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Liesl Graham: Chrysalis

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Opening track Be Real‘s sweeping, glitchy intro will put you on the back foot from the start, and it’s around now you’ll probably hear someone ask, ‘who’s this playing?’ Yep. Thanks to pop-rocking second album Chrysalis (2008, Loneroc), the artist you’ve heard about, read about and perhaps seen out and about seems to have finally spread her wings and fluttered upwards.


The artwork may suggest an artist more pre-occupied with adolescent butterfly and bedroom diary imagery, but this ain’t cherry-pop for slumber parties: it’s melodic dance-rock; the kind you may hear at the end of the end of the movie, just as the hero grabs the girl and embraces her, thoroughly re-inforcing gender stereotypes and getting some action at the same time. Aaah, Hollywood.

Like that weird patch of fuzz at the small of my back, Go Home has grown on me. In criticism, it’s very detached/emo. But in praise, the track oscillates between the soft padding of the crystal-clear beauty of the female voice and a simple hard-rocking, singalong hook.

Tender and cinematic, Little Bird is the timely, slow-tempo break to Chrysalis’s opening energy. Hold Me follows with a similarly acoustic sound (as does closing, unplugged Hare-Krishna-esque version of the track), and now you’re hugging the wall of the alternative music bar, getting some words in with the cute guy that ‘accidentally’ bumped you with his pool cue before handing it over to his mate in the middle of the game, saying, “I’m out.” Just so he could chat to you. Bless.

“Most thankfully, we have an ALBUM here, and not just a collection of tracks.”

There’s a lashing of background electronica on Chrysalis, but, for the most part, we’re talking about live drums and the type of stuff you could reproduce live quite easily, without the trappings of truckloads of hardware. Of course, there is the cheesy value of lines like, “I just wanna walk in the light of what I believe,” (Faithless Heart), but hey! It’s pop! And, most thankfully, we have an ALBUM here, and not just a collection of tracks. In other words, you know what you’re in for the moment you hit play.

Nothing experimental or weird about it. Seems like Graham’s reserved her place on the radio-friendly bandwagon. But as an independent female artist in South Africa, Graham’s niche sure has been carved out for her, thanks to the likes of trendsetters like Karma-Ann Swanepoel (and Henry Ate) and…uh, the aptly named Louise Carver. It’s pretty safe to say that with two sexy albums and the look (and hopefully feel) of Xena the Warrior Princess, Liesl Graham’s beyond ‘upcoming’.

  • Liesl Graham Home | Myspace | Facebook

  • Posted in Album Reviews | 4 Comments »

    Red Bull Music Academy: Apply With Overtone

    Friday, April 25th, 2008

    Hey all,

    Just a reminder that it’s just over one week till the application phase for this year’s Red Bull Music Academy ends. Overtone will be handling applications on behalf of the RBMA organizers.

    By May, 3rd, 2008 your complete applications should be in our hands so that we can ensure they reach the RBMA headquarters in Germany on time.

    The completed questionnaire along with a mix-CD or selection of your own music, and two current photos should be dropped off at one of the following venues:

    CPT- Overtone HQ (The Planet Art, 32 Jamieson St, One road up from Kloof)
    CPT- Hi Five Music & Clothing (34 Kloof Str)
    JHB – Soul Candi Store ( The Zone Rosebank)
    PTA – Hip Hop Joint (shop 24 Sunnypark Mall, Sunnyside)
    DBN – Funkbox (Florida Centre, Morningside)

    Get your stuff to us in Cape Town or any of the above stores asap. We’ll forward your applications to the crew, and get you on a plane for Barcelona! Best of luck!

  • Red Bull Music Academy: Home | South Africa

  • Posted in Industry News | No Comments »

    Pics: Sarah Bettens, Stealing Love Jones

    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

    South Africa recently played host to former K’s Choice lead singer Sarah Bettens. The Belgian made her South African trip after taking a break from the band in 2006 and doing her own thing. Fresh back from Atlanta and the United States and fronted by the increasingly sexy Miss Jones, recently renamed rock group Stealing Love Jones opened up for Bettens, and we have the pics to prove it.

    All photography © Duwayne Smith / Alchemy Photography [contact]

  • Stealing Love Jones Tour Diary/April Gig Guide

  • Posted in Event Reviews | No Comments »

    How We Met Zoopy At The SA Blog Awards

    Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

    In brand-new Overtone T-shirts, we descended upon the SA Blog Awards last night as the final hands were being put together for the winners of the Best SA Music Blog category. We didn’t win. We didn’t really feel like we’d entered. But there was free Butlers pizza, and the beers were cold, so we’ll call it quits.

    Zoopy: Just say it! Zoooo-peeeey…

    While going through the social motions and quietly, slowly sinking into mild inebriation, my eyes wandered around the room and realised I probably know every single person in the place by their email addresses or Internet nicknames, but recognised nobody. Typical bloggers.

