It's going DOWN this Sunday 14 December in Mofolo Park Soweto...BLK JKS playing SOWETO STREET POP as part of Soweto Arts Festival...running order and other details are a bit hard to come by but you're probably just gonna make a day of it: organizers are billing this as "the greatest music showdown of this kind ever" (!!!) with BLK JKS setting fire to the stage along with Pro Kid, Substance, Savages, Uju, and Siya Makuzeni's "Ippy Fuzz".
Checking out pics from last year, Lindani was straight Morello styles in trucker cap, Molef had a colorful cultural kufi, Tshepang in mirrored madness and Mpumi was in his short-shorts phase...let's see what has changed and what hasnt!
11 December 2008
08 December 2008
For Immediate Release December 8, 2008
BLK JKS SIGN WITH SECRETLY CANADIAN
MYSTERY EP TO BE RELEASED MARCH 10
"A movement unto themselves."—Fader
"The band's quick-fingered, multilayered vamps well up out of murky echoes, piling jubilation atop the anxiety, before submerging again."— The New York Times
Secretly Canadian is pleased to announce the signing of South Africa's BLK JKS. After an action packed 2008 that found the band playing its first U.S. shows, receiving critical acclaim from the likes of The New York Times, Billboard, The Guardian and Dazed and Confused, the band is poised to build on their initial success with a March 10 release of their MYSTERY EP, which has been re-mastered and re-sequenced. As a preview for fans, MYSTERY will be available for free digital download from eMusic and Other Music Digital December 8 through January 5. In addition to the free digital preview of MYSTERY, a documentary about the band premieres on December 8 at www.digforfire.tv.
BLK JKS came to the U.S. in the spring of 2008 after a chance meeting with über-producer Diplo while he was on tour in South Africa. Landing on the cover of the Fader, as well as sets at the Fader issue release party and South by Southwest, sparked recording sessions at New York's famed Electric Lady studios that resulted in the MYSTERY EP. The record was produced by Brandon Curtis of the Secret Machines, who came to BLK JKS as a fan of the band.
BLK JKS consists of childhood friends Linda and Mpumi who grew up on the same block in Johannesburg's East Rand where they taught themselves guitar. They initially formed the band in 2000, and early BLK JKS shows and recordings garnered attention for their stacks of guitar drone and head-nodding beats. After the band's current lineup took shape with the addition of bassist Molefi and drummer Tshepang, both of Soweto, they embarked on a schedule of heavy touring throughout South Africa that earned them a loyal national following. The limited edition release of BLK JKS' now out-of-print 2007 "Lakeside" vinyl-only 10" marked the band's international debut, selling at select record stores worldwide.
Link to MYSTERY EP artwork: http://secretlycanadian.com/artist.php?name=blkjks
For more information, please contact Brian Shimkovitz at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000, firstname.lastname@example.org.
05 December 2008
04 December 2008
It's your boys Esau Mwamwaya and Radiocliquot in Pitchfork with an 8.6!!!
Along with boldface names like MIA, Santogold, Vampire Weekend and Architecture In Helsinki, BLK JKS get a shout too:
Once you get through the indie-guarded gates, Mwamwaya and Radioclit are open here to everything from South Africa's marabi and kwaito music to Hans Zimmer scores to French and American hip-hop to Michael Jackson-- and in most cases, it's the tracks that lean furthest away from the familiar that work best. The regal "Sister Betina", BLK JKS collaboration "Salota", and Radioclit productions "Funa Funa" and "Kada Manja" are as immediately likable as the rest of the mix.Check out for more TVB x BLK JKS collabs in 2009...and 2010 as Malawi and South Africa make their way to the World Cup!
For now, well done gents and respect for sharing "the best new music" with the world
for free. Here's "Salota" on reload. And REWIND!!!
02 December 2008
24 November 2008
book launch benefit show
Thurs 27th November starting at 19h00
Bus factory, 1 President Street Newtown, Jozi
with Johnny Neon, Tale of the Sun and the Cutout Collective
All proceeds go to Paballo Ya Batho, a Jozi inner city homeless care organisation.
