1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Archive for the tag “springbok nude girls”

Muur – Chris Chameleon

Kyk Hou Lyk Ons Nou - Chris Chameleon

Kyk Hou Lyk Ons Nou – Chris Chameleon

By the time Chris Chameleon released his album ‘Kyk Hoe Lyk Ons Nou’, he had made a name for himself as a solo artist. Gone are the quirky punky sounds from his Boo! days (except for the cheeky ‘Apie’) and we now find a maturing musician who is performing some of the most polished work of his career. Having Springbok Nude Girls’ Adriaan Brand and Theo Crous help out on the album with Crous producing it, certainly helps.

‘Muur’ (which translates as ‘Wall’) is probably the stand out track on the album. It features orchestral sounds over which Chameleon stretches his vocal range, moving comfortably between the mid-range verses to the soaring higher-register chorus which helps the song soar. It does not, however, visit the outer reaches of his amazing range, but the song doesn’t call for this. It is a serious song and has an aching longing feel to it made more pertinent by lines like ‘en soms verbeel ek my dat ek dit met eimand deel’ (and sometimes I imagine that I share this with somebody).

There is a melancholic feel to the track, something you would not have found in his work with Boo! but can be seen in some of the Nude Girls’ work like ‘Blue Eyes’. But where the Nude Girls would generally have been more hard hitting, Chameleon keeps this on the pop level. It is a song to float along gently with, perhaps thinking about life and all it means, or just losing oneself in the beauty of the music.

Walls can keep things in or keep things out and this song gives you the option be introspective and use it as a soundtrack to your thoughts, or you can look outward to the vastness of the world that is out there and let the song take you into those spaces beyond. Either way you use the song, one has to acknowledge that it is another brick in the wall of hits that Chris Chameleon has brought us. It is a track to check out, however, if you have already heard ‘Muur’, then I guess you don’t need no education.

Where to find it:
Kyk Hou Lyk Ons Nou – Chris Chameleon (2009) Rhyhtm Records, RR98

Video:

Dimmer – Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings - Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls

By 2004, the Springbok Nude Girls had been going nearly 10 years with their light shining brightly. But in 2004, things got ‘Dimmer’ as this previously unreleased track appeared on their best of compilation ‘The Fat Lady Sings’. And there were possibly some fans of the band who thought, when hearing this that the light that shone so bright, might have starter to dim as its not as noisy or dense as some of their earlier stuff.

There is none of the raw freneticness of ‘Bubblegum On My Boots’ or the scuzzy sound of ‘Spaceman’ or the grittiness of ‘I Love You’. Neither does it have the quieter relectiveness of ‘Blue Eyes’. Rather it is more (dare I say it) a pop rock track with an orchestral sound swirling around a catchy refrain of ‘dimmer, dimmer, dimmer’. But there is sufficient of the old SNG’s sound to keep us interested and it would also make a gentler introduction to the band for those who had not yet heard ‘Blue Eyes’ and were not quite ready to dive into the full on sounds of some of their earlier material. It also showed the versatility of the band, revealing a more tune driven side to their repertoire.

And for those hardcore fans there are still parts of the song that recall that sound they loved with Arno Carstens’ soaring and growling vocals along with the warm trumpet of Adriaan Brand still popping into the track every now and then.

‘Dimmer’ may not be every Springbok Nude Girls fans’ cup of witblitz, but it is a great rock tune which is certainly worth a listen. And for those hardcore fans who were worried this this track was a sign of out with  the old, in with the Nude, they only had to wait a couple of years for the opening track to their 2006 offering, ‘Peace Breaker’ (a song called ‘Gang Gang’) to be reassured as they return to their roots with an almost metal guitar intro.

