New Music: Tamil Reggae, Hindi Rock, Kolkata Folk-Fusion, Experimental Hip-Hop and More
We round up the latest from singer-songwriter Barbie Rajput, rap act Madara, alternative artist Cha’bi and more
“Shayad Ke Main Zinda Nahin” by Cha’abi
On the path to finding solace, New Delhi Hindi alternative act Cha’bi’s vocalist-guitarist Akshay Kapoor battles his way out of numbness on their latest song “Shayad Ke Main Zinda Nahin.” Featuring a simple rock progression, a few layered melodies and reverb-heavy vocals about how drained one feels after an abusive relationship, the song offers a glimmer of hope.
“Udja” by Sukanti-Anushree
Roaming the familiar, camera-friendly locales of Kolkata, folk-fusion duo Sukanti-Anushree’s new single “Udja” serves up mandolin-laced electronic arrangements and instantly memorable hooks. Throwing in a few record scratches and a refreshing harmonium switch-up, the Kolkata duo celebrate freedom and the importance of nature. The song follows up previous singles such as “Ishita” and their 2015 album Centurion Relay.
“Marley” by Tenma ft Gana Muthu
Penned as a tribute to Bob Marley, Chennai-based Tenma – co-founder and producer with boundary-breaking band The Casteless Collective – calls on singer Gana Muthu (also part of the collective) for a laidback yet resolute new song called “Marley.” Over a chill dancehall beat, Muthu praises Marley as a hero for the reggae legend’s message of “love, peace, harmony” and sings about why the world needs compassion and how it’s “about time we get Marley-fied.”
“Aatmnirbhar Majdoor?” by Madara ft Ujjwal, Seven & Seven
New Delhi-based rapper Rahul Negi aka Madara shot to fame late in 2019 when he released “Tukde Tukde Gang?” which questioned the demonization of students during the widespread protests that erupted in the capital, garnering a million views for it. Now, Madara – along with producer Seven & Seven and vocalist Ujjwal Lawania – takes aim at the way migrant labor has been treated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, his conviction-heavy wordplay also bolstered by rapper Spectra.
Aagmann by JAW
At it since 2012, Siliguri-bred, New Delhi-based hip-hop artist JAW aka Akash Tripathi spent two years on his debut album Aagmann, which is a typical hip-hop journey in many ways, detailing how stands resilient and staring down less-than-worthy competition. JAW is verbose every now and then on tracks like “Zindagi” and the mythology-referencing, Auto-Tune employing “N.G.A.F.” The album goes to show that even over guessable beats, striking Hind-English lyricism can always stand out.
“Ticket” by Pull
With their third single, Mumbai-based Hindi rock band Pull craft a somewhat play-it-safe but swaying song that dreams about travel and escapist fantasies at a time when the world is in lockdown, but wants to stay grounded. The video has been stitched together by pieces of travel footage crowdsourced over social media. The six-member band previously released “Aye Aye,” as part of the #BacardiHousePartySessions, mentored by composer-singer Amit Trivedi.
“Bhot Kuch” by Kidshot
Hailed for a “chopper flow” and his previous feats that include going at 350 plus words in a minute, Mumbai rapper Kidshot squares up with haters on his new song “Bhot Kuch.” Released via Mass Appeal India, Kidshot previously appeared amongst a bevy of artists in hip-hop Bollywood film Gully Boy but in “Bhot Kuch,” he’s being his braggadocious self as he references Tesla as well as actor Amitabh Bachchan and says he can stand on his own feet.
“Closure” by Kreon and Lojal
Bengaluru-based experimental artist Lojal teams up with producer Kreon to create a wispy new song “Closure.” Similar to his debut album Phase, Lojal sings about catching feelings, anxieties and still maintaining respect for a partner – all part of how he grapples with the idea of closure in a relationship. Kreon, for his part, provides blips and glitches, tempered beats that are a perfect fit for Lojal’s vocals.
“Le Chal Mujhe” by Barbie Rajput
After experimenting with melancholic pop and putting forward her most vulnerable self on her 2018 EP Sweet Spot, singer Barbie Rajput has slowly turned to brighter, vibrant tunes with singles such as “Dust of Purity.” Her new song “Le Chal Mujhe” is another pivot, in its elegant, yesteryear Bollywood music production elements, whimsical rhythms that go over Rajput’s measured saccharine croon.