South African Music Zine
edited by Sugar
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News, New releases, CD of the week, Concerts and tours, Charts, Worth buying
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A Strawberry moment
Someone once coined the expression "A strawberry moment" to describe those very special situations that arrive all too rarely but are never forgotten. The expression comes from those meringue and cream flans with small, randomly-scattered chunks of strawberry; the meringue and the cream represent the rough/smooth paradox of existence and the small pieces of strawberry represents those fleeting sweet moments.
Last Saturday night saw an all-South African group of bands performing at the Cape Summer Rock Festival held on an Oranjezicht rugby field nestling in the foothills at the base of Table Mountain. The breath-taking setting was matched by the music on the huge stage, specially constructed for the event. As our home is situated less than two blocks from the field, I was able to make a few trips with my kids to check out the musical action.
At nine o’clock we heard the Springbok Nude Girls hit the stage, so I grabbed my eight-year old daughter and we raced off to catch the set. Daniell and I stood transfixed at the sheer power and confidence of the Stellenbosch rockers on stage. With the lit-up and table-clothed mountain looming above us, it was a "strawberry" moment that will stay with us for a long time. Having seen the Massive Attack/Trans.Sky concert at the Three Arts the previous evening, it was quite a weekend. For a full report on this, see "The Springbok Nude Girls vs Trans.Sky (with Massive Attack as support)" in our features section.
Otherwise it’s more of the same at Amuzine this week. News, New CD releases, Concerts and Tours, CD of the Week, SA CD charts and some recommended links and CD purchases. Read on…
Nebula BOS launch the "Indie Music Explosion"
1 October 1998 was the date on which the new SA record company Nebula BOS launched their "SA Indie Music Explosion" CD racks in all the Musica stores nation-wide. The motivation behind the formation of Nebula BOS is that there are too many independent and emerging artists in South Africa, and Africa generally, who cannot get their music distributed through the handful of major record companies in SA.
Nebula BOS, through their Musica exposure, aim to give these new artists the exposure they and their product so desperately need. Artists are urged to contact Nebula BOS to discuss their work and opportunities. For all the info you need about this exciting new company, see their website at:
or go to our SA Record Companies page for all their contact details.
If you love SA jazz and the name Paul Hanmer means nothing to you then you have a major treat coming your way. Hanmer is a classically trained pianist who is being touted as South Africa's next big international star. His previous album, 'Trains To Taung', which has already sold over 10,000 copies and is an essential mix of SA roots, contemporary jazz and a large slice of that Hanmer melodic songwriting.
Sheer Sound have just released the eagerly awaited follow up to the 'Trains' album, titled 'Window To Elsewhere', which is a more mainstream-sounding jazz album. Watch these pages for a review of this CD.
When times are good, one can always reward oneself with a new CD, but, when we seem to be on the brink of a world-wide recession, then what else is there to do but, er, buy a CD, take it home and crank up the volume until the troubles outside the door disappear in a squall of feedback (or whatever type of music you chose).
That is pretty much the prevailing situation in SA at the moment. To honour this state of affairs, the SA record companies have begun releasing a whole new batch of cool CDs for your dwindling disposable income (see New Releases below).
Gallo Records have lept to the head of the queue with their new double CD release 'Sound Offerings from South Africa'. Aimed squarely at the international market, this 36 track CD features a broad cross-section of the best music and artists currently available in SA from Jeremy Taylor to the AME Church Choir. Too many titles to mention here but it also includes the Ladysmith Black Mambazo track that recently went to the top of the British charts after being featured in the Heinz beans commercial.
All the new SA and international CDs
‘Bosch-rockers Dorp have released the follow up to their spiky ‘Five Steps Off The Pacemaker’. Titled ‘Danger, Gevaar, Ingozi’ (cool title!). These funsters are known for their ska-ish repertoire and this album is chock-full of more of the same energetic and funny material.
On the local scene we have new albums from Sons Of Trout ('Ticks On George'), Battery 9 ('Wrok') and E'Smile ('Mi House'). SA power-poppers Amersham have also launched their latest opus titled ‘Upside Downside’ which tends more to the noisy uptempo then the quiet and satirical. E'Smile (pronounced Ishmael) has been building a reputation for himself after his acclaimed first single 'Joburg City'. His new album 'Mi House' features that song as well as his new single, 'Mi House'.
Besides the new Paul Hanmer CD, Sheer Sound have also released the new Sipho Gumede album 'Blues For My Mother', the follow-up to his recent 'Ubuntu' and 'Best Of' releases.
With other new contributions by Seed (‘Seed’) and Plum (‘Jump Back’) in the stores, October is looking like a bumper month for SA music.
On the international front, new ‘Best of’ compilations are expected soon from U2 and Depeche Mode (The Singles 86-98’). Low-key Irish outfit U2 will be releasing a three CD series beginning with a straight greatest hits collection. This will be followed by a B-sides and unreleased tracks anthology. The new Hootie and the Blowfish album 'Musical Chairs' is now on local release through Gallo and should repeat the success of their first two monster sellers.
