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MK Top 10

MK Top 10 | Shaved Dogs

by Brandon Edmonds / 28.11.2011

When the dog where I live gets shaved for summer she becomes self-conscious and you have to affirm her a lot, stroke her more, be encouraging. She looks like an extra in Ratatouille. A slim, bat-eared maus and if she catches you staring, her tail locks between her legs and she hangs her head. Your heart goes out to her. Local white (mostly unsigned) pop musiek behaves much the same way. It’s so vulnerable, so timid and quavering, so overly aware and unsure of itself, that your heart goes out.

Here’s last week’s MK Top 10.

Number 10: Die Heuwels Fantasties – “Buitenste Ruim”

You do notice the video. It has kids, rockets, cowboys and Indians. Gummo bunny ears and moments lit by Nan Goldin. The lovely redness of fireworks at night. Director Thomas Ferreira does dazed nostalgia well. “He has recently branched out into commercials” his company lets slip. He’ll be good at that. And the song? It’s competent but unremarkable. As Hunter Kennedy sings: “Ek gee my beste net party keer.” No shit.

Number 9: The Plastics – “Caroline”

The Righini brothers are pretty as sacrificial Roman boys in Pasolini’s depraved Sadean masterpiece, Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom. Looks matter. Pop, like the old Hollywood Studio system, feeds on fuckability. But even in the hands of Gordon Raphael, who produced the Strokes’ sauntering gem “Is This It?”, The Plastics make music hampered by timidity. It lacks the élan of Vampire Weekend or the carousing force of Broken Social Scene. Business class pop for new models on their way to Milan. It needs cigarettes stubbed out on it. And that LMG cover better be “ironic”.

Number 8: Wrestlerish – “Bodies of Water”

The first video that yells developing country. Creamy falsetto on a sponge cake of guitars. The dynamics are second-hand. Lead singer Werner Olckers sings: “Now that the curtains finally fall and I’m waiting for applause”. Rent a room Werner, it’s gonna be a long wait.

Number 7: Yesterday’s Pupil – “Too Tired to Disco”

Peach V Pletzen, as his endless site blurb puts it, is a “super-gifted, humble, hard-working and incredibly versatile young musician”. Well, good for him, but you’re competing in a Darwinian music era when I can download whatever I want. In minutes. Be it the skull-crumpling earth jams of the Boredoms, everything Can ever did, or the wayward genius of the Shaggs. This is just twee laptop pop with emasculated lyrics: “You know I will always hold your hand / even when I disagree.” Who are you? Boutros Boutros-Ghali! “Let’s not stop the romance…how about tonight I just love you?” How about tonight we drink until we fight, then fuck?

Number 6: Lonehill Estate – “Daans”

“Lonehill has received much criticism for their music being too eclectic in the past and the band has decided to funnel their influences into a genre that is sure to please.” Imagine the band, in hazmat suits, funneling their influences into a gloopy vat of yuck. Dance routines in a Fruit & Veg City? Really? And that is a truly egregious bassline. The band is known for “tongue-in-cheek lyrics” and it’s that knowingness that kills the pleasure here. It’s too calculated. Great pop songs operate like the Stockholm syndrome. When captives identify with their captors and you endlessly repeat the chorus in your head. Which doesn’t happen here. The production needed the supreme propulsion of LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”. It barely achieves Crazy Frog.

Number 5: Die Heuwels Fantasties & Inge Beckmann – “Modus Operandi”

Inge in a headdress of horns, like the Bride of Frankenstein on stilts, adrift in a virtual terra incognita. Amazing. Then Miss B sprouts digital wings and you just think that’s Inge Beckmann sprouting digital wings. Neither the video, desperately trying to be Chris Marker’s “La Jetee” run through Tarsem Singh’s “The Cell”, nor the song, manage an ounce of metaphorical power. There’s nothing really going on. A compelling modus operandi is what’s missing. Great riff though.

Number 4: Van Coke Kartel – “Vir Almal”

Francois Van Coke looks pissed as Gimli in a leather jacket in a junkyard of cars. Everyone has leather jackets. Bellville’s Sha Na Na. Van Coke also looks a bit like Reiner Werner Fassbinder, the coke-addled genius of New German Cinema. Bloated, pale and frazzled. If only the band had as much to say about social life. About anything. This is dumb music and not in a smart way. Leftover three chord thrash without a genuine agenda. Unlike Bad Brains or Millions of Dead Cops. A dude drinks Jägermeister from the bottle and you wonder, did that just happen, or was it planned, to look hard? Did an assistant, a bipolar girl with flesh tunnels, have to drive to a liquor store to get it? Then a pseudo-virtuoso guitar solo. The very gesture punk hoped to destroy. When a cheesy blonde stripper appears we may as well be at a Blou Bulle tailgate party at Loftus.

Number 3: Dance You’re on Fire – “Michelle”

Mess with pop templates that have been in place since the fifties and sixties. Don’t swallow them whole. This is Crowded House for millennials. Soft as a fontanelle. More bland de-vitalised sexual passivity. When did indie boys get so insipid? Please listen to a lot more Revolting Cocks or the Vaselines. Early Prince. Late Cohen. Anything with a libido. “We both know I’m no closer,” Tom Manners sings. “We both knew from the start I’d never climb inside your bed.” Well why the fuck not, Tommy boy?

Number 2: City of Heroes “Fight or Flight”

Help me out here. MK doesn’t say who this is. The band has matching leather jackets (again) and Grahamstown Festival scarves. Drama student emoting and careening 80’s synth. “Gravity is the enemy,” someone sings. I thought the enemy was Aids or Somali pirates or the Taliban? Gravity, huh.

Number 1: Mr Cat & the Jackal – “Bad Man, He Comin”

Tom Waits lite. The myth-making here floats free of any social basis. Any grounding in the real. Do they mean the Tokoloshe? Rick Astley? Who is the bad man coming? Bad how? Bad why? Blues without authenticity. Great video though. Stop-motion animation. The plucked heart. Believe in your day jobs.

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RESPONSES (56)
  1. Happy says:

    Whenever Mahala badmouths something, I know that it’s good enough for normal people. That’s why Mahala hates it.

    Thumb up14   Thumb down 6

  2. Andy says:

    so true… that might just become our new slogan

    Thumb up9   Thumb down 0

  3. Mick says:

    Nice, crisp acerbia.

    Thumb up2   Thumb down 4

  4. drunkenbastardman says:

    I’m no fan of local music, but these are youtube comments passing themselves off as journalism. Wait, wait, let me try one — “Wow, you guys suck. Please go listen to Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Plus that girl third from the left is butt ugly.” There’s so much good music journalism I could’ve read during my break, but I ended up here. Why? I guess it’s cos I felt sorry for you.

    Thumb up20   Thumb down 4

  5. perspective says:

    Eugene Edwards is going to sue the ass off Mr Cat & The Jackal.

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 2

  6. verbalkint says:

    I really hope the world ends in 2012. And this music with it.

    Thumb up5   Thumb down 4

  7. Brian Green says:

    There’s a real international quality to many of these bands – slick videos with great production, a seemingly high level of professionalism. Oh, and really convincing American accents.

    Thumb up10   Thumb down 0

  8. filmslave says:

    correction.. Thomas ferreira didn’t direct the new Heuwels.. Tristan Holmes did.. he did do the plastics video though..you can diss him for that one if you really want to.

    Thumb up5   Thumb down 2

  9. Andy (5 years ago) says:

    Andy you used to be so passionate about music but now your just a dick with an average salary…what happened?

    Thumb up15   Thumb down 0

  10. lekkalabels@vodamail.com says:

    Quality of SA bands have multiplied beyond belief – in the last few years. Heuwels have completely revolutionised Afrikaan music, teaching an entirely new generation EXCELLENT Afrikaans, excellent Lyrics, and excellent Music. Anyone that doesn’t understand or appreciate? Gaan SKEIT, LEER AFRIKAANS…

    Thumb up6   Thumb down 5

  11. Andy says:

    at least i now know the difference between you’re and your

    Thumb up5   Thumb down 12

  12. blah says:

    What a pointless put down of people brave enough to write a song and have it appeal to someone bold enough to produce a video for it. There is no purpose to this article, Brandon, and the words you’ve chosen aren’t clever enough to justify not needing one.

    Thumb up20   Thumb down 3

  13. hotbox says:

    holy fuck, shame mahala is really desperate for any kind of attention… you guys do absolutely fuckol! Stop hating your own country you pathetic cunts

    Thumb up12   Thumb down 5

  14. Andy says:

    come hotbox let’s rawl, poes!

    Thumb up4   Thumb down 14

  15. leon says:

    Mahala is clearly too good for SA. You guys are so slick you should be reviewing Beyonce and Coldplay!

    Musicians and fans laugh at you guys with your small cocks and vaginas… pffft shame

    Thumb up13   Thumb down 1

  16. YP says:

    I am number 2 now bitches so suck on my plums!

    Thumb up10   Thumb down 1

  17. dude says:

    andy, are you sticking up for Brandon Edmonds? Are you his boss? You guys are fucking right?

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 2

  18. van coke says:

    haaai shame mahala!

    Hopefully one of you get a blowjob from a desperate teen chick (or a dude) for being writers for an online dissing site. Great achievement guys!

    Thumb up9   Thumb down 2

  19. ashamed to put my name here says:

    Yo!

