Most anticipated independent releases of 2023

From prolific favourite rappers to seasoned singer-composers who want to get their funk on, plus an important year for the Indian metal faithful, here are the albums and EPs we’re looking forward to in the new year. 

Benny Dayal – THEM

Nagara Gopal@The Hindu Image credit: Nagara Gopal

Balancing the worlds of film music, pop, his project Funktuation and his several collaborations, singer-composer Benny Dayal has his work cut out for himself this year. In midst of all those releases, he’s nearly done with his new record THEM, which stands for Tamil, Hindi, English and Malayalam, the four languages used for the songs. Expect, funk-informed vibrant and soulful pop from the diverse artist. 

Hoirong – The Resurrection of the Princess of Woe and Her Vampire Hound Posse (Reworked)

In 2023, it’s going to be a decade since the launch of Bengaluru-based punk rocker Kamal Singh’s band Hoirong. It’s taken on several iterations in terms of studio project to live band and then some, but where it all started was with the very lengthily titled album The Resurrection of the Princess of Woe and Her Vampire Hound Posse, released in March 2013. For the last few years, Singh has been inviting Indian indie artists and bands to rework each of the 10 tracks, from ‘XOX’ and ‘Bonda’ to ‘Bajrang Bali’. Stay tuned for an exciting lineup of artist reimagining each song. 

Yungsta – TBA 

vikas maurya

New Delhi hip-hop artist Yungsta has been teasing on Twitter about his upcoming project, with the one discernible constant being the Pisces emoji used to refer to the album. The first single is expected to drop in February, and the most recent update from Yungsta mentioned that the last featured guest’s verse has come in. The follow-up to his 2021 album Mehfil and his work on 2022’s Chaand Paar with Sez on the Beat, the next move from Yungsta is one to look out for. 

Gutslit – TBA 

Image credit: Frank Pawar

Mumbai death metal band Gutslit have rarely been ones to sit on the sidelines when it comes to keeping the Indian heavy music flag flying high. While 2022 saw their return to the European circuit after the pandemic break, they also performed at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune to round off the year. With a much-hyped appearance at Czech stomping ground Obscene Extreme already booked for the summer of this year, Gutslit’s third album will include the return of vocalist Aditya Barve. We’re hoping for some gruesome riffs and possible pig squeals. 

Demonstealer – The Propaganda Machine

Out on March 31st, Mumbai metal artist (and ace cook/food blogger) Demonstealer’s new album The Propaganda Machine piles on the guest artists and takes a sharp look at divisive politics around the world. The 40-minute album boasts contributions from drummers like Hannes Grossmann, Ken Bedene (from the band Aborted), guitarist Martino Garattoni (from Ne Obliviscaris) and 11 others, making a total nonstop extreme metal showdown. 

Long Distances – How the Mighty Will Fall EP

Image credit: Rono

Mumbai act Long Distances have so far released their debut single ‘Empire’ in December, showing us a glimpse of their shoegaze, dream-pop, post-punk sound. There’s an unmistakable Indian indie stamp heard on the song, which is led by Zubin Pastakia, Apurv Agrawal and Aarifah Rebello. With a second single called ‘Lovesong for an Apocalypse’ expected soon, it’s all part of their whirlwind debut EP called How the Mighty Will Fall

Gravity – TBA 

Among the rappers who was already an underground desi hip-hop hero with his crew Bombay Lokal, Gravity brought in a legion of new fans after his stint on the reality show MTV Hustle 2.0. If anything, he needs to be invited back as a judge on the next season. But before that happens, we’re likely to hear a follow-up to his albums 3:16 and Malaal EP. Always shape-shifting and ever the prolific rapper-songwriter, Gravity keeps things socio-political and real, but also entertaining and introspective in turns, and that’s likely to hit us in the new year. 

Dirge – Dirge 

Releasing on March 10th, Mumbai doom/sludge metal band Dirge second album is a self-titled effort, which says a lot about how definitive the sound and intention of this record will be. Four tracks across 40 minutes explore and evoke discomfort in one way or another, as the band stomps and threatens their way through atmospheric and rattling metal arrangements alike. The follow-up to their concept-driven, Mayan civilization-inspired 2018 album Ah Puch, this one’s likely to be Dirge at their most hair-raising and terrifying yet. 

Contribute to A Humming Heart

It takes time and effort to pursue independent journalism and we need your support to continue producing ad-free, unadulterated content that you would appreciate. If you like what we do, and want to see us do more of the same, please consider making a monetary contribution. When you support A Humming Heart, you contribute towards building a musician’s career. Good art thrives on patronage, and the artist is at the centre of our model. 25% of our revenue (from our patrons through contributions) goes towards our Artist Fund through which we give back to the Independent Music community.