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 one and a half year. While some really started digging and being accepting of these online shows, some buried themselves deep into their work and releasing original music. While 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. We, at The Indian Music Diaries, recognise this talent by creating our bi-monthly compilation of the latest releases in the music scene.
1. Duur by Kamakshi Khanna ft. OAFF
Delhi-based singer-songwriter Kamakshi Khanna released her latest single Duur in collaboration with Mumbai-based producer and composer Kabeer Kathpalia aka OAFF and Urdu poet and singer-songwriter Sameer Rahat on lyrics. With her second Hindi Single, Khanna proves her prowess as a Hindi musician also. This song has elements of all its collaborators popping out such as, OAFF’s immersive production, Kamakshi’s dreamy-lacey vocals, Rahat’s songwriting and Karun Kannampilly’s drums which wraps the song together to give it a 90s indie-pop vibe. The song personifies the feeling of detachment from the world both inside and out which is beautifully captured in the music video by Arsh Grewal.
2. Concrete Jungle by TribeMama MaryKali x Till.Apes
Bangalore-based neo-soul/hip-hop band Till. Apes collaborated with singer-composer Anna Katharina Valayil who goes by the moniker TribeMama MaryKali for their latest single Concrete Jungle. This song was written and recorded around nature at Little Farms which is located in the hills of Kerala, Vagamon. This track is a true representation of both the artists, with the band’s peppy jazz tunes infused with hip hop and MaryKali’s laid back, genre-less style of singing which compliments not only the jazz style but also the hip hop aspect which the band is known for. The song is about the perspective of a woman and a man and how they view this “concrete jungle” scary and unknown world and the different ways they deal with it.
3. Dream by Jenn Steeves
Canadian singer-songwriter Jenn Steeves who is based in Delhi released her latest single Dream which has been produced by Abhishek Mathur. This song is about being at two places at once and trying to make sense of opposite desires. This feeling is depicted through Steeves songwriting, her melodic dreamy vocals with a crisp bassline and moody synths which put the listener in a ‘dream-like state.
4. Break Through by Kashmira
Pune-based singer-songwriter Kashmira Khot released her debut single Break Through. Kashmira’s crisp soaring vocals along with the electric guitars and drums makes this pop-rock song quite advanced for a debut release. This song is about changing your vision and dreams, being afraid of it, worrying about the pain it causes, and yet again, asking someone to wait on these fears, while you go face these changes for good.
5. Little Earth by Aashna
Gurgaon-based singer-songwriter Aashna Gupta released her latest single Little Earth. Released in June, this song was an honour to Pride Month as it talks about her experience of realising her bisexuality in high school and falling for her best friend. The song reaches a crescendo with a soothing guitar solo with compliments the minimalist composition of this song. Aashna showcases her songwriting skills yet again with this single.
6. Keys by Meera
New York/Ahmedabad-based singer-songwriter and vocal instructor Meera Desai released her latest single Keys. Meera once again shows her prowess as a vocalist with soothing, crisp vocals and also her jazz roots. This song was born when she saw her parents sorting out all the keys they had gathered over the years, unsure of what each even locked. The song also features the voices of all the people she wanted to surround herself with but could not.
7. Awara by Daada
Siliguri/Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Soumyajit Sarkar who goes by the moniker Daada released his debut single Awara. This pop song is about reminiscing the time when we could travel – a feeling which a lot of us have missed since the pandemic. It is about the excitement we feel when we feel on reaching a new destination. The video captures the rush we feel throughout a journey.
8. PIKACHU by ohno dyb, Sage Vapid & Trebonius
Delhi-based music producer Trebonius collaborated with fellow Delhi-based artist ohno dyb and Hongkong-based artist Sage Vapid. A fast-paced track with laid back hip-hop beats, pounding drums and a catchy hook makes this a collaborative effort to bring the song to the global as well as Indian scene.
9. XO by Dasa & Shaq-T
Coimbatore-based hip-hop duo Dasa and Shaq-T released their latest track XO. This track is also a part of their upcoming debut EP Kalliyugam. The name XO refers to XO (Extra Old) Cognac because the duo came up with the concept of this song while staring at the bottle. This hip-hop song revolves around heartbreak and intoxication but the groovy beats and a melodious catchy hook are a good contrast to the theme of the song.
10. Kaafila by Anirudh Varma, Kavya Singh ft. Shrikant Biswakarma
Delhi-based pianist, composer, producer and performance studies scholar Anirudh Varma collaborated with Delhi-based singer-songwriter Kavya Singh and guitarist Shrikant Biswakarma for their latest single Kaafila. This song marks the third collaboration between Varma and Singh as a duo. This is a poetic celebration of the human spirit and its ability to embrace the cataclysm of life with positivity and curiosity. Through this song, the duo shows its classical training and their individual skills coming together in this soulful track.
11. Yahan by Vasu Raina
Delhi-based singer-songwriter Vasu Raina released his latest single Yahan. This song is about the feeling when one finally finds a place or a person who reminds them of home when they have been away from home and that person or place brings back comfort and solace which makes one stay forever. This Hindi pop song has the usual acoustic vibes with melodious vocals but what gives it a different twist is when Raina incorporates a Kashmiri djembe called Tumbaknar. It elevates the song from a mellow vibe to a catchier, fun tune.
12. Kadipatti by Dhanji (Prod. by dox)
Ahmedabad-based hip-shop artist Jayraj Ganatra who goes by the alias Dhanji released his latest single Kadipatti. This song is about betting on a new/young horse which is actually a metaphor for betting on rap music in India. Despite there being just one verse, this song packs the punch required for a rap song.
13. Real World by Aadarsh Subramaniam
Bangalore-based multi-instrumentalist, music-arranger and composer Aadarsh Subramaniam released his debut single Real World. This instrumental track speaks of our varied perspectives of the common reality we live in, and how right and wrong are just human senses of morality painting the same picture in different colours. With elements of jazz and funk, the song reaches a crescendo after which we get to hear the simple piano melody again followed by funky synths. This song gives the listener the feeling of a ‘real world’ journey by incorporating various elements throughout the five-minute track.
14. Night and Day by Ajuni
Chandigarh-based singer-songwriter, pianist and composer Anupreet Kaur who goes by the moniker Ajuni released her third single Night and Day. With her previous releases, Ajuni has shown her style of blending different genres and this song is also another such example with a groovy bassline and drums, a synth-based hook, and a catchy jazz chorus. The song is about surviving in the midst of uncertainty while trying to battle one’s own demons of existential anxiety while trying to stay afloat in a modern capitalist world.
15. Khatam by Mogambo
Delhi-based rapper, DJ and producer Arjun Dhingra who goes by the moniker Mogambo released his latest single Khatam. This track is about putting an end to the pandemic and encouraging upcoming rappers to find their sound and use this time to sharpen their skills. Hard-hitting punch lines and traditional Indian sounds make this hip hop track catchy with a punchy hook.
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.