Friday, April 30, 2010

Soundgarden: Beyond The Wheel

It didn’t occur to me how much I truly missed Soundgarden.

In light of Chris Cornell’s sinful post-Soundgarden endeavors, (Audioslave, his Timbaland collaboration), this live clip shows him with the band and he sounds GREAT! He hasn’t sounded, to me, this good in a lot of years. I’m not necessarily convinced that Soundgarden’s reunion will be bare the sweetest fruit, but I feel compelled to welcome them back.

Recorded at the Showbox in Seattle, WA, April 16th, 2010

Johnny Cash knew “awesome” when he heard it.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

GZA/Genius: 4th Chamber

Wu-Tang Clan is into sequels now that Raekwon regained some of his '94/'95 flavor by adding a part II to his masterwork, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.... As confirmed by The RZA's most recent Twitter update, as I refuse to say "TWEET," a sequel to GZA/Genius' amazing Liquid Swords album is in the works.


Hearing this, I wound up throwing on Liquid Swords and thought back to a time when Wu were unstoppable, hip-hop still had a point and Method Man didn't make me cringe.

Whatever the outcome of GZA's new album, it's doubtful they'll come up with anything as close to the perfection that is "4th Chamber."

Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: CocoRosie

CocoRosie, a duo of sisters otherwise known as Bianca and Sierra, have an album coming out entitled, Grey Oceans. It’ll be out on May 11th via Sub Pop. The album’s first single, “Lemonade,” marries Billie Holiday’s classic angst with Björk’s overt eccentricity. At least that’s the first thing I thought when I heard the track. The piano balladry is beautiful even if the vocals get distracting.

In addition to the track, some teaser trailers were posted for Grey Oceans, featuring the sisters as cotton-clad gypsies with a fetish for Conquistador-inspired facial hair. Somewhat pretentious on the level of college film student, but there’s music to be absorbed.


From the press release:

Jun 08 — Black Cat, Washington, DC
Jun 09 — Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA
Jun 11 — Terminal Five, New York, NY
Jun 12 — Royale (MA), Boston, MA
Jun 16 — Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
Jun 17 — Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, MI
Jun 18 — Metro, Chicago, IL
Jun 19 — Barrymore Theater (WI), Madison, WI
Jun 21 — Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
Jun 22 — Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 25 — Showbox (@ the Market), Seattle, WA
Jun 26 — Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
Jun 29 — Regency Ballroom (SF), San Francisco, CA
Jun 30 — Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz, CA
Jul 01 — Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA
Jul 02 — Orpheum Theater (LA), Los Angeles, CA

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dinowalrus: Electric Car, Gas Guitar

A new video is out for DinowalrusRamones fuzz-meets-psychedelia track, “Electric Car, Gas Guitar.” This is the latest single from their album, %, which I reviewed for No Ripcord earlier this year.

Dinowalrus "Electric Car, Gas Guitar" from kay kanine on Vimeo.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, April 26, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: Unnatural Helpers

Seattle’s Unnatural Helpers are releasing their new album, Cracked Love & Other Drugs is being released tomorrow by Hardly Art. “Girl In The Window” is a loud and entertaining little ditty with enough dirt in its strings and tin on its snare to inspire a trip to the beach. If nothing else, “Girl In The Window” will make you wish you were far, far away from your cubicle-striped lockdown pajamas.

”Girl In The Window”

From the press release:

4.27.10 – Seattle, WA / the internet – KEXP in-studio, noon

4.27.10 - Seattle, WA - Easy Street QA, free in-store 7pm
5.07.10 - Seattle, WA - Funhouse (record release party)
5.13.10 - Portland, OR - East End
5.14.10 - Oakland, CA - House Party
5.15.10 - Los Angeles, CA - Casual Encounters
5.16.10 - San Diego, CA - Bar Pink
5.17.10 - San Francisco, CA - Hemlock Tavern

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, April 23, 2010

“Byrne in Hell, Verlaine:” The Shape Of Things

The Shape Of Things
Third Culture Records
Released: 2.23.09

David Byrne’s name comes up a lot when describing Man/Miracle and you can understand why. The Oakland quartet almost seems the graduated equivalent of first wave CBGB, one that combines older, wiser, latter-day permutations with their initial and youthful regard for sound and song. Think Naked era Talking Heads with generous nods to Marquee Moon and Blank Generation and that should amply provide a summary of Man/Miracle’s new album, The Shape Of Things.

