hell-bent for pleasure

August 12, 2006

A piano bar, somewhere in suburbia.

MC: The Hellphones spring their debut album on an unsuspecting Gauteng public at the Blues Room, Village Walk, this Tuesday evening.

Audience: Oooh.

MC: It should be good. (Pause.) You know, I think I missed their launch in Cape Town a couple of weeks ago…

Audience: Awwww.

MC: But as luck would have it, I’m in Johannesburg right now. (Stan, could I get a refill?)

Audience: Oooooh.

MC: Yeah, if you’re in the vicinity of the departure lounge at Jo’burg International around the time that they’re due to hit the stage, come and say hello.

Audience: Awwww.

MC: I know, but what can you do? I’ve heard reports that This is How might be one of the best local honest-to-goodness rock ‘n’ roll releases of recent years. If not of all time. (Stan, I love you.)

Audience: Oooh

MC: In spite of it not sounding at all like The ‘Stones, Thin Lizzy or The Beatles, like the press release claims.

Audience: Awwww.

MC: (No, “Oooh”, that’s an “Ooooh”)

Audience: Ohhh.

MC: On a positive and vaguely related note, at least I’ll be going back to a fixed internet connection in the Mother City – you know, check my mail at night without having to Velcro an aerial to the neighbour’s roof. I could even resume some sort of regular posting schedule. Like in the old days.

Audience: Awwww.

MC: Hey!

“This is How” is released by Sheer Music and is available countrywide at Look & Listen, CD Wherehouse and all good CD Stores.

But not, apparently, at The Mall in Rosebank. So I bought Cassette‘s debut release instead.

bubbleheaded co-op

July 28, 2006

Witchdoctor Records, champions of the local hard and heavyset heavy set, recently signed a deal with Plastic Head, the UK distribution company responsible for shoehorning the likes of* Bad Religion, Cannibal Corpse, Fall Out Boy, and the flabbiest from Fat Mike’s catalogue onto the shelves of top high street retailers and respectable indies across Blighty.

What’s in it for Shaughn Pieterse’s Angry Young Men, then?

“This is a great opportunity for our artists to get a foot hold into the UK market. We will be looking at getting our artists over to the UK and Europe for some support slots within the coming months. We are already in discussions with some international booking agencies to represent our artists.

The deal will see the Architecture Of Aggression album Democracy: Consent To Domination, be the first release to have a truly INTERNATIONAL RELEASE date. There after the Forever Will Burn Album will follow and pretty much every release after that.”

~*~

* And Burzum. Now you Brits know who to blame.

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.

me ears are alight

May 26, 2006

If I spent more time on the Internet and less time on frivolous distractions like ‘work’ and ‘deadlines’, I wouldn’t be the last person in town to discover that the ‘King of Ska’, Desmond Dekker, popped his clogs yesterday at the youthful age of 64.

Dekker – who, sadly, is probably best known around my parts as the guy everyone thinks is Horace Andy or a barber – rocksteadied Jamaica to the top of the international charts with Israelites, and 007 (Shanty Town), paving the way for a succession of island superstars like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and … uh, Shaggy.

Prince has been voted the "world's sexiest vegetarian" in PETA's annual online poll, the animal rights group announced Monday.

Not that I care or anything – I just wanted to use that headline.

OK already

May 16, 2006

Radiohead's Thom Yorke releases a solo album and the internet goes apeshit. Only it's not really a solo album, apparently, and doesn't necessarily signal a rift amongst the Flaky Five, and this blog still can't bring itself to care.

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.

Stereogum ponies up What a Waste – another mp3 from Sonic Youth’s forthcoming album, Rather Ripped. Rather nice, actually. Thanks.

~*~

In a neat example of life imitating MTV, a young journalist at one of the recent People’s Celebration Concerts describes how she was whisked from concert venue to swish hotel and very nearly ended up as the Big Dogg’s bitch. Believe me, I’m just as surprised as you are:

“After I eyed him suspiciously, Uncle Reo went on to explain to me how "it" works. He said Snoop would point out girls he wanted to join him after a concert, his bodyguard or his uncle would then fetch the girls and they would then be invited to the hotel Snoop was staying at.”

~*~

And Rolling Stone celebrates its 1000th issue by revealing the stories behind the biggest stories of the last 39 years, and spades of other interesting content. It’s a pleasant reminder of the extent to which the publication shaped and defined the industry before music television really took hold – and I’m sure it wields just as much influence today. Yet I can’t help feeling that it has gradually devolved into MTV’s stylish older, duller, sibling over the last few years. And, really – one VH1 is quite enough.

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.

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

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.