Editor’s Note: Once a month, we feature a fantastic playlist of the best new indie music curated by our partners A Humming Heart (AHH). Independently run and reader-supported, AHH also supports upcoming indie musicians through their Artist Fund.
AHH’s indie picks of the month
Before we dive into the latest and greatest in the world of Indian independent music, let's look at some good news and exciting developments from the scene.
Over the course of a decade, Sid Sriram has risen in stature as a vocal phenomenon in the nation and become a household name in the South. You might know him for his vocals in Indian film industries across multiple languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi, and Marathi. However, he’s also a talented songwriter who has put out his own independent music. His 2019 album ‘Entropy’ might not feature on his Wikipedia page but is an interesting body of work showing a first glimpse of the side of the musician we were previously unacquainted with. He's now set to release his second album, ‘Siddhartha’, which he's teased with the single ‘Do The Dance’. He will also be joining American band Bon Iver for five shows on their tour across America in August!
Check out ‘Do The Dance’:
In other good news for independent music in India, New-Delhi based band Peter Cat Recording Co. announced their debut tour across America in Jan this year and reported selling out 25 of their shows in the region already. Listen to their last album ‘Bismillah’, that was #2 in our list of top 20 albums of 2019.
And now, the latest and best new music from Indian independent artists:
Sahil Makhija has released a new album under his solo venture Demonstealer, titled ‘The Propaganda Machine’. Makhija, also known for his work with his band Demonic Resurrection, played a vital role in the growth of the Indian metal scene. A testament to his musical prowess, the album showcases technical symphonic death metal at its finest, with relentless brutality, triumphant melodies and hard-hitting lyrics. A record that fully speaks truth to power and after almost five years in the making, it is not to be missed.
Many Roots Ensemble, the Mumbai-based collaborative group, has released ‘Insaniyat’, a new single featuring hip-hop group Swadesi’s MC Mawali and the late MC TodFod. Known for their fusion of jazz and native Indian influences, the group takes on desi hip-hop in this track. The song features some powerful lyrics written by MC TodFod and MC Mawali (‘Dalit road par chilla raha hai Jai Bhim, par tu toh ghar par baith kar bana raha meme’) that highlights the inaction of the people and delves into the socio-political issues of the country.
Mumbai singer-songwriter Sanjana Devaranjan has released her first bilingual track ‘Nee Venda’. Writing and singing in Tamil and Hindi, the track is undeniably catchy and features a dreamy soundscape despite its melancholic tone. Since its release earlier this month, the song and its music video have amassed over half a million views on YouTube.
Shillong-based musician Gregory Ford Nongrum’s latest track ‘See You Again’ draws inspiration from a final phone conversation with a loved one, leading to bittersweet realisations. Nongrum wrote and produced this soulful pop ballad, which was released by Warner Music India after he won the JioSaavn "Spotted" initiative.
For fans of the popular Kerala band, When Chai Met Toast will be coming out with a new EP soon and the second song along with an accompanying music video is already out. What did you think—too sappy or just the right amount of catchy?
Keeping up with indie
Have you ever wondered what goes inside an artist's mind before they take on the stage prior to a show? We caught up with Indian hip-hop star Prabh Deep before his show in Bangalore and spoke to him about a wide range of topics, from making mistakes to finding happiness in life, and of course... his favourite city to perform in (spoiler: it's Bangalore). Check out the full conversation here.
We hope you enjoy this month's selection of independent music. Stay up-to-date with all the good music through our regularly updated Spotify playlist, Currents where you can hear all these tracks, and more.