These days, in the Indian indie music scene, the focus is on releasing singles rather than albums or EPs, and ensuring their availability on online streaming platforms and YouTube. Many of them have smartly-made videos which follow the formulae used in films.
Here, Music Plus takes its pick of seven top singles released in July. Each song has been rated on a scale of 1 to 10.
Sanam – Jaane De Mujhe, VYRL Originals
Led by Sanam Puri, Sanam is a four-piece band that made a mark with cover versions. Slowly, it began to release original material, and recently tied up with VYRL Originals, a property of Universal Music formed to promote non-film music.
‘Jaane De Mujhe’ is a song of heartbreak where Puri soulfully sings Kunaal Vermaa’s lines ‘Jaane de mujhe, kar de judaa na roz roz tod dil mera’. The video, directed by Prayrit Seth and starring Naghma Rizwan, can easily be identified by teenagers and youngsters in love.
Song rating: 7/ 10
Uday Benegal – Antigravity, Nexa Music
The frontman of Indus Creed, Alms for Shanti and the Whirling Kalapas comes up with a solo number in the modern rock space. Composed by Clinton Cerejo & Bianca Gomes featuring rap vocals by Bianca, it contains words penned by Benegal – “You can’t hold me down, I’m antigravity, gravity, this is my legacy, can you see it flaming?”
The balance between Benegal’s vocals and Gomes’ rap is perfect. Add to that a stunning video shot by Tejas Patni, and you have a clear winner here.
Song rating – 7/ 10
Sharmistha Chatterjee – Maye Ni, self-released
Sufi compositions need not necessarily have harmonium, tabla, accompanying singers and handclaps. Just voice and acoustic guitar will do.
In this kalaam written by 16th century poet Shah Hussain, Chatterjee is joined by guitarist Sanjay Divecha on a single-take recording. Beginning with the lines “Maye ni main kinnu akkha, dard vichoreda haal ni,” the five-minute-plus song impresses with its simplicity and serenity. Chatterjee’s experience of having sung with the Mekaal Hassan Band comes in handy.
Song rating: 8/ 10
MIDIval Punditz – Rootha Yaar, Six Degrees Records
The pioneers of Indian electronica, Gaurav Raina and Tapan Raj of Delhi outfit MIDIval Punditz release this single from their forthcoming EP. On ‘Rootha Yaar’, written by Raina and Tarana Marwah, also features Kolkata-based classical singer Sukanya Chattopadhya, who displays a Sufiana style.
The song was originally written for the Netflix series Made In Heaven. This version has an extra dance groove and analog synths, plus energy that keeps your feet tapping.
Song rating: 8/ 10
SkyEyes – Letter To My Father, self-released
After achieving success as the Big Bang Blues, this Delhi group changed its avatar to Skyeyes, giving way to its rock persona. On ‘Letter To My Father’, vocalist Diyatom Deb, guitarist Sushant Thakur, bassist Barun Sinha and drummer Akhil Kumar use a sound influenced by psychedelic rock and thrash metal.
The tempo changes are smooth and the coordination right. The song ends appropriately with the words, “You did not smile today, Papa won’t you smile today? Daddy, won’t you smile today? What do I do, what do I do to make you smile today?”
Song rating: 7/ 10
Darshan Raval – Hawa Banke, E Positive Entertainment
A simple love song composed by Nirmaan, ‘Hawa Banke’ is hummable and ear-friendly. Inspired by the lyrics of Hadiqa Kayani’s ‘Boohey Baariyan’, the song has melodious flute portions by Paras Nath. Simran joins Rawal on vocals.
Directed by Abhishek Sinha and featuring Raval and Aditi B., the video has been shot in Varanasi. Nothing complicated or lavish, it just goes with the song’s mood.
Song rating: 6/ 10
Aabha Hanjura- Roshewalla, Ziply Productions
Kashmiri folk singer Aabha Hanjura made waves at the Paddy Fields festival in Mumbai two years ago. Here, she conceives a fairy tale to talk of hope in her home state.
As the ‘Roshewalla’ story unfolds, Hanjura has released two parts – ‘Dilbaro Yuier Walo’ and ‘Chalo Chinaro Ke Ghar’. The song an instant hook, blending folk and contemporary arrangements, and smart using the rabab, santoor, and rock guitars. The video, directed by Vishak Nair, uses a live concert setting with a puppet show. Youngsters should love it.
Rating: 8/ 10
Check out a few recommended indie songs by leading artists to add to your playlist.