10 Best Indian Albums of 2008
Motherjane tops, Raghu Dixit goes folk, and Shaa’ir + Func keep it groovy
Motherjane’s first album, 2003’s Insane Biography, got a lot of people sitting up and taking notice of this prog rock band from down South. But it’s really the genre-blending Maktub – with its hard-rocking riffs and Indian guitar lines – that propels them into the big league.
Vishal Shekhar Music
He is a troubadour who wears a veshti and ghungroos on stage – and it is this very exuberance of Raghu Dixit’s live performances that show up on his debut album. With this record – with songs on it in Hindi, English and Kannada – Dixit becomes one of the flagbearers of rock that’s truly Indian.
Phat Phish Records
They call their music “alternative Malayalam rock,” but what Avial delivers is straight-up rock, crunchy guitars and visceral vocals included. And it doesn’t matter that they sing in Malayalam: The sheer energy that abounds in each track on this debut connects with you.
Lounge Piranha are lying! From the moment the first bass notes bounce out of your speakers, you can be sure that Going Nowhere is actually going places and taking you along. In their debut, the Bangalore rockers build up textured soundscapes that manage to be groovy and laidback at the same time.
Thermal and a Quarter
This is It
Thermal and a Quarter return with their brand of energetic intricately-layered rock in their fourth album. While it’s not radically different from their earlier albums, This is It does what good music is supposed to do: make you move and groove.
If there could have been a genre like “fun metal,” that’s where Scribe’s free-for-download album would find place: This bunch of boys are evidently having a blast, and their music is none the poorer for it. Confect. is a formidable collection of heavy riffs, with some quirky bits thrown in.
Sajid and the Lost Boys
Kid Without Candy
The Enigmatic Army
Sajid Akbar used to be guitarist with now-defunct Delhi band, The Killer Tomatoes. Now he’s stashed away his electric six-string and strums his own songs on an acoustic, pretty much in the mould of a Jack Johnson. But the songs are still killer.
If it’s technical metal you are looking for, this is the must-have album of the year gone by. Conditioned: Human sees MyndSnare whipping up a formidable storm of angry vocals, maniacal drumming and abrasive riffs. And this coming from a trio: They are so tight that at no point do you miss a fourth member.
Counter Culture Records
Brute Force has been winning a spate of competitions across the country, and with this album, they show exactly why. Force Fed is, on the face of it, good ol’ thrash metal. But the Pune lads deliver it with such raw power and incredible precision that you cannot ignore it.
Shaa’ir + Func
The duo of Monica Dogra and Randolph Correia have been globetrotting this past year, including gigs at Glastonbury and the Cologne Pop Festival. And the reason for this international demand can be heard in their second album. Light Tribe is as groovy and funky as the first one, yet S+F manage to make it edgier.