New Music: Country from New Delhi, Marathi Electro-Rock, Kochi Prog and More
We round up the latest from Sparsh, producer-singer Kalumé, rock/metal band Copper Planet, plus Mumbai/Hyderabad duo K and Abhi, amongst others
“Sense of It All” by Winston Balman and the Prophets of Rock
Formed in 2017, singer-guitarist Winston Balman and his band, The Prophets of Rock, are clearly deep in the country and blues rock space with their new song “Sense Of It All.” In his heartbroken lilt, Balman could transport anyone to any southern state in the U.S., as he grapples with the travails of being a musician. Over a confessional tone and a soothing solo from Sagar Sharma, the band comprises bassist Archit Agrawal, drummer Hanujeet Singh, keyboardist Yashi Vikram and are joined by seasoned Australian country musician Lawrie Minson on pedal steel, making “Sense Of It All” as globally authentic as it gets.
“Uljhan” by Kirdaar
Mumbai rock band Kirdaar – who came together at True School of Music last year – released their debut single “Uljhan” last month. There’s something entirely familiar about the way the band whips up arena-ready Hindi rock arrangements reminiscent of artists like Anand Bhaskar Collective, but Kirdaar move forward by changing the pace, into a slower, glimmering synth-led second half of the song. It’s bright, heavy and soaring just when it needs to be.
“Chaphekar Bandhu Powada” by Sparsh and Amey Gawand
To mark Maharashtra Day on May 1st, Mumbai act Sparsh teamed up with Marathi songwriter Amey Gawand for a rousing synth-infused new take on a folk song called “Chaphekar Bandhu Powada.” It details a riveting story about the assassination of British officer Walter Rand by two revolutionaries in 1897. The five-minute song moves into different nearly-cinematic spaces, but only because of Gawand breaking into storytelling spoken-word verses over drum and bass detours taken on by the band.
“Intractable” by Copper Planet
On their latest single, Thiruvananthapuram rock/metal band Copper Planet get a little help from their friends for a choir of sorts, perhaps singing a line that’s apt for solidarity during a pandemic. “I hope that I am not alone/In this comatose/Blinded by thoughts/Take my hand and stretch yours to the next/If you feel me now/Hijack back control,” sing a choir assembled during the lockdown, after a polished prog standoff. “Intractable” is the band’s third single, following “Abandoned” (2019) and “An Augury of Paradise,” which released in November 2019.
“Painted Memories” by Random Proportions
Another release from Kerala that we’re digging is Kochi prog rock/metal band Random Proportions’ well-crafted new single “Painted Memories.” Supplied with a slickly shot music video that veers into surreal territory, the band shows off hues of prog bands such as Karnivool and Skyharbor on the track, injecting subtle string/synth layers as well as groovy, melodic choruses.
Learning to Walk: Step One by Kalumé
On the first song “Smile,” off the three-track EP Learning to Walk: Step One, Bengaluru-based singer-producer and guitarist Kalumé aka Bhagyanath Viswanath breaks away into a Tamil sentence and quickly returns to singing in English seamlessly. It’s these kind of surprises that make the artist (also a magician and clinical psychologist) stand out, offering diversity in songs like “Far Away” – groovy and somewhat melancholic – while “Life” lays emphasis on his seemingly gender-fluid voice over reverb-heavy arrangements.
“Metanoia” by Duravasa
Formed in Vellore, prog fusion metallers Duravasa are ones to watch for offering not just reliably heavy djent riffage, but also intriguing vocal arrangements by Devanshu Saran and Sarthak Dilawari. The nine-minute song works its away through a violin-guitar conversation (between Dilawari and Shanmuka Sreenivas) into a fully ambient guitar movement, anchored by keyboardist Vasanth Ravin. It’s a fairly standard length for prog songs, but Duravasa make sure they push themselves as much as possible.
Sunwave EP by K and Abhi
Mumbai/Hyderabad rock duo K and Abhi comprises two college friends and musicians Kailasnadh Komara and Abhimanyu Wadhwa. While Wadhwa is a producer-guitarist, Komara takes on vocal duties on their debut EP Sunwave. Suitably titled, songs like “Something I Saw” and “Sunwave” confidently get into wispy, spiralling electronic elements as well as Steven Wilson-esque prog guitar movements.