Singer Dylan Travis’s throat does possess that distinguished blast that Byrne’s known for, but as it’s always considerate to be fair, that’s not such a distraction from the music as one would think. 90s variations on the Byrne/World theme seemed to embrace most of what came to be wrong with post-grunge rock music as Dave Matthews Band, Rusted Root and Phish became cornerstones of reconsidered world-conscious jam music. As if The Dead weren’t bad enough. Man/Miracle is more of a barebones variation, a legitimized progression that remembers its roots. When I hear The Shape Of Things, I hear the way The Dead should’ve been reinvented, or at the very least, what the Talking Heads MAY have sounded like if they’d given it another shot. Strange duality between two very different worlds, but it’s there to be heard.

Having said that, Man/Miracle rarely deviate from this Naked/World flavor. “Above The Salon,” “Up,” and “Dayglo” stick too closely to the same tropic-flavored beat construct. Then you hear a song like “Hot Sprawl,” inventive guitar work the likes of Television’s “Venus De Milo” with mid-tempo to hyped-up transitions that confirm the band’s ability to do something else. “Multitudes” lays down some damn-near Jaco Pastorious-inspired bass rhythm with syncopated drum taps and “Other People” takes the good parts of “Marquee Moon” and comes up with a decent and engaging piece of music. So stuck are they on one mode of conveyance that those rare instances of “something different” seem more appealing.

If The Shape Of Things can boast any sort of saving grace, it’s that Man/Miracle have raw sensibilities, art rock riffs and an otherwise “Left of the Dial” approach to their music. Even the hippie-commune whiff of “Pushing And Shoving” comes across smart enough to be loud and not content to catch a contact and fade into some unnecessary Dead-ness.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: BLK JKS

The title track from BLK JKS’ upcoming EP has posted, and I’m a little disappointed. I guess for getting the party started or rallying the football (ahem, soccer) fans to get all hooligan-like, maybe it’s appropriate. Typically, there’s a lush and rather amazing instrumentation that goes along with BLK JKS that is remarkably absent with this track, but it’s an event song. Hopefully, the rest of the EP won’t follow suit.


Letters From A Tapehead

Tempo No Tempo: Pole Position

French Press Films have just released a new video for Tempo No Tempo’s “Pole Position.” A mix of dubby post-punk and post-hardcore funk, “Pole Position” was great to hear first thing in the morning. Short, catchy and sweet.

Tempo No Tempo - "Pole Position" from French Press Films on Vimeo.

Their album, Waking Heat, was released last year. They’ll be in the West Coast touring with Dinowalrus.

4.27.10 — Hemlock Tavern w/ Dinowalrus and Ingot Rot (members of Tussle)
4.28.10 — Biko House w/ Dinowalrus
4.29.10 — The Smell w/ Dinowalrus, Signals, Foot Village, Ezra Buchla (Gowns) and DJ Set by Railcars
4.30.10 — Che Café w/ Dinowalrus, Da Bears, Endless Bummer
5.1.10 — FMLY Ride w/ Dinowalrus, Slang Chickens
5.2.10 — Crepe Place w/ Dinowalrus, Green Flash
5.3.10 — 21 Grand w/ Dinowalrus, NYMPH, The Splinters

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stereokiller: Twilight

Monument To Time End
Southern Lord
Released: 3.2.10

Stereokiller review

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guru (1966-2010)

Guru has passed away.

As far as hip-hop's concerned, the good guys are definitely losing.


Letters From A Tapehead

What I Heard This Morning: Damien Jurado

I admit to knowing little to nothing about Damien Jurado, an indie presence that’s been kicking out records since 1995. In this instance, the press release will say it best:

In order to create a live reproduction of the grandiose recordings of his upcoming record, Saint Bartlett, Damien Jurado enlisted eight musicians from Seattle band Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground to join him on tour as The Saint Bartlett Band. The resulting concerts will be unlike anything Damien Jurado fans have seen before - the songs done justice with an orchestra adding violin, cello, tuba, french horn and keys.

Saint Bartlett is being released by Secretly Canadian on May 25th. One trend of Internet promotion is the growing utilization of album trailers. Musician and Saint Bartlett producer, Richard Swift, came up with a couple for Jurado’s new album.

