August 31, 2009
You’ve heard of Brooklyn bands copping their sound from African music, but BLK JKS is a band from Johannesburg, South Africa that are clearly influenced by US indie rock. The band connected with the American audience earlier this year when they played SXSW and have since signed to indie label, Secretly Canadian. Their EP Mystery has been very well received and they are preparing to release their debut After Robots this month. The end result is a sound that is mixes tight, rhythmic instrumentation with complex structure and vast soundscapes.
No song better captures the joyous, overwhelming sound that the band produces then their debut album’s first single “Molalatladi”. The music is an explosion of harmonic vocal chanting, blues-rock guitar, dynamic horns, and tribal drumming. The face-melting guitar solo that takes up much of the latter half of the song is one of the most searing, intense pieces of music that I’ve heard this year. Also noteworthy is the trippy, TV on the Radio-like track from the EP, “Lakeside”, which provides a more melodic spin on their sound before spiraling out of control with a furious head-spinning climax.
BLK JKS are playing Pygmalion Festival this year and if there live show is anything like the record, I imagine they’ll be the talk of the town.