Where to find it:
The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8190

Video:

Always – Gangs of Ballet

Always – Gangs of Ballet

Always – Gangs of Ballet

When one hears the word ‘gangs’, one thinks of rap music, knives, tattoos, motorbikes, drugs and such like. When one hears the word ‘ballet’ one thinks of tutus, grace, beauty and ‘boy those guys are muscular’. So, Gangs of Ballet must surely be tattooed muscular guys in tutus pirouetting on their motorbike while rapping and taking drugs. Well, the answer to that is no, Gangs of Ballet are a bunch of clean cut guys who make catchy rock tunes and there is not a tat in sight (well not on any of the photos I saw of the band on the internet).

‘Always’ is a strong rock track with a rousing chorus. There are shades of Springbok Nude Girls in this, but it a is somewhat cleaner sound. Where the Nude Girls have a scuzzy sort of edge to their music, Gangs Of Ballet live up to their name and have a kind of gracefulness to their sound. Based in Durban, the band bring a bit of sun and surf to keep the song feeling bright despite the video depicting a guy parting from his girl to go and explore the big wide world. The girl is left somewhere in the Cape (judging by the dramatic mountain scenery) while he wonders around London looking a little lost without his girl. However, when he sings, ‘Always, always, always I’ll be waiting here for you’ and, although the video suggests that she will be the one waiting for him, you feel that his heart is always there for her.

They may have a strange name with ballet juxtaposition-ed with gangs, but they made some great music and despite calling it quits as a band in 2018, the song will be around for, well maybe not always, but certainly for a while to come (but ‘a while to come’ does scan as well for song lyrics as ‘always’ does).

Where to find it:
Form & Function Part 1 (EP) – Gangs of Ballet, (2015), Universal Music Group, UMGCD 131

Video:

Another Universe – Arno Carstens

Another Universe - Arno Carstens

Another Universe – Arno Carstens

So, what do you do when you’ve been the lead singer of one of the biggest bands in the country and you decide to break up the band (again). Do you twiddle your thumbs and live off the royalties of past glories, or do you go and make another album, the title track of which is as brilliant and memorable as anything you did in a group?

Few lead singers of major bands have really gone on to forge a successful solo career – Sting and to a lesser degree Freddie Mercury come to mind – but to that list we can add Arno Carstens who, after one of the many final Springbok Nude Girl final gigs ever, decided to make the rather magnificent ‘Another Universe’ album with its rather magnificent title track.

Starting off with a delicate guitar intro during which Arno comes in with his ‘made to rock’ vocals, the song builds to a soaring chorus which is perfectly suited to Arno’s voice. Maybe not quite as noisy as some of the Nude Girls stuff – this one sits closer to their ‘Blue Eyes’ than perhaps their ‘Smiley Skull Of Faith’ – it could easily have ended up on a Nude Girl’s album except that it lacks that warm trumpet sound that Adriaan Brand brought to their sound.

‘Another Universe’ is a laid back rock track that is certainly not from another universe, it is firmly grounded in the solid rock traditions of Earth, and that’s what one wants from your music don’t you?

Where to find it:
Another Universe – Arno Carstens, 2003, Epic, CDEPC8256

Video:

Sondagmiddag – Kobus!

Kobus! - Kobus!

Kobus! – Kobus!

A few years after the Springbok Nude Girls split for the first time, the band’s guitarist Theo Crous hooked up with Voice of Destruction’s Francois Breyenbach and formed a band called Kobus! (or sometimes K.O.B.U.S.!). Their debut album ‘Kobus!’ opened with the track ‘Wie Is Kobus!’ which fades out with the question ‘Wie is Kobus!’ being asked over and over again in a whispered, slightly menacing way. And many of us did ask that question because there was something weird yet strangely alluring about what one was hearing.

But those who knew who made up the band would have perhaps been a bit puzzled by the sound because it was neither the Slipknot-ish metal of Voice of Destruction nor the grungy sounds of that we knew and loved from the Nude Girls. This is far more relaxed music and with a title like ‘Sondagmiddag’ (Sunday Afternoon), the 4th track from their debut album, was bound to be laid back. While very different sounding, it sort of captures the same sentiments that Quentin E. Klopjaeger’s ‘Lazy Life’ does, staring with a gentle guitar over the sounds of a family sitting around in the back yard enjoying a braai. It’s relaxed and there is an Ultravox-esque synth sound sailing gently by.

