Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Year in Lists. South African recordings

Just being able to compile a list like this fills my heart with joy. As much as I adore what we do have going down over here; the South African underground is a real double-bladed-sword.

In the past few years, seeing people making music in a community that's powered by nothing more than white hot enthusiasm, has meant Pretoria and Joburg have been spawning a truly fantastic handful of artists. That end of the sword cut right into my soul every time I got to see one of these acts live. But unfortunately, the other end of the sword cuts out the opportunities bands would get if we were living in a country that actually had some kind of history of people recording little bands and putting their music out there. We don't have a Dischord or a Sub Pop or a Rough Trade. No one is out there looking to discover new rock and roll, get it recorded and put it out there for people to hear. So in South Africa, without a community of DIY studios recording bands, or labels looking to release them, it's always been in each band's own hands to fight and their songs recorded. The sad reality is that all to often I've seen friends and heroes loose this fight, either breaking up without ever capturing their essence on tape or possibly worse landing up with recordings so over or under produced that they hardly do justice to what the band did live.

But luckily that's all changing, and you couldn't ask for much better proof of that beyond the ten releases I've put on this list. From the DIY super-heroics of the KRNGY lable to the perfection coming out of Jacob Israel's "Benjamin Studios". From Wrestlerish recording and producing their own pure-pop awesomeness to Us Kids Know recording and producing their own anti-pop madness, 2010 was a triumph for local artists documenting their music in the most perfect ways possible.

Make Overs
MC1R on the 16th Chromosome

A Skyline on Fire

The Lottery Tickets

The Rude Mechanical

The Plastics


the Mystery of Seven Stars


Sticky Antlers
Tuperware Tombstone

Us Kids Know

So 2010 was a pretty great year for local music. Now, with songs from Vampire 9000 & Eyes Like Mirrors already recorded and waiting to be released, new artists like Tennyson Extended, Yo Grapes, Night Sky Empire & Sleep Tight rising up and the promise of new releases from old favourites like The Tutus and Ampersand, I think it's safe to say 2011 should be just as awesome.

Fuck. Yeah.

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