Monthly Indie Dive: Music To Look Out for From July 2021

From progressive metal bands creating mystical Indian albums to a Bengali band coming up with a beautiful blues standard, July saw some interesting releases by indie artists across the country.

Read on to find out more:

‘Of the Lotus & the Thunderbolt’ – Midhaven

It’s not often that one uses the word ‘poignant’ to describe a metal album, but Mumbai metallers Midhaven have left no other choice with their second album ‘Of the Lotus & the Thunderbolt’. Introducing Indian mythology and ragas to progressive metal music, the three-piece outfit has created something unique yet familiar. Riffs and fast rhythms mix with grungy soundscapes that equally enthral and scare as the lyrical content dives into the cycle of birth and rebirth and the cyclical nature of time. It is inspired by Mahakaal aka the Hindu god Shiva. The guitar, especially, lays down slick fillers and solos that have a distinct Indian sound.

‘Bhule Jawa Blues’ – The Miliputs

Though this is not the first example of blues compositions using Bengali lyrics, the effort by Kolkata-based band The Miliputs is definitely laudable. For one, they have not moulded the form to fit the melodic structure that a Bengali song requires, but worked around that. The song, which talks about the distance created after two lovers drift apart, starts off with echoing chords on the electric guitar. Gradually, the bass and drums kick in, cementing a structure. The lead guitar plays tender fillers and notes with a tone that is equally delicate, over a voice that feels every word it enunciates.

‘Chanda’ – Komorebi

New Delhi-based producer Tarana Marwah, who goes by the moniker Komorebi, came up with her first Hindi offering with the song ‘Chanda’. It is dedicated to her grandfather, who contracted dementia, and hence the song revolves around missing the person that he used to be. She sings how she is frustrated after vainly searching for him. Framed as a soothing lullaby, one can detect the longing and wistfulness in her voice. The electronic music, too, marked more by wavy sound lines than beats, is gentle and humane. But the best part is the animated video, which focuses upon the spirits of objects that used to define the lost person.

‘We’re All We’ve Got: Songs from a Pandemic’ – Bruce Lee Mani

Thermal and a Quarter’s guitarist, singer and songwriter Bruce Lee Mani has come up with an astonishing 30 songs that make his debut solo album ‘We’re All We’ve Got: Songs from a Pandemic’. Strangely though, the album is just 38 minutes long – so the songs are barely a minute long. With oodles of energetic guitar work, melodic compositions and simple singer-songwriter efforts, the themes deal with things experienced during the pandemic as well as the policy failures of the ruling government. But what makes this album so important is that it  attempts to break the established conventions of what constitutes an album and how short can a song be. Perhaps in the age of Instagram, this will become the new norm.

Jaadoogari – Anand Bhaskar Collective

A problem with many Hindi bands is that they sound very similar to each other. But the Anand Bhaskar Collective is in a league of its own. There is a distinct sound that they call their own, as is evident with their latest song ‘Jaadoogari’, which gives wings to flights of imagination. The animated video shows a girl floating a paper boat on the river, which sets off a chain of magical events that ends in an alien lover coming down to embrace her. However, that is a dream. But the real magic lies in the music where several string instruments are used to conjure up a peppy mood, characterised by fanciful runs and uplifting choruses. It reminds one of the soundtrack of Parineeta by Shantanu Moitra.