Saint Bartlett from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

Saint Bartlett Trailer #2 from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

You can also check out the folk-ish thud thud of its first single, “Alabama.”


Also from the press release:

All concerts will be opened by a set from Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground:

5/29/10 Seattle, WA - Triple Door (release party with additional players)
6/02/10 Boise, ID - Neurolux
6/03/10 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
6/04/10 Denver, CO - Hi-Dive
6/05/10 Lincoln, NE - Bourbon Theater
6/06/10 Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
6/07/10 St. Paul, MN - Turf Club
6/08/10 Milwaukee, WI - Mad Planet
6/09/10 Chicago, IL - Schubas
6/10/10 Louisville, KY - 930 Listening Room
6/11/10 Cincinnati, OH - Northgate Tavern
6/12/10 Indianapolis, IN - IMAF Festival
6/13/10 Bloomington, IN - The Bishop
6/14/10 Columbus, OH - The Treehouse
6/15/10 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
6/16/10 Cambridge, MA - TT The Bears
6/17/10 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
6/18/10 Brooklyn, NY - Littlefield
6/19/10 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
6/20/10 Arlington, VA - IOTA
6/21/10 Charlottesville, VA - Random Row Books
6/22/10 Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle
6/23/10 Nashville, TN - The End
6/24/10 Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
6/26/10 Austin, TX - Club DeVille
6/28/10 Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
6/29/10 San Diego, CA The Casbah
6/30/10 Los Angeles, CA Spaceland
7/01/10 Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
7/02/10 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
7/03/10 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios

All links provided by Secretly Canadian

Letters From A Tapehead

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

An Evening with Mi Ami at the Danger Danger Gallery

My Mind
Hot Guts
Mi Ami
U.S. Girls
Danger Danger Gallery
Philadelphia, PA

As I’m no longer in my twenties, it takes a degree of introspection to realize what it is I notice most about the shows I attend. One thing is that I love loud music, but not when it’s played too loud. When I got to the Danger Danger Gallery in West Philadelphia, some of the first sounds I heard were the sizzle and sting of speaker feedback, grating enough to trigger involuntary facial scowls and squints. It’s a DIY venue and there will be technical drawbacks in such an environment. One needs to expect these things, but that doesn’t make it any easier to sit through.

Still, having recently interviewed singer/guitarist Daniel Martin-McCormick of San Francisco’s Mi Ami, I was happy to score an opportunity to meet the band, see them throw down to a live crowd and check out a couple Philadelphia acts in the process.

The Danger Danger Gallery is a makeshift living space turned venue. You enter through an unassuming door, marked only by a piece of paper that says “Danger Danger Gallery” on it with some scrawl underneath about where NOT to lock your bike if you’re of that persuasion, and you go up a flight of stairs. And, then you go DOWN a flight of stairs. And, then you pay money and get a nice indelible “V” tattooed to the back of your hand with a marker. And, that’s it: You’re in a room connected to some other rooms, one of which has a raised platform for bands to play. With no wandering to really be done, you either take a seat or find a corner and wait.

One poor soul was handling admittance and sound, running back and forth to either help out the bands with feedback issues or find out who needed to pay and be marked. It was pretty empty when I arrived at what I thought was a good thirty minutes before show time, so I sheepishly took baby steps around the joint and tried desperately to find something that could hold my attention: wall art, flyers, graffiti… whatever. It doesn’t pay to go to these intimate settings alone I’ve discovered.

I did run into McCormick and Mi Ami drummer Damon Palermo. Being somewhat frazzled and constantly worried about how I come off, I’m not sure I made the best impression. My first mistake was asking Palermo if he was McCormick and then, upon finding out he wasn’t, automatically gravitating to the more familiar guy I talked to on the phone a couple weeks ago. And then, after being engaged in conversation, I sort of ran out of things to say despite being asked questions about me, what I’ve been listening to lately, stuff like that. Amazing I still have such issues with socializing.

Around 8:30, My Mind went on. Whoever was in attendance stood around band equipment, tall speaker stacks, cabinets and long guitar cases. The band does the lights, turning off the wall switch next to their audio to create proper concert ambience.

