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Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

Trevor Noah has pulled out at the last minute from hosting the MAMAs 2016, due to 'a severe upper respiratory infection'

Bands on the Run

2009-01-07 12:56

The history: London rockers formerly known as Fear of Flying were signed to indie stalwart Banquet Records back when they wanted to be the next Blur. Eevrything changed when their sonic shift (and that of the retro rock zeitgeist) had major labels queuing up to sign a neo-post punk band who's lead singer clearly loves Joy Division's Ian Curtis.
The hype: NME: "In stark contrast to the ramshackle principles that have dominated new music in recent years, they do well-drilled perfection in the way that – even if they have never heard of them – all those great ’80s serious-pop groups who used to witter on about 'manifestos' did".
The hook: Their morbid tales of death and doomed romance are framed with majestically melancholic choruses and layers of swirling guitars and synths all draped in some seriously glossy danceable indie pop rock. Tranlsated? Imagine The Editors or Interpol discussing existential philosophy while listening to Joy Division's "She’s Lost Control", Echo & the Bunnymen's "Killing Moon" and Ultravox’s "Vienna" on repeat.
Next stop: An NME Awards Tour in Jan and Feb culminating in a 'Big Gig' with label mates The Cure, and who knows maybe a Mercury Prize Nomination before the end of the year?
Album: To Lose My Life (Fiction/Polydor)
In stores: January 19 (international) and February (SA).
iPod essentials: "Death", "To Lose My Life", "Fifty on our Foreheads", "Unfinished Business".
Watch: "To Lose My Life" video
Read more: Official Website

The history:
The artists formerly known as Harris Tweed won the hearts of indie fans with the wonderful folk pop whimsy of The Younger in 2006. 2007 saw the darling duo beating off big name competition from the likes of Johnny Clegg to score a SAMA Award for best DVD.
The hype: In November 2008 they released their debut CD, Replace Why with Funny under their brand new name, Dear Reader on top European indie rock label City Slang.
The hook: Lead singer Cherilyn MacNeil's lyrics have matured beyond virginal, doe-eyed confessionals to start caressing some real bruises out of the fractured relationship spaces she shares with Scout Niblet, Cat Power, Regina Spektor and yes, even Tori Amos. Add co-conspirator Darryl Torr's quirky symphonic arrangements and you've got the stuff polymorphous chamber pop dreams are made of.
Next stop: Tours with alt. country favourites Lambcop, and who knows the Billboard Top 100?
Album: Replace Why With Funny (City Slang)
In stores: already out internationally; February 2009 in SA
iPod essentials: "Dear Heart" and "Great White Bear"
Download: Dear Heart
Watch: Live at Up the creek video
Read more:

The history: It's her second crack at the big time, having blown a major record deal a few years back when she was a straight-up soul singer named Vanessa. She's also been a backing singer for Madonna, Westlife and the Pussycat Dolls.
The hype: "Modern-day doyen of doo-wop, gives the sound of vintage girl groups a 21st Century twist with a quirky, savvy, squeaky sheen; the next big thing to come out of the UK. 24-year-old VV says her album is a "fusion of doo-wop sound, swing, bebop, and then obviously that indie edge."
The hook: A rollercoaster ride of retro-pop soul pleasure: 50s guitars rhythms, 60s doo-wop, 70s funk, 80s pop, 90s dance and 00s pastiche that's perfect for fans of Adele, Duffy and yes, even Amy Winehouse.
Next stop: UK # 1 and who knows, maybe even big in America?
Album: Traveling Like the Light (Island/Universal)
In stores: March
iPod essentials: "Crying Blood", "Quick Fix".
Watch: "Crying Blood" video
Read more: Myspace