Book available in Cape Town at Biblioteq from the 29th Nov
19 November 2008
18 November 2008
"Heulen Met De Vijand" Blend magazine Oct 2007. Rankin photo of a paint-splattered hit-looking white girl on the cover.
Not sure whats going on in this (awesome) picture but it's pretty obvious what the band was on when this was snapped on their first trip to Amsterdam.
14 November 2008
AC in BA pix.
"I'm Not (phaseone remix)" Panda Bear.
"Untitled (aka "Song For Ariel" aka "Guys Eyes" live on ma fama) Panda Bear.
all via GVB
13 November 2008
10 November 2008
Zenzile Makeba Qgwashu Nguvama Yiketheli Nxgowa Bantana Balomzi Xa Ufun Ubajabulisa Ubaphekcli Mbiza Yotshwala Sithi Xa Saku Qgiba Ukutja Sithathe Izitsha Sizi Kkabe Singama Lawu Singama Qgwashu Singama Nqamla Nqgithi made her final transition in the early hours this morning.
Words later perhaps. For now let's just think on the conquering lioness.
08 November 2008
This is the definition of "rolling", BLK JKS jammed House Nsako last night, grabbed some food and are heading to CAT FOOD @ the Yee Olde Haund Restaurant situated on Henly on Klip...For directions call 076 219 8618.
"Weekend Fassie" by Brenda Fassie (don't worry, definitely getting a proper re-post!)
07 November 2008
06 November 2008
SA's heaviest grind and most innovative events esquire Deejay BlaQ t hosts BLK JKS live in da mix but wait there's more...
...All the way from Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom Manello aka FunkiKora is our guest DJ, from Skylarkin' Sound system. Well known for his versatile, eclectic sets… with DJ BlaQt taking us through the night with some of that funky flavored good music … just think nostalgia as we relive the moments! This all goes down on the 7th November at The House of NsakO, situated on 101 High Street in Brixton (Jozi town) and 50 afros (rands) will get you in…with freebies for early massive! Hope to see you there…
05 November 2008
BLK JKS in Amsterdam, August 2008. Photo by Jen Mazer.
The lasting thing that came out of the first meeting between BLK JKS and Robinson in Johannesburg was something Mpumi told me when we were talking about Barack Obama, this was in March 2007.
Just see how you walk down the street afterward.
A South African would know. And yes a South African will tell us that democracy is no easy thing but for now let's just take a few walks down a few streets together.
"We're A Winner by Curtis Mayfield
"Black President" by Brenda Fassie
"Africa Unite by Bob Marley
"Mzabalazo" by BLK JKS
03 November 2008
Taiwan's U-Theatre visited our folks in The People's Republic of Brooklyn last week.
When will the ancient social/spiritual/martial/metallurgical/psychopharmacological history of
South Africa Azania be told?
What will it look/sound/feel/taste like?
Who will tell it?
31 October 2008
The One has a new single out with Thom Radiohead. That's news you can use, but the big deal is that Bjork is on a mission to help rebuild Iceland's economy by turning away from the heavy industry of aluminum smelting and instead investing in the hearts and minds of her country: proceeds from the sales of "Náttúra" will go to help seed companies—start-ups in the tech sector.
She's a model for the ways in which artists so inclined can affect real change where they are.
"What we are saying is, we've got three aluminum factories, let's work with that, we cannot change that. Why not have the Icelandic people who are educated in high-tech and work already in those factories in the higher paid jobs, why not let them build little companies who are totally Icelandic with the knowledge they have? Then they get the money and it stays in the country. Then we can support the biotech companies and the food companies and all these clusters. I think that if you want to be an environmentalist in Iceland, these are the things you've got to be putting your energy into.
"A lot of investors [are] coming, and I'm hoping they will want to invest in the high-tech cluster. There are money people here that did not lose a lot of money. For example, here is one investment company in Iceland only run by women. They are doing fine. [laughs] They aren't risk junkies. They just made slow moves. The people who are crashing, they took a huge loan and then another huge loan, and so on. And it's all just air. But these women didn't build on air."
NOW READ THIS READ THIS NOW:
Amazing interview with Bjork as she goes in on the Náttúra idea, the politics behind it and how the song came about here and here.
Náttúra info here.
