Every month, I write out an (insanely long and detailed) Events Calendar with things happening in Jozi. I always add what songs I’m listening to in the listings. To revive this site, I have decided to do a monthly playlist to accompany the Events Calendar. And use this site for the write up. Makes sense now hey? If you want in on the Events Calendar, drop me a mail!
A lot has changed since 2012. I just can’t tell you what these changes are. Well, except for the headphone jack. That is a major change. We need to talk about that at some point.
Oh Wonder are a phenomenal band that came out of nowhere. Oddly, their approach to stardom was much like the formidable South African band Zebra and Giraffe. Record your album and then hit the road for a sold out tour. Except Z&G were a product of non-streaming media in 2008 which meant your physical album needed to be the key to success.
In their own words, Oh Wonder are “Two songwriters who write about love, loneliness, London, community, gentrification, and gambling.” They also set out to record one single every month and upload it onto the internet. This started in September 2014 and they just blew up and properly sold out locations all over the world. All without doing a single gig. And until all the songs were completed, without an album!
“Without You” was the last song they wrote for this project. If they decided on a 14 track album, it would have never been made and my life would be oh so different. This track has been on repeat since around October. I play it virtually every morning when I get to work. The piano haunts. The video thrills. The lyrics grab. And the melody makes this unforgettable. It’s made its way into one of my all-time favourite song list and it’s going to be a while before it’s displaced.
Jamie xx is, well, from The xx. I never got into the band. Mostly because I just knew they existed and didn’t invest the time to listen. And then I came across “Loud Place.” Those dreamy opening lyrics “I got to loud places, to search for someone, to be quiet with,” which harks back to the early 2000s persona I grew into. I guess I still do that. And then the song builds and Idris Muhammed’s BANGING tune “Could Heaven Be Like This” is sampled. I cringed the first time I heard the sample as it felt so out of place. But it grew on me. It grew and yeeeeeeeeeeeeeek, this song is CLASS! There seems to be a Sandy Rivera sample in there as well. I’m definitely featuring more of Sandy next month. Who is Idris Muhammed? I will admit that I did not know of this legendary Jazz drummer but everyone knows his samples (sampling THIS song!!!!!!!) in songs by Drake, Jamiroquai, J Cole, and of course (for you music nuts) Chrome Sparks “Marijuana.” The 1977 album that this tune is from is ‘Turn This Mutha Out’ which I am searching for on vinyl. This is a pretty impossible task but I am up for it. I foresee many hours of listening to his other albums. I am looking forward to this prospect.
Real Lies “North Circular” took 2000 plays before it was given the go ahead. The North Circular is the attempted ring road around London. Which reminds me – these first three songs have videos with these breath taking urban scenes. Man I need more cities in my life. The stand out line in this song is “How many late nights does it take you to change?” Which again, speaks to that angst I alluded to above. Those Trainspotting 2 teasers kinda of show this and I wonder if this movie is going to tackle this topic in relation to modern life. I wait.
How do I miss a band like Real Lies? Eish
The voice of Elena Tonra of Daughter is impassioned. It deeply searches within you to find that emotion and intimacy that these essays are written about. And the drums come in. And then the drums stop. And she sings, “most of our feelings are dead,” and then WHAT MUST YOU DO! I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO! And these kids are kids! Highly passionate kids. Eish, it’s great.
The Seafret video has Arya Stark in it. This is why it’s made the list. It’s a good video so please watch it. It’s also a good song. And people fell in love with Seafret after this song. I really should have done more research before writing about them.
My love for Bonobo (not the primate, the twisty fiddler music person) is immense and when I heard that the new album ‘Migration’ was dropping, I felt like making sounds like that entity in “Terrapin.” That might be weird. The song is subtly complex. Listen deeply and you will realise there are just too many beats in each bar. But not all the time. “Kerala” is a truly magical state in India with magical people, magical landscapes, and a magical feel that makes you feel like magic. This time last year, I was bravely anticipating a week away in this paradise. Yes, that is such a cliché but really guys: paradise. I can’t really imagine listening to this tune while sitting on that ferry which cruised down the backwaters for 8 hours. You don’t get many 8 hour long songs which are a pleasure to listen to so that also might be the problem.
Satellite Stories have the thickest British accent since The Kooks. Except they’re from Finland or something. Imagine if we had real miracles. Their sound is South African. The style is highly visible in many South African bands that do the same thing they do. Think about it.
Hibou sound like a South Africanism. But it’s not. You do not explain their name in disbelief. I guess this song signals a devolving (wrong word) into the deepest underbellies of the modern indie scene. You expect to hear these sounds whilst staring out a bay window in a house built in the 70s. If that is what they were going for with this song, they have successfully achieved it. No doubt.
Caribou are the remnants of a forgotten past of mine. They’re still around.
I feel like I have inadvertently gone into to this deep and dark realm of what really goes on in my head.
That playlist dug deep into my soul, The Caribou song is seriously light on its own. The emotions that Daughter dug into followed by the intensivity of Bonobo send you down into the realist realm of your existence. And that is why music has this power. It takes you on this journey by using the power of the other. Unrelated songs create a world and you enter that world and are perplexed at this reality.
Snap out of it now.
The Spokes song is an old South African standard. It is made of quality so intense. Wow. I discovered this song through a vinyl record being played at a vinyl session. On a Tuesday. That’s how you find music! MMMMmmmmmmmmmph tasty nice.
Fat White Family have the oddest band name in a while. Their music sounds like its pure indie from the past 20 years. It’s an indie that has not seen the light of day in many moons. They make you think of the Lightning Seeds. And others. And there is that grip that came along with that music from year yore. This is good. It is so good. It’s an expert use of sound available to make this track most epic. This music has been missing for years. Welcome back.
And with this intensity we stop for January. This is music right? This is the journey music wants to take you. I love that it still does this. I’m satisfied. Baby, I am satisfied. Till February…
- Oh Wonder – Without You
- Jamie XX – Loud Places
- Real Lies – North Circular
- Daughter – Youth
- Seafret – Oceans
- Bonobo – Kerala
- Satellite Stories – Miracle
- Hibou – When The Season Ends
- Caribou – Can’t Do Without You
- Spokes Mashiyane – Banana ba Rustenburg
- Idris Muhammed – Could Heaven Ever Be Like This
- Fat White Family – Whitest Boy On The Beach