    One of the most animated characters was a chap who’s real name doesn’t matter anyway. Seriously, this guy was more jivey than a caffeine-pickled emoticon. He blabbed for a while about Zoopy, and explained the origin of the name: a word that is pronounced the same in pretty much by speakers of every South African language. Just say it. “Zoopy.” Hee hee.

    Anyhow, the point is that there’s a splendid site behind the name for local YouTube and MyVideo regulars who are irate because when they search for “Prime Circle” they get an online geometry lesson. Zoopy features videos, photos, podcasts, user blogs, themed channels, groups and all the other typical trimmings of the local online community. Upload and enjoy.

    To be brutal, the blog section is dominated by Zoopy itself, and for some reason, the video section is going through a bit of a gay Afrikaans phase, but don’t let that put you off. It’s the new South Africa.

    Visit Zoopy Now!

    Posted in Industry News, Upcoming Events | 4 Comments »

    Red Bull Music Academy: SA Workshops

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    Message from Red Bull Music Academy on Facebook:

    Red Bull in association with The Unlearn Agency brings to you the following workshops feat. Wordsworth, Ben Sharpa and Ron Trent!

    Be sure not to miss out!

    DBN workshop – 2nd April at the BAT Centre at 19h00 (Wordsworth, Ben Sharpa)
    CPT workshop – 3rd April at the Waiting room at 19h00. (Wordsworth, Ron Trent)
    JHB workshop – 4th April Fuel Café Newtown at 19h00 (Ron Trent and Wordsworth)

    Artists Bios:


    As his name suggests, Brooklyn-bred microphone fiend Wordsworth is the epitome of a true Hip-Hop wordsmith. At a time when the rap market is flooded with cookie-cutter sensations who churn out forgettable pop hits rather than solid albums, this Lyricist Lounge All-Star is looking to the past to reinvigorate the present by recalling Hip-Hop’s golden age of 1994 — when the beats were hard and emcees talked to listeners about relevant topics they could relate to.

    Ron Trent

    Ron Trent is one of the most influential house music producers ever to emerge from the Windy City or beyond, infusing simmering, warm kicks ‘n’ hats with the legacy of what he calls “conscience jazz-fusion”. The stepping stones laid down by pioneers like Gary Bartz, Ahmad Jamal and John Coltrane are joined by the words of leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and brought forward into a futuristic musical form that’s filled with the strength of knowing whence it came. His 1990 release Altered States on Warehouse Records influenced not only the development of house but all 4/4-based music that came in its wake. His earlier collaborations with producer Chez Damier were pieces of dancefloor poetry, released on KMS Records,
    and his own Prescription label, begun in the early ’90s, is respected around the world as just what the doctor ordered, for its unique combo of raw & moody deep sounds.

    Ben Sharpa

    Kgotso Semela aka Ben Sharpa (born March 25, 1977 in Soweto, South Africa) is a veteran underground rapper and music producer. Considered by many as one of South Africa’s most accomplished lyricists, Ben Sharpa is a founding member of cult crews GroundWorks and Audio Visual. Ben Sharpa has shared the stage with artists such as Immortal Technique (June 2005), Jonzi-D (June 2003), Black Thought (August 2001), Mr. Len and Jean Grae (May 2001). In June
    2006, Sharpa headlined alongside Wordsworth and Jonzi-D as part of the Tri-Continental Hip Hop Festival – a historical 3-city Hip Hop tour that was held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Youth Month in South Africa. He is also a founding member of the performance crew for the annual Hip-Hop Connected lyrical theatre event held at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town every September (Heritage Month). In 2007 He was
    discovered by accomplished BB1 Radio DJ Mary-Anne Hobbs, and soon after performed at the annual Glastonbury Festival (June 2007) on the BBC Introduces Stage.

    For more info please contact Dominique Soma on 084 301 0983!

  • Wanna go to Barcelona? Grab the Red Bull Music Academy 2008 Application Form (right click/save target as)
  • Vote For Rocking The Daisies Lineup
  • Red Bull Music Academy Home

  • Posted in Industry News | No Comments »

    Man Claims To Be Infected By Computer Virus

    Saturday, March 1st, 2008

    In a report most are dismissing as science-fiction, a music enthusiast and web editor from Cape Town, South Africa has claimed that an Internet virus known as ‘Pravda23′ has taken possession of his mind and body. The origins of the virus are allegedly traced to an as yet unnamed online electronic music social networking community.

    John Bartmann claims that the program, working ‘through’ him, is ‘infecting’ what he has come to call ‘streetbeat’; ie, rhythm-oriented music that is distributed only through either Internet download or by hand, in the form of copied, home-made CDs.