Bjork's Times of London editorial on Iceland's economic "smeltdown" here.
30 October 2008
Over to the Fader blog, Eddie Stats is roping together a new sound he's hearing and calling it 2000Tone, viz. "re-emergence of a sort of punky-reggae, 2-tone aesthetic in the world of DJ-driven music." Not mad, because he's got BLK JKS inna mix, he got honeydips Jovi Rockwell and Santogold along for the ride and he got the a little blend up for free for all yall.
Jovi Rockwell, “Rizzla”
Diplo X Santogold, “Guns of Brooklyn”
BLK JKS, “Lakeside”
Sizzla, “Solid as a Rock” (acoustic version)
De Tropix, “Badname”
The Magistrates, “Colour Coordination”
Take a listen!
29 October 2008
If your not in the country when this reaches you pardon us,but we just
had to get it out.
Love and respect fam,hope you are well.
However if you are in the country; the BLKJKS are having a sit down
gig at ROKA on 44 Stanley in Milpark Jhb tomorrow night.
Hope to see you there,and maybe we can after party it out at the
SL magazine thing in the woods.
28 October 2008
Photo by Kai Z Feng.
SA's finest in there—double page spread—as part of a portrait series featuring Slash, the Raconteurs, Placido Domingo, Mark Ronson, Jason Moran, MGMT, Etienne Daho, Flogging Molly, Josh Groban, Lisa Marie Presley, Matt Costa, Sergio Mendes, Maroon 5, Conor Oberst, Ozzy Osbourne, Gnarles Barkley, David Fonseca, The Pretenders, Alanis Morissette, One Republic, The Black Keys, Anton Corbijn (self-portrait!), Marky and Linda Ramone, Ben Harper, Neil Halstead, the Ting Tings, Boogie Balagan plus a bunch of amazing features and Diddy on the cover.
17 October 2008
One of the things that came out of this rando session in London was BLK JKS switching it up and rapping a bit on the track "Salota"(originally Cannibal Ox's "Life's Ill" produced by El-P) for the Esau Mwamwaya And Radioclit Are The Very Best mixtape, out now.
Cob it up: "Salota" Esau Mwamwaya And Radioclit Are The Very Best feat BLK JKS.
And the whole tape is right here.
15 October 2008
Today mastering guru Paul Gold (The Social Registry, Secretly Canadian, Sounds Familyre, Telstar, Neurot, Fat Cat, Domino Records, Nublu, Concent, Warp Records, Bastard Jazz, Drag City, Anticon, Record Collection, Omad, Wonder Wheel, Mesh Key, RVNG, ? Your Rupture, Sundazed, Norton, Urbanacity, U Phonic, Juakali, Ghetto Arc, Rude, Broklyn Beats, Espers, Jason Molina, Gang Gang Dance, Psychic Ills, Vietnam, Benjy Ferre, Nicodemus, Danielson, Sufjian Stevens, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Red Sparrowes, Drop the Lime, Criterion, Doily, Love Is All, Long Blondes LCD Soundsystem, The Juan McClean, Eels, Rye Coalition, David Last, Dirty Projectors, Besnard Lakes, Phosphorescence, The Dust Dive, NNCK, Ecstatic Peace, Wooden Wand, Earthless, Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound, The Warlocks, Robert Pollard, Federale, The IO's, Bing Ji Ling, Still Going, Syclops, Tyvek, Fucked Up) was hard at work hooking up a new master version of the BLK JKS "MYSTERY EP".
A sign big things a gwaan! Maybe a re-release (on 12in vinyl???) in the near future?
09 October 2008
In which a certain Gavin Haynes travels to his native SA to find that the music scene is alive and well.
BLK JKS even get a mention!
Choice quote: "Meanwhile, an all-black group of childhood friends from Jo'burg's East Rand townships styled themselves as BLK JKS and began mixing the sounds of the psychedelic American underground with the afro-jazz they'd grown up with, forging the sort of enveloping art-rock swirl you'd expect from a back to basics TV On The Radio."
Gavin does double duty, blogging about his trip and his writing here.
Thanks to Peggy Unltd for the tip!
08 October 2008
01 October 2008
Sure China debuted its space program last week, but this week South Africa gets pretty far out.
