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CD Cover 'WRAPPED IN STONE' - WATERSHED (EMI)

2 June 2003 There must have been a lot of pressure on Craig Hinds and Watershed as the recording of that dreaded, but contractually-required, second album approached. Second albums are notoriously tricky and exposing, unless you are Coldplay, whose second effort, 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head', not only earned them Grammys, Gwynneths, and an NME "Album Of The Year" award, but also gave new credibility to acoustic pop-rock bands with plenty of good songs.

Coldplay and Watershed share the EMI label, so an expectant (corporate and fans') gaze fell on Watershed as they set out to record the follow-up to their very successful 'In The Meantime' debut. That impressive first offering had timeously arrived soon after Just Jinger had finished blazing their yearning ballad trail across '90's South Africa and had left for overseas glory, leaving all the SA labels searching for another similar SA rock band with a strong pop centre and a bag of hits.

EMI and their new signings struck gold with 'In The Meantime', which yielded a string of radio hits - 'Shine On Me', 'Indigo Girl', 'Angel', and 'Yesterday Again' - and passed SA gold sales of 25 000 units on its way to platinum. 'In The Meantime' was then released in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, along with 'Indigo Girl', which was released in several territories as a stand-alone single.

But with all that going on, Watershed - Craig Hinds (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano), Paul McIver (guitars), Tulsa Pittaway (drums), Vernon Hodgetts (bass guitar) and Lizzie Rennie (violin, keyboards) - got down to writing and recording 'Wrapped In Stone' with producer Brian O'Shea.

The resulting 13-song (plus the obligatory hidden track, here called 'Lonely', shame) album removes all doubts that this band have the goods. It opens with five consecutive potential hits - 'Lovely Day', 'Crazy', 'Light Of The Moon', (first single) 'Closing Down' and (current personal favourite) 'So Far'. The album then dips slightly in mid-album with 'Hurricane' (which is a little too slow and close to 'Indigo Girl' - here she's his "brown-haired girl"?), 'How Was I To Know', and 'Don't Go Changing'. One or two of these songs could have been held back for future inclusion on the upcoming single EP's.

But then it's back to their best with songs like 'All I Could Offer', 'Today', and the uptempo 'Fine Time To Leave', which should also be another radio cert.

Although there is a richness of hits here, 'Wrapped In Stone' is best appreciated as a full album, an alien but still valid concept in these days of mp3 compilations. Brian O'Shea shows what he can do with some really strong material, as opposed to some of the drek he's been buffing these past few months.

Here the arrangements work merely to enhance the core of these songs, finding relevant spaces for soft piano, a string section, a brass section, and plenty of acoustic guitars to surround Craig Hinds' distinctive and warm vocals - all combining to produce as fine and intelligent an SA pop-rock album as we have heard in ages.

'Wrapped In Stone' will yield a bucket of hits, impress a lot of people, sell plenty, and will undoubtedly establish Watershed as our outstanding SA pop-rock band of the moment - it's really that good! (SS)

 

CD Cover 'SELFCONSCIOUS' - THE NARROW [INTERVENTION ARTS]

19 May 2003 We're not quite sure exactly what's happening with the De Jong brothers. Last sighting in April had them accepting the 2003 SAMA award as Not My Dog for 'Best Rock Album' (for 'Braai Vibes'). Now the terrible twosome are back in a new incarnation as The Narrow, while simultaneously announcing tour dates as Not My Dog (see 'Live' section below).

Hanu de Jong (vocals) and Emile de Jong (guitar) are well-established on the SA rock scene and, with this new album, are once again raising the bar for contemporary SA hard rock bands. Alongside them in this new line-up are Lias on drums, Sid on guitar, and Jow on bass.

The Narrow's debut album is called 'Selfconscious' (released on Intervention Arts - "The home of the hard"), and finds the brothers mixing up some hardcore, modern rock, hip hop elements of nu-metal, and touches of electronica to create a further instalment in their quest for the iconic SA hard rock sound. The first single off the album, 'The Banded', is a typically stomping statement of intent that appears again at the end of the album in a remixed form. Other standout songs include 'Gracious Creature', and 'Promised The World'.