But why would fans of of the Springbok Nude Girls and Voice Of Destruction go for this kind of music. Well, I am not sure that the latter would really like this, but Nude Girl fans would recognise the same feeling in this as there is in some of the quieter moments of the Nude Girl’s songs. Perhaps the most attractive thing for those fans is the half whispered vocals which give the song a slightly disturbing edge. ‘Lazy Life’ was a simple pop tune but, if one wanted to, one could almost imagine that this braai that Kobus! sings about is behind held at Hannibal Lecter’s house but the other guest don’t know what has been used to make the wors.

‘Kobus!’ certainly introduced us to a new sound which had some scratching their heads, some getting it and some just enjoying it. So lay back and enjoy a relaxed ‘Sondagmiddag’, but careful what you eat.

Where to find it:
Kobus! – Kobus! (2002), ENT Entertainment, CDENT001

Video:

Bubblegum On My Boots – Springbok Nude Girls

Neanderthal 1 - Springbok Nude Girls

Neanderthal 1 – Springbok Nude Girls

If, way back in 1995, you had heard about The Springbok Nude Girls, but had never heard their music and, feeling lucky, you went out and bought their debut album, ‘Neanderthal 1’, then ‘Bubblegum On My Boots’ would have been the first SNG song that you heard as it opens the album. And it’s not a bad introduction to the band, although you may have been a little fooled at first by the rather melodic and mellow intro with its coolly plucked guitar while somewhere in the distance a muted trumpet calls out to you.

Then along comes Arno Carstens vocals and you begin to wonder. There is something a little sinister about them, something a little otherworldy. But before you have had much chance to get unsettled, the Neanderthal is let loose, introduced by a ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’-ish guitar snippet before the primal thumping beat assaults you and Arno whoops and shrieks like and man out with his club, trying to bash himself some dinner.

There is something chaotic and yet controlled about this song as it swings between the quieter, warm moments and the grungy thrash out. Having heard this, you were either seduced by these Nude Girls or you hated them. Or it even may have left you feeling a bit confused. However, those who were seduced were numerous and this track kick started one of the biggest stories in South African music in the nineties. When it came to making interesting and invigorating rock, Arno and the boys certainly knew what they were doing and with ‘Bubblegum On My Boots’ they really gave it some stick.

Where to find it:
Neaderthal 1 – Springbok Nude Girls, Bluegum Records (1995), CDSNG1

Video:

Shot – Springbok Nude Girls

Springbok Nude Girls

Springbok Nude Girls

The Springbok Nude Girls’ ‘Shot’ had the honour of being one of the 20 songs to feature on the very first South African Rock Digest charts which first appeared on 30 July 2000. It sat at 11 that week and then dropped off the chart the following week, so its run on that particular chart was short lived. However, as we all know, chart performance does not necessarily reflect how good a song is. Some great songs never made the Springbok top 20 (Bright Blue’s ‘Weeping’ for example), while some dreadful songs spent weeks at number 1 (The Klaxon’s ‘Clap Clap Sound).

‘Shot’ is a fast-paced rocker with Arno Carstens’ voice soaring over racing drums and rushing guitars in a song that threatens to lose control, but just manages to hold it together in an edgy James Bond-eqsue helter skelter chase down winding mountain roads. But like the James Bond car chase, there is never a loss of the suave swagger.

‘Shot’ appeared on the Nude Girls’ 2000 album ‘Surpass The Powers’ and it just about does what the album title says it should. It’s a powerful tack but does it surpass the power of some of their previous offerings? Well, I’ll leave that for you to debate amongst yourselves, but it is certainly up there in terms of power-rock offerings from a band that certainly surpassed most other SA bands not only of that era, but perhaps of all time.

