10 Summer Songs by Indian Artists You Need to Hear
All the coolest tracks we’re listening to on loop right now
1. Takar Nabam: “Receding”
Nothing screams summer vibes more than melancholia born out of lost love. The lead single off Arunachal-bred New Delhi singer-songwriter Takar Nabam‘s recently released album This Home, That Home offers wiry, introspective alt rock on “Receding.” The song takes a robust, groovy turn mid-way, signaling a light at the end of the romantic tunnel.
2. Peter Cat Recording Co.: “Copulations”
New Delhi pop/gypsy band Peter Cat Recording Co. evoke bittersweet nostalgia of forgotten summer days with their swing special “Copulations.” Frontman Suryakant Sawhney croons effortlessly– à la the legendary Tony Bennett– while the gentle jazz brushes on the snare drum and a walking bassline build a retro universe. The song is from their new album, Portrait of a Time: 2010-2016.
3. Azamaan Hoyvoy: “Everybody Looking For Love (ELFL)”
What would summer be without both the lonely and the lovesick fools! The young, Mumbai-based musician Azamaan Hoyvoy is at his vocal and emotive best on “Everybody Looking For Love (ELFL)” a delectable jazz/electro/soul concoction. The extra crunch—a fat bassline and melodic drums—are courtesy of Indian indie’s newest jazz whizz-kids, Nathan Thomas and Dhir Mody, respectively.
4. Aarifah Rebello: “Don’t Rush”
Mumbai singer-songwriter Aarifah Rebello won’t paint pictures of rosy romances–her recent single “Don’t Rush” opens with the lyrics, “Let’s talk about how boy meets a girl/And everything stops.” The easy-breezy ditty warns against diving deep into love, Rebello’s balmy vocals pitching all the red flags ever so gently over the acoustic progression. But will the fools stop rushing in?
5. Zokhuma: “Hearts”
On his recently released two-track EP Hearts + Fields, Mumbai electronica artist Zokhuma showcases everything from slick synth parts to groovy percussion on the eight-minute down tempo, “Hearts.” The song opens with a delicate keyboard arrangement and slowly builds personality with samples, a tight bass section and abundant ambient sounds.
6. The Derelicts: “Happy Sad”
Kochi alterative/electronica group The Derelicts tick all the boxes for a summer song with “Happy Sad.” Bright guitars, swinging groove and dynamic tempo changes light up the song while the catchy chorus steals the show. What’s a good summer without some cheer!
7. Shadow and Light: “Samandar”
Breakout pop/world music duo Shadow and Light from New Delhi bring their signature fusion flair on “Samandar.” Vocalist Pavithra Chari’s crisp, versatile vocals shine throughout the track while composer Anindo Bose makes sure the arrangement—and that graceful keyboard solo—raises the benchmark for bending genres.
8. DIVINE: “One Side”
Mumbai rapper DIVINE returns with his trademark angst on a new single, “One Side.” The desi hip-hop poster boy spits verses about everything from comedy sketch group All India Bakchod(AIB) to King Kong over a banging beat that refuses to relax.
9. Alif: “Lalnawath”
Pune world music group Alif’s fresh track “Lalnawath” is a piece of art, to put it simply. The band employ a compelling mix of emotion, lyricism and visual storytelling to narrate what appears to be a dark tragedy. Mohammad Muneem Nazir’s exceptional vocals leave behind a lump in the throat.
10. Gaya Tideman: “Undress”
Vocalist Gaya Tideman debuted her stellar vocal chops as part of electronica collective Jwala’s eight compilation Now with the bright trip-hop song, “Undress.” The whimsical composition carries some intriguing samples–such as a wind up mechanical toy and flowing water– while the main riff, with its magnetic synth part, adds character to it.