South African Music that Australians Need to Hear Right NOW!

It’s easy to get stuck in the local scene, and hard to find your way out sometimes. With burgeoning niches and scenes around Australia, it can be hard to filter through and expand your musical horizons. Thankfully, our writer Claudia Middleton has been working hard on her holiday over in South Africa to bring us the next big things over there and has delivered the perfect list of acts we all need to listen to right now!

Bye Beneco


is an indie-folk band with an ethereal sound. Lead vocalist Jenny Dison has an angelic voice that is backed up by beautiful percussion and guitar (percussion is way too underrated in my opinion). A super chilled band with a really beautiful sound, perfect for some lazy rainy-day vibes.

Thor Rixon


Thor Rixon is both a performer and a musician based in Cape Town. Rixon’s style can be described as alternative electronic and his music embodies the beauty of offbeat guitar and bluesy trumpet (not unlike Devendra Banhart). If you’re enjoying drinks at the pool this summer, you need Thor Rixon.



Shortstaw is an indie rock band not unknown to Australia, having toured with Dune Rats in 2013. Their music is very upbeat with driving guitar and drums. Shortstraw have a bit of a Wombats-ey vibe and sound to me like summer in Australia. The band has already received its fair share of awards, including ‘Best Music Video’ for Waterworks in 2013.

Diamond Thug


Diamond Thug is an electro band, lead by vocalist Chantel Van T whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago when I saw the band perform live in Joburg. Chantel’s voice is truly magical as there seems to be no note that she cannot hit. The band has a really similar sound to Bombay Bicycle Club, and if you don’t love that you’re obviously a terrible human being. There is something very special and unusual about Diamond Thug and the band is fast making a name for itself in South Africa.

Joshua Kempen 

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For the sake of full disclosure I have to tell you that Joshua Kempen is in fact my cousin. That said, he is also easily my favourite South African musician (no bias I swear) as his music is so different to anything on the radio these days. A fellow Aussie based in South Africa, Joshua’s music is 1950’s cool. He was also just picked up by Thor Rixon who will be recording his EP over the next few weeks. If you’re ever in an underground bar, smoking a cigarette and you feel like you need some beats to better set the scene then Josh has got you covered.

Go Barefoot


Go Barefoot is another band that I have had the pleasure of seeing live in Joburg. As the bands name might suggest, most of them actually played barefoot and a large number of the crowd removed their shoes and threw them onstage. This band is so cool, and so Jinja Safari that its hard to believe they aren’t Australian. Having only been around for a year, these guys are definitely going places. Super indie/folk/rock and super perfect for anything from a casual drinking sesh to a drug fuelled dance party. The song Johannesburg feels like it embodies the city itself and if you’ve ever been to Africa this song will bring you right back.

The Plastics


The Plastics are a psychedelic indie pop band from Cape Town. I don’t know about anyone else, but I just hear the words ‘psychedelic indie pop’ and I know it’s got to be good. Lead vocalist Pascal Righini has the sort of deep, soothing voice that makes you really believe that everything is going to be ok. The Plastics definitely provide some perfect late night music for the true partiers that stay out all night and stumble home at 5am.