By the looks of it, 2013 has been the year of debut albums and EPs. Let’s take a look at some of the best aural goodness that has come our way this year, from our Indian indie charts.
One of the most explosive albums to have emerged out of Bangalore’s indie coffers is Bicycle Days’ debut album Calamitunes. “There’s a burning in my chest /questions loom/the waves rush in again,” the opening track, Vicious, starts off with a very raw bass riff but the second the guitars explode you know you’re in for a completely, new ride. It’s mostly uphill from here. They revisit some of their earlier soundscapes in Conundrum and the reworked Circles track, forever a crowd favourite which is now titled Circles (Information =/= experience). The standout track of the album is definitely Indignation, a happy medley of various sounds and effects, punctuated by dialogues from a Rajinikanth movie. This one is an album worth revisiting, over and over again.
Sahil Bakshi aka Dualist Inquiry served up what may be considered one of the most accessible dance music albums of all time, this year. A diligently and carefully produced album, Doppelganger gives you an impeccable, polished sound. Continuing the work that he showcased in his EP Dualism, Doppelganger is a treasure trove of precious new symphonies of electronic music and actual instruments like the guitar, violin and even the xylophone. From the glitch hop track Blitzkrieg, the slightly more down tempo opening track Specter to the dream-like Soleil, these songs may not prompt party goers to bust their best moves on the dance floor, but are best suited for that mildly lazy Thursday evening lounging session.
Despite the unfortunate name, a promising band to come out of Chennai, is F16’s. Within a year, they’ve managed to release a seven-track EP titled Kaliedoscope, no mean feat for a young bunch like them. Three stand out tracks do the trick for the F16’s - the heavy riffed Nuke, the mellow opening track Light Bulbs and the cheeky, Killers party tribute My Shallow Lover. If you love the Arctic Monkeys or the Vampire Weekend or The Killers, this is the Indian equivalent to these bands. That said, the band has really found its tone and sound. Keep an eye out for the keyboardist, Harshan Radhakrishnan who really brings the band’s sound together.
Kamal Singh (of Lounge Piranha fame) aka Hoirong released his debut album The Resurrection Of The Princess Of Woe And Her Vampire Hound Posse early this year. He likes to call his sound “disco punk/noise/pop metal”, and he’s right of course. Genre bending comes naturally to him, if Lounge Piranha is anything to go by. But the sound is not the only thing you need to be excited about. Kamal’s existential lyrics combined with his oh-so-wry humour will have you clutching your hair in awestruck wonder. This is an album to get lost in - a beautiful, never-ending riot of sounds, colours and syllables. Stand out tracks are Fancy Dress + Hindi = Awesome, Bajrang Bali, Russian Roulette Gandhi and Super Glue.
It’s an established fact by now that all three-piece bands make more noise than a regular sized band. We don’t know why, but they just do. The garage punk rock band The Lightyears Explode, from Mumbai, released its debut LP The Revenge of Kalicharan in the first half of 2013, a dedication like never before to B-grade Bollywood goodness. I am a Disco Dancer, the debut single from the album, while paying tribute to the inimitable Mithun, also acts as a satirical comment on the current commercialisation of indie music. Then there’s the hilarious rap-punk track, The P-Man Explodes!, with guest vocalist P-man doing the honours. Watch out for Late Night Song and Diet Coke as well. Listen at any point of time, and this album is a definite upper.