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New Music: Pune Protest Folk, Bengaluru Metalcore, New Delhi Prog-Jazz and more

This month, we round up releases from rapper Armaan Yadav, psychedelic rock band Dee En, metallers Aarlon and more

Anurag Tagat Apr 03, 2019

New Delhi-based psychedelic band Dee En released their latest EP 'Poppin'.' Photo: Prabhakar Duwarah

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“Vidroh” by Aarlon

New Delhi Hindi metallers Aarlon channel a hell of a lot of British band Architects on their latest single “Vidroh.” Clad in formal wear to symbolize the shackles of 9-to-5 jobs, Aarlon juxtapose that with churning out crushing modern metalcore. Vocalist Pritam Goswami Adhikary channels everyone from Slipknot’s Corey Taylor to Architects’ Sam Carter for sublime screams and growls and surprisingly deft (for metal, at least) Hindi lyrics about breaking free from “middle-class responsibilities.”

1947 Se AK-47 Tak by Deepak Peace

On his second full-length album, Pune singer-songwriter Deepak Peace doesn’t relent on his socially-conscious and politically-charged lyrics ”“ even if it did attract a complaint on a streaming platform that took down his debut album Aaj Ke Naam. The folk singer’s Dylan-esque style evolves just a bit more, adding fuller instrumental portions and more love songs. No one is spared in Deepak’s commentary, though, from the sullied history of India (the title track) to media politics (“Toh Kaise Bata”), capitalism (“Kasauli”) and war (“Kitno Dino Ke Baad”).

“In the Red” by Frostcraft

New Delhi’s latest heavy-hitters Frostcraft might call themselves a hardcore band, but their debut single and music video “In the Red” seems to introduce them more as a nu-metal outfit than anything else. The down-tuned riffs and wistful melodies come in just like they would in a song by KoRn or other early 2000s bands, as does vocalist-guitarist Arindam Chowdhury’s authoritative hooks and half-rap verses. The song is taken off their upcoming album Secrets, where we may or may not hear some hardcore tunes.

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“Bad Blood” by Armaan Yadav

Over a seemingly orchestral/flute sample, New Delhi rapper Armaan Yadav’s fourth single packs in many elements in just over two and a half minutes. What sounds like a diction inspired by rappers such as Eminem quickly morphs not just once but a few times over through every verse and chorus delivered by Yadav. Trying out different voices almost signal the voices in his head, reacting in different ways to the situation of a broken heart, with nodding references to rapper Mac Miller and the Muppets.

A Map of Our Mind by Shorthand

On the opening track of their debut EP, New Delhi band Shorthand prove exactly what’s so prog about their self-ascribed tag of prog/jazz rock. Produced by Ritwik De and Amar Pandey at Ghar Ka Studios, songs like “Window Noise” precisely sum up Shorthand’s adeptness at swinging between dark as well as sprightly arrangements. Songs like “Midnight Traffic” and “You’re Not Alone” are more languid in their jazz leaning structure, while a song simply titled “Jam” sounds like an outtake that picks up the pace and shows off some dexterity.

“Fallen Identities” by Final Surrender

After nearly two years of being somewhat dormant, Bengaluru Christian metal band Final Surrender have returned with a new bassist ”“ Eric Gerald ”“ and their first song, “Fallen Identities,” since 2017’s Nothing But Void. The band carry on their distinct melodic style, one that draws from bands like August Burns Red, diving into piercing screams, blazing riff work and impeccable double-bass drumming.

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Poppin’ EP by Dee En

In just under a year since releasing their debut EP Whoopsie Daisy in 2018, New Delhi psychedelic/synthpop band Dee En are out with a smooth new record, ambitiously called Poppin’. The big difference, of course, is that Dee En have had the chance to present their sound at several stages, including Ziro Festival of Music in Arunachal and Magnetic Fields Festival in Rajasthan in 2018. They pick up where Whoopsie Daisy left off, the layered laidback guitars and sublime rhythm section reminiscent of bands like Tame Impala. Dreamy synths draw over and around the lines, making songs like “Circle” and “Hope To Be” familiar, and pacier tracks such as “Both of Us” probably get heads nodding. The closing track “Cokehead,” however, seems to nudge in a new direction that sounds like a trip gone wrong.

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