2010 releases artists to watch for in 2011 music music videos

The Chemist – Lullaby #1 (Mercy) [VIDEO]

Man, what a great music video from Perth lads, “The Chemist“. And there’s something about that line, “Mercy sleeps inside Love’s arms” that just really gets to me tonight.

Stick around for the full thing… that last minute of the tune just feels right.

2010 releases artists to watch for in 2010 music music videos

Writing’s On The Wall – Plan B (Live at Cafe de Paris) [Video]

… for no other reason than it’s quite simply a “Ben Drew” kind of day.

2010 releases

Die Antwoord interview… Can’t tell you how proud I am of these guys.

So Die Antwoord recently did an interview with Xeni Jardine, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of them. For the last few months, I’ve been defending Die Antwoord to my Australian compatriots who view them as just… well, a joke. Here, watch this interview and make up your own mind…

As Ninja says, at one point… “We’re considered a national embarrassment”. And that’s what a lot of people are telling me, after watching their clips. The thing is, I’m beginning to wonder if you need to be South African to understand them.

You see, we “old school SA hip hop lovers” used to know “Ninja” by the name “Watkin Tudor Jones”… because Jones was, at one point, the leader of my favourite South African band of all time… Max Normal. Head over to my “Top South African Bands” post from a while ago, and you’ll see them listed there as band #27. You see, before Max Normal went through their “Max Normal TV” incarnation, they were just good old fashioned Max Normal. And they were awesome. And then we saw Jones disband the group at their height in 2002, and come back a few years later in the three piece suits and boardroom antics.

To be honest, at the time I was totally pissed with him for that, and it took me a long time to realise that we don’t “own” bands… they just let us chill with them for a while. But gradually, I began to understand…

It was clear that being “Normal” was the furthest thing from their minds.

Which is why, when “Die Antwoord” landed on the scene, I knew this was Watkin Tudor being… well, Watkin Tudor. To call the guy a chameleon is like saying water is pretty good at being wet.

So I’m going to ask you something. As a South African, I ask you to look deeper than the surface of their songs. Yo-Landi, in the interview above, calls their stuff “car crash music… you know you shouldn’t look, but you want to”. And that’s a damn insightful comment on what these guys are doing. It isn’t comfortable… it’s damn sure not pretty… but I want to make clear that it IS worthwhile music. Underneath that top layer, Waddy is still experimenting. On all of us.

And I want to see where this experiment goes. Not only for what it will tell South Africans about themselves… but also for what it will tell South Africans about how the rest of the world reacts.

More resources:

  • Die Antwoord’s “Enter The Ninja” music video…

  • The guide’s profile on Watkin.
  • The NME have their dreams shattered when they realise the Ninja didn’t just appear overnight.

I’m beginning to wonder about a few things, though… how many of these lives can Waddy live? How long before he becomes completely consumed by these characters? Is Ninja his most real personality? Does he even have one? Or… is he a reflection of all of us? I’m beginning to think that might be the case… because I know there’s a little bit of me in there.

Time will tell.

2010 releases

Tristan Clopet… dude’s going to go far. If he can find himself.

So, quite some time ago now, a dude by the name of Tristan Clopet got in touch with me to let me know about his tunes. He even sent me a bad-ass shirt, which is undoubtedly the most comfortable shirt I have ever owned. His emails were personal, and weren’t just mass mailouts spammed to every music blogger under the sun.

In other words, he did everything right.


Unfortunately, he caught me during my “time off blogging” period, which meant that I let this post slip by. In fact, the post this was originally meant to be was about a completely different release, the EP “Duende”. Since then though, Tristan Clopet & The Juice have recorded and released the new EP, “Purple”. No one can say dudes aren’t working hard enough.

So here then, is my look at their new EP, “Purple”.

