BlindBlimp is an attempt at upping South Africa's nzima factor by giving attention to those musical things that tend to be ignored here until they are well over. It's also a tirade against those things that would - in a better world - have been written off years ago but seem determined to stick around.
Tune in for rants and raves about bands, reviews, upcoming acts and follow our stumbling footsteps as we attempt to find fresh acts to worship like good little band aids.
A bit different from Blind Blimp’s usual band profiles, Rye Rye is firstly, not a band but a person – Ryeisha Berrain, an American rapper and dancer to be exact – and secondly she brings the hip hop pop, not the rock. She has been punted and mentored by the awesome M.I.A for a number of years and featured in a number of club hits. But Rye Rye has now dropped her debut album. Self-described as “unique and hard-hitting”, Rye Rye’s sound is inspired by her Baltimore club rap and dance style.
Rolling Stone described Bang as “gloriously showoffy”. Commercial, yes, hardcore, yes, distinctly likeable, yes, party music, hell yeah! Sunshine will get anyone moving, smiling and singing “Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum” no matter how pretentious and serious they are about their music! Or, maybe it's just me...
Album: Go! Pop! Bang! 
Singles: Shake it To The Ground (DJ Blaqstarr and Rye Rye), Tic Toc (Busy Signal featuring Rye Rye and M.I.A.), Bang (featuring M.I.A.), Sunshine (featuring M.I.A.)
Why in the name of Zeus' butthole would anyone let Travis Barker do ANYTHING unsupervised? Never mind brush his teeth or put his trousers on the right way around. Now he's made a (supposed) Hip Hop album? What is wrong with the world?
Blink 182 is not exactly the most hardcore of bands. Hell, they're not even the most hardcore of little-boy-punk-wannabe bands. They're a joke. At least when they started out they knew this. Now they want to be taken seriously and are off on their own missions, so we're stuck with the drummer in some sort of dream world where he's gangsta. Tattoos do not make you a gangsta. I have plenty, and I'm a lady.
Barker's tragic attempt (entitled Give the Drummer Some) is only marginally better than K-Fed's train wreck. It's embarrassing for everyone involved, since the man has managed to lure some pretty big names in Hip Hop to deliver lyrics for the tracks.
Perhaps most tragic of all is the fact that he can't seem to shake the fact that he's a drummer, bringing it into lyrics, song titles and the title of the album. A departure this is not. It should be ignored, hidden, burned. But certainly not mar one's iPod playlist.
Super catchy rock, the first time I heard Young the Giant’s My Body on Tuks FM a while back, I was soon singing along to the chorus and couldn’t get it out of my head for the rest of the day. And it was a good thing. Described as “soaring, melodic rock ‘n’ roll that’s bound for greatness” on Last.fm, the band’s songs are upbeat anthems which are hard to ignore. Young the Giant’s giant choruses will have listeners addicted in no time. To quote My Body, “I want more!”
Album: Young the Giant 
Singles: My Body, Apartment
Resembles: The Killers, Crystal Skulls, My Morning Jacket, a touch of Mumford and Sons
Rise Against has hit album six and is going strong. Endgame, released on 15 March 2011, holds everything we have learned to expect from Rise Against. Heartfelt, angsty lyrics, heavy guitars and a lot to jump up and down to.
I've personally always felt that it's only Tim McIlrith's softer voice that has prevented Rise Against from entering the Hard Rock arena and left them relegated to Punk. Not that Punk is a problem.
True their Punk label, Rise Against is not afraid to show their political leanings, making a stand against homophobia in Make It Stop (September's Children) – a song written specifically in memory of the tragic suicides of homosexual teenagers in the US last year. Being a big supporter of the LGBT community myself, I can only respect this move. Especially considering that Rise Against is categorised in a genre of music that is not often lauded for its tolerance.
Politics aside, Endgame is a cracking album. It's a difficult task to pick out shining tracks, because they all shine. It's one long list of glittering nzimaness. Of course Make It Stop (September's Children) is close to my heart. Disparity by Design and This is Letting Go really get your blood pumping and your moshing feet jumping.
Endgame is another fantastic offering in a long line of genius, and one can only hope that there will be more of the same in the future.
Made up of Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom from London, former members of Cajun Dance Party, Jonny Rogoff from New Jersey, Mariko Doi from Japan and Ilana Blumberg, Daniel’s sister, Yuck is a multi-national band taking the world by storm. With elements of grunge in their sound and influenced by late ‘80s and ‘90s lo-fi, the band is making massive strides in England, especially on the live circuit, as well as getting rave reviews in America. Yuck featured in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 and has been described by Paste Magazine.com as “the best don’t-give-a-damn lo-fi guitar rock”.
Album: Yuck 
Singles: Rubber, Georgia, Holing Out, Get Away, The Wall
Resembles: Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub, J Mascis
In honour of the original Blind Blimp team jetting off to Peru tomorrow, we give you our Top Ten Happy Dance tracks: 10. Wheezer - Island in the Sun
9. Wolfmother - White Feather
8. Supergrass - Alright
7. Ben Folds - Zak & Sara 6. Gorillaz - Dare 5. Blur - Song 2
4. Vampire Weekend - A-Punk 3. Kimya Dawson & Antsy Pants - Tree Hugger 2. Ben Kweller - Wasted & Ready 1. The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger
p.s. not to fear, the blog is being left in the capable hands of one of our contributors, Andrea. Thanks Andrea! See you all in a month's time!
I just can't get What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? out of my head. And this is a good thing.
The Vaccines are an old school Indie Britpop outfit that rather missed their period – having only formed in 2010. They would've fit right in with The Clash and The Ramones.
