Now and then it’s easy to guess that Blk Jks, from Johannesburg, are an African band on their four-song “Mystery EP”. 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...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..........................via THE NEW YORK TIMES
Childhood friends Linda and Mpumi grew up on the same block in Johannesburg’s East Rand, where they taught themselves guitar. Forming a band in 2000, early BLK JKS shows and recordings were remarkable for their stacks of guitar drone and head nodding beats, but it was with the addition of bassist Molefi and drummer Tshepang—both of Soweto—that BLK JKS began work with a fresh approach and plunged into its current universe of sound. Heavy club dates and festival gigs followed as they band earned a loyal following across the country.
The November 2007 release of the “Lakeside” vinyl-only 10in marks the band’s international debut with a limited edition of 500 selling at some of the world's best record shops.
The cover of Fader magazine and trip to the US in the spring of 2008 sparked sessions at the famed Electric Lady Studios with Brandon Curtis of Secret Machines at the controls.
The MYSTERY EP that resulted is available now as a vinyl/digital release.
What makes them hip is that they’re South African and damn it, they sound it. In fact listening to BLK JKS is kind of like taking a slow cruise through Jozi with your windows rolled down. Afro-jazz riffs segue into tribal rhythms, which swagger through street-level sociology before exploding into hardcore bursts of noise, kwaai kwaito beats and addictive rock hooks. It’s not funk rock. It’s not punk rock. It’s not indie rock. It’s just music, and it’ll infect your mind if you let it.
In many ways the BLK JKS ability to genre hop is reminiscent of South African 80s white rock bands like Via Afrika, whose avant-boere-jive fusion freak-ins and erotic shebeen dub multi-layered mbaqanga chants situated rock in direct opposition to the separate development strategies of Apartheid.