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New Music: Bengaluru Hip-Hop, Psychedelic Rock, Prog Metal and More

Tune in to the latest from pop artist Koustuv Ghosh, producer Avenda, Pune singer-songwriter Gaurav Tophakhane and singer-producer Sparsh Dangwal, amongst others

Anurag Tagat Jan 31, 2021

Pune singer-songwriter Gaurav Tophakhane, Paris-based producer Avenda aka Vishwak Sudhakar, Chennai blues/rock artist Roshan George Thomas and Goa/Pune metal band Within Ceres (from top left). Photos: Courtesy of the artist (Avenda, Thomas, Within Ceres), Shantanu Salunkhe (Tophakhane)

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Hope EP by Jaz and Clare

Bengaluru-based Jitish Antin and Sachit Clare came together for a song in 2019 and decided to extend their association to become a duo soon after. Their debut EP Hope is seemingly constructed as a seamless listening experience, employing hip-hop production and pop/rap songwriting that explores familiar lyrics – about mental health, corruption and surviving it all. It’s spirited, bright-eyed music (“Make It Right,” featuring Carnatic musician Shrihari Ranganatham and the title track, featuring vocalist Gauri Moghe) and despairing yet courage-filled hip-hop (“Better Days”).

I Felt Something EP by Sparsh Dangwal

Perhaps some of the friendliest pop from this part of the world, singer-songwriter Sparsh Dangwal’s debut EP I Felt Something channels a little bit of Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and more into slickly produced tunes. In the works for nearly two years, there’s breathy, well-paced earworms like “Tay” and affable pop with “Friend.” Dangwal comes close to a modern ballad of sorts with “Stay” and takes to lazy day vibes on “Take Me Home.” The artist grows visibly by the time we get to “End,” which sets up well for future releases.  

“Theher Ja” by Gaurav Tophakhane

Pune singer-songwriter Gaurav Tophakhane has been taking to several sonic palettes for his singles, as we’ve heard on the groovy “Chup Chup” and electro-pop leaning “Dheere Se.” With his latest, he’s aided by producer Shaunak Kulkarni on “Theher Ja,” a slick synth-pop tune that plays up rock-inflected synthwave elements as Tophakhane croons longingly for a lover.

“MAD” by Koustuv Ghosh

Following up his buoyant debut solo single “Playing Games” from 2020, singer, actor and model Koustuv Ghosh steadies his aim at haters with his second release “MAD.” While the self-produced track leans more in the trap, hip-hop and pop direction, Ghosh paces himself with vocal melodies reminiscent of Chris Brown and Drake on the track, going full throttle in the music video with his dance moves, boxing ring takedowns and more.

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“A Better Place” by Astral Dogs

There’s an unmistakably American rock vocal sensibility heard from producer, singer and synth artist Madhavi Das on Bengaluru psychedelic act Astral Dogs’ debut single “A Better Place.” The splendored vocals go over Srish Chander’s spacey guitar work and the duo is aided by bassist Sammy J David and drummer Glenn Welman. Come for the hippie power, stay for the calming, hypnotic instrumental portions.

Rainforest EP by Avenda

Tamil Nadu-born and Paris-based producer Avenda aka Vishwak Sudhakar has been putting out music since 2018 and it seems to be a product of being enamored by the lo-fi hip-hop and vaporwave movement of crafting chill tunes to get through the day. Accruing bountiful streams on Spotify with material like “County Fair” in 2020, his latest EP Rainforest is a no-frills, easygoing guitar-infused collection of lo-fi material that’s groovy and certainly easily palatable.

Tavish EP by Tavish

After being part of prog rock band Balalaika and dubstep/rock act N Dimensions, Pune artist Krunal Parekh launches his solo project under the moniker Tavish. The self-titled debut EP comes across as his statement as a singer-songwriter, guided by a theme of the importance of love. There’s bittersweetness on “Tum Jo Ho” (which also has a music video), the kazoo-infused romantic track “Tu Bewafa To Nahin” and hum-worthy tunes like “Vaadey Haseen,” “Raasta” and a dreamy closing track in “Hum-Nasheen.”

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“Somebody’s Fool” by Roshan George Thomas

Chennai singer-songwriter and producer Roshan George Thomas dives into retro-pop with his new release “Somebody’s Fool.” Imbued with his bluesy, tender guitar work, the artist croons about “unrequited affection” with pop vocal flourishes and ties it all together within two and a half minutes, making it a quick yet memorable listen.

“Untether” by Within Ceres

On “Untether,” the follow up to their 2020 EP Skyless, Goa/Pune metallers Within Ceres waste no time in diving into dissonant, chaotic riffs that can get mosh movement in no time. The slickly crafted animated video – made by Jubesco Fernandes – shows a  central character who disconnects himself from a virtual world. The band adds in a note of how the song fits into their concept world, “A system error forces our protagonist to re-engage back with reality. He craves to reconnect with the un-real. Flashbacks of his time within Ceres haunt him as he struggles to cope.”

Arise, Lord by Psalms Revisited

Mumbai bassist, producer and guitarist Jatin Jitendrakumar takes the first 10 psalms of the Bible and gives it the rock and metal treatment with help from guest vocalists across the board on Arise, Lord! While there’s a cajon jam with “O Most High,” “Blessed Is The One” and “Deliver” are on the softer side. The project soars with tracks like “How Long,” “The Decree” and “Answer Me.” If Christian rock is your thing, Psalms Revisited gives prayer a shot in the arm on Arise, Lord!

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