The debut album, What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? channels the post-colonial “WTF now?” mentality that is such a strong part of modern UK culture and makes me ache to get back to Reading for some dirty-rocker festival going.
Even though their sound is strongly derivative, it is still fresh and even soothing in spots.
The Vaccines have been through the wringer in the UK press, first lauded as the new coming, then hit with a massive backlash against their “priveleged” background, even before the album's release on 14 March 2011. Happily, here in SA, we missed the hype and can experience the album with fresh ears. I can't help but love it.
If You Wanna is a cheerful, energetic and cocky come-on; Wetsuit carries an element of nostalgia and hope and builds on itself well; while Norgaard speaks of rejection in an offhand, “next-please” kind of way. Even the 1 minute and 21 second first single Wreckin' Ball (Ra Ra Ra) tickles me to death.
If UK culture and Britpop is your thing (and it should be) you have to add this album to your collection.
Bestowed the Brand New for 2011 title at the MTV Awards and appearing on the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll, Mona have been receiving a lot of attention lately even though their debut album is yet to be released. The band, which was named after lead vocalist Nick Brown’s grandmother, self-produced their self-titled debut album which is due in May in their basement in Nashville, and it was mixed by producer Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, Muse, Arctic Monkeys).
Described by Rough Trade Shops as “romantic rock ‘n roll for city folk”, Mona’s sound is big, ballsy and the kinda stuff that would be amazing live. The rumour is that they are to be the next Kings of Leon and to be bigger than U2. I believe it.
To quote the blog on Mona’s website: “The only thing slick about Mona is their hair. The rest is arm-pumping, vein-throbbing, knee-jittering, raw-throated, singalong rock ‘n roll.”
Debut album: Mona [16 May 2011] (available for preview and pre-order on iTunes)
Singles: Debut single “Listen to Your Love”; second single “Trouble on the Way”; third single “Teenager”
Resembles: Kings of Leon (their new stuff), Van Halen
I’ve seldom been wrong at predicting a great future for certain bands. Now I am telling you that the next big thing to watch out for is Dance, You’re on Fire. Currently on tour, promoting their debut album Secret Chiefs, the Joburg-based boys do not only have an album of top notch production quality, but they bring much needed, fresh energy and enthusiasm to the South African stage with their rock ‘n roll meets indie vibe.
Dance, You're on Fire being awfully sombre
Their relaxed, happy-go-lucky attitude, charm and sense of humour is present both on and off stage. They have a no pretense, no nonsense attitude. There is still a sense of humility and gratefulness that so many bands push aside and forget about too soon. It’s almost as if they don’t know how great they are and can be. My only hope is that they keep this attitude because then they will go even further than even I can predict.
Super enthused lead singer and guitarist, Tom Manners, has been likened to the voices of Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy. And rightly so. But the boys describe their music as far more creative, yet still accessible. Their rocking second single, Boxes of Tigers is currently number five on the Tuks FM Top 30 and number two on The Sondag Tuks FM Most Wanted Listener Top 20.
Dance, You’re on Fire opened for aKING at Tings 'n Times in Pretoria on Friday, 1 April 2011. They had an excitable crowd dancing and singing along to not only Boxes of Tigers, but to their first single Blockade and title song Secret Chiefs. Their debut performance of Michelle added something sweet to sway to in their set of power guitar songs. Speaking of which, guitarist Adrian Erasmus is a seriously great guitarist of whom any other SA band should be jealous!
Secret Chiefs is currently available online at www.danceyoureonfire.co.za and at their gigs, as well as at certain music outlets in Gauteng. Secret Chiefs is going to be launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in early June this year. Next stop, the world!
Tour dates are also available online. If Dance, You’re on Fire is performing in your area, you simply have to check them out! When they go big, as I predict, you can say that I told you so!
Dead Alphabet already has me thinking 'cool' with their name. It is strongly reminiscent of 70s American Punk and I love it. Awesome name ticked, Dead Alphabet's next step is to put together a downright impressive EP, The Kill.
The controlled but aggressive vocals of Adam Edwards remind me strongly of those of Joshua Homme. The accompaniment does not follow the jerky strains of Queens of the Stone Age, however. Dead Alphabet is more melodic, while still being well grungy and in-your-face.
The Kill, the first track on the EP is incredibly sexy, with fantastic guitar riffs that bring in the 70s rock once again. Eat you Alive, is energetic and angry. A fantastic moshy tune. I can't state with certainty that the 70s are an influence in Dead Alphabets life, but this era of raw, sincere and in-your-face rock comes through in Dead Alphabet tunes and I can only respect them for it. Of course their sound has been brought bang into the new century – no loserish throwback tracks for these boys.
I'm afraid that I promised the boys a visit to their gig last night, but missed it due to a rather heavy weekend and a desperate need of full-body hangover relief, but I don't doubt for a second that they are awesome. I didn't want to wait anymore to post this review, because the word must be spread – Dead Alphabet is the shiznizz. I can't wait to catch a gig when I'm not a zombie.
You can follow Dead Alphabet on Twitter for all the latest news (@DeadAlphabet), or join their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/DEADALPHABET?sk=info where you will find a link to the EP, The Kill. Do yourself a favour.
Formed in 2009, Broken Bells has already played Glastonbury and is planning its second album. This is not surprising considering that the band consists of musical marvels James Mercer from The Shins on vocals and guitar, and Brian Burton – better known as Danger Mouse – covering multiple instruments and production.
Described by the duo as “melodic, but experimental, too”, their sound is a perfect amalgamation of the two gentlemen’s separate brilliances. Broken Bells are brilliant. Expect big things!
Debut album: Broken Bells [March 2010]
EP: Meyrin Fields [March 2011]
Resembles: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Shins, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, Fleet Foxes