photos by Jim Bennett
Hailing from Johannesburg, South Africa, psychedelic progressive dub metal quartet BLK JKS (pronounced “Black Jacks”) bring an intense and distinct look and sound with a far out flavor; members Linda Buthelezi (vocals, guitar), Mpumi Mcata (guitar), Molefi Makananise (bass), and Tshepang Ramoba (drums) are known to sport fresh threads that would make Afrika Bambaataa proud while shredding intricate guitar and bass parts over soaring, spacey tones, complex and vaguely tribal drumming, and haunting vocal melodies. Prefix might have the best description of BLK JKS: “With a vowel less name and genreless sound, BLK JKS forces a bit of reading between the lines.” Armed with a unique look and special sound, the band has been getting tons of praise, with Fader even noticing that they “seem like a movement unto themselves” possibly originating from an “unknown black planet.” Since Diplo first heard BLK JKS while touring South Africa, their momentum hasn’t stopped, and they’ve made the move to New York, where their Mystery EP, out now on Secretly Canadian, was recorded (at Electric Ladyland!) and produced by The Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis. Check out their song “Lakeside” (featured right here on a KEXP Song of the Day Podcast!) for a glimpse into their afro-centric yet progressive sound.