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Warren Cohen - AMPERSAND

"All I kept thinking was: 'Ladies and gentlemen we’ve found the next Elliott Smith, and he lives in Joburg!'"


AMPERSAND is Johannesburg-based, lo-fi, singer-songwriter Warren Cohen. Music isn’t his day job, but it should be. All fuzzy acoustics, home taping and unpolished audio, latest EP Demonomania (2010) was recorded in London and released through Jaunted Haunts Press (brain child of Righard Kapp) while debut EP This is not a Drill (2007) has been lovingly reissued through Jaunted Haunts, too. Cohen talks about being a loner at school, does a bit of name-dropping and delivers a carefully thought out mix tape.


AMPERSAND - Esprit d'escallier

Available on: Demonomania EP

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PIXIES - I'm Amazed

I first heard Pixies on a school tour when a class mate handed me a tape with Surfer Rosa/ Come on Pilgrim on side A and Doolittle on side B. Nobody really spoke to me at school and for the first time I didn’t care because now I had 90 minutes of the most seminal music ever made. Man, did I feel cool. In order to gage the potential of someone as a partner, a friend of mine always asks a list of criteria questions; one of them being ‘Nirvana or the Pixies?’. I take it a step further and ask ‘Doolittle or Surfer Rosa?’- Say the former, and I’d assume you probably like Coldplay as well.

Available on: Surfer Rosa / Come on Pilgrim

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WAVVES - So Bored

So Bored is some lo-fi-slacker gazing from Californian band, Wavves. Last year I got back from the UK and everyone who was anyone, in my eyes, was raving nutters about this band. Naturally I had to look them up. If you ever run into Linda from the Blk Jks, ask him to tell you the story about the night when he and Wavves frontman Nathan Williams came to the rescue of a homeless guy being harassed by two meathead jocks.

Available on: Wavves

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THE VINES - Country Yard

Subsequent releases from The Vines left many a critic ruing earlier statements like: ‘Kurdt fronting The Beatles’. But just listen to Country Yard. These three or so minutes could almost vindicate every ridiculous lofty praise dished out at Craig Nichols and his band. Okay, I mostly chose it because it works nicely after the Wavves track.

Available on: Highly Evolved

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Kim Deal's whimsical vocals on No Aloha makes me think of a child coaxing you into playing with her. Just when you think you're off the hook, she yanks you by the hand in a 'na-ah, you didn't think you were getting off that easily!' sort of way. 'Oh the treats' is also the coolest line ever, closely followed by 'I don't like dirt'. I freakin' heart Last Splash!

Available on: Last Splash

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US KIDS KNOW - Always a Dull Moment

Colin von Berg’s guitar at its most poignant, mirrored by Chad Polley’s always imaginative never mechanical drumming is nothing like the same old, epic drum-roll, elevated, guitar solo, Post Rock music you’d expect from instrumental bands. I first saw them at this shithole venue called Rocka and the first thing I picked up on was the unfathomable chemistry and understanding the two of them have. A song like Always a Dull Moment recalls Johnny and Santo’s classic Sleepwalking.

Available on: Friendship Test EP

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DESERT SESSION (Feat. PJ HARVEY) - There Will Never be a Better Time

PJ Harvey’s banshee-like wails from Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions could be one of my favourite single recordings of all time. There Will Never be a Better Time sounds like it was recorded in a cave or something. I just love how primal it sounds.

Available on: The Desert Sessions, Volume 9 & 10

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GIVAN LÖTZ - Serves Two

I remember being dragged ,kicking and screaming, to 44 Stanley one Thursday night with no explanation aside from it's where all the hipsters were going. To blend in I ordered a glass of merlot, or at least it was red, leaned against a pillar and pouted. Nothing was happening. Then, unannounced, this guy with curly, brown hair took the seat on the makeshift stage set up in front of an antiques store. It was about three songs in when I snapped out of a complete stupor, turned to my mate and was like: ’Dude, have you ever been to a gig where the audience was so quiet?’ About two songs later the set ended as it started, abruptly. And all I kept thinking was: 'Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve found the next Elliott Smith and he lives in Joburg!'

Available on: Easy Now

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     The Weekly Mix Tape 2010©
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