Editor's note: It's been a while since we've had another of these "From Africa With Luv" installments from our good friend and TOME-founder Ryan H., who's been busy at work with the Peace Corps in Swaziland Africa over past several months, and this one is a real gem. Please enjoy his account of this amazing band from Johannesburg, and don't forget—you can follow Ryan's various exploits with his wife Adelyn at their cleverly-titled blog, Abrakadafrica. Enjoy!
Last weekend I was at the world famous Bushfire Music Festival in Malkerns, Swaziland. Bushfire may be the only world famous thing Swaziland has besides the highest HIV rate in the world and the last absolute monarchy in Africa. Musicians and patrons came from all over Southern Africa and the world. Really, the world. Saul Williams performed and gave a particularly stirring set. But I am not here to talk about that. My world was blown at this festival by a Joberg band/performance art/cyclone of gold lame destruction called The Brother Moves On. The spirit of Afro-punk, for as amorphous as that phrase is stateside, lives strong in this young collective. Shirtless and poured into gold tights, these kids completely destroyed the overwhelming jazz-fusion/DJ wank-fest that dominated the event. I was there covering it and snapping photos for my gig with the national Swazi paper, The Swazi Observer, but was totally unprepared for falling this hard for a band. You can check out my coverage here.
I first heard The Brother Moves On through Spoek Mathambo’s excellent Nombolo One mixtape released earlier this year. Their take on punk, psychedelic guitar work and traditional African music can be heard in spades on Mathambo’s 2012 full-length Father Creeper. TBMO, along with Spoek, indicate an incredibly exciting move into the avante-garde for forward leaning South African musicians who take high art and drag it feet first through township dirt roads and tin roofs. TBMO played completely unhinged and out. Guitarists kneeling over their effects pedals wringing out bloody skronk, the drummer knocking over his kit with the sheer weight of a kick drum hit, and the lead singer (who has a strange resemblance to Associate-era Whoppie Goldberg) crawling, howling and shrieking against a wall of sound. I have seen the future for Africa. It is wearing gold, lame tights and zebra striped jumpers. This is Nation of Ulysses meets Bad Brains meets Deerhoof. Plus, their names is derived from Brother Mouzone from "The Wire." Bad ass. You’re welcome America.