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Special: South Africa is Still Bubbling Over

It's a new year, and we're already banking on the collective force that is South Africa's indie music scene. Dig a little, and you just might find that a few of them are already on your radar. And if they aren't, these are the leaders from rainbow country—born there or not, you really should get to know them in 2013.
Cape Town, South AfricaDie Antwoord
artist profile

Die Antwoord

When Die Antwoord posted the video for "Enter the Ninja," viewers weren’t sure if this trio of Afrikaans rappers with strange haircuts was some kind of made-for-the-net joke. Millions of views later, the rap-rave crew released their debut album $O$ and...
Cape Town, South AfricaSpoek Mathambo
artist profile

Spoek Mathambo

Spoek Mathambo is the Afro-futurist musical alter ego of Johannesburg kid Nthato Mokgata, and he's got a new sound. His brand of beats includes a whole lot of bass, a touch of cumbia, some electro and freaky house music, dubstep and a little something...
Cape Town, South AfricaGoldfish
artist profile


While taking a break from surfing, Capetown Jazz music students Dominic Peters and David Poole locked themselves in their room with a double bass, a sax and some synths. When they came out, they had their first album, Caught In The Loop, a live...
Johannesburg, South AfricaThe Parlotones — “Push Me to the Floor”
Music Video

The Parlotones — “Push Me to the Floor”

This summer, the South African indie rock group The Parlotones got on the world stage alongside A-listers Alicia Keys, Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and Shakira at the official FIFA World Cup South Africa Kick-Off Celebration. Currently, the band is...
Cape Town, South AfricaSpoek Mathambo Is Not Exotic

Spoek Mathambo Is Not Exotic

South Africa's prince of Township Tech, poster child for Afro-futurist electropop, husband of Sweden's Gnucci Banana, a one-man genre-blender who paints with music and composes with colors...Spoek Mathambo is simply one of the most exciting young...
Cape Town, South AfricaWho Is Cooler than Jack Parow?

Who Is Cooler than Jack Parow?

In his long bill snapback and porno moustache, “The Pirate of the Caravan Park” is getting ready for big things. Jack Parow is a Cape Town rapper who, along with frequent collaborators Die Antwoord, is shaking up the South African internet with the...
Johannesburg, South AfricaSpoek Mathambo @ Lincoln Center

Spoek Mathambo @ Lincoln Center

On Sunday night in New York, with the hot sky threatening to pour down on Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park at any moment, a multi-culti crowd sporting big hair and flailing arms got tremendously down. By...
Cape Town, South AfricaTaxi Violence — “The Turn”
Music Video

Taxi Violence — “The Turn”

At a time when just about every new band dabbles in electro-this or synth-that, Taxi Violence is a blast of pure classic rock from Cape Town, South Africa. Muscular guitars, plaintive-yet-growling vocals, drumstick-splintering backbeat -- what you hear...
Bellville, South AfricaJack Parow — “Cooler As Ekke’
Music Video

Jack Parow — “Cooler As Ekke’

No one on the corner has swagger like Jack Parow, South African rapper who drops braggadocios knowledge in “Cooler as Ekke” – “cooler than me.” If it weren’t for Jack’s awesome long bill snapback and his bevy of South African beauties, we’d be pretty...
Bellville, South AfricaJack Parow — “Tussen Stasies”
Music Video

Jack Parow — “Tussen Stasies”

South Africa’s Jack Parow shows his serious side in “Tussen Stasies,” or “between stations.” Featuring a cameo from Die Heuwels Fantasties (kind of like SA’s Postal Service), Parow displays the versatility that has earned him international recognition.
Bellville, South AfricaDie Heuwels Fantasties — “Noorderlig”
Music Video

Die Heuwels Fantasties — “Noorderlig”

Die Heuwels Fantasties, known as “the happy hollows” in layman’s terms, are complete show offs. The South African electronic band and graphic designers kept the “Noorderlig” mv under wraps for eight months. The lifelike sci-fi imagery and attention to...
Bellville, South AfricaaKING — “The Runaround”
Music Video

aKING — “The Runaround”

aKING knows where the wild things are. In “The Runaround,” the South African melodic rock band stimulates our imagination with dreamy animated images and an even dreamier sound.
Johannesburg, South AfricaFrom House to Kwaito and Back Again

From House to Kwaito and Back Again

In 1994, the people of South Africa voted freely for the first time in history, electing Nelson Mandela as president, ending 46 years under the oppressive apartheid system of white-only rule and enforced segregation. That very same year, the group Boom...
Cape Town, South AfricaTaxi Violence
artist profile

