BLK JKS – “Zol!” (Stereogum Premiere)

Last time we checked in with South African quartet BLK JKS was via the horn/vocal/guitar-heavy “Molalatladi” shortly before the release of After Robots. This new five-song ZOL! EP arrives around the same time of the World Cup’s arrival in the band’s Johannesburg hometown. Important, among other reasons, because we’re told the celebratory, upbeat, sunny “ZOL!” is a song about soccer. It doesn’t include any roaring guitar solos or psychedelic rock; instead, you get percussionist Tshepang Ramoba’s infectious vocals leading an “I can roll and shoot at the same time” call-and-response. It’s clearly a shift born out of genuine excitement.


ZOL! is out6/8 via Secretly Canadian. On 6/10 the band’s playing the FIFA World Cup Kickoff Celebration at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, where they’ll be sharing the stage with Alicia Keys, Amadou & Mariam, Black Eyed Peas, John Legend, Shakira, Tinariwen, etc. So not a small show. More info at (Note, ZOL! is not all about soccer: Closer “Mzabalazo (Demo)” is an updated 1980s anti-apartheid protest chant. And things switch up stylistically — expect a dose of progressive rock, too.)