New Music: Future-Pop from Chennai, Progressive/Melodic House from New Delhi, Rap from Kolkata and More

Hear pop artist Bilal Saeed’s latest single featuring Fateh Singh, keyboardist-singer Bunny M’s jazz-informed EP, rock artist Vivek Paul’s ode to brotherhood and others

(clockwise from top left) East Side Queens, Bilal Saeed, Gooth, Saptak Chatterjee. Photos: Courtesy of the artist

“Her Song” by Gooth

Chennai artist Gooth is all about the visual and sonic aesthetic on his latest release, “Her Song.” Teaming up with record label Circle of Love and visual artist Gherkinz aka Sashank Manohar (also bassist at indie-rock faves The F16s), “Her Song” is a testament to all things forward-thinking and cutting-edge emerging out of Chennai. The moody, dark tune sees Gooth traverse hip-hop, pop and R&B along with wavy electronic elements, not too far off from the likes of Frank Ocean.

“Jungle Blues” by Yaksha

Created as an experimental acoustic act between late 2020 and early 2021, Yaksha comprises guitarist Aditya Mohanan (from metallers Midhaven) and percussionist Ishaan Zaveri and they’ve released a heavily improvised version of their song “Jungle Blues.” The debut offering comes on the back of a couple of gigs and “Jungle Blues” taps into an energy that wants to be hypnotic. The nine-minute jam takes place under open sky, between Mohanan’s acoustic guitar and Zaveri’s handpan.

“Rongo” by East Side Queens

Kolkata mutli-lingual rap group East Side Queens have been garnering the attention of several from the region and outside of it with their in-your-face combo of verses. Their latest Bengali and English song “Rongo” sees MC Disha, SAKU₹O, KDiva and Rialan (in that order) take aim at all the unnecessary drama that surrounds them, some of which stem from their peers unable to handle that they’re a female rap group in the city. There’s pointed verses as well as satirical takes, with all the rappers running at their fastest pace.

“Nila” by Keethan

Producer-singer Keethan has a penchant for heartfelt lo-fi pop that also transforms into grandiose cinematic pieces. His song “Nila,” which released in October, is no different. The song features vocalist Jimmy Francis John and violinist Shravan Sridhar for an intimate sonic experience dedicated to his newborn nephews. His next two singles, “Baanu” and “Shashi” seem to delve in the same universe, which showcases a deeply personal yet relatable side to Keethan.

Aaina by Catastrophic Disintegration

Mumbai rock band Catastrophic Disintegration spent six years on their recently released debut album Aaina and the labor of love has now received a full release song by song. The complete eight-track album brings together drummer-lyricist Kunal Dalvi, guitarists Nandkishor Kumavat and Aakash Prabhakar and bassist Pratik Borgaonkar alongside the vocal prowess of Kaushik Ramachandran (from prog band Paradigm Shift) and Piyush Kapoor (from rockers Daira). There’s power-packed prog (“Aaina,” “Kathputli” and “Saavan”), ballads like “Banjare,” “Maut” and soaring tunes like “Pradakshinam” to tick all the boxes.

“Brother” by Vivek Paul

Singer-songwriter Vivek Paul – now based in Chicago – teams up with his former band Pantheon’s guitarist Kanishka Suryavanshi for a typically nu-metal/alt-rock tribute to Linkin Park’s late vocalist Chester Bennington with “Brother.” There are anguished screams, groovy riffs and low-pitched vocals, all of which recalls the early 2000s sound championed by the likes of Bennington.

All Of Me EP by Bunny M

Not quite like John Legend’s song of the same name, Mumbai actor and artist Bunny M aka Tushar Sharma’s debut three-track EP All of Me is a charming journey into his jazz-informed piano composing mind and how it gels with his pop sensibilities. “Taaron Sa Safar” is suitably simple and cutesy in its approach, while “5 Things” matches lyrics of mixed feelings with acoustic-pop. Where Bunny M truly shines, however, is on the playful “You Can Salsa.” It’s got all the groove and energy without any words, which makes for a celebratory close to the EP.

“Le Chalo” by Saptak Chatterjee

There’s grief and loss at the center of New Delhi singer-songwirter Saptak Chatterjee’s new single “Le Chalo.” But the Hindi song also offers catharsis in its own way. Powered by Chatterjee’s sublime vocals and charming approach to multi-layer vocal harmonies, the music video for “Le Chalo” directed by Tushar Dixit tells an important even if turbulent story about dealing the passing of a beloved.

“The Umbrella Song” by Bilal Saeed ft Fateh Singh

U.K. singer-songwriter Bilal Saeed teams up with artist Fateh Singh for a punchy new pop bop about breaking stereotypes, especially around physical appearances and how hypocritical we can be about it. Released via his label One Two Records, there are verses in Punjabi and Hindi about acceptance and being open-minded. Aiming to be a song to showcase allyship for the queer community, “The Umbrella Song” puts forward the idea of beauty minus superficial standards.

Reflections EP by Deodar

New Delhi artist Akshat Kavidayal has worn a few hats over the last few years, most prominent of them involving bass duties for artists like Gabriel Daniel. Now, he’s introduced his electronic music project Deodar. His debut EP Reflections digs into melodic and progressive house music, while also spreading out into electronica and techno across four tracks. It’s moody instrumental music which wouldn’t disappoint diehard electronic music fans and might just be a great introduction to anyone finding their way into listening to techno and house music.

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