1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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Archive for the category “aKING”

Fokofpolisiekar – Fokofpolisiekar

Fokofpolisiekar

Fokofpolisiekar

Sometimes one can take a joke too far and Fokofpolisiekar took the joke of forming a band with a deliberately offensive name to the heights of the SA music scene and went on to spawn bands like Van Coke Kartel, aKing and Die Heuwels Fantasties as well as inspiring acts such as Jack Parrow and Die Antwoord.

They first came to prominence through the song with the same name as the band which is a thrashy, adrenaline fuelled piece of punk. Full of energy, roaring guitars and maniacal drums, there is something more to it than just noise – there is a tune in there, and a soaring sing-a-long chorus, things which a lot of punk bands tend to ignore as they endeavour to make a noise. And it is this fine balance between noise and tune that makes this song work.

Aside from that, the thing which set this apart from just about every other punk band on the planet was that these guys sang in Afrikaans. We had had the revolution from innocent sweet music to Afrikaans rock through guys like Anton Goosen, Koos Kombuis et al, and there had been a Afrikaans blues movement with Valiant Swart, Piet Botha and that crowd, but I think even with this hardening of the Afrikaans music sound, few could ever imagine Afrikaans punk working. But it does and with this, one of the very first songs of the genre, it could not have got off to a better start. There is anger, nose, tune and controversy all rolled into just over two and a half minutes of brilliance. In the 70s we all loved Squad Cars (a Springbok radio programme for those too young to remember), but in in the early 2000s we moved on and told those polisiekars where to go.

Where to find it:
Fokofpolisiekar 10 Year Anniversary – Fokofpolisiekar (2012), Rhythm Records

Hear here:
https://myspace.com/fokofpolisiekarband/music/album/fokofpolisiekar-10-year-anniversary-18961052

Video:

Safe As Houses – aKing

Dutch Courage - aKing

Dutch Courage – aKing

‘Safe As Houses’ starts off with a big Western Soundtrack sounding guitar, but, as the vocals kick in, becomes a dark and brooding rock song. Its sort of a cross between the goth rock of Fields of The Nephelim and the grunge of Nirvana except its not as noisy, it is more controlled. Laudo Libenberg’s vocals are deep and gloom laden but Inge Beckman who accompanies him brings a female component to proceedings and the synergies from this prevent the song from becoming too depressing.

The video for the song show a man wearing a toy crown building a cardboard castle on what looks like the bit of park by the Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town. The problem occurs when it starts raining and the cardboard castle begins to disintegrate and this is quite a good visual representation of the lyrics. ‘Safe As Houses’ is at odds with its title in that we are not quite as safe as we think we are. Our inner thoughts and dreams invariable leak out into the open and leave us vulnerable. “And vinyl floors can’t hide/Stained memories bleed and bloom/Our secrets like weeds”.

Its not a happy song, but it is one that makes you think.

Where to find it:
Dutch Courage – aKing (2008), Rhythm Records, RR087

Video:

 

Against All Odds – aKING

Against All Odds – aKING (Don’t bet against this one)

Against All Odds by aKING

Against All Odds by aKING

No, this is not a cover of the Phil Collins song from the movie of the same name, rather it is a melodic, solid rock song with neat guitar work, tight drumming and a heartfelt vocal delivery. When Fokofpolisiekar did as it was told, Hunter Kennedy and Jaco Venter were aching (did you see what I did there?) to make music under a different guise, so they formed aKING and have made a success of it.

It might just be me, but is there a resemblance between the opening guitar riff of Against All Odds and Baxtop’s JoBangles. If you took the funk out of the guitar intro to JoBangles and made it rock, you’ll see what I mean. Not that I’m saying Baxtop should be calling their lawyers, we don’t need another ‘Kookaburra’ vs ‘Down Under’ here.

Part of the video for the song (see below) was shot in one of my favourite record shops, Mabu Vinyl in Cape Town, but be warned, it does open up with a guy dancing around in his underpants. Perhaps that’s one of the ‘odds’ you’re up against, for it is very odd. But as distracting (and disconcerting) as it is, don’t let it deter you from the strength of the song.

Where to find it:

Against All Odds – aKING (2009), Rhythm Records, RR100

Lyrics:

curious and cautious
in a stagger on my heart’s track
how vast the world was
by the lights of lime we gather
inflamed like moths to a fire

nauseous like lovers
tripping on the heart’s trap
the gullible uncovered
a faint radiance
two dullards finding their colour

against all odds
caught between a curve and a soft spot
against all odds
unraveled in each other’s arms

awkward
in a state of undress
how shy it was to touch
uneven out the evening
discreetly mocking the morning

struck by the moon I threw myself over
the night has a rainbow mutely hovering

weightless under covers
slip into the heart’s lap
zealously juvenile
an old-fashioned raucous promise
nestles beneath the bravado

Video:

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