Now that Seether have carved a trail to the US, could The Narrow be the first SA band to follow?

BUY One World

 

CD Cover 'AFRIKAANSE REGGAE' - VARIOUS [Hoezit, distributed by Select, HOEZD 86]

5 May 2003 Something old, something new, something borrowed and something.... reggae! This lastest compilation from the guys at Hoezit Musiek celebrates the Afrikaans language sung to a Reggae rhythm. On paper maybe not a great combination, but on CD... a mind-blow indeed.

A wide variety of Afrikaans artists are featured, from Koos Kombuis and Anton Goosen to Jacques de Coning (with 'Boere Reggae') and Laurika Rauch. Wouter van de Venter has taken the Koos Kombuis classic 'Lisa se Klavier', reworked it, and called it 'Reggae Lisa'. Koos himself is here with 'Babilon' (an obvious choice really, but a welcome one) while Boerepunksters Beeskraal bounce along with a song for the guys in the army, 'Sorry Johnny's'. Anton Goosen's 'Danser' gets a new lease on life and Laurika sings 'Die Lewe is 'n Grenshotel' to a lilting reggae beat.

Other artists include Akkedis, Skallabrak, Riku Ltti (both solo and with Jean Marais as 12Hz), Marula, Andr Swiegers and Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes.

This CD is kwaai, mon.

 

CD Cover 'SONG VIR KATRYN' - VALIANT SWART (SWART007, Rhythm Records)

14 April 2003 Here's Jan Scholtz, Valiant Swart and a mean posse of insanely talented musos with the magic behind the story. Song vir Katryn started April 10 on kykNET - Valiant Swart (Jinx), Therese Benade (Katryn), Mel Botes, Marius Weyers and others in a local and lekker story of 13 episodes. Musos like Valiant (umm - like - yeah! on vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, dobro, keys and harmonica), Schalk van der Merwe (kick-ass bass), Barry van Zyl (drums and spicy percussion), Melissa van der Spuy (ivory keys), Shannon Mowday (succulent sax), Mel Botes (brilliant electric guitar), Simon Orange (suave on keys), Schalk Joubert (yes - that bass), and Albert du Plessis with Anika (very unshabby background vox).

The first track kicks you straight into dance mode with the Delta blues twanggg of the slide guitar. Whhrooom-whrooom goes the motorbike down the road with "Dans Met My Baby" - what a raunchy blue shuffle. "Wat's jou nommer Baby, wat is jou naam, en waar kom jy so skielik uit die bloute vandaan?" You will dance. Ohhh yeah. Then there's the deep, slow "Ek wens jy was hier". Find the old rock guitar rhythm and nuances of melancholy, listen to "Jy lag vir my oor jou glas se rand" - strong, no frills. "En ek weet dit is eintlik net jou donker kant." Dark hypnotic glimpses of a phantom woman in "'n fontein in die sand". In the breezy "Jakarandastrate" you hear the tale of the unquiet traveller, walking through strange cities, finding continents and islands, his search taking him home with "en ek volg my hart waar hy gaan".

Yummy piece of slow sad love in "Hawelose Lewe". It's got a harmonica in there that will turn your heart into mush - "jou o die weerkaatsing teen 'n muur van klip". Oh and here's "Lekker Verby", same harmonica, stuffed with happy thoughts. Also bodaciously frisky. "Dan vat ek jou ver met my saam langs die hoogspanningsdrade" and ooohh yes, "dan kuier ons saans met jou katte en jou tapes en jou wyn". Now we're getting' it on - "Meisie van die plaas, met jou wil ek rol in die hooimied, al wil jou pa my doodskiet" - listen to the shotgun talk!