The history: 
Formed back in 2000, Linda Buthelezi (guitar and lead vocals), Mpumi Mcata (guitar), Molefi Makananise (bass) and Tshepang Ramoba (drums) spent the past 8 years honing their chops in nightclubs and at small festivals. 2008 saw the band playing its first U.S. shows, recording their debut international EP release, Mystery at the fabled Electric Ladyland studios. The limited edition release of their now out-of-print "Lakeside" vinyl-only 10" (2007) was their debut foray into the global market, selling at premier indie record stores worldwide. In December 2008 the Jks signed to super-hip American indie label Secretly Canadian.
The hype: Billboard, The Guardian and Dazed and Confused all reckon that the future of rock is African. "A movement unto themselves" crowed Fader Magazine. "The band's quick-fingered, multilayered vamps well up out of murky echoes, piling jubilation atop the anxiety, before submerging again" said The New York Times.
The hook: Space is the creative place for these cats who mainline funky slabs of Miles Davis' 70s jazz fusion freakadelia, Roxy Music’s art pop outbursts, and The Mars Volta's prog excess into a polymorphously perverse free-range psyche-rock recipe.
Next stop: Worldwide tours. But hell, we''ll be happy if our SA promoters invite them to play Oppikoppi or My Coke Fest!
EP: Mystery out now (Secretly Canadian)
iPod Essentials: Download "Lakeside"
In stores: A re-mastered and re-sequenced international version is available in March.
Read: review of their rare demo EP
Watch: Live at House of Ntsako video
Read more: Official website

The history: 23-year-old, Cleveland born, Brookyln-based emcee (Scott Mescudi) has been supporting his mentor, Kanye West on tour.
The hype: US hip-hop messiah thanks to his free-flowing cameo on homeboy Kanye's "Welcome to Heartbreak". He's also free-styled over MI.A.'s "Paper Planes" and Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover". 
The hook: Like Lupe Fiasco, this cat remembers that hip-hop can still be creative. His tip? Drag rap out of the bedroom or boardroom and back onto the dancefloor with an emotionally conscious cocktail of alternative rock, rap and occasional R&B all fuelled with a feelgood synth-disco funk swagger.
Next stop: A major label deal, a # 1 single and who knows, maybe even a Grammy Award?
Album: watch this space, for now his mixtape is available for download here
Release date: Man on the Moon (Winter)
iPod essentials: Day 'n Night
Watch: Day 'n Night video
Read more: Official Website

The history:
2008 "X Factor" winner
The hype: U.K. Christmas No. 1 single with her soul searing rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" debuted at the top of the UK charts this past Xmas. The 576,000 units shifted makes it the fastest-selling single by a female solo artist in British chart history.
The hook: Well, she’s got the X-factor hasn’t she. Think Britain's answer to Vanessa Hudson.
Next stop: A UK # 1 album, and the leading role in Guy Ritchie's answer to Hollywood musical blockbuster Chicago, "Alton Towers"?
Album: Alexandra Burke
Release date: March 16
iPod essentials: "Halleljuah"
Watch: Hallelujah video
Read more: Official Website

The history: Despite a frustrating lack of support from the local SA media, radio and TV, this Pretoria house pioneer is finally putting his Sgubu sa Pitori or mogwanti wa Pitori style of dance music on the international map. The Attridgeville born producer's "Township Funk" single was licensed to alternative electronic UK dance label Warp Records back in September 2008. Noted BBC DJ Gilles Peterson gave it ahuge punt on his show, with remixes from the likes of Ashley Beedle, Sinden and the MPI Project following.
The hype: The Guardian: "Potent afro-rave hybrid from South Africa's Elvis Maswanganyi – massive in the clubs, don't you know."
The hook: Forget Steve Hofmeyr. This year there is only one Tshwane boy worth voting for: make your mark next to Pretoria’s Finest, the Elvis of SA house's fantastically funky kasi dance floor Afro-centricity.
EP: Township Funk
Watch: "Township Funk" video
Next stop: UK and European tours, a brand new CD, an MTV Base award and who knows, maybe even a SAMA?
Read more: Myspace

Music’s a fabulously fickle business. This summer you’re the next big thing, next season you’re suddenly yesterday’s hero. Darn, does innovation still have any currency in an age where recycled sales pitches rule the market? Of course! Here’s our guide to those artists primed to hit the big time in 2009.
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