their records or that they think they’re any good. This universe is called Secondverse. And it’s not quite the same as the first.