"Jy Is Opium". You hear an old, dark slide guitar with echoes of dark hungry nights and desolation. You see dusty red plains, wild horses, taste the heat. You see the guitar. "Die opium van my lewe is die lyne van jou lyf, jou o die planete wat deur die melkweg dryf, en ek en jy ons wentel in 'n dubbele spiraal, hoe is dit dat ek en jy nog saam dans in die strale" - feel the hair at the back of your neck stand on end. GOOD ONE. "As ons ons harte aan die somerhemel hang, saam met Jupiter en Venus en die maan" haunts your ears and brings gooseflesh right into your room.

"Die Sewe Af" chugs with a chummy rhythm from De Aar and back "waar die jakkalse tjank en die engele wag, om jou weg te dra na jou graf in die nag". The guitar snarls in the back while you shoot through the wind on the roof of the train. There's yet another mood change in "Verdwyn", with a moody, bitter and bluesy tune. "Herinnerings waai weg soos winterdatums" - previews Jinx and Katryn's evocative alliance. "Maar jy was altyd iewers in die gange of agter 'n gordyn" - and the guitar stays in your head. Then it disappears.

The three 'jive' tracks are "Die son sak in Danville" (to the tune of Valiant's hectic 'Durbanville' creation), "Dad Se Vastrap", and "Hey Hey Katonkel", the tune about Jinx's motorbike. Two remixes of "Verdwyn" and "Hawelose Lewe" close the door most deliciously.

Just a soundtrack? Yeah right.

(Carina Laubsher)

READ, LISTEN & BUY
http://www.RhythmRecords.co.za/valiant_katryn.html

 

CD Cover 'IN DIFFERENT VOICES' - KJ STONE [SONIC ORANGE]

31 March 2003 KJ hails from the UK where she was the first woman engineer on Channel 4 before spending a few years on the educational side of music production and all the new technologies. She relocated to SA in the mid-90's and managed the SoundHouse, a room filled with computers and music software for teaching purposes, at The Baxter Theatre in Cape Town. But KJ felt she had a good album in her and spent most of 2002 writing and producing 'In Different Voices', her very impressive debut.

All the songs on 'In Different Voices' are written by KJ, apart from the lyrics on the 'Summer's Lease', which is the album's only nod to Enya's operatic-type pop, with Zanne Stapelberg singing lines from William Shakespeare's "Darling buds of May..." poem. KJ plays guitars and keyboards, and sings on some of these songs, like the two versions of her funky first single, 'Pretty Baby', which bookend the album. It's a song that resembles Semisane's 'Girlfriend (Of Mine) with its spoken stream of images, and a hard interior jazzy guitar from Jeremy Olivier.

But for her other tracks KJ has roped in a string of guests to flesh out her compositions and she chose perceptively, with Gloria Bosman, doing her finest Macy Gray impression on the lovely, slow-building 'Always', Melissa on 'Limitless', and D's soulful voice on 'Crushed Beyond Repair' and 'No More'.

There's enough on this album to catch anyone's attention and hold it for repeated listenings. Think Steely Dan, Morcheeba and Moby, The Sundays and St Etienne - 'In Different Voices' is something special. It's a trip-Pop album with plenty of hooky variety, and tunes that you'll swear you've heard somewhere before but can't quite place, the true sign of a strong pop album. (SS)

Listen to 'Pretty Baby' at http://www.SAmp3.com


Buy http://www.oneworld.co.za/index.cfm?bec=4321&ID=SOIDV01

 

CD Cover 'SOMETHING COOL' - EDEN BRENT - (Rhythm Records, RR040)

24 March 2003 An album by a Mississippi songstress on the Digest? How come? Well, Eden Brent is currently in South Africa for her appearance with Valiant Swart on the "Rainbow Blues" show at the KKNK. And to sing about South Africa, the country she loves so much. Read on...

'Something Cool' is Eden Brent's debut CD, but hey, this gal she sure ain't no beginner. Eden Brent was born on 16 November 1965 in Greenville, Mississippi, but she had this cool piece of work recorded at Sounds Unreel Studio in Memphis, Tennessee and she also produced it. The gentlemen who made this piece of art possible with her, are Donnie Brown on electric bass, Mike Dill on drums, Chuck Lawson on double bass and Kevin Lewis on alto saxophone. Engineering and mixing went through Dawn Hopkins, while the mastering was & well & truly mastered by Brad Blackwood.