As previously noted BLK JKS will blast off at Cape Town's Pan African Space Station, an unprecedented collection of far-reaching progressive music from around the continent and the diaspora.
On Thursday 2 Oct BLK JKS will be at GUBA S'THEBE with our favorite deck wrecker DJ BlaQ T, beginning at 6pm.
Then on Friday 3 Oct the band will rock The Assembly in District 6 from 9pm...
Send in a report and let us know if minds get blown!
23 September 2008
16 September 2008
14 September 2008
02 September 2008
29 August 2008
If you ever have a chance to catch a show at Liverpool's Korova you must do so at all cost...that's if you can pull yourself away from the Scousingtons maurading the cobbled streets!
Thanks to Gemma at Mercy—the hostess with the mostess!
UPDATE: We missed this though. Drats!
28 August 2008
25 August 2008
24 August 2008
22 August 2008
A review of this week's show at the legendary Whelans in Dublin...
In my shameful ignorance of African music I had no idea what to expect, but what I was greeted with was a complete surprise. It was incredibly dense music, constantly changing rhythm, tempo, language, mood and tone to create a whirlpool of sound. It defied all my preconceived notions of African music. It certainly sound like rock music, and there was also an obvious heavy western influence. Yet it also had a unmistakable otherness to it, an Africanness, something exciting, invigorating and alien.
It was a complete medley of genres. This was reflected even in their stage presence and stances. Linda Buthelezi, lead guitarist and vocalist, cut an angular figure, with violent punk poses and reckless thrashing, while to his left bassist Molefi Makananise seemed to be straight out of a seventies funk band. Contrastingly, rhythm guitarist Mpumi Mcata’s jumpy grooving completely suited his clipped reggae style, and at the back Tshepang Ramoba’s ecstatic drumming and solos put me in mind of a free jazz player. Yet although they all seemed to be from different bands and different genres, hell even different eras, they gelled, the music worked and it resulted in fantastic show.
Real talk via Analogue magazine.
Special thanks to Mark ChoiceCuts for putting on some great shows. And also to the dude on the street in Galway who taught us how to say "you're with two beautiful women" in Gaelic.
15 August 2008
LA-based superstar DJ Garth Trinidad has been a big champion of BLK JKS for a sec now, bumping the necksnap "One Must Die" on the KCRW airwaves (webwaves?) and generally sparking for the band on the West Coast.
This Saturday's show is dedicated to KCRW's summer fundraising drive, and Garth will be giving away South Africa-only CD editions of the BLK JKS "Mystery EP"to supporters of the station's progressive public radio programming.
Garth's "Chocolate City" show is on from 6-9PM on Saturday. Please tune in (online!) and make it happen!!!
14 August 2008
Had to repost this family:
"Now and then it’s easy to guess that Blk Jks, from Johannesburg, are an African band on their four-song “Mystery EP” (Robinson Projects, available for download from digital.othermusic.com). That’s when they go bounding into three-chord South African township grooves in “Lakeside” or overlay the reggae foundation of “Summertime” with syncopated guitars. But Blk Jks make their music in a global swirl of possibilities; they are an art-rock band. Produced in New York by Brandon Curtis of the band Secret Machines, the songs on the EP are far closer to TV on the Radio and the Mars Volta than they are to Ladysmith Black Mambazo. While the lyrics (mostly in English) ponder philosophical quandaries — “All the wise men ’round the world don’t know the answers” — the band’s quick-fingered, multilayered vamps well up out of murky echoes, piling jubilation atop the anxiety, before submerging again. An earlier Blk Jks song, “Transit Camp,” is available (from Emusic or CD Baby) on the South African compilation “Phrased Differently” (Runway Music); less vertiginously produced and furiously propulsive, it has the band “smiling into oblivion, then dreaming swift into the heart of the abyss.”
Tree free reading here.
13 August 2008
BLK JKS did the unthinkable for a band on the run, taking a couple days off in Paris after the packed out show at Fleche D'Or. Of course, Paris is a fine enough place to recover from the vicissitudes of life on the road...get a little existential...streteched out in a sunny park with a little falafel and Lebanese beer...