As year end rolls in, don’t be fooled into thinking that local music is gearing down. In fact, it’s much the opposite. Take October for example, where we saw EPs, mixes, music videos and a plethora of new singles hit the local and international soundscape.
We do also understand that year-end is a chaotic time too, and you’ve probably missed out on a lot. We’ve got you covered though. Welcome to Have You Heard? Vol. 3 where we’ve gathered some of the best local music to come out of the country over the past month. Read, listen and enjoy.
Mashayabhuqe Kamamba | Live set at Sneaker Exchange 2016
Sounds like: *Speaker emoji* *Sneaker emoji* *Flames emoji*
Early on in October, Durban’s Mashayabhuqe KaMamba brought out his full live set at this year’s Sneaker Exchange in Cape Town. A lively, full-bodied set, the artist proves exactly why he’s the Digital Maskandi pioneer you need to hear. He also just dropped a new single ‘KwaDukuza’ which is well worth a listen.
Jumping Back Slash | Radar Radio mix
Sounds like: SA music banging on Europe’s eardrums.
Knysna-based musical maestro JBS put out his most recent mix via Radar Radio a while back and it’s full to the brim with local goodness. In the mix you’ll find DJ Lag, Jakinda, Card on Spokes and more, as well as a guest mini-mix by Maramza. This one’s definitely worth a listen. JBS also brought out a new remix lately which sees his take on Jay Boogie’s ‘Terminal’. Give it a listen here.
Felix Laband | Tikno Sessions Volume 01
Sounds like: The start of something great
Felix is riding a wave of hyper-productivity, it seems. Shortly after the release of Bag of Bones and his European tour by the same name, the SA legend has released the first in a new series of mixes, Tikno Sessions. Now mixes usually serve as a soundboard of sorts – either of the musician’s own sound, or of the sounds that influence them. This mix however, sees Felix experiment with and revisit his sound in a narratively imbued, hour-long mix replete with samples, refixes, and classic Felix tracks, both old and new. Set aside a moment in the day to give this one a full listen through. It’s not a mix you can play at leisure. Then again, which Felix Laband work doesn’t demand your full attention? And on another note, the artist also released a new single ‘Dawn in the Desert’ recently. Grab it for free over here.
Khuli Chana | One Source
Sounds like: A musical epic
“Africa is on fire!” exclaims a disembodied voice just before the beat kicks in on Khuli Chana’s latest single and music video ‘Once Source’. The video is a theatrical offering, alive with colour, spirit and a militant devotion to all things creative from the African continent. While the video does have its ties to Absolut Vodka, it goes to show that not all branded entertainment has to dumb down the final product. Check it out for yourself below.
Sol Gems | Psaaak
Sounds like: Their upcoming album is gonna be a good one!
Jo’burg psych trio Sol Gems have been hard at work lately as they put the final touches on their upcoming release Lapis Lazuli. They also recently released a music video for ‘Psaaak’ which comprises footage from their recording session at SABC studios earlier this year, giving a nice bit of insight into the energy and passion they throw into their music.
Amy Ayanda | Jessica
Sounds like: Melancholic wonder
Oh wow, Amy Ayanda has outdone herself with this release. Teaming up with the Birthday Girl crew on production ‘Jessica’ is a beautifully dreamy, painfully sad, yet ultimately empowering track with a heavy focus on the narrative. Here Amy tells the tale of a womxn trapped in a toxic and abusive relationship. Her child, who she aims to protect, ultimately helps her decide to escape the situation. Musically, whimsical guitar weaves together an urgent mood while Amy’s soft yet resolute vocals calmly lead you through the dense track.
Das Kapital | Master Simz Take That (Remix)
Sounds like: This December’s club anthem
Ever since Das Kapital got a regular gig at that rather large radio station, he’s been a bit quiet with the releases. This remix of Master Simz’ ‘Take That’ however, does well to remind us that he’s still a pro when it comes to taking an already brilliant sound and improving on it. A house-heavy remix, Das Kapital leads in slow with this one, building up to an anthemic number with great use of simple percussion that seems to fall over itself with a rolling momentum. In the last two minutes of the track he really comes into himself, driving home that signature Das Kapital sound.
Shortstraw | T-Shirt
Sounds like: A song for an easy summer’s day
In the lead up to their next album and audio visual project, Those Meddling Kids, Shortstraw’s been running with a slow release of their tracks and it’s been interesting to follow. The group seems to have shed most of the ‘kwela’ aspect of their well-known ‘indie-kwela’ sound and run soley with the indie element. The result is good and it’s a joy to hear lead-singer Alastair Thomas throw it all out there when it comes to experimenting with a new vocal range. Check out ‘T-Shirt’ below and follow their progress here.
IV | 2 PM in East London (Freestyle)
Sounds like: East London’s doing well
IV was one of those lucky Soundcloud finds. With only seven followers and two public tracks to his name, IV looks new to the scene, but his vocals are seasoned. Evident in this track, IV flexes a wide vocal range that never seems to tire before switching up the tempo at around 2:20 to put out a solid and high-energy delivery. We’ll be keeping an eye on IV. You best do the same.