To be honest, there’s something about this release that – like Duende before it – feels somewhat unsettled. Each track, when taken individually, is really good. But when put together, as a whole release? I’m just not sure it gels well enough together. There’s a wide variety of styles incorporated on “Purple”… there are hints of Jeff Buckley at times (So Alive), and then some old-school Chili Peppers thrown in there (Proximity Bomb). But when you’re throwing in different styles into a mix, it takes a skilled production to keep the narrative going from the beginning of a release to the end. And I’m just not sure it’s pulled off here.

Tristan Clopet performing live.
Tristan Clopet performing live.

The thing is, while I really do think each of these songs on the 6-song EP rock, it’s really two that stand out head and shoulders above the rest for me; both “So Alive” and “Love and a Question” are among some of my favourite tunes of 2010, which is obviously saying a lot. Part of that is obviously just a question of personal taste (I’m sure other people who were more into the frenetic tunes might point at “Proximity Bomb as being their top pick)… but another significant part of it is that, it seems to me, that this is when Tristan and the boys are being their most honest.

I don’t know why (and I’m sure Tristan could come past and lambaste me if I’m wrong here), but something tells me that the boys probably find tunes like “So Alive” and “Love and a Question” well… too easy. Because they really are that talented. It’s almost like they hesitate to record tunes like that because they don’t want people to pigeonhole them into what some could argue is “easy-listening” music. Because those two tunes certainly are easy listening… they glide over your ears like velvet.

Doesn’t mean they aren’t kickass though.

Anyway, that’s my review. I’ve struggled to write this one because, when I listen to the songs on their own, I struggle to find fault. But taken together, it just doesn’t quite seem to reach those heights that I desperately hope it will. And make no mistake… I hold out high hopes for these guys.

I’ve included two tunes as tasters below; “Love and a Question” (utterly sublime), and “Proximity Bomb” (sheer abandonment). Take a listen, and draw your own conclusions.

Listen: Tristan Clopet & The Juice – Love and a Question
Listen: Tristan Clopet & The Juice – Proximity Bomb

Tristan Clopet’s EP, “Purple”, can be downloaded here, for… well, whatever you like, really. If you choose to pay more than $5 though, you get access to 3 kickass live tunes. So do the right thing.

2010 releases artists to watch for in 2011 digital downloads guitar music

Things you missed while I wasn’t blogging #2: Brandon Clark and the American Standard

So we all know that I haven’t been blogging for a while. In an attempt to make amends, I’m going to post a series of short “Things you missed while I wasn’t blogging” posts that recaps what I’ve been up to/listening to in the last while. Enjoy this peace offering.

Things you missed while I wasn’t blogging #2: Brandon Clark and the American Standard

So, about a year ago, a dude by the name of Brandon Clark got in touch with me to let me know about their new tune that they had just recorded, “Restless”. I thought it was a badass track, and wanted to hear more. Unfortunately, I had to wait quite a few months until Brandon and band managed to get back into studio.

Brandon Clark and the American Standard (photo courtesy of Erike Friedlander)
Brandon Clark and the American Standard (photo courtesy of Erike Friedlander)

Nearly 12 months and yet another name change later (they’re now known as Brandon Clark and the American Standard), Brandon dropped me a line with a copy of their new EP, titled “Honestly”. And I’m really glad he did.

After a few spins, I realised just how apt that title is… because if there’s one word I would use to describe Brandon Clark and the American Standard’s music, it’s just that: honest. I wouldn’t say this is music that’s going to change the world. But that’s ok, because it is – quite frankly – damn fun to listen to and just freaking cool. And the guys seem to be ok with that, and I love the fact that they aren’t trying to be anything other than what they are.

If anything, this is becoming my “favourite band shirt” music equivalent… you know, that shirt you slip on when you need to be reminded that everything’s going to be ok? Yeah. That’s this EP.

Here’s a sampler from the guys, and below that there’s some details on where you can get a free copy of the release.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Brandon Clark and the American Standard – Anchor

You can download Brandon Clark and The American Standard’s “Honestly” EP here, for free. And really, you should. Because I want to see these dudes go far.