    These artists spend money and time on their craft and videos. You know it is true what they say about haters… they hate, all their lives, everyone and everything, and then they die miserable and alone and full of hate. Andy, Roger, Brandon… sies guys… even FHM is above you

    Thumb up8   Thumb down 2

  20. Andy (5 years ago) says:

    Wow Andy, well done in five years you lost YOUR soul but you learned how to spell. Well done mate! Hopefully it gets you a lot of dick.

    Thumb up7   Thumb down 2

  21. Biff says:

    why do sa bands like these always get so pissed off when they’re revealed as clones/drones. Are they really not aware that the MK Top Ten is where they’ll live and die. Not one breakout act in this list including Bellville’s Sha Na Na.

    Thumb up11   Thumb down 1

  22. UGH says:

    What an awful fucking article.
    and from Edmonds.

    Jesus if you guys are depressed do something about it, but no one wants to read this shit. It’s not even smart. It’s certainly not constructive.

    Hate to sound histrionic but this really represents the end for me.
    I’ll probably still read the site for a while.
    I just won’t tell people I do.

    Not even the comment boards are getting fired up anymore.

    Maybe the predictable, uninspiring cunts in this whole equation are actually you guys?

    Thumb up5   Thumb down 2

  23. Skote Petoors says:

    Great article.Van Coke and Die Heuwels are so fucken bad,just cause they sing in afrikaans its no excuse to sound like a watered down version of Nickleback. And they are probably the two best bands out of the bunch.

    Thumb up8   Thumb down 1

  24. YellowElevator says:

    What I think this article serves to do is let us know that Brandon knows about obscure music like the Shaggs who, whichever way you want to argue it are fucking unlistenable.

    Thumb up7   Thumb down 1

  25. Andy says:

    @Andy (5 years ago) I would never call myself “mate”

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 4

  26. Meh says:

    Meh.

    Thumb up2   Thumb down 1

  27. Troll Buster says:

    A quick scan of the IPs confirms that Andy (5 years ago), Ashamed to put my name here, van coke, dude, YP, Leon and hotbox all have the same IP address.

    So either that’s an office of angry Afrikaans rock PR people, or just one, pretendin’ to be many…

    Thumb up8   Thumb down 0

  28. Keitu says:

    The reaction in the comments seems to prove Edmonds’ analogy in the opening… like being barked at by a sad little chihuahua

    Thumb up4   Thumb down 2

  29. Turks says:

    @Troll Buster… well that thinned out the crowd

    Thumb up4   Thumb down 0

  30. Rol says:

    What current SA music videos DO you like, Brandon? Give us a top 5 rundown of that maybe, give us the benefit of your expansive wisdom and perspective, instead of simply pissing on all these people and their creative output? If you want to be critical, please at least be constructive.

    Thumb up7   Thumb down 1

  31. Andy (5 years ago) says:

    I was the first Andy (5 years ago) and troll buster didn’t mention the that was a different IP address….you mahala people talk so much shit!!!

    Thumb up3   Thumb down 1

  32. blah says:

    @Rol – 100% agreed – Come on Brandon, step up to the plate dude and give us a little perspective of what you DO think is good. I’m not saying these band are above criticism, but there’s quite a bit of stuff above that I like and wouldn’t mind saying I was a part of… But this article isn’t criticism its just pointless name calling from position 10 to position 1.

    @Troll Buster – Stop being such an IT nerd. I know who wrote the hotbox comment and I also know it wasn’t the same person who wrote those others. High five Henk – you have every right to defend your very meaningful contributions to the SA music industry dude!

    Thumb up2   Thumb down 1

  33. brandon says:

    It’s just my tiny, slanted, ill-informed, old-aged, facile little opinion after watching these videos once, on a Saturday evening, when I ought to have been complimenting the Brazilian baker down the road’s death metal sweater and swimming lengths in a pool. It DOESN’T matter. None of these bands are better than the bands I love. Why not? Why shouldn’t we demand the impossible from local music? And make your own fucking list. If you’re so devoted to SA music develop your own platform – how hard is it to start a website? – and say nice things about them while the lyrics of the national anthem are scrawled into your skin with that terrifying writing machine in a Kafka story I can’t remember the name of…

    Thumb up3   Thumb down 11

  34. cockface says:

    brandon your taste in music sucks. your writing sucks and you suck. no one cares about your crap writing which is light years away from being even remotely close to any avarage international writer. pussy

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 3

  35. Rol says:

    I don’t have DSTV, so unfortunately your sour narrative of piss and vinegar is my main reference point at present. My distaste for your analysis doesn’t have much to do with blind patriotism. Thanks for considering my question though. Have a cheerful Tuesday.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 1

  36. YellowElevator says:

    Is Brandon telling us to start our own website not the same knee-jerk reaction that has musicians telling critics to start their own bands? I’m sure we all know how much critics love that one.

