Featured Music Reviews

Underground acoustics: Joburg-based band, The Bad Ass Execs, is fusing psych pop, punk and garage rock to create a new sound

Johannesburg is a wild city. The people, the traffic and shiny city lights give the biggest city in Africa, the character that we all love. The hustle and bustle of the city of gold is what makes the city what it is. Due to the large amounts of people flocking to city in hopes to win big, graft for their families and fend for themselves, subcultures have formed and the main driver behind the creation of these subcultures is music. Every corner of Jozi moves at its own pace and sounds different.

Beyond the shiny city lights and city’s hustle-hungry dwellers, exists an underground rock scene that is home many young people in the city’s suburbs. A culture exists, where mostly white youth, get to live out their truth. Within this culture, spaces and platforms which house this rock talent exist, and these spaces and platforms are the breeding ground for creative experimentation. The Bad Ass Execs, a band established in 2016, is an example of that raw talent that you often find in these spaces. The band makes music that soundtracks a generation characterised by youthful rebellion and in the same breath, references and pays homage to a style of rock music that was prevalent in 60s.

The band draws inspiration from skate culture, contemporary art and marijuana culture. Upon listening to the band’s demo tape which was released in 2016, you get to hear a very rough and raw sound. The execution of the songs is unique, and the lyrical content is simple but effective in communicating the messages that band chooses to challenge – freedom, overcoming challenges, living in the moment and patience. They fuse psych pop, punk and rock to create an entirely new sound which represents their ideals. With Jimmy Hazard on the guitar and vocals, Bradley Donaldson on drums and vocals, Leigh Lobotomy on bass and vocals, and Steve van der Sluys on the guitar, the band curates a truly unique acoustic experience.

The band may be regarded as underground as many people may not know about it, but they regularly perform in and around Gauteng. Their music and sound travels through their performances. The Bad Ass Execs are a band that are using their music to capture the life and times of a culture of young, urban South Africans.

Stream The Bad Ass Execs’ Demo 2016.

Featured Music Reviews

Original Mzansi acoustic sounds: Durban-based band, The Kickstands, is reaching the masses without radio play

Durban-based two-man band, The Kickstands, prioritises musicianship. No gimmicks, embarrassing pursuits of fame or desperate marketing tricks are used by the band to be heard. The music speaks for itself. A genuine connection with the people that love and support the band is what sustains the band, gets them gigs and allows them to keep dropping home-grown, authentically South African acoustic classics.

You’ve probably never heard of this band, which is a shame because what they do is incredibly amazing. Without any support from traditional media formats, such as radio and TV, they have managed to garner a solid, loyal fan base across the country. How are they able to build a fan base without any co-sign from the media, you may ask. The answer is simple: rocking crowds, big or small, in bars and some major festivals, and a great social media presence allows them to connect with people and convert them into fans. Brilliant music accompanied by an even more brilliant communication strategy allows them to win the hearts of music lovers.

More urban, electronic music is king in South Africa, however there are still large amounts of people that appreciate acoustic music and The Kickstands are equipped to entertain those types of people. A ground-breaking band that we recommend you should follow.

Stream their breathtaking EP titled The Lukka.

Featured Music Reviews

Candid curation & creation: Sinatra’s brave odyssey into the South African music industry

Durban is not only known for its majestic beaches, friendly people and great vibes. The city also produces talent that has enough talent to shake up the South African entertainment industry. We are more familiar with some of the more prominent and popular acts like Big Nuz, Babes Wodumo and DJ Tira whose focus is more on the dance side of music. Durban is also the home of the gqom genre that has taken the world by storm.

Beyond the music that dominates the mainstream, there are other genres championed by artists that are not seen in the mainstream. Sinatra (real name Sandiso Nzimande) is a Durban-born artist that does not make music that can easily fit into the mainstream music mould. An honest expression of his being, Sinatra fearlessly communicates his art to the world. Only being 23 years old, with a deep passion for making music, Sinatra has chosen Johannesburg as the city where he applies his creative trade.

To prove to the world that he is serious about his art and the direction he wants to go venture into as a musician, Sinatra has released his debut EP titled Searching. The EP features a wide array of sounds that build up Searching as a memorable body of work. The EP is also strengthened by the other contributing artists, namely Naye, Lady Yola, Brady Yorce, Peacemaker, Mousse, Remy and Celestial Mic. All of the featured artists provide an interesting layer to the music which cultivates a unique vibe that will surely please listeners.

Stream the Searching EP by Sinatra below: