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New Music: From Kolkata Metal to Chennai Alt Rock and More

Hear the latest from Mumbai-based Barbie Rajput, New Delhi duo Cha’bi and guitarist Ravi Kumar, among others

Anurag Tagat Feb 21, 2018

Mumbai-based singer Barbie Rajput. Photo: Indra Joshi

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Sweet Spot EP by Barbie Rajput

After appearing on singing competitions and snagging commercial projects, Himachal Pradesh-bred, Mumbai-based singer Barbie Rajput comes into her own as a solo artist. On her debut EP Sweet Spot, the 22-year-old teams up with producer Aadi Arora for a soothing, sensual and emotional four-track EP. It might include a few raw spoken word sections, but on songs like “Bury at Dawn,” Rajput is at her sublime best.

For These Sins Who Must Die by Chronic Xorn

Rounding off nearly two years of great releases from Kolkata metal bands are another longstanding outfit, Chronic Xorn. On their latest EP For These Sins Who Must Die, the band prove they can do it themselves and make a final product that stands on par with many international acts for its intensity. Borrowing from the likes of American metallers like Lamb of God, Chronic Xorn goes from dissonance to crushing death metal brilliance on six tracks.

Stories From a Bottle EP by Bjorn Surrao

On his debut EP, Chennai-based pop artist Bjorn Surrao – part of erstwhile funk rock band Franks Got the Funk – works his laidback, smooth voice to starry-eyed tunes. It is understandably a huge change in tempo (among other things) for Surrao, but he fits right in as a songwriter, whether it’s on his early single “Walls,” featuring marching drum beats, subtle EDM melodies on “Crystal Skies” and “Sunset Boulevard.” He adds diversity with two Tamil songs, dueting with Suchith Suresan on “Stellar” and adding singer Shakthisree Gopalan on “Kadal Neeye.”

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Scramble by Wacx

Formed in 2016, Chennai rock band Wacx prefer to introduce themselves as a hard rock/punk band, but their debut six-track release Scramble comes across as everything typically Indian rock – the warm guitar tones, the well-paced percussion and familiar arena-rock vocal harmonies. Our picks remain the jump-around opener “Falling Out,” the bright and gleaming “Trade the Sky” and the alt rock “Rat Race.”

Listen to the album here.

“Raat Ka Aayina” by Cha’bi

As soon as the spectral synth opens New Delhi duo Cha’bi’s debut single “Raat Ka Aayina,” you’re expecting something sinister. But then, vocalist Akshay Kapoor’s wistful verses about reflection and introspection almost evoke a sense of nostalgia, with the synth tones from producer Paras Khanna becoming equally reminiscent of a song straight out of an early Nineties Bollywood film.

“Chain of Lies 2” by Ravi Kumar

The guitarist for New Delhi-based extreme metallers High Frequency, Ravi Kumar has a more technical, clean tone oriented side to him that perhaps few know about. On a newly launched playthrough video of his 2017 two-parter “Chain of Lies,” Kumar channels his inner Tosin Abasi, tapping and plucking his way through much like the axeman of tech metal band Animals As Leaders. Tune in for the dexterity, but stay for the melodies.

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