World Music Day special: Most anticipated indie albums in 2018 by South India's leading bands
Time to rock on! Ahead of World Music Day, we find out about new upcoming albums by South India’s hottest acts
There has been enough chatter happening on social media about Junkyard Groove’s upcoming EP, coupled with promotional performances in Bengaluru and the release of a killer super-heavy solo track by lead vocalist Ameeth Thomas, titled Bumblebee. The best part? Jitesh Dharmaraj, bassist and co-founder of the city’s favourite alternative funk/rock band, says that they are going back to their original sound from their first album, after a string of experimental tracks. “Expect acoustic-driven indie rock with a mix of rock ’n’ roll thrown in, the stuff that our fans love and recognise instantly,” he says. The yet-to-be-titled EP has three tracks and will be released towards the end of this month, starting with the first song, Float.
Instead of releasing all songs of their new album, Hash, at once, this three-year-old Chennai-based acoustic alternative band will release each of them individually in consecutive weeks, starting with I’m Alright, an impressive fast-paced groovy track. “We have recorded 12 songs for this album, out of which we will be releasing seven, two of which will have music videos too,” says lead vocalist and guitarist Ritesh Dharmaraj, adding, “These are a bunch of feel-good romantic songs that attempt to show the good and bad side of love.” Expect the next audio track to be out next week, and the music video of I’m Alright the week after that.
The experimental math rock band plans to release their eight-track debut album Eat Lead, Motherbuzzer. “We’ve maintained elements of melody and dissonance very evenly across the album, although this was not a conscious effort,” says bassist Abheet Anand. Lyrically, the songs touch upon themes ranging from self introspection to political satire. It will be a blend of pop melodies featuring dissonant rhythmic structures.
This Bengaluru-based melodic rock band’s upcoming debut album, to be out in the next few months, is titled A Strange Connection. “The album will have eight tracks and they are all born out of personal experiences,” says lead guitarist Debjeet Basu. One of the tracks, Just for Gigs, is about the challenges of being in an indie band in India while Wild Side is about transgender rights.
ROCK PAPER SCISSORS
There’s something about teenage angst that creates whole generations of music. So, it isn’t out of the ordinary when 22-year-old Thushar Mathur tells us that his band, Coimbatore-based Rock Paper Scissors’ first EP, Listen to Me, dealt the theme of breaking free from their perfectly scripted life. The bluesy guitar tone characterises their six-song EP. “When you think of people trying to break out of the mould you think of heavy, slightly angry music. While we do have powerful riffs, our sound is characterised by something lighter,” shares Thushar. The three-member band also blends in rock elements to give their sound a variation.
This two-year-old fusion rock band from Coimbatore brings together rock, jazz and Carnatic. While the five-member band draws varied influences from Stevie Wonder to Agam, they are working towards to an album titled Seasons of Life. Keyboardist Pranesh S tells us that the first single Tirapu is up for release in July. “We also have Idha Life, a fusion song with Western-inspired riffs, and Moksha is a Carnatic progressive rock song,” he says.
Art rockers would be an apt term to describe Fort Kochi-based Olam (meaning waves), quite literally. Bred in a residency programme within Uru Art Harbour—a gallery space by Kochi Muziris Biennale’s co-founder Riyas Komu—this four-piece instrumental outfit’s work is a synthesis of musical elements like psychedelic textures arranged into unconventional structures and visual art. “Movies are a common passion of the band and currently we’re creating visuals for live sets that resonate with our seven songs. We’re also exploring recording options including an experimental approach of doing it within Uru,” says Arun Kumar, speaking for his bandmates Syam Pai, Ajoy Jose, and Manu Ajayan.
The latest fad among indie outfits is to release new singles every month across platforms like YouTube. Basically, churning out new fodder for a content-hungry generation. But this Kochi-origin alternative/electronica band, is going against the grain. “We have nine new tunes and intend to release them all on our yet-to-be-titled second artiste album,” says drummer Akash Chacko. The 26-year-old explains that the quartet — also featuring Sharath Narayan, Sarang Menon, and Arjun Radhakrishnan—recently started a community-based independent label, Overfeed Records. Akash explains that the idea behind this initiative is to help emerging bands get a foot in the music industry’s door.
If you’re a regular at the live music scene in Hyderabad, you would know that Capricio is one of the first Telugu bands there. Staying true to their fusion approach, the four-member outfit’s debut album will feature a combination of various genres including hip-hop, jazz and Indian classical. Sai Teja, who handles the rhythm and percussion, says, “The six-track Telugu album is themed around love and relationships and will be relatable for the youth.”
Hyderabad-based Adavi is known to be one of the niche rock ’n’ roll bands in the South, who aim to use music as a powerful tool to express their thoughts. Their debut album, Bandeera, aims to explore topics such as politics, women and friendship. “All our songs have causes and a way to deal with them,” says Sravya Kothalanka, singer-songwriter of the band. They plan to release the album in July and also do a tour.