It’s been more than a year in India that the music industry had to put an indefinite halt on all live shows. These live shows were a massive source of income for most musicians but instead of being frazzled, they came up with various alternatives in this past year and a half. Some really started accepting of these online shows, while some buried themselves deep into their work and releasing original music. Although we did get a glimpse of what could be the new normal in the music industry a couple of months, we are back to square one now.
The only consistent thing in the industry has been the constant new releases by established as well as new musicians. Our bi-monthly round-up at The Indian Music Diaries recognises these latest releases in the music scene.
1. Martbaan by Samar Mehdi ft. Sarah Mehdi, June
Bhopal-based singer-songwriter Samar Mehdi released his latest single in collaboration with his sister, Sarah Mehdi and lyricist June Huzun. This song is inspired by a poem titled the same by June. It talks about a woman who is stuck in a loop in which she imagines carrying a jar into a glass-walled house to trap and store light in, and that allows her to survive her reality till she runs out of light again. This pop song starts with a distorted radio-like recitation of the poem by Sarah, which is followed by Samar’s vocals and his style of percussive fingerstyle guitar techniques which he is known for. The recitation of the poem is what gives this track a distinct feature to highlight the story behind the track.
2. Rehnuma by Anirudh Deskhmukh
Mumbai-based singer-songwriter and composer Anirudh Deskhmukh released his second single Rehnuma. The song is about fading love. It is for anyone who has loved and felt the loss of that love. Anirudh’s soothing vocals, a simple piano composition and soulful flute arrangement captures this feeling perfectly well, making the listener nostalgic about the feeling of love which they have experienced in their life.
3. Tu Hi Hai by Atteev, Tansen
Singer-songwriter and producer Atteev Bhansali collaborated with lo-fi bedroom producer Tansen for his debut Hindi single Tu Hi Hai. This track is a blend of electronic beats infused with Indian classical instrumentation of flute and the sitar which serve as catchy drops throughout the song. With mellow vocals, this song captures the lo-fi bedroom vibe.
4. Chicken Nuggets by Odyssey 147
Pune-based progressive funk-rock band Odyessey 147 or also known as O147 released their debut track Chicken Nuggets. This track is from the POV of a lonely nugget which ultimately finds its way out one day. The chicken nugget is a metaphor for a time in your life when you are going through something and have no one to talk to. Despite this idea, the song is on a hopeful and optimistic note. The groovy bass, and upbeat funk melody creates a spark contrast with this serious idea of the song.
5. Make Believe by Deeksha Gautam
Singer-songwriter Deeksha Gautam released her debut single Make Believe. This song makes one question about all the things they compromise and do for a relationship and get nothing out of it. This makes one question whether love is easy. Gautam’s soaring vocals along with soft ukulele with an electric guitar crescendo sets the mood for the song, making the listener take a step back and reflect upon such moments, making it very relatable to everyone.
6. Narcissus by Mocaine
Delhi-based singer-composer Amrit Mohan’s project Mocaine released a latest single Narcissus which is going to a part of his next full-length concept album called The Birth of Billy Munro. This track’s eerie vocals and visuals complement each other well.
7. Quiet A Story by Takar Nabam
Arunachal-based singer-songwriter and composer Takar Nabam released his latest single Quiet A Story. This song is in a form of a story about Nabam who uses two wordplays. The first one, about him not being able to tell a story about his culture and speak his dialect. He has tried to weave his ‘staying quiet in conversations’ into a song which is quiet a story. The English vocals in this song show the departure from his culture but the use of native folk instrumentation musically shows the realisation about trying to learn the culture and going back to the roots.
8. Give Me A Sign by Ady Manral
Landour-based singer-songwriter Ady Mandral released his latest single Give Me A Sign. This is the second single from his upcoming EP, which appears to set a similar mood with his previous release. He doesn’t stray away from giving his listeners a similar vibe of being surrounded by the mountains at a quaint hill station. With his single too, he sticks to his folkish-acoustic style, flowing vocals, leaving the listener with a pleasant smile.
9. Crybaby by Raj, Coopa
Delhi-based guitarist and producer Raj collaborated with German-based singer-songwriter Coopa for their latest release Crybaby. This song is about mental health and it talks about the struggles that people with anxiety go through and how self-doubt and overthinking can cause more mental health problems. The short electric guitar with jazz tunes in between was an interesting addition to the otherwise lo-fi electronic song.
10. Cheesecake by MADM
Mumbai/Chennai-based singer-songwriter and producer MADM released a latest single Cheesecake. This song is about the constant need to chase something in order to escape your surroundings for the rush of pursuit. It highlights the feeling of missing out on moments appreciating the people around for an endless loop of chasing euphoria. This song shows her various influences, one being her South Indian influence, along with electronic pop elements, paired with dreamy ear candy vocals and visuals which you cant help but go back to again.
11. Gang Gang by Satyum
Delhi-based experimental rap artist Satyum Gupta released his latest single Gang Gang. This song is Satyum’s personal story about his current position in his career and how his gang is making it big with their projects. The idea of this song was to make it as a lullaby for trappers (trap heads) and for rap fans to listen to listen to it while going to sleep. While it can be difficult to see a rap song as a lullaby, this one sure has the chill trap beats which induce a calming vibe, while the lyrics do give off a gangster vibe as intended.
12. Watching Her Dance by Varun Nimbolkar
Pune-based songwriter, composer and sitar-player Varun Nimbolkar released his debut single Watching her dance. Nimbolkar is known for blending Indian classical elements and other genres such as jazz, electronica, etc and this instrumental track is proof of this seamless blend. With sitar dominating the composition, the track also features a light and playful guitar harmony along with subtle drums, piano and bass. This track intends to take one down a memory lane, bringing fun-filled memories which are enough to make your stomach flutter in nostalgia and happiness.
13. Untethered by Basho ft. Shilpa Natarajan
Bengaluru/Chennai-based music producer, DJ and song writer Basho collaborated with singer-songwriter Shilpa Natarajan for their latest single Untethered. This song is about breaking free from the traditional constructs or boundaries placed upon by society on a human in the name of culture, religion, language. The Sanskrit lyrics, Indian classical Carnatic elements, South Indian folk instruments, synth-based veena and electronic trap beats infused together make it an experimental track in itself.
14. Fictive by Root Murphy
Delhi-based psych-rock duo Root Murphy released their latest single Fictive. This is the second single from their upcoming album Kinetophone (Stack2.) Sonically, this song has soaring soundscapes, and a dreamy pop vibe along with electronic music.
15. Mann Darne Laga by Akshit Dhall
Rohtak-based singer-songwriter Akshit Dhall released his latest single Mann Darne Laga. This is the second track from his upcoming EP. It talks about mental health issues in people with childhood trauma. Released in Mental Health Awareness Month, this song comes off as more impactful as it talks about a lot of underlying issues. With this single, Dhall sticks to his strengths of introspective song writing, Hindustan classical vocals infused with pop elements and his breezy guitar chords which give a folk vibe, giving the song a contrast from the heavy topic.
With the future of live music still bleak, musicians can definitely use all your support. Stream their music, encourage them, give feedback, support them in any way possible. After all, music is what has helped in getting us through this year full of uncertainties.