Last month, I came across a music video that Total Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs called, "one of the best music videos I've seen in a long time": a live performance by iFani EWE in the Johannesburg neighborhood of Soweto. Having just seen a South African dance documentary called The African Cypher, this assertion of "best" did not hold true for me; awesome dance is threaded throughout the country's musical and social culture of SA. This reminder did, however, lead me to dig deep into South African music videos to hunt for visual and sonic gems -- the best of which I have shared in this post. (No Die Antwoord on the basis on their being well-known by all.)

Mafikizolo ft. Uhuru - "Khona"

I recently stumbled across this website called OkayAfrica, and it is definitely one of my favorite new internet finds. Of their recurring posts are summaries of notable African fashion designers to watch out for, and the fashion in this music video for "Khona" reminds me of these top designers in some ways. Geometric shapes and bright colors abound, abound, abound, in eye-catching ways galore. Glittered male dancers dive and swoop around a strong female lioness and a hypnotic rhythm, pushing "Khona" hard as a visual highlight and a repeat listen. DOWNLOAD MP3 [audio:/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Uhuru-ft-Mafikizolo_Khona.mp3|titles=Uhuru ft. Mafikizolo - Khona]

 

The Lawsuits hail from Doylestown Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is home to the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and affords one the chance to pursue interests in farms, vineyards and tree farms. It is a place with a heritage very much of the earth. But, on Darleen, it is the cope of starry heavens to which the band turns its sights. Darleen is astronomical. On "Shooting Star," in a timbre evocative of Bessie Smith, singer Vanessa Winters testifies: "I"ll never fall in love again." On this early track and throughout, an absent lover still shines in secret, and the blues and gospel instrumentation connect the songs to a past, emotionally as well as musically.

On "I'm Still in Love with You," songcraft equal to Bob Dylan's accompanies lyrics in rapture to a lost love: "Like the rays of sun are hot/ Or how the sunshine is bright/ Never once have I stopped loving you." The light from the lover has gone, and the singer burns, but in the dark. In "You"re a Star," musical craft reminiscent of country writers like Joe "Red" Hayes illuminate vocals lamenting a lover whose attractive force holds the singer in orbit long after the last of their light has gone.

Listen to "Beautiful Anger" - DOWNLOAD MP3


The title of The Tallest Man On Earth's second album, The Wild Hunt, refers to the phantasmal hunting party of Norse and Germanic myth, damned forever to pursue some unseen quarry as it rages across the sky, bearing an ill omen for all who see it. Kind of a...