This week in Indian independent music has a little something for everyone—from jazzy R&B to mellow pop, and a lot of colour. Here are the week’s best picks, and tough picks, too.
Aakash Rajan – come with me/ yen kooda va
Chennai-based musician and singer-songwriter, Aakash Rajan, brings that colour we just spoke about. The 21-year old’s latest release, ‘come with me/yen kooda va’, is a bilingual celebration of life and a perfect way to start the day. Sung primarily in English, the refrain is peppered with Tamil, backed by electrifying and contagious energy.
The musician’s principle of “Sound first!” (as per his Spotify bio) comes to full fruition in this track, which begins with a hit of dopamine, in the first place. Merging Carnatic music influences and sound (an art form the musician has been trained in for 14 years), ‘come with me/ yen kooda va’ begins with a cheery guitar riff, subtle percussion and saturated vocals. Before you know it, Indian percussion, backed by a slick bassline, takes centre stage and the listener is thrown into rhythmic mirth. If this track is an invitation, there’s no saying no.
Shama – 42.8% V/V
Mumbai-based 22-year-old, Shama, makes her debut with the slick R&B/jazz single, ’42.8% V/V’. The singer-songwriter and self-professed Erykah Badu worshipper sings reflectively of intoxication, a relationship with alcohol and skilfully uses production to create a sonic representation of a harmful cycle. Everything about this track is evocative – Shama’s voice, the songwriting, the cover art featuring the artist’s music-making set up and empty bottles of rum.
Slow, measured and deliberate, ’42.8% V/V’ is a song to lose yourself to.
Sai Vsr – 3 AM
Sai Vsr has become a familiar name in the scene over the past couple of months, owing to back-to-back single releases. And, his latest, ‘3 AM’, suggests that he isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The track clocks in at 4 minutes and 36 seconds and combines mellow pop with a disruptive bridge of light rock.
Lyrically, ‘3 AM’ could do without some of the clichés, but even so, does what it’s meant to—makes you feel and empathise. What stands out is the arrangement. The Hyderabad-based musician seems to be getting better at composition, production, and building the perfect track.
‘3 AM’ may not be perfect, but as emphasised in his song, neither is Sai Vsr.
Perp, Varun Agnihotri – Best Friend
Who doesn’t need a best friend? Perp aka Urmila Sivadas and fellow musician Varun Agnihotri lift the spirits with their latest collaboration, a feel-good single called ‘Best Friend’. Slick, smooth, rich in melodies, and replete with heart-warming lines about friendship, the track does exactly what the artists intended.
The artists voices take centre stage on this one, making the track what it is. And, there’s really nothing more to say than listen, smile, and let your heart be warmed up.
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