Taxi Violence

If you’ve been searching for some raging rock that doesn’t spill over into testosterone-induced madness, your search stops here. Here actually means Cape Town, South Africa, where Taxi Violence have been blowing away club audiences for seven years....
Cape Town, South AfricaDie Antwoord — “I Fink U Freeky”
Music Video

Die Antwoord — “I Fink U Freeky”

South African zef-rave rap trio Die Antwoord summons all things Avante-garde in the dark, dance-inducing “I Fink U Freeky.” If the dizzying synth rips and that pulsing, heartbeat-like bass line don’t draw you in then the crawling rodents, spastic...
Pretoria, South AfricaBittereinder’s Mad Afrikaans Hip Hop

Bittereinder’s Mad Afrikaans Hip Hop

Bittereinder means "diehard" in Afrikaans, but this SA award-winning, chart-topping  Pretoria trio is more experimental than the blingy moniker implies. Their 2009 debut album 'n Ware Verhaal ("a true story") is full of interesting, delightfully bizarre...
Johannesburg, South AfricaSpoek Mathambo — Father Creeper
Rating: 3.5

Spoek Mathambo — Father Creeper

I hate the horror genre and I’ve never watched a single scary movie to the end. So I’m the basically the worst person to review Spoek Mathambo’s second album Father Creeper, which is a masterpiece of...
Cape Town, South AfricaSpoek Mathambo — “Let Them Talk”
Music Video

Spoek Mathambo — “Let Them Talk”

South Africa’s Spoek Mathambo invites us to a party we definitely won’t be tardy to. His single “Let Them Talk” is a clever clash of “Hey Ya!” spontaneity and “Thriller” creepy moments. The mash up of mellow 50s-inspired groove and the surprising,...
Johannesburg, South AfricaJo’Burg’s Got a New Wordsmith, Kwesta

Jo’Burg’s Got a New Wordsmith, Kwesta

Name: Kwesta Where He’s From: Johannesburg, SA Genre: Hip-hop Most Similar: P-Diddy, Rick Ross When He Started: 2003 Sounds Like: Party and Bullsh*t Kwesta is newbie MC from Johannesburg with tight party rhymes you'd mistake for New...
Cape Town, South AfricaEnter the House of Noir, Petite Noir

Enter the House of Noir, Petite Noir

Name: Petite Noir née: Yannick Iluga Where He's From: Based in Capetown, South Africa, but originally from the Congo Genre: Electronic-soul  or even better, Afro-tronica Most Similar: A swinger's party featuring Arthur Mafokate, The Week-nd,...
Stockholm, SwedenAdam Tensta, Sweden’s Great Hip-Hop Hope

Adam Tensta, Sweden’s Great Hip-Hop Hope

Ok, Sweden. You’ve already proved that you're the best at music. You secretly run the pop music industry. You have all the dreamiest indie rock girls. You have the Swedish House Mafia, whose annual take in DJ fees rivals the GDP of certain small...
London, United KingdomUK’s Moroka: Global Bass for Your Booty

UK’s Moroka: Global Bass for Your Booty

Name: Moroka Where He's From: London & South Africa Genre: Kwaito, global bass Most Similar: Diplo, Spoek Mathambo Sounds Like: A While Mad Decent ousted global bass from the underground, one of its trailblazers was chilling in the...
London, United KingdomA Few Words with Laura Mvula

A Few Words with Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula is a major standout in the UK's latest swarm of soulful songstresses. Armed with her haunting, minimal, yet quite complicated single "She," Mvula is getting props from everyone from Jamie Cullum to the Brits Critics Choice Awards to producer...
Cape Town, South AfricaIn Studio with Civil Twilight

In Studio with Civil Twilight

South Africa's very own Civil Twilight lands in Studio Iggy for a brief respite from their fall 2012 tour. Let their atmospheric vibes serenade you into a quiet escape from the world, and maybe, just maybe, it won't matter if there's anybody else out...
Cape Town, South AfricaJack Parow — “Merry X-mas”
Music Video

Jack Parow — “Merry X-mas”

Even the big-brimmed, South African zef MC Jack Parow is getting into the Christmas spirit. In “Merry Xmas,” we find him in the same places as always – in front of a pastel-colored establishment, chilling in a pool, and hanging out with hot ladies. Yes,...