Top 15 Local Releases Of 2016

This year was probably one of the strongest years for South Africa music. There were so many consistently brilliant releases over the course of the year and there is a very good chance that we left many out by limiting it to 15, but we’ll never be completely right. Anyway, this is probably one of our final posts for the year and we just wanted to say thank you to all our readers for sticking by us throughout the year. It is because of all of you, and the love for music, that we keep doing what we are doing and we hope to do it even better next year. Have a fantastic festive season.

1. Grassy SparkPortal

I do this thing each year where I like to predict which local band will leap forward in terms of success, and it usually always comes true. Last year, I predicted that Al Bairre will leap into mainstream success, and they did. This year I predicted that Grassy Spark would have the same fate and with their headline local slot at Rocking The Daisies, their opening for UB40 and their stunning debut album Portal – I would like to think I was right once again. Craig Roxburgh

2. Past HauntsAfterthoughts

Past Haunts never fails to impress me with their stunning fusion of emo, punk and post-hardcore elements. Afterthoughts was an EP that I just kept coming back to for its rich lyrical content and its anguish-laden sonic landscape. Craig Roxburgh

 3PeasantIII: No Love

It seems to have been a universally brilliant year for hardcore releases. It is like the deities controlling the hardcore scene said “let there be more great hardcore then one could possibly handle”, and that just seemed to trickle down into South Africa with the release of Peasant’s vitriol-laden EP. Angular, snarling guitars, groovy bass riffs and pent-up aggression is the name of the game with this EP. Craig Roxburgh

Veladraco cover

 4. VeladracoVeladraco

Veladraco only just released their self-titled EP and they’ve already receive a shout-out from AKA and made it to the top of 5FM Indie Chart. The band skipped into my heart with their aloof pop-punk melodies, clever song-writing and repressed adolescent angst. Craig Roxburgh

5. Caroline LeisegangSimple Circles

Classical music isn’t exactly a booming genre in South Africa but Caroline Leisegang’s latest release managed to slip into my radar with her minimalistic approach to composing. Her simple yet beautiful melodies are steeped in emotional depth and I can guarantee that they shall improve your productivity immensely. Craig Roxburgh

6. Gavin and KrehanThe New Dope

Gavin and Krehan may be newcomers to the rap game, but as their EP title suggests: they are the new dope. The New Dope is a raw, honest exploration of anxiety and depression – something that many rap artists don’t do. Craig Roxburgh

7. Black MathDeath, Existing & Other Joys Of Life

Black Math only just released this and it already shot straight into my Top 20 with its chaotic fusion of punk and psych-rock. Black Math is just more proof that Durban is becoming a hotbed for local talent. Craig Roxburgh

The Liminals - Come Closer PNG

8. The LiminalsCome Closer

Infectious beats – check. Groovy basslines – check. Funky guitar work – check. The Liminals have everything you need to get through the blazing heat of summer and feel good about it. Come Closer radiates with talent.  Craig Roxburgh

9. Made For BroadwayLife Lessons

Pop punk is everything for me, and Made For Broadway managed to deliver the purest, most distilled version of pop punk possible with Life Lessons. Punchy four-chord riffs and semi-hardcore breakdowns dominate the album while the lyrics teeter between introspective musings and wild parodies. Craig Roxburgh

10. ISOPolydimension

2016 heralded the arrival of ISO’s Polydimension: An album of tasteful musical integrity and complexity. The album balances the difficult line between catchiness and progressiveness, complexity and memorability, technicality and atmosphere. This album speaks through all of its instrumentalists and the vocalist and gives us musical variety that does more than tick boxes- they make new ones. The band masterfully jumps from heavier to light tones in order to create atmospheres that are delicate and intimate, yet create riffs that are worthy of a heavy metal band and combine it with jazz-like drumming. ISO’s Polydimension is an album of the year because it brings intelligence, integrity, emotional depth and a fresh sound to South Africa’s growing music scene. Matthew Fuller

11. DangerfieldsEmbers

Embers is a gorgeous piece of post-punk with its angular guitar riffs and synth tones that ebb and flow like the tide of the ocean. It is an EP that is so easy to get lost in and is the perfect match for a hazy summer day. Craig Roxburgh


12. Hezron ChettyThe Fallacy of Composition

Hezron Chetty is possibly one the most unique and interesting artists to come out of South Africa in a long time. His ability to generate the aggression and energy of punk music with a violin captivated me upon the release of his debut album. Craig Roxburgh

13. The ShabeenFolk Is Dead

Folksy punk rock is the name of the game on The Shabeen’s new album. Rowdy punk singalongs are juxtaposed next to poetic musings that rival that of Frank Turner. The band even took a pretty socially conscious move by renaming themselves to The Shabs in light of the connotations carried by “The Shabeen”.

14. Ohgod!Forest Feuds

Without any vocals, Ohgod! managed to weave a complex tapestry of emotion through their use of intricate, needling guitar work layered over abrasive bass riffs and snarling licks of guitar. Their focus on the complexity and intricacies of their music is what allows them to elicit such deep emotional responses.

15. All We’ve Known – Human Nature

All We’ve Known is a young up-and-coming band from Port Elizabeth who are not afraid of hard work and it shows clearly in their debut EP release with their crisp sound and progressive tunes. Electronicore has not been around for that long nor has it been popular in South Africa, but
Human Nature is one of the first quality products to endorse this fun-loving, bouncing hardcore sound locally.With catchy, jumping techno beats, heartfelt lyrics and musical talent for days, this is well worth a listen. Turn it up to 11 and enjoy the rage! James Robert


1 Comment

  1. S

    December 15, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    That time Forrest Fueds was not released in 2016. 🙁 a bit of research in your articles guyzzz

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