Eden first made people look up from their TV-dinners when she appeared on blues broer Valiant Swart's TV series, 'Veertig Dae Deur Die Delta'. The unsettling way she can find her way blindfolded through a piano, her sunny smile, her dance in the setting sun, her stunning voice - like the colour of nutmeg, and of course her gentle rapport with old Boogaloo Ames*, playing and singing alongside him on the piano while Valiant was strumming away on the guitar. A truly unforgettable scene.

So it's quite normal to want more from Eden. Lo and behold, here's 'Something Cool', a mix of slow deep intense blues, here and there a crisp jazzy beat, and honest words from deep within Eden's heart. Something rather astounding can be found in Track 6 - 'South Africa' - a song dedicated to the country she recently met, the people, her footprints through the land. It speaks to you. Other tracks from her heart are 'Ain't Gonna Be Your Lonely Fool', 'We've Already Said Goodbye', the frisky cool 'Simple Geometry', and 'I Can't Seem To Lose This Memory'. Lift your bourbon an' ice to many more tunes like these.

Eden also does her magic quite langourously with 'I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water' and the succulently slow 'Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out'. At the end of this one, she sends the piano out - first to thrash you, then smooth your trenchcoat, and finally she sets you off to Neverland with the blue voice that sees everything.

Yes, Eden beckons you closer - to come on the 'Midnight Train to Georgia'. But she'll bring you right back with 'Send Me To The 'lectric Chair'. And you'll stay in her world of smooth blue warmth and bewitching vocal cords - simply because you want to.
(CL)

*Eden dedicated this CD to her dear friend and mentor Boogaloo Ames, who died in February 2002.

Listen to 'South Africa' by Eden Brent at http://www.SAmp3.com by kind permission of Rhythm Records http://www.rhythmrecords.co.za

 

CD Cover 'KLEINHOEWE OP DIE MAAN' - JOHANN ERASMUS

17 March 2003 Johann's debut CD was recorded in Stellenbosch and mixed by Jrgen von Wechmar at Sunset Recording Studios. Here's a grainy, warm voice, combined with acoustic guitar, Tim Rankin on drums, Schalk van der Merwe on bass, Albert Frost (the King) on electric guitar, Simon Orange on keyboard, Reinier Oosthuizen with a radical concertina, and, most delightfully, Nina Swart and Lize Beekman on background vocals.

Johann sets a rough rustic vibe with a strong voice and honest lyrics. The opening 'Dryfhout' is quiet but restless - "Ons is die dryfhout van society se storms, almal van ons het ons wortels verloor ... "). Then you're flung to 'Kleinhoewe op die Maan' where a communal yearning is verbalised in clipped, curt tones with "My kar is gesteel, met 'n mes teen my keel, ek wens ek kan net gaan, na my kleinhoewe op die maan". The anger dilutes subtly with the feisty slow shuffle. Yummy. Then Johann grabs Koos Kombuis' lekker 'Liefde uit die Oudedoos' and gives it a cool new jacket - "Ek wil jou rook soos goeie kruie...". Ah yes. Good stuff.

'Vooruitgang', is a good klap against the head with a zany rhythm and stuff like "Dis demokrasie s di wat weet, vooruitgang in reverse gear, op die blou planeet". Shake dem bones, Dude. You hear "Hulle noem dit als technology, maar die waarheid is hulle worry nie..." and you jive like a mosquito with malaria.

Whoa, here's that concertina in 'Pot se Stroom'. Johann tells you about "Vurige passie op 'n klaphaarmatrassie, maar die ergste van alles is, ek weetie wie sy wassie..." and hee hee, it was all "net 'n droom". Concertina goes nuts in 'Bok is 'n Bliksem'. You smell braaivleis and taste the lager. It's about the other woman - "Maar 'n man is mos 'n bok, en 'n bok is mos 'n bliksem, al skel jy hom uit, of al slaat jy hom met 'n besem".

'Net Woorde' is slow and utterly stunning with backing vocals that are soft, sad, strong. Listen with your guts. "Hoe gaan my siel dan versadig raak, akkoorde en woorde wat ry op die wind, die soeke na iets wat ons nooit sal vind..." Play this one to someone who sees right into your soul. Johann knots your gut with 'Bagasie', which is the type of song that follows you to work, no matter how noisy your head. "Bacchus het my ingespan, met 'n stang in my mond, met 'n flipflap van waansin, rol hy my rond". It's short and simple, but strong - without steroids. There are also two other covers to round off the album, Koos Du Plessis' evergreen 'Sprokie van 'n Stadskind', and a turbo-boosted folk song - 'Die goeie oue tyd'. On this one you'll dance until your eyebrows sweat.

Grab the dude's tunes and savour the honest passion. 'S good for you. (Carina Laubsher)

 

CD Cover 'CATFISH' - ALBERT FROST

3 March 2003 Get your grubby hands on this wicked CD and your problems are solved. No more agony because Albert lives next to the flat mountain and the Brass Bell. Just mosey on over to the CD-player, press [PLAY] and let him do his thing. It's a live recording - you're back inside the gig, clutching at your warm flat beer, your brain totally fried, your eyes glued on the strings of the Fender Strat and the howls King Albert yanks from its guts.

Albert first gives you an electric blue zzzzappp, followed by some unsettling acoustic nuzzles. Eighteen kick-ass motherless cotton-pickin' titillating thigh-slappin' raunchy mud-splattered bewitching troll-stompin' tracks that will blow the toilet right through yer outhouse, I kid you not.

You have been warned.

Albert chuckles. 'Who Do You Love?' starts and here's a taste of the rhythm. Then the Strat clears its throat. And out comes this white-hot monster of a riff that contorts your legs and turns your hips into snakes. Later there's "... somebody screams ..." and the Strat SHRIEKS in hishands. "You should have heard ... just what I've seen ..." This track is a top-notch sample of the unspeakable delights Albert Frost can inflict upon his guitar.

Fall apart in your backyard with 'Lenny', interpreted by the School of Frost. Then there's 'Help Me', 'Born Under A Bad Sign', 'Same Thing', 'Blues at Sunrise', 'So Excited' and (ooohhh yeahhh) 'Voodoo Chile'. Turn the volume way up with 'Catfish'. Way waaaayyy up. The intro convinces you, then - "Well I wish I was a Catfish / Swimmin' in the deep blue sea / 'Cause I'll have all you good looking women / Fishin' after me". This one's hungry, raw and rough. Yessssss. Listen how he introduces his band, especially Anton Beukes in a different accent. 'Kammakastig Land' is a freaky Afrikaans tune. Albert creates a tornado alley rhythm and bona fide lyrics. "Saans as ek 'n lyn koop / Stap af na die skurwe land" and also "Stop - is jy nie moeg nie / Want jy asem in hele dae". Listen with your gut, your angry heart, your blue blue soul.

The acoustic section comprises yummy tidbits of strings and slow deep notes. 'Crawling Kingsnake', 'Rollin' And Tumblin'' and 'Same Thing' recreate with the southern and luscious rhythm the style and personality that's Albert Frost. This Dude he ain't shy. An' he can groove. 'One In Many', 'Repent' and 'My Love' each reflect multi-faceted layers of guitar and one hell of a talented human.

Grab the Catfish with your bare hands if you have to. This one's pretty rare. (Carina Laubscher)

Buy http://www.oneworld.co.za

 

CD Cover 'ROMANCE AND FINANCE' - CITIZEN JONES

17 February 2003 We've just met Joe Public, now meet Citizen Jones. This new Gauteng band/group/duo (?) is essentially the songwriting collaboration between Rich Jones and Chantal Gussenhoven, with the songs on their debut album, 'Romance And Finance', being performed by Rich Jones and a bunch of his mates from various other bands and walks of life.

