Best Of 2019: Indie Newcomers

Spotlighting underground and unsigned talent is exactly the reason why TATC was started and is exactly the reason why we continue to crack on.

The quality of music made by artists in 2019, who have barely been at it a year, is jaw-dropping and so, in no particular order, enjoy the musos whose names you need to familiarise yourself with.


Tristan de Beer’s solo moniker FACE is a project which recently emerged from the swathe of Cape Town underground musos. Navigating a dreamy, hazy, dynamic sound – an exploratory melting pot I’d like to hear a lot more of. – Skye Mallac


This 18-year-old’s voice smacks of the languid romanticism of Lana Del Rey and the moody phrasing of Lorde, and it’s steeped in dream pop lashings and an emotional depth that’s far beyond her young years. Her career development will be a fun one to watch. – Tecla Ciolfi


Bottils has something very unique going for him here. His is instrumental experimentation gone quite right: all progressive soundscapes and textural synths – and to top it off if you catch one of his live performances it’s all cassette loops. – Skye Mallac


We first featured this Soweto-based punk trio back in July and their style was DYI-based with unashamedly raw riffs in your face. Fast-forward five months and they’re sitting pretty as AFROPUNK Battle Of The Bands winners with a no-frills attitude that matches their aesthetic. Shameless don’t give a fuck and that’s what I like the most about them. – Tecla Ciolfi

Mama Aiuto

The solo project of Benjamin McCarthy (of Oracles and World of Birds), drops dreamy multi-layered nuance on top of kick-back beats. He’s dropped two EPs this year already so there’s plenty to indulge in. – Skye Mallac

Dillon Bhana

This P.E.-based singer-songwriter is barely out of school and he’s making some of the best pop music I’ve ever heard. This is not a superfluous statement, this kid is the real deal and he’s only released two songs. Dillon Bhana is a name you need to memorise because when you start seeing it everywhere in 2020 just remember that I told you so. – Tecla Ciolfi

Lungelo Manzi

Durban-hailing hip-hop heat right here. Lungelo Manzi owns a forward-thinking, neo-kwaito hip-hop tangent – and to keep things different he recently dropped an acoustic jazz-esque rap album, proof he’s got all sorts of tricks up his sleeve. – Skye Mallac

Weed Dealer

This alternative rock five-piece crept up on me at a time when I was super disillusioned with sections of the scene and they breathed life back into my semi-deflated psyche. They’re a proper throwback to the ’00s, with light trimmings of pop punk goodness, and will appease almost any nostalgic appetite. – Tecla Ciolfi


These guys weave an avant-garde psych-pop tapestry. Their sound hits you hard from all sides: a warping, weaving conundrum of textured aspects. And their Endless Daze performance just stuck the cherry on the top. – Skye Mallac

James Deacon

I’m still trying to figure James Deacon out because while it’s clear that he’s young, his soulful voice and his introspective lyrics tell a different story – it’s like this guy’s lived for hundreds of years. With a slick pop sensibility and a sound that can’t really be boxed it’ll be interesting to watch him find his feet. – Tecla Ciolfi