AHH’s indie picks of the month
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.
Over to A Humming Heart….
If you are a regular reader of the Splainer newsletter, you might have noticed this indie section is featured once a month with recommendations of about 4-5 songs each time. While we have been doing this a while, what represents “indie” and thereby what makes it to our lists is always an evolving conversation. Indie means different things in different parts of the world, varying across different cultures. Nowhere is the definition more complicated than it is in India, where there are multiple film industries dwarfing the aspiring musician, along with the complexity of each region’s specific language and history. So then, of course, it is harder for an artist to break out in the Indian independent scene.
That is particularly why singer-songwriter Ankur Tewari stands out in our world, as he has managed to shine the brightest spotlight on independent musicians and create more opportunities for them (he was responsible for the ‘Gully Boy’, ‘Gehraaiyan’ soundtracks among other works). So it is an exciting month when he puts out a full-length album for us to deep-dive into. Starting this month’s recommendations with our favourite from his album ‘Akela’:
‘Doobay’ by Ankur Tewari: After more than two decades of making music, the best thing that Ankur brings to his music is stability. He does not need to or wish to try hard to write the viral single of the year. He ends up making some understated songs that fit right into the parameters of formulaic indie music, but are effortlessly better.
He recently announced the launch of a new record label Tiger Baby Records in partnership with filmmaker Zoya Akhtar, and his album is the first release on this label. Additionally, he has also spent a year or so working on the new season of Coke Studio Bharat, which also features a bunch of Indian independent artists.
‘New (Acoustic Version)’ by Frizzell D’Souza: A fairly new singer-songwriter on the block, Frizzell has only been actively releasing original music since 2020. Of all the pandemic musicians that picked up a pen and guitar in 2020, she is one of the more promising ones. Before that, she used to put out covers on YouTube (which are also worth checking out). Her latest release is an acoustic version of the very first single she released officially. Stripped down versions of fuller songs have a tenderness that is hard to skip through, and this one is no different.
‘Banana Cake’ by Anika: Anika is a singer-songwriter who performs in English. Her fourth single, Banana Cake, is a relatively short but beautiful melody on which her words rest. She talks of love and what it means to spend time getting to know someone slowly, everything from their favourite cake to what keeps them up at night.
‘All Aboard’ by Abhi Tambe: Abhi Tambe was part of the Bangalore-based cyber-punk band Lounge Piranha between 2005-2010. A decade later, he is now making his debut as a solo artist with his first single ‘All Aboard’. The song is literally an invitation and a warning to hop into his world of cynicism and dystopia. It is enticing and exciting; very punk.
‘Garaj’ by Donn Bhat, Isheeta Chakrvarty: Donn Bhat is an electronic artist and singer who is making a sort of comeback after his last album was released in 2016, and we are so here for it. This is his third single this year, and second collaboration. Isheeta Chakrvarty, who has lent vocals to the song, is a classically trained musician, who brings a whole new flavour to Donn Bhat’s erratic beats.
Keeping up with indie
We hope you enjoyed this month's selection of independent music. We invite you to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest in the indie scene through our regularly updated Spotify playlist, Currents.
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