I was impressed with My Mind. They reminded me of Wire or Guided By Voices in that they took as little time as possible to get the point across, though there were progressive elements to their sound I could get into. I especially liked that they covered The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror.” I think it’s an underrated classic. They ended with an opus, relative to the length of the rest of their songs.

With Hot Guts, the singer/guitarist seemed forever locked into Johnny Marr’s “How Soon Is Now” riff, results of sound issues that seemed to persist throughout the duration of their set. It was so loud I held my ears and most likely heard what the music was supposed to sound like, sort of a bass thick Bauhaus/Suicide/Flipper hybrid that, at times, seemed the art rock psych equivalent of what The Horrors are attempting to cultivate. Though somewhat overwhelmed by the aural assault, Hot Guts was pretty cool: rhythmically strong, interesting.

The room was filled with obstructing backpacks, personal space invaders and sweaty bodies for Mi Ami whose set was alive, for lack of a better word. The equipment in the room was thankfully being removed, so space was becoming more and more available as bands went on, finished and packed their gear. This was a good thing, because the audience multiplied suddenly for Mi Ami’s performance and movement was necessary as the pulsations filling that space naturally demanded a physical response.

From 2009's Watersports LP

Mi Ami is a great live band. You can tell that they work well in a performance setting, their rhythmic coupling of Palermo and bassist Jacob Long a foundation for possible noise improv or jam possibilities. If I heard anything in this band that I hadn’t acknowledged before, other than their post-punk/dub sensibilities, it’s that they almost seem a fusion progression, sort of like Miles Davis’s On The Corner. Mi Ami holds true to that sort of experimental guitar phrasing, like a slurring trumpet, overtop what some may call simplistic and funky stride. In actuality, no one worked harder on that stage than Palermo, who was always moving, administering roll-beats to hi-hat, tom and snare like a machine gun. The venue was bouncing to this band, awash in their sectionals of dissonant rinse and groove, hooked like floundering hippies under chemical influence.

The room cleared soon after they finished, a line forming at the merch spot, comprised of either new fans or informed appreciators wanting after a vinyl copy of the band’s new album, Steal Your Face.

I got to sneak through the crowds and thank McCormick and Palermo for the great show, and I managed to get some posters cheap as appreciation for the interview, which was very generous.

With rolled up posters in my hands sort of propped up in front of me like a pregnant bulge, I shouldered my way to a decent spot on the floor so that I could check out U.S. Girls before heading home.

U.S. Girls is one girl, (as corrected by McCormick earlier during our first encounter), whose real name I don’t know and unfortunately couldn’t locate through research. Just know that she’s basically a sing-song cross between Nico and Julee Cruise, though into self-generated ambience and experimental noise. I liked what I heard, but unfortunately, couldn’t stick around for the entirety of her set. It was late and I had a drive ahead of me.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sun Ra: That’s How I Feel

There is an odd comfort that I get from jazz music in that it’s something I can’t think about analytically. I know that I wax philosophy-like about the grand and explosive nature of free form Coltrane or discuss like some pretentious chosen guy that “gets it” the merits of fusion era Miles. I think I may have said a word or two about Ayler or Ornette, but being that I’m not a musician, I can’t contrast “modal” jazz with chord progressions, or pick out flat notes, or any of that shit. Jazz is an expressive music that I can like or dislike based purely on how it makes me feel. It’s not like rock, punk, pop, hip-hop or whatever else I typically discuss in that it’s not so easy to draw its influences or come up with communicative or illustrative sentences describing what I hear. There is admittedly some relief in being able to just listen to the music without having to consider anything about it.

Having said that, I know that discussing a jazz record seems hypocritical, but hearing Sun Ra’s Lanquidity was enough of an experience that I figured I’d give it a word or two. Besides, I think it’s a relatively obscure album and I feel it would benefit anyone reading this to offer it some attention. If I do write about music for any reason at all, it’s to talk about the good stuff.

A couple years ago, I was listening to Henry Rollins’s radio show, Harmony In My Head, which I’ve written about more than a few times. The show has turned me onto a lot of good music, Lanquidity being one of those things I thankfully discovered while I was zoned out, listening away and working on whatever I was working on at the time. I don’t even remember what song was playing, but I was hooked. Sun Ra was mentioned, but the track remained anonymous, something to fill some remaining time before the next broadcast was to begin.

