June Rundown

By Anurag Tagat

We’re just about halfway through the year and we’re starting to see more diversity in Indian indie’s releases. Everyone from hip-hop artists to metal bands, chill/R&B and singer-songwriters have made impressive additions to the calendar. There are comebacks, slam dunks and new levels achieved. Listen below.

Sante – Siri and Sez on the Beat

Is there anything Siri can’t do? English, Kannada and Hindi rap are all part of the knockout punch that the Bangalore-bred hip-hop artist delivers on her latest single, teaming up once again with ace producer Sez on the Beat. Playing up to her strengths as a music video maker as well, the video for Sante presents a technology fantasy of sorts, complete with robotic dance moves and wavy beats.

Primal Song – Midhaven

In a succinct three minutes and 20 seconds, Mumbai metal band Midhaven make a heavy impression on their comeback single Primal Song. Currently comprising guitarist-vocalist Karan Kaul, drummer Aviraj Kumar and vocalist-guitarist Aditya Mohanan, Midhaven stomp around with sludgy metal in the vein of Baroness and Mastodon. It’s taken from their concept album Of the Lotus & the Thunderbolt, which promises mysticism and metal in a heady concoction.

Six in the Morning – Nisa Shetty

The first song she’s helmed as producer, singer-songwriter Nisa Shetty heaps on innuendo and humor for her latest track Six in the Morning. It’s a suitably chill, R&B/pop track that even borders on seductive, as Shetty sings about infatuation without boundaries. It’s supplied with an equally cheeky music video in which Shetty channels her inner Madhuri Dixit (of sorts) and woos a musician (played by Vidyuth Gargi) as they amble about and get all kinds of frisky.

Vaazhvile – Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy ft. Kevin Fernando

Tamil indie producer-singer duo Ashwin Vinayagamoorthy and Kevin Fernando have teamed up regularly in the past, with great results. Their latest is helmed by Vinayagamoorthy and sung by Fernando in Tamil and apparently mixed for the Dolby Atmos listening experience. The producer employs string sections (and subtle Carnatic violin and percussive elements) as well as a guitar solo for the pop track, which aptly hones in on the Beatles-famous idea that love is all we need to get us through.

Aliza don’t count on me – Shantanu Pandit

It’s been a few years since we heard from New Delhi-bred artist Shantanu Pandit. His quiet, often heartbroken voice has been salve for the lonely and unrequited. And while those fans have probably put his 2014 EP Skunk in the Cellar(and his project Morning Mourning) on repeat, there’s new material with Aliza don’t count on me, from his upcoming album Milk Teeth. Punctuated by a regal horn section that just strikes a sense of dread and turmoil, the anxiousness in Pandit’s voice is ever-present, like he never went away.

Be Alright – Kayan

As far as feel-good summer anthems go, singer-songwriter Kayan aka Ambika Nayak’s new single Be Alright doesn’t have to try too hard to sound affable. Produced by ThatKidGoran, Kayan digs into a bright chorus that’s apt for the times and perhaps also ageless. In her pursuit of creating an uplifting song for those who need to hear it, Kayan’s R&B inflected pop voice does everything you would expect and instill hope.

Drunk On Passion – Vandita Narayan ft wetgropes, Radon

Bangalore-based singer-songwriter Vandita Narayan teams up with producer wetgropes and guitarist Radon for a funky, summery song which professes a carefree kind of passion and love. The 22 year old artist’s song Drunk on Passion is clear that she’s not one to detach from any feelings and is here to stay. As much as it puts forward this unconditional sense of love.

Duur – Kamakshi Khanna ft OAFF

New Delhi-bred singer-songwriter Kamakshi Khanna channels more of the all too familiar pandemic effect on our collective and individual psyches on her latest Hindi song Duur. Tapping producer OAFF to create a dramatic bed of music, Khanna has likely been waiting a while to ace an R&B Hindi ballad like Duur. And ace she does, bringing in anguish in a most sensational yet sensitive form.

The Neptune Murders – Albatross

Mumbai heavy metal band Albatross tell the tale of a fanatic serial killer with a fetish with their latest song The Neptune Murders. With references to Atlantis and the god Neptune as well as gruesome murders, Albatross have a dark animated video to aid the mood. Sonically, they tap into their signature fist-tight, rattling riffs, plus vocalist Biprorshee Das’ ability to oscillate between visceral screams and operatic highs.

So Done – Xenon Phoenix and Caydoe

Ranchi crooner-producer Caydoe calls on the formidable hip-hop voice of Xenon Phoenix from Siliguri on their new collaboration So Done. The duo throw down about modern relationships and trying to find the real ones who will stick around. All this goes over a smooth R&B/hip-hop beat and a breathtaking music video set in the woods somewhere in Darjeeling.