Feature Opinion

Howler Presents: Fresh Flex Friday #55

Today you probably won’t know 80% of the artists in this selection, but you will walk away with a stellar collection of shining new music you never knew you needed. That is the point of this feature but I digress…

In terms of understanding the full spectrum of what our local musicians are capable, this showcase ticks almost all the boxes. Populate your playlists and get your weekend off to the right start.

Academie – Battles
We’ve waited two years to hear some new ethereal synth driven pop from this duo, but it has definitely been worth the wait. A characteristic of their composition is a sense of freedom in the precision, almost like the curated euphoria of science fiction utopia.

Three Witches feat Mx Blouse – Ready or Not
Vernacular dream pop, a description I never thought I would type but one I’m grateful for because of this exciting collaboration between Cape Town and Johannesburg’s finest non-conformists. Mx Blouse has been pushing the boundaries of their sound and developing a sonic identity that achieves symbiosis with whomever they work, while Three Witches present a body of work that is deeply nostalgic with futuristic allusions. Ready or Not, this is the result.

The World of Birds – Open Up
You know the warmth that radiates from your skin at sunset, after spending the day at the beach? That same warmth can be found in Nic Preen’s voice, and that honest happiness encompasses the entirety of this song. This track is long summer days, road trips with no clear destination and an overwhelming sense of peace. The World of Birds is a collection of young musicians who possess an acumen for pop music with a deep understanding of the emotional value it should contain.

Cockles – Narcissist
The second single from the solo project of Shortstraw’s frontman, Alastair Thomas, presents the idea of a super-narcissist. “I’m the world’s best narcissist” he sings on repeat, with the track regaling the scenarios in which he could qualify the claim of his title. The track is a certified earworm, so good luck with the rest of your day.

Sounds of Suid Tronica – Volume 1
Not only is Leeu one of the best producers in South Africa but he is the uncompromising, risk-taking advocate curating bold compilations of music like this full release from his label, Suid Tronica. There are so many levels to the intricacy, emotion and challenges of each track on this release. You’ll find yourself captured from the beginning and delivered on a journey from lazy grooves to unrelenting entrancing dance music. This is South African electronic music at its best.

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