Semwal’s Elephant in The Room has a heat that’s preferrred for winter, whereas Rafoo’s musical output is knowledgeable by her profession in sustainability and coverage analysis.
This month-to-month column of suggestions of latest Indian unbiased music releases is normally accompanied by a playlist of the identical identify that features all of the tracks written about. As the 12 months has simply begun, I’ve but to create one for 2021, so this time, it comes with one other Best Music of 2020 playlist.
I put it collectively after polling nearly two dozen Indian music writers about what they thought-about the very best album or EP of the 12 months passed by. There was a transparent winner: blues-rock band Soulmate’s fourth studio album Give Love, which was additionally my high decide. But there was additionally a whole lot of selection; the 22 journalists surveyed, together with myself, selected 15 totally different albums and EPs belonging to a variety of genres, as their favorite.
Check them out, and in case you really feel prefer it, tweet your choice to me. If I get sufficient replies, I could make a Readers’ Poll model of the playlist.
Meanwhile, right here’s what I’ve been listening to over the previous couple of weeks, which appropriately for a brand new 12 months is usually new artists whose spectacular efforts add to the sense of (cautious) optimism I’m feeling proper now.
Album/EP: Elephant In The Room, Semwal
Pretty a lot each singer-songwriter on the planet sings concerning the topic of affection, so it’s more and more uncommon for any of them to actually stand out. Dehradun and New Delhi-based Shubham Semwal is among the many few new artists who manages to make a mark because of his laidback vocal fashion, layered instrumentation, easy manufacturing and pop sensibility.
Semwal counts amongst his influences 1970s melody professionals comparable to ABBA, Bee Gees and Boney M. but additionally extra up to date musicians like John Mayer, Charlie Puth and Tom Misch. But these influences aren’t apparent and there aren’t any overt components of nostalgia on his debut EP, the four-song Elephant In The Room.
The heat in his sound is right for the wintry climate we’re experiencing. ‘By Your Side‘ is a candy campfire-side ballad about being as a lot of a buddy as a lover, ‘Through These Years‘ is concurrently anthemic and mellow. In different phrases, Semwal is the kind of artist who could make grand romantic statements with out seeming melodramatic, additionally a uncommon potential. Perhaps to show he’s not a one trick pony, Semwal — who has already adopted up this EP along with his first Hindi single, the mid-tempo ‘Tishnagi‘ — throws in an electrical guitar solo on the set’s largely instrumental, funky closing minimize ‘Indian Summer‘. He’s one to look at over the following few months.
Single: ‘Anthropocene‘, Rafoo
Singer-songwriter Rafoo, whose actual identify is Tarang, was among the many handful of feminine composer-producers to debut final 12 months. It was a small group, however they coated a variety of genres. Bengaluru’s Rudy Mukta may arguably be described as an R&B artist, and Mumbai’s pb as a purveyor of bed room pop. Delhi-based Rafoo makes a singular mixture of experimental electronica and industrial rock from which emerges a sound that would loosely be categorised as goth-pop.
All three are blessed with euphonious voices that belie the wryness of their materials. That Rafoo doesn’t do ‘happy’ is obvious from her lyrics and temporary descriptions of her songs on her Bandcamp web page. Her debut single ‘Gaia‘, she shares, “is a commentary on capitalism and its exploitative consumption of nature and the proletariat. And also on my relationships.” Sonically, the sparse monitor remains to be a contact lighter than ‘Anthropocene‘, a companion piece that’s “one part an expression of my exasperation with the status quo and one part, a slice of my turbulent mind”. She might concentrate on darkish matter, however the future is clearly vibrant for Rafoo whose musical output is knowledgeable by her profession in sustainability and coverage analysis.
Music video: ‘I’ll Be With You‘ – Apartment Upstairs that includes Doc.Awes, Abhay Sharma and Fakeer
The music video for the brand new single by Apartment Upstairs, the Bengaluru-residing duo of singer and multi-instrumentalist Rohan Pai and drummer Shourjo Chatterjee, checks off two latest traits amongst MVs within the Indian indie music scene. It’s an illustrated video of which we’ve had a surfeit because the lockdown (I wrote about just a few that I’ve beloved probably the most right here) and it normalises same-sex relationships (two different examples will be seen right here and right here). ‘I’ll Be With You‘, they state on its YouTube web page, “narrates the story of a homosexual couple that is equal parts excited as they are anxious to be with each other”. The sense of tentativeness it talks of is universally relatable, the kind skilled by everybody initially of a brand new romance. Musically, it checks off a 3rd field of present Indian indie traits: very similar to the sound of acts like Ape Echoes and T.in poor health Apes, it brings collectively the genres of jazz, pop, R&B and hip-hop. It’s a vibrant tune dropped at life by illustrator and animator Varshini Krishnakumar whose fashion is characterised by vibrant blocks of color and giant-bodied those that lend her drawings the look of kids’s storybooks.
Amit Gurbaxani is a Mumbai-based journalist who has been writing about music, particularly the nation’s unbiased scene, for almost 20 years. He tweets @TheGroovebox
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