Greetings from sunny (and windy) South Africa. While I am writing this, I am listening to my biology teacher ramble on about the process of DNA replication. Something that I have heard about far too many times in the past week. During this rambling, I am also composing a list of decent South African bands. While doing this, I had the bright idea to share with you my three favorite songs from South African bands.
1. “Safe As Houses” – aKING
aKING is the band that really got me interested in the South African music scene – before that, my knowledge of the scene was virtually non-existent. Sure, I knew about names like Johnny Clegg and Freshlyground, but those are practically household names; or, at least they were when I was 8. “Safe As Houses” is a hauntingly beautiful song with some of the most beautiful lyrics to grace the lips of lead singer Laudo Liebenberg. “The rain will fall and baptize our strongholds, our sheltered lives” is a perfect example of this. One of my fondest memories pertains to this song and dancing in the rain to it while it was busy being performed live.
2. “One Long Day” – Shortstraw
Indie rock is a genre that has always been close to my heart. I grew up listening to it, so it’s fitting that one of my favorite songs happens to come from phenomenal South African indie rockers Shortstraw. It is impossible to be sad while listening to any of their songs. They’re a happy-go-lucky upbeat band whose only intention is to spread some good vibes. What I love about “One Long Day” is how twisted some of the lyrics are. For instance: “She lied. There’s a monster under your bed. Mom lied. There’s a monster under your bed.” Also, the music video always makes me smile.
3. “Untie Yourself” – Taxi Violence
People who criticize blues have clearly never encountered blues rock. Especially Taxi Violence’s rock ‘n roll attitude when it comes to genre. They’re one of South Africa’s biggest rock bands, and for a damn good reason. Their songs are massive and will have even the most reserved person bobbing their head or tapping their feet. George van der Spuy’s voice is best described as blues vocals meet the intensity of rock vocals. The guitars purr the background in accompany these sultry blues like vocals. “Untie Yourself” is one of those perfect songs for a hot and lazy summer’s day or for a summer road trip.