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Johann M. Smith is a freelance journalist who has been based in Windhoek and now in Cape Town. Johann specialises in music, social commentary and entertainment. When he doesn't he bangs the drums.
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Rolling Stone SA: Another year another dollar?
Rolling Stone SA: Another year another dollar?

Last year, Bizcommunity interviewed editor-in-chief Miles Keylock on the exciting launch of Rolling Stone SA. Some questions remained unanswered and others have only come to the fore very recently. The debate regarding the ongoing success of RS SA remains a nail-biting affair - the opinions are as clouded as the future of print media remains a hotly contested debate.

By Johann M. Smith 13 Mar 2013 11:13

Straatligkinders fourth album: Growing pains or a coming of age?
Straatligkinders fourth album: Growing pains or a coming of age?

When you start a band, age plays a huge a factor - especially in the world of metal. Basically, unless you're old-school like Ozzy or Maiden, don't plan on doing it for too long. Don't you ever forget, your oh-so-serious hard core band comes with the same cultural expiration date as an emo-haircut circa 2006.

By Johann M. Smith 8 Nov 2012 09:20

Ard Matthews' solo album: Do you seriously care?
Ard Matthews' solo album: Do you seriously care?

Pop music works because of a dull human truth: your heartbreak and joy isn't more special than anybody else's - and, thus, it has to be bland enough to become universal (Exhibit A: Coldplay). The general feelings that we all experience is the global language on which pop solely rests. Success depends on how well it can define the same old familiar tears.

By Johann M. Smith 1 Nov 2012 11:23

Lucy Kruger's debut: a down-home debutante?
Lucy Kruger's debut: a down-home debutante?

Please follow these instructions step-by-step: listen to the first track (Little Puppet) from Lucy Kruger's debut album "Cut Those Strings". Stop the song at 25 seconds. Now listen to Robbie Wessel's Aan Jou Van My.

By Johann M. Smith 17 Oct 2012 09:26

Finally! An album from the Great Apes
Finally! An album from the Great Apes

Let's just jump right in and cut straight through: thank God this album is available for free right now, because these words will never be able to explain the grinding, rickety noise that is the Great Apes eponymous debut.

By Johann M. Smith 16 Oct 2012 12:04

Isochronous: leaving time behind - " Piece By Piece"
Isochronous: leaving time behind - " Piece By Piece"

The saying: "When America coughs, Britain catches a cold," can be extended to "and South Africa kaks it out". What's referred to as "influences" everywhere else, we often call "that place "they" stole it from." Seether and Nirvana. Fokkof and Alkaline Trio. The Plastics and The Strokes. Be a purist, call it postmodern trite, or blame it on Tweak for overdoing anything by Tom Delonge. It's the skeleton in the closet we drag on the wings of progress. And it's no different with Isochronous, who either love or detest a band called Mew.

By Johann M. Smith 5 Oct 2012 08:58

From Gerald Clark with love: A personal update
From Gerald Clark with love: A personal update

A month ago, Gerald Clark released "Black Water"; it came bearing more weight than any recent blues attempt from SA, primarily because the 13-track album was hallmarked with the public's official stamp of higher regard - because (as the public knows very well) it's the album that was launched the same night that Clark had to undergo surgery to remove a growth that was obstructing his vocal chords.

By Johann M. Smith 2 Oct 2012 10:22

Horrorfest 2012: Still scary as hell
Horrorfest 2012: Still scary as hell

Let me open up with a question that's a kind of joke: What's worse, a person addicted to horror or porn flicks? Bizarre how both instantly paint an undesirable stereotype hooked on entertainment we've all secretly indulged. Now think why. You have? Wonderful. Now that we've all had time to reflect and laugh at our choices of recreation, it's easier for me to ask you without any immediate satanic associations: Keen to nurture your love of horror?

By Johann M. Smith 1 Oct 2012 12:22

Mass Hysteria: an unprecedented success
Mass Hysteria: an unprecedented success

For a long time in South Africa, comedians have had a firm grasp on rock-stardom status. But unlike the rest of the world, a super group line-up has rarely ever existed as in the case of Mass Hysteria, a performance boasting eight of our motherland's finest. What started as an attempt to mock current national leadership became the antidote to the perversity of politics and the complacency of culture, if only for a while.

By Johann M. Smith 1 Aug 2012 13:00

The nine-to-five drag
The nine-to-five drag

Oh, Mondays! The restart of commerce culture's tyrannical conformity cycle: a nine-to-five, strike-the-clock drag that supposedly improves your life more than it ruins it. Better start seeking the beauty in the invisible, or become a chain-smoking heartless bastard.

