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New Music: Jazzcore from Sikkim, Tamil Pop, Bengali Alt-Rock and More

Check out the latest releases from producer Zen Clef, hip-hop artist Jack Styles, Assam singer-songwriter Abhilash Choudhury, among others

Anurag Tagat Jul 25, 2021

(Clockwise from top left) Tune in to new music from Sudan, Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy and Kevin Fernando, That's Not Self Help, Rudra, VENOM23 x RSHN. Photos: Courtesy of the artist

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That’s Not Self Help by That’s Not Self Help

Gangtok-based guitarist Josiah Ranpal launched his new project That’s Not Self Help with a cacophonous three-track self-titled demo. His friends on this EP are tons of dissonance, silence and jazz-informed chaos. It’s aggro and wholly unpredictable, which is just how anyone would explain jazzcore married with noise and punk.

“Light” by The Flower Child

Mumbai rock quartet The Flower Child run through influences aplenty on their latest song “Light,” which released in June. Lead guitarist Droopad Bujarbaruah takes on a bit of Indian classical scales on the fretboard, plus psychedelic and progressive rock headiness on the six and a half minute track. It spirals with catharsis in mind, tunneling past dark times to instill strength.

“Subah” by Abhilash Choudhury

Guwahati-bred singer-songwriter Abhilash Choudhury taps into adrenaline-fed Hindi rock on his energetic new single “Subah,” the fourth release off his upcoming album. Aided by drummer Sudarshan Konwar and guitarist Nishant Talukdar, there’s also backing vocals from Kerala’s Vaisakh Somanath. To fuel the wondrous rock of the song, an animated lyric video gives a peek into household balconies in lockdown. Choudhury previously released a suitably ethereal song called “Dream” as the third single off his album.

“Preach” by Jack’ Styles x Quazi Mode and Skipster

Chennai rapper Jack’ Styles aka Roshan Adam Afzal cuts loose on his debut release on Indian label Salt Haus Records, produced by Quazi Mode aka Udhav Sharma and featuring turntablist action from Skipster aka DJ Skip. Styles throws down about how money, power and fame “can’t change what it’s told to your brains.” Quazi Mode offers up a boom bap beat, with Styles’ loud and imposing rap matching up to the lethal lyrics.

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“Too Deep In” by Zen Clef, Takar Nabam, The Earflower Experiment

For his first single of the year, producer Zen Clef aka Rohan Goyal teams up with singer-songwriters Takar Nabam and The Earflower Experiment for a smooth electronic/R&B jam. “Too Deep In” details the push and pull of a person in a situationship unable to let go, buoyed in Nabam’s smooth guitar lines and friendly hooks.

“Vaazhvile” by Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy and Kevin Fernando

A regular collaborative duo, producer Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy and Kevin Fernando (now based in Toronto) unpack mixed feelings owing to the present times on their latest Tamil song “Vaazvhile.” Evidently bearing the folksy, whimsical pop stamp that’s been perfected by composers like A.R. Rahman, Vinayagamoorthy goes on to include string arrangements as well as a playful guitar lead to create a heartening pop track.

“Tumhare Bina” by Handa

Although we’re well into hearing tons of pandemic-related songs about long-distance relationships and missing dear ones, the topic isn’t getting old any time soon. Singer and composer Ayush Handa captures his thoughts around the time just before lockdowns, when he knew he was meeting his beloved for the last time before they would be separated, employing an affable hook of yearning over hip-hop beats.

“12:20” by Rudra

Agartala-based singer-songwriter Rudra Sarkar’s third single “12:20 (Barota Kuri)” draws from the dreamy pop-rock of Coldplay in its lush choruses and adds in overlapping vocal melodies to aim for a breathtaking sound. In the Bengali song, the artist brings himself to understand the passage of time, starting the song off with an electrifying guitar lead that is reprised cleverly.

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“Fire / Snow” by Sudan

Mumbai-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Pritpal Sudan (who goes by his last name as an artist) takes the groovy, chill lo-fi route on his second single “Fire / Snow.” Earlier this year, the artist released his debut track “quartz” and his latest song makes its way into a dreamy electronic space by the end. Expending his sonic energy on ideas of conflict and resolution, “Fire / Snow” is a sparkling song which makes Sudan one to watch out for.

“Bow Down” by RSHN & VENOM23 ft. Eyepatch

Chennai producer RSHN aka Roshen Giridhar and 19-year-old beatsmith Eyepath aka Ainesh Dhawan run riot with a tumultuous bass/trap production for 15-year-old rapper VENOM23 aka Vikas Murali to match with his own flow. VENOM23 sections his cadences and syllabic delivery throughout nearly three minutes and although there’s nothing too new in terms of the lyrical content, “Bow Down” allows the artists to be heard loud and clear as young, deadly players in India’s rap game.

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