So, I wrote Henry Rollins and asked about the Sun Ra track. He wrote me back:

“Sean, good question. X (Engineer X, Henry Rollins’s radio cohort) added that as the show was short. It's off the Liquidity album. Thanks. Henry”

Close enough. He set me in the right direction so... Thanks, Henry.

Anyway, Lanquidity sort of sat on the backburner for a little over two years. I guess more pressing matters, releases and news took precedence. I finally bought a copy a little over a month ago and...

Not to disrespect or discredit any performer or release that I’ve had to discuss since March, but Lanquidity is really the only album I’ve wanted to listen to since it arrived in the mail. And, maybe part of its attraction is that it’s not something I need to think about critically. It really is an album that I just throw on and enjoy, down to its throbbing bass lines, its light brass, its 70s groove. I wasn’t really a huge fan of Sun Ra’s work till I heard Lanquidity, though I admit that my knowledge of his music is limited to only a couple albums. It has a very affecting and pensive tone with moments that seem buoyant and celebratory. It's a soft album, not in terms of integrity, but in terms of severity. Nuances are there, but understated. Even its final track, "There Are Other Worlds (They Have Not Told You Of)," multi-tracked, reverberating whispers or sung declarations with mixed and sporadic instrumentation don't scream or unsettle you. It's all perfectly pronounced without being obnoxious.

And, as its one of the few jazz albums that can claim Philadelphia as its place of origin, there’s some neighborhood spirit that adds to its appeal, as most jazz musicians made their mark in New York. Even Coltrane was in Philadelphia for a little while, but left as others do to pursue whatever the Big Apple can provide for the superstars of our times. From that perspective, it makes all the sense in the world that Lanquidity wouldn’t necessarily be considered noteworthy. Still, it’s becoming one of my favorite jazz albums.

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ufomammut: Eve Trailer...

In anticipation of Ufomammut's newest opus, Eve, a trailer for the album has been posted for your viewing/listening enjoyment.

And, of course, a review of the album can be found at

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, April 12, 2010

Golden Triangle: Cold Bones

Golden Triangle are sharing seven inches of vinyl with The Fresh & Onlys, released 4/13 and limited to 1,000 copies, 300 of which will be green.

Anyone interested can check out "Cold Bones," one of their two contributions on the release.

"Cold Bones"

Side A:
"Cold Bones" - Golden Triangle
"Jungle Jim" - Golden Triangle

Side B:
"Head of Steam" - The Fresh & Onlys
"I'm Not Myself Today" - The Fresh & Onlys

I will promote the shit out of this band because I really liked their LP, Double Jointer. Hopefully, you did, too. I hate to think I steered anyone the wrong way, though I'm sure I have.

MP3 is courtesy of Hardly Art.

Letters From A Tapehead

The Dead Weather: Die By The Drop

Now that Jack White has broken out from his red and white pepperminty persona a little more, it’s interesting to see how dark and earthy he’s become. With “Die By The Drop,” new single from his OTHER side-project The Dead Weather, White combines his trademark "White" boy alterna-blues rock with Bat For Lashes occult-ish haunt, which is only helped by The Kills singer, Alison Mosshart. The song’s good, and I’m enticed enough to check out their upcoming second album, Sea Of Cowards.

From the press release:

15 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
16 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
17 Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
18 Las Vegas, NV - The Pearl Concert Theater
20 Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater
22 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
23 Bonner Springs, KS - Sandstone
24 St. Louis, MO - The Pageant
26 Lake Buena Vista, FL - House of Blues
27 Birmingham, AL - WorkPlay Soundstage
28 Memphis, TN - Minglewood Hall
30 Austin, TX - Stubb's Waller Creek Ampitheater

1 Houston, TX - House of Blues
2 New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

12 Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, April 09, 2010

Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010)

Punk peddler, Malcolm McLaren, has died of cancer at the age of 64. Yes, the man was an exploitative showman, and yes McLaren inadvertently led Sid Vicious on his downward spiral. Yes, his want of marketable image withdrew credibility from The Sex Pistols and, ultimately, led to their ruin, as well.

But, where would John Lydon be were it not for Malcolm McLaren? Inasmuch as we want to dislike this figure for being so superficial, it would be a task to imagine how the late 70s and early 80s would’ve sounded without him.


Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 08, 2010

No Ripcord: Interview with Mi Ami

Phone interview with Daniel Martin-McCormick of Mi Ami
Lansdale, PA

Photo courtesy of Thrill Jockey Records

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

What I Heard This Morning: People Of The North

The apparent experimental side project of Oneida’s Kid Millions and Bobby Matador, People Of The North will be releasing their new album, Deep Tissue at the end of April. “Tunnels” almost comes off like 70s jazz fusion, sort of Joe Zawinul inspired keystrokes despite being modernly electric. I wouldn’t put on the same level as Weather Report or Chick Corea, but I will say that that’s the first thing I thought of when I listened to it.


Links provided by Jagjaguwar

Letters From A Tapehead

Friday, April 02, 2010

Stereokiller: Black Breath

Black Breath
Heavy Breathing
Southern Lord
Released: 3.30.10

Stereokiller review

Letters From A Tapehead


I'm aware that I'm relying heavily on press release information anymore, but in the case of the BLK JKS' newest EP, ZOL!, there are no songs available yet to discuss. Having been somewhat enamored with last year's Mystery EP and After Robots LP, this is news that I consider worth sharing.

From Secretly Canadian:

As the entire planet catches futbol fever and turns to South Africa for the World Cup, we'll let you in on a secret! The moment’s unofficial anthem — the song young dudes in Soweto sing on the way to local matches — is not something imported or manufactured for touristic consumption. It has lived there, waiting for the world to turn its ears to South Africa, just now. Secretly Canadian is stoked to present you with ZOL!, the new BLK JKS EP just in time for The World Cup.

After a worldwide blowup in 2009 BLK JKS is back home in Johannesburg, gigging steadily and gearing up for the performance at the opening celebration for the world's biggest sporting event taking place in their backyard: The World Cup. This is the sort of moment for which BLK JKS was built.

ZOL! captures BLK JKS in this moment.

The title track of the EP is a grassroots street anthem filtered through BLK JKS' unmistakable and ever expanding sound. With a crazy head-bobbing kwaito beat and bassline, as lyrical guitar work takes the party higher, "ZOL!" finds BLK JKS hosting a house party for the planet. Percussionist Tshepang Ramoba takes the lead on vocals here as the guys back him up with call-and-response and polyrhythmic claps, raucously proclaiming "I can roll and shoot at the same time."

"Mzabalazo (demo)" is an update of 1980s antiapartheid street protest chant that BLK JKS takes to a new place before flipping it on its head, introducing heavily distorted guitars and rock drumming. By contrast the spacious yet intimate landscape of "Bogobe" is set sharply against the prog impulse of "Paradise," a song that has stood out at live shows as the band made their way around the world in support of their full length debut
After Robots — a record described as “probably the most important South African album to have appeared in the past 20 years” and is currently nominated for two South African Music Awards (SAMA) for ‘Best Album of the Year’ and ‘Best Alternative Album, English.’ For as dynamic as a collection as we might expect from a BLK JKS project, the ZOL! EP also serves as a much more succinct statement from a band settling in to their own skin.

Stay tuned for a forthcoming premiere of "ZOL!"

BLK JKS performs at the first ever FIFA World Cup Kickoff Celebration Concert, live from Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Thursday June 10, 2010. Tickets, videos and information about the concert are at FIFA. The opening ceremonies will also feature performances by Alicia Keys, Amadou & Miriam, Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, Tinariwen and others.

Their summer European tour is being finalized. Confirmed tour dates (*with Vieux Farka Touré):
4/16/10 Bourges, France - Printemps des Bourges
6/18/10 Toulouse, France - Festival Rio Loco*
6/20/10 Berlin, Germany - Haus der Kulturen der Welt*

If this wasn't enough, BLK JKS are teaming up with Tiësto — the world's biggest DJ — to collaborate on an exclusive new club track as part of a monster event in South Africa in May. Find more information at

Track list for
2. Bogobe
3. ZOL!
4. Paradise
5. Mzabalazo

And, though, there's no NEW music available, you can at least check out a video for "Molalatladi," which was a single off of After Robots.

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Mon: "Doppelleben"

Acting somewhat contrary to his normal work with the doom metal colossus Ufomammut , vocalist/bassist Urlo performs as The Mon , whose new...