By Johann M. Smith 16 Jul 2012 11:44

Bona fide indie pop
Bona fide indie pop

Any band can be judged by its genre, but it doesn't always reflect its ideas. Duo, male-and-female-fronted Asleep In Transit's debut eponymous EP is bona fide indie pop from Durban, which stands proudly alongside the likes of Holiday Murray, Thomas Krane, et al. But, unlike bands of that ilk, they appear to spend less time wondering what would make them sound cupcake hipster and more pondering life and lyrics.

By Johann M. Smith 5 Jul 2012 11:36

College Montage Punk
College Montage Punk

What distortion and grunge is to Seattle, emotional poppy punk is to Potchefstroom. The student town's latest offering, the fourth album by three-piece-outfit Glaskas, entitled "Verganglik En Afhanklik", patriotically fits the bill. And what can best be described as an ambitious attempt to reach for that all-time pop-punk sound - a delightful injection of youthful energy, undying optimism, and an unobtainable girl - is ultimately imitative, but nonetheless instantly satisfying.

By Johann M. Smith 25 Jun 2012 12:18

Custom-made Patlansky blues
Custom-made Patlansky blues

Oh Fender, Fender, Fender - the sound that echoes like a tin can in a dead-end street, banging and twanging for more than 50 years now. The one you want is a Stratocaster, of which Dan Patlansky has plenty. And, like the front image of a dirty, dog-eared porn magazine, the cover of his latest album, "20 Stones", makes no secret about its contents. You know exactly what you're going to get.

By Johann M. Smith 11 Jun 2012 13:22

Americana sokkie
Americana sokkie

It's not hard to have fun with Peachy Keen. The name alone hints at their deeply imbedded perkiness. And with an EP entitled "Backseat Bingo", you can assume a theatrical carousal of good times, with all the intimate sexual underlying bells and whistles it suggests. This isn't rock 'n' roll with the intellectual Bob Dylan figure in mind, as much as it's about relationships' emotional complexities tossed and thrown like cheap whiskey down a teddy boy's throat. Either post break-up or before hitting on that fine-looking minx standing at the bar - who will inevitably tear your heart apart.

By Johann M. Smith 8 Jun 2012 13:30

The beginning and end of a generation
The beginning and end of a generation

On 27 April post-apartheid became 18 and South Africa celebrated with a noticeable lack of events recognising the importance of this date. Starting at the long weekend, the patriotic punter had the option of seeing The Wailers at a concert supporting rhinos; a Simon and Garfunkel tribute at Dorpstraat; or indulging in some ankle shaking at Assembly's Discoteque. No doubt, many would agree, if you were so inclined, it would have to have been Vanfokkingtasties at Hillcrest Winefarm on 26 April.

By Johann M. Smith 4 May 2012 10:05

She comes in colours, except blue
She comes in colours, except blue

It's just not fair: Natasha Meister is not only an exquisite blues guitarist with an excellent voice to match, but she's beautiful and young. So, where's the catch? Well, she's sponsored by Fender, has played alongside legendary Jimmy Thomas and Robert Lockworth Jnr in Dubai - and did so without even releasing an album. So what promising future lies ahead now that she has? And, let's ask again shall we: Where's the catch?

By Johann M. Smith 25 Apr 2012 12:04

Doodsnikke Dystopia
Doodsnikke Dystopia

The American dream described by Hunter S Thompson, existed in 1960s' San Francisco and as being special time in the corner of the world, that whatever it meant, there was madness in every direction, at any hour. That you could strike sparks anywhere. That there was a fantastic sense that whatever we were doing was right. That inevitable sense of victory over the forces of old and evil -our energy would simply and always prevail.

By Johann M. Smith 19 Apr 2012 12:02

The crime of the century
The crime of the century

Despite the rain, the majority of the audience stood outside smoking and drinking, trying hard to figure out what to make of Dansmettieduiwels. But for us here tonight, there are several opposing views that will never meet. God only knows. Or rather: only God knows.

By Johann M. Smith 3 Apr 2012 10:13

Soulmate rhymes with cell mate
Soulmate rhymes with cell mate

High school English teachers will tell you that the best way to write is to remember KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid. The most loyal believers and doers are young teenage boys in love or discovering God, which is exactly the case here.

By Johann M. Smith 2 Apr 2012 10:41

Zabalaza Theatre Festival is punk
Zabalaza Theatre Festival is punk

After accepting an award for Best New Theatre at the recent Fleur de Cap, Lara Foot delivered this immortal statement: "I appreciate this acknowledgment. But when I accepted an award in 1991, the crowd was as white as it is tonight." And the usually confident veteran director, started to shake.

By Johann M. Smith 23 Mar 2012 10:17

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