Rewinding The Tape – Looking Back on Defining Indian Indie tracks (Part 2)
Inevitably, we had to come back for a second round. Too many were left out that demanded their own spotlight. Each person may have their own personal favourite from their formative years but these lists will undoubtedly transport each and every one of you, in some way or the other, to a different time. If not, be assured that you’re going to discover a treasure trove of under appreciated Indian music. Once again, in no particular order, here are twelve more unforgettable tracks that absolutely must be considered “classics”. Click HERE to read Part 1 of this list.
12. Soulmate – “Voodoo Woman”
In terms of sheer vocal prowess, I’d find it hard to find any artist who could top Soulmate’s lead vocalist Tipriti “TIPS” Kharbangar. The blues rock band from Shillong are internationally renowned, having played in venues in Europe, America, and the Middle East.
Their groovy energy even drew Carlos Santana in to join them on stage when they opened for the guitar maestro in Delhi. “Set Me Free” may be their most popular track, but “Voodoo Woman” deserves a special mention for Wallang’s grooving riff and Tipriti’s jaw dropping vocals.
11. Demonic Resurrection – “The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance”
The better part of the 2000s in the Indian music scene saw metal holding indomitable popularity. Demonic Resurrection were the torchbearers of this wave, broadcasting Indian metal to a global audience. Delving into dark topics, both mythological and psychological, and combining both aggression alongside melody, the group were a truly end to end metal outfit.
It would be impossible to ignore their influence on the scene twenty years since their inception.
10. Colourblind – “Colourblind”
Although they only released a single full project, Colourblind have become an indisputable member of the indie scene’s folklore. Formed in the 90s, the Bombay duo’s eponymous debut album remains the blueprint for Indian rock aspirants. In a time rife with imitations, “Colourblind” was a spark of originality that gave the Indian rock scene an international quality export.
Unfortunately, the record remains their only release, almost furthering their cult like status amongst fans.
9. Orange Street – “Saint Sinner”
Frontman Anirban Chakraborty may now be renowned for his work as a producer and composer in Bollywood (NH10, Vicky Donor) and for ad films but his work in Orange Street is not to be missed. The Delhi based outfit came to the fruition in the late 90s with a sound that is perfectly representative of its time. Anirban now has also the duties of the director at music magazine “Rock Street Journal”.
“Saint Sinner” is a song about a boy longing for love yet not resentful at the prospect of losing it. The mature track sees the singer as aware of his flaws. India’s very own grunge symbol? Perhaps.
8. The Supersonics – “In Memory Of”
If you’re from Kolkata, chances are you probably took a great deal of offence to this group being left out our initial list. The suave rock and roll perfectionists are well known for their tumultuous history but equally adored for their consistent lineup.
I can think of few songs more catchier and with as positive a vibe as “In Memory Of”. It’s one of those perfect nostalgia tracks.
7. Agnee – “Aahatein”
Agnee are far from the hidden gems or local celebrities that the rest of these lists have included. Massively successful, the Pune based rock group were one of few to reach major label stardom, yet considering their beginnings and influences they can’t be left out of this list.
Aahatein is one of those tracks that transcends a group, it has its own space in the Indian music scene, independent and beyond. Here’s a special performance alongside Rahul Ram and Pritam, introduced by then TV host Ayushmann Khurrana.
6. 13 AD – “Ground Zero”
Another criminally underappreciated rock outfit from Kerala, “13 AD” are undisputed godfathers of rock in this country. Formed in the late 70s, the group enjoyed success till the end of the 90s. The title track from their 1989 album will show you just how and where Indian rock began. 13 AD’s relative lack of mainstream success when compared to their contemporaries is a sore loss for many a listener.
If your Dad’s a rock enthusiast, ask him who 13 AD are, he’ll definitely be impressed.
5. Lounge Piranha – Going Nowhere
A personal favourite of mine, Lounge Piranha were one of Bangalore’s premium bands during their heyday. To me and I’m sure many others, their music is a time capsule – instantly taking us back to the carefree optimism of the 2000s.
“Going Nowhere” is a classic, and anyone who heard it when it came out will feel no less.
4. Avial – Chekele
Yet another Kerala based outfit, Avial were arguably the definitive rock group to come out of the region. To begin with, they sang entirely in Malayalam, yet enjoyed success levels on par with their English contemporaries. Guitarist Rex Vijayan even originally played for Motherjane but chose to form Avial in 2003 after being swayed by the idea of a fusion band that sang in the native language.
I can’t stand eating Avial, but you don’t have to ask me twice if you’re going to play some.
3. Lou Majaw – “Mr Tambourine Man”
Lou Majaw is one of the most lovable figures in the Indian music scene. The Bob Dylan super fan is at this point internationally renowned for his devotion to the folk legend’s artistry. You’d be lucky to attend a live performance of any artist who can outmatch the passion that Lou brings to his sets. The 72 year old legend has a love for performance that is unparalleled amongst perhaps any other artist. Here above is one of his originals called ‘Sea of Sorrow’.
2. The Superfuzz – “4 Times & Once After”
You can’t talk about rebellious music in the indie scene without beginning with The Superfuzz. The punk outfit from New Delhi can be distinctly remembered for their infectious energy and irresistibly catchy hooks.
To date, few bands have been able to replicate the quality of the guitar riffs that the band was able to create. It floods you with energy that is not inspired by any anger or hate, just sheer hype. “4 Times & Once After” is the perfection of this craft.
1. Junkyard Groove – “It’s Ok”
“It’s OK” is one of those tracks that almost all consumers of Indian indie music in the 2000s will remember with immense nostalgia. Its feel good music at its finest, where each listener is immediately undone by the simple yet reassuring chorus sung by Ameeth Thomas, the only original member left in the group.
In times like these, few tracks that have come out of the Indian indie scene are as guaranteed to lift your spirits.