That illustrious "bunch of mates" include Mike Meiring (Highway Jam), Mark Belling (Mean Mister Mustard), Ekkie Ekhart (Currently playing with Highway Jam, Kwatcha and Vinnie and the Viscounts). Kai Horsthenke (Highway Jam), Brett Collings (Highway Jam), Tim Trotter (ex-Amersham), Ant Duke (Station manager of 5fm and founder member of The Usual Suspex), Quentin Zeelie (sadly passed away). Adam Lomas and Nathan Waywell (Starskii), Ackroyd Threngle, Wendy Oldfield, and Hilton Brooker (Mean Mister Mustard).

Rich Jones played his first gig at the legendary Vic Hotel in Grahamstown at age 17 and has performed sporadically since then including at Splashy Fen and Woodstock 04. Has been in a number of semi-notorious bands in Johannesburg including The Wild Palms and The Stress Junkies, who were Roxy regulars as well as stints in Cockers and Mojos.

Jones was also with the late Capital Radio for nearly ten years operating under the name of "The Doctor" or "Doctor Jones". He has worked on various other stations and currently resides as music programmer/presenter on Radio 2000.

'Romance And Finance' was produced by Neil Snyman, and features the songs: 'Cowboy Ranger', 'Trains', 'The Dark Heart', 'Jeremy Says', 'Tick Tock', 'Wake Up', 'Comes A Time', 'Lesson', 'Streets', and 'Georgina's Tune', which was written for Rich's mom who was from Scotland and is a Celtic-tinged celebration of her life.

There are very few albums nowadays that get more than one play on my CD player, but Citizen Jones just refuses to budge. The rich (no pun intended) voice of Rich Jones reminds me in places of that guy from the Crash Test Dummies {Brad Roberts - ed.} and singer-songwriters like Shawn Phillips, Jim Croce, Warren Zevon and Steve Miller.

The musicianship is superb throughout and really enhances the finely-crafted songs. The fast-paced 'Jeremy Says' gives a different perspective on life and powerful rocker 'Wake Up' tells it like it really is, pulling no punches. Let this album get stuck in your CD player.

Read http://www.rock.co.za/citizenjones
Listen http://www.SAmp3.com/artists.html
Buy http://www.oneworld.co.za

 

CD Cover 'KILLING TIME' - ANIKA

10 February 2003 You'll lose Anika if you listen to 'Killing Time' while clipping your Rottweiler's toenails. Sit down - chill - listen to her. Find her in vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, piano and keyboard. You'll also hear Peter Auret on drums and percussion, Anton Beukes on bass, Albert Frost with his electric machine, Nic le Roux's soprano and tenor saxophones, and Graeme Curry's double bass.

You have 16 tracks, most of them played previously on tiny stages in Oudtshoorn, Pretoria and Nelspruit. Here you get sharp, feverishly jazzy rhythms, often changing pace in one song, and other songs that kill you with their simple beauty and a voice the colour of honey - but sans the cloying sweetness that numbs the fastidious ear.

'Tommy' takes you first. Simple, strong and short. Anika's voice draws the picture in nuances of innocence. "So he jumps on his bed, and slowly begins to talk, and says his daddy forgot to say goodbye...". This one's almost ethereal, but never placid. 'When It Rains' tweaks around with the rhythm, the soft sax teasing in-between, with Anika happily strumming and taking that voice up, away and back.

Other jewels are the cocky 'Content & Real' - "I love sunrise in Pretoria!, Ek's mal oor sunset op Bloubergstrand... It seems I talk in riddles, It seems I'm too difficult to grasp". Listen to the one behind the microphone. When lyrics get lost between drunken conversations and dead brains, the muso will never be heard. "Thousands of eyes are gazing at me, on stage, off stage" - but she never stops singing.

There's the achingly beautiful 'Misty Weather' with its sad sighs from the sea's belly - "I'll just wear you down like my undercoat, Or my deepsea waterboat". 'Flower Picking' refuses (charmingly so) to conform. "I beat you baby, Do you hate me now?" talks in an apparently manic pulse, but you get stuck on the perky tongue of her guitar. "I'm bursting with laughter, No I can't go any faster, I'm stuck, I'm f*cked, My luck is nowhere 2B found". Check out the mellow reggae snippet in 'Medusa'. But don't chill too long with this one. Anika put a few rapids just around the corner.

'Bluntly' gives you an amazingly yummy piano morsel, presented in funky fusion with the fresh voice. Beware. This song you might want to inhale every day. Same goes for 'I Slowly Push'. Effortlessly she takes you up and down the ladder with a bunch of notes trained specifically to inflict the pain of good music. You hear peaks and lows, never fuzzy - "Now let's blow the candles out, And focus on what's really going on..."

Focus on fearless words, individuality and a uniqueness in her voice as clear as the hand-written lyrics. The vacuum of conformity stops here.

Listen to the mp3 of 'Content and Real' at http://www.SAmp3.com
Buy http://www.oneworld.co.za

(Carina Laubscher)

 

'GETTING STRONGER' - STEVEVAN

3 February 2003 A sparkling solo debut from Cape Town folk-rocker SteveVan featuring his drawly-gruff vocals and laid back guitar tunes. SteveVan first appeared as a founder member of the Junglebook Vultures who released two impressive CD singles - 'Just Across The River' in 1997 and 'Nobody's Story' in 1999. Despite a lot of airplay, and some high profile support gigs, the band broke up in 2000. But SteveVan and the 'Vultures' vocalist, Ross went on to form Rust and released a five-track EP with the single 'Factor 35'. A later Rust single, 'Give It Away', appeared on the SL magazine CD sampler, but was never officially released.

SteveVan then decided to go it alone and recorded his first solo track, 'Getting Stronger' at the Street Level Studios with Chris Tait. This debut single caught the attention of Silvertree Records and a record deal was signed freeing SteveVan to complete the album. 'Getting Stronger' is a 10-song offering with JJ Cale-like flowing melodies and warm-hearted lyrics, mostly about love. The title track is an obvious single, but Chris Tait has ensured that all these arrangements bring the best out of these pleasant tunes, and there's more then one single on show here. 'Try Me', 'Stay' and 'You're Wasting Time' could be next.

 

CD Cover 'THE TERRIBLE TWO'S' - JOE PUBLIC

27 January 2003 A few things happen to those less young rockers among us, like Joe Public. Firstly they call their album 'The Terrible Two's', which as any parent knows, is neither a reference to the rhythm section nor that difficult second album. Then they take an old, classic Beatles song and give it a severe hard rock pounding with some appropriately mixed-in movie sound snippets, leaving it sounding like the angry howl of a world about to have a war thrust upon it by the "StrawBlairy Bush" Gang. Which is what they do with poor old 'Day Tripper'.

So Cape Town's Joe Public have gone public with a big opening roar. Those vocals you'll hear are those of Ryan de Freitas (vocals, guitars), alongside Aeron Brown (imagine Ernie Els with Evan Dando's hair) on guitar (and he wrote all these songs), Pieter Heyns on drums and Geoff Ross on keyboards. Joe Public was formed by Aeron Brown and Pieter Heyns, who decided to focus on recording and playing the original material written mostly by Brown over the past decade.

Originally a three-piece band, the two remaining members of Joe Public began recording at the beginning of 2002, with 'The Alien' assisting with the initial production. Brown and Heyns were later joined by Ryan de Freitas and Geoff Ross. Apart from the four principle members, other musicians that feature on the CD are Pieter Human and Gareth Sherwood (bass guitar), Mick Clyde (slide guitar), Derek Harper Jnr (harmonica), Alli Heyns (guitar) and legendary SA axeman Jethro Butow (lead guitar on 'Death Row').