Courtney Love's band Hole have their new album 'Celebrity Skin' in SA stores as we speak. For all those Nirvana fans, this is the opportunity to decide whether Mrs Cobain leeched her songs off her much-missed, genius hubby or is, in fact, a major talent in her own right. Billy Corgan was involved in the production of this album for a while before he and Love clashed and she carried on without him. Besides the Hole album, BMG Records have released the exciting new live Mary J Blige CD 'The Tour'.
The new Sheryl Crow album 'The Globe Sesions' is also now out and features the first single off the album, 'My Favourite Mistake', as well as a great cover of the Dylan track 'Mississippi' which was left off his latest 'Time Out Of Mind' album . David Gresham Records have also released a stunning industrial rock-type compilation called 'Euphoria' which includes a remix of the Battery 9 track 'Kiss The Machine'.
CD of the Week
Van der Want/Letcher - Low Riding
Matthew and Chris first moved into each other’s musical firmament when Matthew supported Chris’s Durban-based band, the much-missed Urban Creep. Discovering that they shared an affinity for "unusual" rock as well as an almost psychic creative connection, these two first released the critically un-acclaimed ‘e.p Tombi’ EP. That was just a taster for this their first full-length collaboration.
Instead of attempting to emulate the latest success stories overseas, this duo sat down and wrote a string of emotional and understated songs that make ‘Low Ridings’ an almost essential SA CD purchase. With sweet and yearning vocals and perceptive lyrics, Van der Want and Lechter have returned to the old SA folk tradition with an album that was recorded with the deliberate intention of sounding low-key and not over-produced. Songs that can stand on they’re own merits without needing to be categorized or compared to any other contemporary album. The first single off the album, ‘A Place Of Our Own’, has been achieving some well-deserved airplay as it is as good a pop song as any we have heard this year. The backing on this album is unobtrusive and muddy and contributes to the all-over gentleness of these songs. This is not an album that screams "Hits included!", instead it is an album that will reward repeated listenings with a happiness in your ears and a hand around your heart. One of the SA albums of the year!
This and any other SA CD can be ordered online at One World, the best SA CD store on the pla-Net.
Concerts and Tours
Massive Attack, Janet Jackson and, um, Steve Wright?
There’s always a decent SA band playing in a venue near you, regardless of where you live (except if you’re in the Karoo, of course). The current crop of SA rock bands has accepted the challenge and is now determined to contribute to their album sales by gigging at every and any opportunity. Some of these bands have CDs to promote, some are showcasing their new material, either way, it is your sacred obligation to support these bands by going to the gigs and buying their CDs.
Among the bands currently treading the SA rock stages are Dorp, Sugardrive (whose upcoming new album is highly anticipated), punk-partiers Scabbie Annie, Robin Walsh, Fetish and Sons Of Trout.
Fetish, the very highly rated SA rock band are currently wowing audiences all around SA with their cool tunes and charismatic vocalist, Michelle Breeze. Fetish are finishing off the Western Cape leg of their tour and dates in Durban, Post Elizabeth and Pretoria are on the cards, so keep an eye on this column and this exciting new band.
Luther Vandross recently wowed the Cape Town audience at his Green Point stadium concert. Next up is the George Benson / Kenny G double bill in mid-October. Another tour to SA has been cancelled at the last moment and although that is a crappy state of affairs (as with the Smashing Pumpkins disaster), in this case it is only Michael Bolton who cancelled so Chris de Burgh will now appear on his lonesome at the Belville Vel0drome.
Janet Jackson, sister of the more famous Jermaine Jackson, will be performing her high-voltage stage show in SA soon. She will be giving one-off concerts in Cape Town (Green Point Stadium 14 November), Durban (The Stadium 18 November) and finally Johannesburg (Ellis Park 21 November).
Massive Attack has finished wowing our local "dub-hop" fans with their futuristic brand of eclectic sounds, awesome light show and big phat beats. They were ably supported by Trans.Sky, who can only have benefited from this national exposure. The 'Massives' have shown that there is a strong market in SA for this type of music (an extra show was added in Cape Town because the music fans down south are far cooler than anywhere else in SA). We hope other similar bands like Underworld, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy and Leftfield are taking notice.
Also, although he cannot be classified as a music artist, comedian Steve Wright will soon be touring SA and you are all urged to catch this droll, dead-pan and extremely funny show when it wends it's way to your neck of the woods. Known as the man who teaches birds to levitate or the dog-owner who named his dog "Stay" ("Fetch Stay, sit Stay" etc), this show is highly recommended.
Watch out too for the official launch of the 'Future Sound Of Cape Town' CD which includes some of the hottest trance sounds and artists from "Table Mountain Town". This launch will take place at Longkloof Studios on Saturday, 31 October
Ticketweb (http://www.ticketweb.co.za) is the new online booking agency in South Africa, aiming to give Computicket a run for their money. Try them next time you need a ticket for any show in SA.
For more SA concert info, check out the Gig Guide at: http://www.gig-guide.co.za
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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.
There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.
Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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