Hi-Lux | She Wavy
Sounds like: A slow evening jam
If you don’t know yet, Hi-Lux is the second moniker of Shibule Ndhambi, otherwise known as Buli. His Hi-Lux stuff is usually characterised by slow, dreamy sounds with a slow emotive gait. In ‘She Wavy’, this is re-enforced through the use of spacey, languid movements supported by classic, but minimal hip-hop percussion.
Buli | She Doesn’t Exist
Sounds like: *Tear drop emoji* *heart emoji*
Speaking of Buli, ‘She Doesn’t Exist’ came out towards the end of October too. Perhaps signalled by the title, this tracks a forlorn and melancholic one, but beautifully dreamy. Shimmering synth makes up the bulk of the track while sporadic percussive elements dot the spectrum here and there. Definitely worth a listen!
B00n | The violent nature of self-doubt // rejection
Sounds like: Shit, idk you’ll have to listen for yourself
Whenever people ask me for new music, I’ll usually recommend B00n. Then whenever they ask me who B00n is, I’ll usually say, “Basically, he’s this reclusive musical genius from Grahamstown.” So reclusive that he probably won’t enjoy having this featured on 10and5, but so genius that I couldn’t not feature him here. ‘The violent nature of self-doubt // rejection’ is one track out of four that the artist released in October. It’s an unsettling track, but comforting in the loneliness it conveys. Here, as in most of his tracks, B00n makes use of vocal samples in a way that’s unrivalled in local music.
Go Barefoot | Hail
Sounds like: The song you’ll be dancing to this Friday
After a fair bit of silence, the five-piece Afro-indie rock outfit Go Barefoot brought out their latest single ‘Hail’ this October. Gentle guitar and rising vocals open up the track before a resoundlingly groovy hook kicks in to really get you moving. At its core, ‘Hail’ carries a wonderfully carefree temperament to it and it shines through beautifully. Grab a copy below.
Sam Turpin | Jade Skies (Prod. thegooddokta)
Sounds like: A lovely slice of unpredictability
At the onset, ‘Jade Skies’ sounds like a happy and easy-going track, but later on, thanks to the production work of thegooddokta, it switches up and takes a somewhat macabre turn. All in all, ‘Jade Skies’ is a solid piece of work by the two, largely inspired by Sam’s recent trip to Ghana. Listen below and find more by Sam Turpin here.
I See a Different You | Not Giving Up
Sounds like: Gqom meets RnB
Yup, that’s right. The three Soweto-born siblings aren’t exclusive to the visual realm. In fact, the well-known photo collective recently brought out their first single ‘Not Giving Up’, a gqom-style track interspersed with soulful, RnB-style vocals. With this signalling the trio’s further forays into the musical realm, we’re excited to see where they go next.
The Deathrettes | Kill all the Kings
Sounds like: The Deathrettes are here to stay
Despite being a brand new edition to the Cape Town scene, this four piece garage groove and psych rock outfit have been putting in hard work in a short space of time. The result: Their debut five-track EP Kill all the Kings, a lovely tapestry of light guitar work, crashing cymbals and a high-energy vocal delivery that’s over all too soon. If you haven’t heard of them yet, be sure to read our feature on The Deathrettes and catch them at the debut Endless Daze festival this November.
FAKA | Bottom’s Revenge
Sounds like: “Ancestral gqom gospel sounds”
Anyone who’s been following the work of Desire Maria and Fela Gucci aka FAKA, will have been waiting a good while for this EP to come out. And here it finally is! A combination of thick, murky electronic elements and raw, melodic vocal samples, Bottom’s Revenge it seems, was well worth the wait. Find it on iTunes and read more about the EP here.
TSA | Finger Snacks
Sounds like: *A paragraph of speakers and flames emojis*
TSA pulled a sneaky release with Finger Snacks. The Jozi-based rapper dropped the six-track EP mid October which features a strong collection of short, punchy numbers. Overall, the EP plays around brilliantly with its sound, while still remaining an ode to the classic hip-hop beat. Lyrically, there’s no surprise – TSA executes a resolute and emotive delivery throughout the EP, further establishing himself as one of SA’s best rising rappers. Hear it for yourself below.
Jett Screams | Say Ten!
Sounds like: Some good ol’ garage punk
The Jett Screams are Berlin-based but their origins are local so we’re showing them some love. Say Ten! Is their latest EP and on the release they’ve said “We are extremely excited to announce the release of Say Ten!, a five-track EP and Jett Screams’ first full band recording. The EP is a fuzzed out, overdriven, full-sound explosion that will make your ears bleed with joy.” Hmm, well there’s no ear-bleeding here, but there certainly is a lot of joy. Say Ten! is a well-rounded EP, full of unending passion and energy, melodic and hooky as hell. A personal favourite would have to be ‘Trash Tommy’ which you can listen to here, along with the rest of the EP.
Looking for more South Africa music? Check out our previous editions of Have You Heard?