The band describe themselves as a traditional rock band, but the feel and intensity of the tracks on the CD varies considerably. The album contains nine original tracks alongside that Beatles cover. 'The Terrible Two's' takes the listener on a rollercoaster ride from the grinding guitars of the opening track, 'Closing Up' and 'Day Tripper', to the acoustic guitars of 'Black 'n Blues' and 'Tanic Twist', and the fusion rock oriented 'King Of Swing'. This is reflective of the band members' varying musical influences, which include ZZ Top, Deep Purple, Nickelback, Weather Report, B.B. King and Jamiroquai. The album was recorded at The Pit of Despair in Paarl, and 'The Alien' mixed and mastered the CD at the Pakistani Boarding House in Johannesburg. Joe Public are currently rehearsing for upcoming performances in and around Cape Town and a tour of the Garden Route and Johannesburg are in the planning stages.

For details of upcoming gigs and more information on the band, visit the Joe Public webpage at http://www.rock.co.za/joepublic

Read http://www.rock.co.za/joepublic
Listen http://www.SAmp3.com/artists_e_k.html
Buy http://www.oneworld.co.za/index.cfm?bec=4321&searchfor=joe%20public
 

CD Cover 'FOREST MOON' - FOREST MOON

20 January 2003 Forest Moon's debut album is the musical equivalent of a hammock, strung between two of the trees in the forest that surrounds the duo's small high-tech studio in Franschhoek where this chilled, nu-folk collection was recorded. 'Forest Moon' is an unassuming and gentle slice of melodic acoustic tunes with scattered rock and world influences, all embellished with soft vocals and harmonies and lush but not overdone string and vocal harmony arrangements.

The duo met by chance when Belgian singer-songwriter Jerome Arthur knocked on producer-musician Greg Gordon's door looking for some cables. Arthur began his career with Belgian rock acts Hindu Nail and Cunzi while Greg Gordon grew up in Johannesburg and began drumming with bands and doing some home recordings at 16. During the '80's, Dave Matthews (yeah, that one with the 'Band') lived with the Gordon family and Greg collaborated with Matthews until the future US mega-star left SA in 1986. This album, which was carefully assembled over a two-year period, is mostly a quiet and calming musical ride through songs like 'This Love', 'Stay' and 'Just Like You Said', with the exception of the more pop-focused first single, 'Dinosaur', with its lazy, grungy '60's chorus.

Right now (if Mojo magazine is at all interested), 'Forest Moon' is my favourite Sunday morning album. (SS)

Listen http://www.SAmp3.com
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CD Cover 'GOMMORA' - GOMMORA

13 January 2003 This powerful album missed our "end-of-2002 lists" cut-off, but that's not a bad thing as it not only gives us something big and bold to start the year off with, it also gives a big middle finger to Cape Town's KGB who severely dissed SA's most popular urban sound recently on their 'Kwaito' single. Gommora are a kwaito-pop trio from Dobsonville featuring the vocals and rapping talents of Monde (aka Melodi), Sifiso (aka Mad Dogg), Siphiwe (aka Khanas). But 'Gommora' also features a healthy dose of the trio's rock influences and, to that end, guitarists Mauritz Lotz and Joel Joseph were brought in to beef up some of these tracks with their trademark scorching riffs.

The results are immediately and jaw-droppingly apparent as the album blasts off with 'Halla', a balls-to-the-wall rock-kwaito alliance that stands loudly and proudly alongside 'Cochise', the equally-impressive sonic opener to the debut album from Audioslave, the new, highly-touted US "Rage Against The Soundgarden" combo. This workable new sound isn't used too often however on the rest of the album, which shows off the lads' versatility in other styles. Gommora won the SABC1 'Gumba Fire' competition and are already picking up max radio play with the tamer and more poppy first single, 'Living In Da Ghetto'.

Although 'Gommora' shies away from a complete Living Colour rock makeover, and tries to cover too many safe commercial bases, it still offers some important new rock alternatives to kwaito's current sound.

Listen to a sampler from this CD at http://www.samp3.com
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