Where to find it:
The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8190
Surpass The Powers – Springbok Nude Girls (2000), Epic, CDEPC8105

Video:

I Love You – Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings - Springbok Nude Girls

The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls

Many of us, I suspect, spent a lot of teenage hours wondering what someone whom we fancied would say if you told them that you loved them. Would they reject you or would they admit to having similar feelings about you? This is one of the great angsts of growing up that almost all of us suffer through.

I once met someone who went to school with Arno Carstens, the lead singer of the Springbok Nude Girls and from what they said, its not too surprising that Carstens has no problems asking the question in the Nude Girls’ ‘I Love You’. He has that confidence and swagger that most of us envy. And this shows through in the cocksure way he sings ‘What would you say if I said I love you’ in his inimatable way.

And the rest of the Nude Girls gather around to support him with their trade mark warm brassy sounds and this song also includes a slightly trippy organ interlude. This is a rather strange song in that it doesn’t rely totally on the drums and guitars to create that dirty grungy sound. There are some gravelly guitars but it is the trumpet, voice and organ that star on this epic track. Like the hoped for response to our admission of amor, we responded to the Springbok Nude Girls’ question by say, yes, we love you too, especially this track.

Where to find it:
The Fat Lady Sings – Springbok Nude Girls (2001), Epic, CDEPC8190

Video:

She Always Gets What She Wants – Prime Circle

All Or Nothing – Prime Circle

All Or Nothing – Prime Circle

When bands like Springbok Nude Girls and Just Jinger either moved to the US or started going through the break up/make up/break up phase of life, there was a bit of vacuum left in the rock section of SA music. And into that gap came bands like Seether (till they also left for the US), aKing, The Parlotones and Prime Circle.

And its not too difficult, listening to ‘She Always Gets What She Wants’, to see why Prime Circle was one of those filling the gap as it is a very solid rock tune. It has the rough edged vocals, a solid beat, guitars and a great melody to make for some great rock music. Bands like Nickelback and The Wallflowers come to mind when listening to this laid back but with an edge track.

Undoubtedly there is a tipping of the hat to Just Jinger as it is clear that they had an influence on Prime Circle’s early stuff. Listening to their latest album, ‘If You Don’t, You Never Will’, they seem to have mellowed further with age, and while this later offering is certainly worth a listen, I have to say that I do prefer the earlier offering of ‘She Always Gets What She Wants’. The song won the SAMA record of the year award in 2009 and its not too surprising that it did. If she wanted a great rock tune, then she would have gone for this track, because…well you know what the title says.

Where to find it:
All Or Nothing – Prime Circle, 2008, EMI, CDEMCJ (WIS) 6433

Video:

Sister Stallion – Outsiders

Butta Grunge – Outsiders

Butta Grunge – Outsiders

Before the Springbok Nude Girls and Saron Gas (later to become Seether) took on the grunge sound in South Africa, there was a little-known band called The Outsiders who rocked in that dirty Nirvana-eqsue kinda way. Having said that, I would say, listening to ‘Sister Stallion’, that they were probably more akin to The Cult and bands of that ilk in that they rocked in a scuzzy-fuzzy way.

Opening their ‘Butta Grunge’ Album, ‘Sister Stallion’ is a full frontal assault from the first moment with a rasping guitar and pounding bass. Yowling vocals soon join the party in the moshpit and the song rocks along at pace.

There is not a lot of information around about the band, but what I have managed to find out was that they were formed in Port Elizabeth and consisted of Dolf, Johan and Andre Saaiman (brothers perhaps) along with Johnn van Staaden on drums. South Africa didn’t seem to be quite ready for this back 1994 as the band never took off, but it wasn’t long after that that bands like the Springbok Nude Girls and Just Jinjer were the biggest in the land. Maybe if The Outsiders had been a little slower on the uptake they may well have gone further.

Where to find it:
Butta Grunge – The Outsiders (1993), Gresham Records, CDDGR 1241

Video:

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: