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10 Best Indian EPs of 2016

Your Chin sticks to his guns; Unohu get political; Godless’ ruthless debut


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your-chin-2

Your Chin. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

1.Underground Authority: Propaगेंडा

Politically charged and lyrically outspoken, Kolkata rap rock band Underground Authority’s EP Propaगेंडा could well be the soundtrack to the tumultuous year that was 2016. A bit of a melting pot (the band experiment with rock, ballad-y strings, reggae and two languages) the EP stands out for its raw energy and raptivism. This is the band’s—comprising vocalist ‘EPR’ Iyer, guitarist Adil Rashid, drummer Sourish Kumar and bassist Soumyadeep Bhattacharya— second record and definitely their more impressive one.

Stream the EP below:

 

2. Your Chin: Peeping Till It’s Noise

Mumbai producer Raxit Tewari brings his familiar drawl and playful electro-pop on his third EP. If his first two records saw him experimenting and discovering his newfound sonic space, Peeping Till It’s Noise proudly boasts skills that are unique only to Tewari: no-nonsense grooves, oddball songwriting metaphors (“Slowly/Machines retaliate/Get Your Peanuts Out and Wait”) and the just-woke-up staccato vocals.

Stream the EP below:

 

3. Unohu: Babel

Babel is the follow-up to alt rock band Unohu’s debut EP Asunder which released in 2014. The members say that it has turned out just the way they wanted. All four songs on Babel touch upon different lyrical themes and there is a common strain of political consciousness running through them. “Incognito” and “Call My Name” express how one cannot afford to be faceless and nameless in a country that’s bursting with people.

Stream the EP below:

 

4. Vernon Noronha: Closer To Home

After writing and performing songs at festivals and clubs across the country for nearly eight years, Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Vernon Noronha released his debut EP Closer To Home this past February. The EP explores well-founded experiences, Noronha’s laid-back vocals and pleasant guitar work all wrapped in warm emotions that take you back home.

Stream the EP below:

 

5. Paraphoniks: Yarns

Mumbai-based synth duo Shatrunjai Dewan and Sid Shirodkar aka Paraphoniks dove deep into retro-futurism on Yarns , exploring space age sound effects and smooth Eighties-esque synth in detail. The EP features a myriad of tones that range from galactic conquest (“Frissions”) to video game soundtrack (“Polymath”) and ambient lounge (“Blue Shift,”) offering a unique exploration of the capabilities of modular synth.

Stream the EP below:

 

6. The Hoodwink Circle: With The Flow

Although it took The Hoodwink Circle four years to release their debut EP, it proved to be well worth the wait. The Mumbai alternative rock band combined old-school rock, funk and metal on With The Flow, drawing inspiration from various situations around them for lyrics. The compositions range from a song about a bike (“Suzanna”) to the Indian education system (“Failure”) to punctuality (“Late”) and more. Frontman Aidan Lewis’ vocals channel Eddie Vedder at points while guitarist Sanju Aguiar, bassist Ishaan Krishna and drummer Rahul Hariharan deliver dynamic and powerful performances.

Stream the EP here.

the-hoodwink-circle-artwork

‘With The Flow’ artwork

 

7. Wired Anxiety: The Delirium of Negation

It’s been a good year for death metal, and even the (now) offshore outfit of Wired Anxiety (with guitarist Naval Katoch and vocalist Dheeraj Govindraju based in the U.S.) have been able to stomp down with brutal intent. Nothing makes you wince and smile more than hearing Govindraju’s most unforgiving, guttural squeals set to mosh-mobilizing riffs. Tech-death, slam and a hint of prog permeate on songs like “Focus 22” and “Severe Comorbidity.”

Stream the EP below:

 

8. Orchid: Orchid

Bengaluru’s mind-bending metallers Orchid seem to be all about measure. On their long overdue debut EP, they make their menacing presence known, alongside their avant-garde alter-ego, writing two-faced songs that sway between pulverizing prog death and eerie jazz-influenced interludes (“Venusian Death”). It’s just a taste, but one that’s one of the most intriguing metal releases of the year, touching upon all things brutal, from Eighties horror (“Civic TV”), mental disorders (“Disorder”) and manga/anime (“Migrate”).

Stream the EP below:

 

9. Godless: Centuries of Decadence

Hyderabad’s newest, most brutal band sees members of metal acts Eccentric Pendulum, Orchid, Skrypt and Shock Therapy combine forces to debut with epic, skull-crushing death metal that challenges the maladies of modern society—and your capacity for some serious sonic assault. Within half a year of its release, the four track Centuries of Decadence has already earned Godless gigs across the country, and a slot on homeground festival Deccan Rock alongside Polish metallers Behemoth. One spin of riff-busters like “Ossuary” and “Replicant,” and it’s safe to say that Godless are just as ruthless as the past year has been.

Stream the EP below:

 

10. Death by Fungi: In Dearth Of

Mumbai hardcore trio Death By Fungi made their mark this year under just 11 minutes—In Dearth Of wastes no time in unleashing sonic chaos that’s as groovy as it is grimy. Whether it’s the fuzzed-out aggressiveness of “Black Lung,” the frenetic riff-work of “Pathfinder,” the seething vengeance of “Iced,” or the punk-nodding freedom of “Endless Rain,” Death By Fungi keep it rolling with a stabbing angularity that’s all killer and no filler.

Stream the EP below:

(Releases are listed in no particular order)

Compiled by Nirmika Singh, Anurag Tagat, Nabeela Shaikh, Riddhi Chakraborty and David Britto

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  • February 18th, 2017 - February 19th, 2017 Global ISAI Festival ft Ilhaam Project, The F16s, Thakara, Masala Coffee, Ziia and the Swing Mates, Tablatronic World Peace and more in Chennai at Phoenix Market City
  • February 19th, 2017 Guthrie Govan w/Mohini Dey, Gino Banks in Guwahati at Ita Machkhowa
  • February 19th, 2017 Zygnema, Inner Sanctum in Bengaluru at The Humming Tree
  • February 19th, 2017 Rahul Guha Roy in Kolkata at Beer Republic
  • February 20th, 2017 Aditi & Kaushik in New Delhi at Piano Man Jazz Club



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