Listen: Sophomore Sweetheart by Sunflower Tape Machine

Shoegaze has had a sort of black-sheep othering in Indian indie’s timeline. Its realm has inevitably bent to the will of the much more accessible post-rock; the spaces in-between were cleaned up and widened, the songs became ripe fodder for cross-pollination with other genres, leading to some questionable collaborations. 

Carrying its torch, so to speak, is Chennai-based Aryaman Singh. The nineteen-year-old bedroom pop artist has been regularly releasing covers on his Instagram, presenting a window into his influences such as My Bloody Valentine and Men I Trust. While wearing them on his sleeve, Aryaman does welcome more to the fold through the two singles he has released as Sunflower Tape Machine – the flat-out shoegaze bliss of ‘within you’ along with a fascination for synths and arps in the largely instrumental ‘death, colourised’. 

The shapeshifting continues on ‘Sophomore Sweetheart’, a squeaky clean uptempo romp in ‘80s regalia that skillfully borrows from the era it seeks to emulate. Lyrically, the song points to a homecoming dance that might go unattended, alongside bright synth arpeggios and production akin to The Cure and more recently Her’s. Written as a ‘nostalgic summer hit’, using ‘80s-inspired playthings like the Linn LM-1 drum machine and Roland’s JUNO synth, the single shines a brighter light on a chameleonic performer searching for his own skin to inhabit. 

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