Blk Jks; Reds & Blue; Magical, Beautiful | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Blk Jks; Reds & Blue; Magical, Beautiful Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard

When: Wed., March 4, 9:30 p.m. 2009

South African four-piece Blk Jks (pronounced “Black Jacks”) landed on the cover of Fader in March 2008, even though its first proper U.S. release, the four-song EP Mystery (Secretly Canadian), isn’t due in CD form till this March. (It came out last summer as a download.) The Fader piece had me persuaded that the band’s music (which it called “dub metal,” among other things) was a synthesis of African pop and hipster art-rock, but the material on the EP rarely sounds African at all. You can hear traces of ebullient township jive on “Lakeside,” and many of the vocals are in African languages, but for the most part Blk Jks suggest a more straightforward TV on the Radio—they go for a similarly tense, dark sound, lush and nebulous with reverb, but push it a little further into interstellar­-freakout territory. They’re not bad, but I suspect most of the fuss came about because indie rockers are so fascinated to see other cultures produce music that sounds like it might be from Brooklyn. —Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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