    Thumb up3   Thumb down 0

  37. brandon says:

    well thanks for that @cockface

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 0

  38. Margot says:

    @YellowElevator
    Yes! Had that exact thought re The Shaggs! They’re novel and hilarious and tragic but calling that product of a horrible venus & serena style dad “genius” is fucking ridiculous. Brandon tries so haaaard it’s so embARRassing.

    Thumb up3   Thumb down 0

  39. Skote Petoors says:

    The last local rock album that pushed boundaries was Afterlifesatisfaction by SNG. And that was fucken fifteen years ago! South African rock music is pure fucken drivel…. the reason no local band have made it overseas is simply because local bands are shit and their videos suck balls too. And by shit i mean that they are over produced, unoriginal and boring.

    Thumb up3   Thumb down 0

  40. Anonymous says:

    bad research

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  41. blah says:

    @Brandon – way to dodge a legitimate challenge you coward.

    @ Skote Petoors – I’d have to say that the last rock album of ANY nationality to “push boundaries” in whatever way you mean it was about 15 years ago. When we’re talking about local bands (you dont mention rock) making it, I can mention a ton of groups I think are CRAP that have made it internationally before even GETTING TO the great stuff we have here that hasn’t yet had the right platform to explode in international markets! The likes of (ugh) Seether, Goldfish, Freshly Ground, Die Antwoord. Its not about making it “internationally” based on talent alone – thats not how it works anymore.

    Thumb up2   Thumb down 1

  42. goofy says:

    In The Penal Colony. (the Kafka story you forget the name of…)
    Rather appropriate title in this case.
    Trial and error here. But mostly error.

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 0

  43. Skote Petoors says:

    @ blah. You are talking straight outta your asshole. There have been dozens of boundary pushing rock albums made in the last fifteen years but face it broe,- South African rock music is so shit that you cant even steal it off the internet cause nobody can be bothered with uploading it.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 1

  44. Anonymous says:

    I thought this was cool and funny. SA rock is hilariously shit.

    Thumb up3   Thumb down 3

  45. hugh says:

    Andy, you are the biggest troll on Mahala

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 0

  46. HP says:

    Ai ouens. Blogs only prove one thing. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. So populate and opinion-ate away.
    It wont make me not watch/buy/listen to any of these bands.

    Thumb up2   Thumb down 0

  47. regular guy says:

    The comments on this site make for better reading than the articles

    Thumb up4   Thumb down 0

  48. William Kalmer says:

    Correction: Heuwels Fantasties – Buitenste Ruim was directed by Tristan Holmes!

    Thumb up2   Thumb down 0

  49. oneSlaai says:

    Tristian Holmes is the Fucking shit Did any of you see the most recent Music video he did Toya Delazy- Pump it on!! Mad Music andVideo but off course its Not here, its on Trace, MTV, ChannelO OH LAST BUT NOT LEAST,,This Toya Delazy Chick is South African! #Proud

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 0

  50. sakkie says:

    Love it! Right on the button, telling it like it is. When are people going to realise that locally we are fed on shit that is hyped to make you think it is proper music.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 1

  51. pedro de pacas says:

    “Soft as a fontanelle.”

    Brilliant.

    Thumb up2   Thumb down 0

  52. Afrikaanse Meisie says:

    Ja nee lekker. All this commentary, I laaik it. It’s not so nice to slag off Mahala though. I do miss the early days of the exploding SA music scene. Springbok Nude Girls, Boo!, Sugardrive, Karma. The videos weren’t always lank professional, but the music had an authenticity that today’s bands lack sometimes innit? One of my favourite favourite SA music videos is Jack Parow & Die Heuwels – Die Vraagstuk remix, filmed in Aandklas. So simple, but gets me every time. What gets me really though, is the general lack of musicians to address socially relevant issues in their music. Does injustice not inspire anymore?

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

  53. Nay man says:

    15 years ago we yearned for local sound with a decent music video but we had to be happy with Nataniel producing some studio crap that filled the 5 minutes before the 8 o’clock news. Now we have arms full creativity and I’m so proud to see how far we got in such little time and you slap it on the ass left and right. No man, not nice

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 0

  54. filmslave says:

    i just get irritated when people start throwing insults around before getting their facts straight..

    Shame- now Thomas Ferreira looks like a poes..meanwhile it’s Tristan’s little oopsie of a video…

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 1

  55. filmocer says:

    pity about the inaccurate credits. tristan holmes did the heuwels vid and its sung by pierre.. oh well

    Thumb up1   Thumb down 0

  56. Hos Boss says:

    so much hate.

    Thumb up0   Thumb down 0

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