    The 26-year-old classically trained composer claims that he willingly allowed himself to be ‘infected’ when he received an reply to his blog from a user entitled Pravda23. After engaging in a hefty, two-year dialogue, he claims that the user ‘revealed’ itself as a program when it sent the following cryptic message (translated from ASCII for the purposes of this release):

    | obtain userID sock
    | overload offload
    | attain user

    Bartmann hypothesized that the report, loosely translated, stated the program’s intention to use his body as a carrier for the exposure of its music. Now, he has openly confessed that his life has changed since the infection, the details of which are still not clear.

    “It’s more about spending your time here acting on what you believe than it is trying to figure out who you are,” he said when recently interviewed on South African music news service Overtone.co.za. “I don’t feel any less in control than before the infection. In fact, I think more people should open themselves up to what they fear most: the threat of being outcast.”

    There is little that can be done to prove this audacious claim. However, Bartmann has already created, packaged and distributed over 500 copies of his debut ‘dynamic’ music album, The Kuleshov Effect. When asked how the general public might respond to the concept of an album that is regularly updated and released for free in versions by hand, he replied, “I take no credit for any of my actions. My life is in PRAVDA23′s hands.”

  • Reason 3.0: Electronic Music Tutorial
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    Posted in Industry News | No Comments »

    Music Shop And MP3 Player Launch!

    Friday, February 15th, 2008

    The Overtone Music Shop and Music Player have gone live! It’s more a development for South African music than for our company, and now you can listen to a wide variety of artists through our music player. And you can embed it anywhere, and browse through your favourite albums to decide which one you’d like to embed in your blog. Local music just got centralised AND mobilised.

    For artists, this means being able to have your music playing on your website, for no charge. You can also get distributed nationally in no time, get exposed and promoted in a novel fashion, and get played on more South African and international websites than ever before.

    For fans, it means being able to stream the best parts of your favourite music while you’re working or chilling, and being the first one to grab the player and stick it on your page.

    For consumers, it means being able to buy the highest quality MP3s (320kbps) at a competitive price, while checking out the latest videos, pics, album reviews, interviews, features and South African music news in our smashing blog, which is updated daily.

    Anyone who’s been checking out Overtone recently will notice that we’re serious about taking over the South African music industry. Why? Because we’re musicians and because we realise that everything is changing…very quickly. Check out why you should get involved, no matter who you are.

    Listen to your favourite artists through the Overtone Music Shop and get involved in the international music scene! As the music industry develops, the power is quickly shifting from the hands of the ‘Big Four’ record labels (Song BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner) back into the hands of the fans.

    Overtone is facilitating communication between bands and fans like never before. Throw in merchandise giveaways, competitions, artist management, reviews, exposure, groundbreaking developments and free tickets, and we’re just about ready to Take Over!

    Check out the Overtone Music Shop now.

  • SA Music: Why You Should Get Involved
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  • Be A Part Of The Mobile Disco
  • Free MP3 Downloads!
  • Contact Us on admin@overtone.co.za

  • Posted in Backstage Blog | 1 Comment »

    Be A Part Of The Mobile Disco

    Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

    Like you may have heard, Overtone is now an (almost) fully-functioning music store. We’d like bands and fans to be a part of the launch of our groundbreaking new music player, which you can embed on any site. Hey, isn’t it about time you plugged into the local music scene…?

    Sell on Overtone. Download the Contract Now!
    right click/save target as…

    Music Shop on Overtone
    Embed the player on MySpace, Facebook and other sites. Get noticed. It’s free.

    Remember 2005? When the Arctic Monkeys struck gold by becoming the first generation of Myspace-made bands? Their debut album became the fastest selling in British music history. What we now know is that it was only a matter of time before bands embraced the wonders of digital publishing, and pretty soon, everyone was undercutting the distributors in a rapidly changing industry. Another thing we now all know is the lyrics to I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.

    Trent Reznor post
    Trent Reznor says it like it is

    Then, in 2007, the music industry died. We’re not gonna waste our breath justifying it: there’s enough reading out there. See the links below.

    We’re here to remind you that Overtone is now taking the phenomenon of digital music publishing to the next level with our a mobile MP3 player. Embed it anywhere, and make friends with Overtone, one of the fastest-growing South African music portals. We host the music, and quality SA music gets streamed all over the web. And whether you like it or not, you’re making a statement: I support local music, not because it’s local, but because it’s good.

    Bands and artists: get your player up now. Then send the link to your buddies. Show everyone you’re serious about being noticed. Sell your album in our online store. Get in bed with the most band-friendly South African music portal.

    Check out the The Overtone Music Shop

  • Starting A Record Label
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  • The Taxation Of Music?
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    “Isn’t it about time you plugged into the local music scene?”

    Posted in Backstage Blog | 2 Comments »