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 that was made in 2020, by artists who have barely been at it a year, is a pretty phenomenal feat and so, in no particular order, enjoy the musos whose names you need to familiarise yourself with.
Internet Girl are on track to dominate SA’s indie space, with music that touches on multiple genres and is amplified by a gently distorted vocal that is uniquely their own, filled with energetic bursts of melody and relatable lyrics. – Alessandro
Afrikaans rapper SAMP(AU)LE’s debut single and video “die ANDERKANT” caught me completely off-guard. At 22 years old the proudly queer artist is pushing back with defiant force against conservative Afrikaans culture and in doing so, positions himself in a unique space to his contemporaries. – Tecla
Deekaydidit is a slick rapper who unapologetically identifies as lesbian in a heteronormative industry, seamlessly switching between Zulu and English and rapping about contrasting cultural experiences from ekasi to high end strip clubs. A clear one to watch. – Sbonakaliso Nene
Nabbing a feature on our Best Of 2020: Indie Videos, I had to include this newly-formed alternative six-piece on this list too because their sound is so dreamily vintage and I can vividly imagine them playing Main Stage at next year’s Endless Daze as the sun sets over the glittering Atlantic. – Tecla
Electro jazz-hop trio NLite are reinterpreting the genre by fusing all the vast musical knowledge the trinity share amongst themselves, dropping a self-titled debut album that blends traditional elements of jazz with vernac and slick production. – Alden Clapper
Combining emo, pop-punk guitar synonymous with the early ’00s, and 808 electronic drum machine beats, No Handshake speak directly to a 20-something audience flailing between the oblivion that is adulthood and teenager-dom. – Catherine
With their single and video for “Stay”, Joff and the Cults concocted a gritty, lullaby rock potion and sent us floating down a retrograde avenue long enough for us to want more. In fact, we’re still waiting. – Catherine
Born out of the SoPunk (Soweto punk) movement, revered music journalist Diane Coetzer described their debut EP as having, “the swagger of Iggy Pop circa Raw Power and the jumped-up blues sprawl of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St.” And if that doesn’t intrigue you you’re dead inside. – Tecla
This boundary-pushing, gender-non-conforming wordsmith seems to be ushering in a new wave of SA rap, and her debut EP, The Girl in the Durag showcases a bravely vulnerable artist at the start of a boundless career. – Alessandro
Human Error is an underground rapper and producer from Cape Town whose psychedelic lyricism and powerful imagery will leave your head in a momentary trance, turning dizzy introspection into art. A primary example of A-Grade underground talent. – Gavin