Best Of Indian Albums 2013
Here are our picks of the most exciting releases in 2013, minus order and rank
Tajdar Junaid from Kolkata canÂ play over a dozen instruments.Â In his debut What Color Is YourÂ Raindrop, Junaid won us overÂ with his unhurried, delicateÂ compositions on the charango, aÂ South American lute.
Brutal gore and sexual devianceÂ make up Reptilian Death’sÂ debut. Mumbai metaller SahilÂ Makhija rebuilt RD in 2010 withÂ vocalist Vinay Venkatesh andÂ bassist Ashwin Shriyan.
The Indian folk rock band ditchÂ all clichÃ©s for their second albumÂ and bring in big folk drums forÂ a cinematic anthem song, a sarodÂ on a ghazal and even a clawhammerÂ banjo on a Kannada song.Â Who says folk is simple?
Â The young singer songwriterÂ pushes past the misery and desperationÂ that we’ve always associatedÂ with Kolkata, giving us aÂ burst of sunshine in Ocean, oneÂ of the most cheery pop debutsÂ out this year.
When you want to bring theÂ party out on to the streets, youÂ need pumped up music. MumbaiÂ punk rock band The LightyearsÂ Explode’s debut full-lengthÂ album is 10 tracks of rage, celebrationÂ and despair.
Bengaluru alternative/psychedelicÂ band The Bicycle Days’ vocalistÂ Karthik Basker is a whimpering,Â auto-tuned, snarlingÂ mess amongst sparse downtempoÂ beats as well as prog rockÂ movements.
Former post rocker Kamal SinghÂ returns as the lo-fi noise makerÂ Hoirong, armed with a laptop recorder,Â programmed drums andÂ a pirated version of Logic Pro.
Peter Cat Recording Co’s frontmanÂ Suryakant Sawhney’s electronicaÂ moniker Lifafa is impressive.Â The nine-track sample-heavy album shines throughÂ with tracks like the retroÂ lounge-y “Boa Gombay.”
It doesn’t matter that unlessÂ you’re big on grind metal, youÂ can’t comprehend a single verseÂ about maiming and killingÂ growled by vocalist AdityaÂ Barve. Skewered In The Sewer isÂ fast, unsparing metal.
This is one of the most ambitiousÂ contemporary jazz albums releasedÂ this decade. Dave Valentin,Â Jay Beckestein, Pandit VishwaÂ Mohan Bhatt among othersÂ feature on this 17-track albumÂ packed with heavy hitters.
Like the track “Vampires WeakÂ End,” a coiled rush at intelligentlyÂ crafted and downright funÂ club music, much of the albumÂ by the Delhi electronica artistÂ makes for essential listening.
When the Chennai band movedÂ away from funk and alt rock sensibilities,Â they didn’t fall short onÂ their 10-track debut. The garageÂ rock trio is inspired by cigars,Â samurai and Rajini, of course.
I may be biased as he has beenÂ a longtime friend andÂ collaborator, but I rememberÂ bugging him to record an albumÂ ever since he started sending meÂ some of his demos. His songsÂ feature some really mature writingÂ and yet manage to retain a senseÂ 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.Â
BEST EPs OF THE YEAR
The Mumbai band’s brightÂ pop harmonies make forÂ standout tracks both on andÂ off stage. Their debut album orÂ next release has a tough actÂ to follow.
They followed up quick fromÂ their 2012 debut andÂ matched it with even betterÂ production. Vocalist RaxitÂ Tewari still keeps usÂ befuddled with oddly poeticÂ lyrics, though.
Through all the glitch, noise,Â samples and raw synth soundsÂ Nikhil Kaul aka Frame/FrameÂ maintains the element ofÂ composition in the EP, which isÂ worthy of multiple spins.
The electro element inÂ Chennai band The F16s addsÂ the most diversity in rockÂ we’ve heard this year. We’reÂ waiting on that full-lengthÂ album with a hat tip toÂ keyboardist HarshanÂ 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.