Studio 360

BLK JKS at SXSW 2008 (CC: nevbrown/Flickr)

 The following is not a full transcript; for full story, listen to audio.

Bands from all over the world are descending upon Austin, Texas for the annual South by Southwest music festival.  There, 1,800 indie rockers jostle to become the next big thing.

Last year's favorite was Vampire Weekend:  four white Ivy League art-rockers playing West-African guitar licks.  

But this year, that high concept has been flipped by a band called BLK JKS (pronounced 'black jacks').  American rock has been cribbing African sounds for years. Now this South African band is poised to make a big splash on U.S. shores.   They are four black guys from Johannesburg, blending African sounds with MTV-inspired art rock.

They just released their first album in the U.S., "Mystery." Band members Lindani Buthelezi and Mpumi Mcata perform live, and tell "Studio 360" host Kurt Andersen about witnessing the end of apartheid and discovering Nirvana.

Bonus Track: BLK JKS plays the song "Banna Ba Modimo" live in Studio 360.

Support PRI when you purchase the BLK JKS CD "Mystery."

PRI's Peabody Award-winning "Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen" from WNYC is public radio's smart and surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt Andersen introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Life is busy — so let "Studio 360" steer you to the must-see movie this weekend, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will change your life.