Best Of Indian Albums 2013
Here are our picks of the most exciting releases in 2013, minus order and rank
Tajdar Junaid from Kolkata can play over a dozen instruments. In his debut What Color Is Your Raindrop, Junaid won us over with his unhurried, delicate compositions on the charango, a South American lute.
Brutal gore and sexual deviance make up Reptilian Death’s debut. Mumbai metaller Sahil Makhija rebuilt RD in 2010 with vocalist Vinay Venkatesh and bassist Ashwin Shriyan.
The Indian folk rock band ditch all clichés for their second album and bring in big folk drums for a cinematic anthem song, a sarod on a ghazal and even a clawhammer banjo on a Kannada song. Who says folk is simple?
The young singer songwriter pushes past the misery and desperation that we’ve always associated with Kolkata, giving us a burst of sunshine in Ocean, one of the most cheery pop debuts out this year.
When you want to bring the party out on to the streets, you need pumped up music. Mumbai punk rock band The Lightyears Explode’s debut full-length album is 10 tracks of rage, celebration and despair.
Bengaluru alternative/psychedelic band The Bicycle Days’ vocalist Karthik Basker is a whimpering, auto-tuned, snarling mess amongst sparse downtempo beats as well as prog rock movements.
Former post rocker Kamal Singh returns as the lo-fi noise maker Hoirong, armed with a laptop recorder, programmed drums and a pirated version of Logic Pro.
Peter Cat Recording Co’s frontman Suryakant Sawhney’s electronica moniker Lifafa is impressive. The nine-track sample-heavy album shines through with tracks like the retro lounge-y “Boa Gombay.”
It doesn’t matter that unless you’re big on grind metal, you can’t comprehend a single verse about maiming and killing growled by vocalist Aditya Barve. Skewered In The Sewer is fast, unsparing metal.
This is one of the most ambitious contemporary jazz albums released this decade. Dave Valentin, Jay Beckestein, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt among others feature on this 17-track album packed with heavy hitters.
Like the track “Vampires Weak End,” a coiled rush at intelligently crafted and downright fun club music, much of the album by the Delhi electronica artist makes for essential listening.
When the Chennai band moved away from funk and alt rock sensibilities, they didn’t fall short on their 10-track debut. The garage rock trio is inspired by cigars, samurai and Rajini, of course.
I may be biased as he has been a longtime friend and collaborator, but I remember bugging him to record an album ever since he started sending me some of his demos. His songs feature some really mature writing and yet manage to retain a sense of childlike wonder and innocence.
Horror metal band Albatross have impressed me most this year with their hard work and dedication. Their genre of music is not something that is very popular in India or even Mumbai. The band has however completely powered through everything in 2013, touring quite a bit and even getting themselves a tour in Australia. They really carved a space for themselves in the metal scene in 2013.
BEST EPs OF THE YEAR
The Mumbai band’s bright pop harmonies make for standout tracks both on and off stage. Their debut album or next release has a tough act to follow.
They followed up quick from their 2012 debut and matched it with even better production. Vocalist Raxit Tewari still keeps us befuddled with oddly poetic lyrics, though.
Through all the glitch, noise, samples and raw synth sounds Nikhil Kaul aka Frame/Frame maintains the element of composition in the EP, which is worthy of multiple spins.
The electro element in Chennai band The F16s adds the most diversity in rock we’ve heard this year. We’re waiting on that full-length album with a hat tip to keyboardist Harshan Radhakrishnan.
Udyan Sagar is onto something big. Nobody has been able to start a party (and keep it going) with tappankoothu (South Indian street music) and dubstep like he has. We can’t wait for his next release.