Rise of the Indie Scene
Even though I’m sure that your current playlist is a handpicked compilation of the best music out there, aren’t you tired of playing the same bunch of songs over and over again?
In case you are, you’ve come to just the right place. With an audience that is looking for unique concepts and fresh sounds, the Desi Indie music scene is thriving. Before we go further into it, Indie or independent music is that which is recorded and produced by independent artists without any support from commercial record labels or their subsidiaries.
If you think that the Indian indie scene is limited to Prateek Kuhad, then let me burst your bubble- you’ve got it all wrong! Hundreds of emerging and established artists from around the subcontinent are coming up with tracks that will definitely find a place in your Spotify playlist.
So, in no particular order, Chalo Chalein, let’s take a look at this compilation of artists that I believe you should definitely check out. If you like the songs mentioned here, there’s a high chance you’ll enjoy their other works too!
The 24-year-old DJ, singer, and Hindustani dance music producer (sounds interesting, right?) rose to prominence in 2017 with the release of his hit single Udd Gaye – a seamless fusion of Indian music, hip hop, and electronica.
The track was declared the biggest party anthem of the year in India. The artist has never looked back ever since and has been coming up with back-to-back hits. Ritviz’s bass-heavy tracks, interestingly, have a classical base. Honestly, want a house party playlist? Just queue Ritviz’s songs, and you’re good to go!
Here’s a link to the hit number Udd Gaye –
When Chai Met Toast
This Kochi-based indie pop-folk band was formed in 2016. Since then, it has seen a stark rise in popularity. From YouTube to Spotify, there’s no Indie playlist that doesn’t feature the uplifting indie-folk tracks by this band. The members come from a variety of backgrounds, and thus the numbers feature a variety of languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam, with their lyrics being predominantly in English.
Check out their track ‘Khoj’
The Yellow Diary
Few bands achieve the level of success that this Mumbai-based band attained with their debut single. Yellow Diary’s unique poetic approach and fresh and modern soundscape are helping shape the alt-rock scene in India. In a span of 3 years, the band has been able to create a loyal fan base across the nation, which includes celebrities like R Madhavan, Vishal Dadlani, Shilpa Rao, and Amaal Mallik – amongst many others.
Here’s a link to their hit debut track Marz
The Local Train
This Hindi rock band hails from the national capital, Delhi. Ranked No. 1 in the nation, this band has also been called ‘Coldplay of India’. They’ve gained a lot of exposure in recent years, but many still haven’t heard of them – if you happen to be one of the ‘many’ then, what are you waiting for? The band is also known to perform at a lot of college fests. Perhaps we can hope for something?
Here’s one of my favorites tracks by the band, Dil mere
This talented guitarist, singer-songwriter hails from the town of Doimukh in Arunachal Pradesh. The rising star sings in Hindi, Nyishi, and English, and even Assamese. His music, being heavily inspired by the sounds of the nature and tribal folklores of the Nyishi tribe, is bound to take you to the lush green hills of Arunachal. Let’s call it a free flight?
Okay, before I introduce you to Peter Cat Recording Co, let me introduce you to Suryakant Sawhney, a.k.a Lifafa. Once started as a side project, Lifafa has now become a part of Suryakant’s binary sonic identity. One way to describe his music would be – a perfect blend of acoustic and electronic, paired with that flawlessly lush voice of his.
His album JAAGO caught a lot of attention and turned out to be a breakthrough for Lifafa. Do check it out if you haven’t already; it’s quite an experience.
Listen to his track Nikamma (earphones recommended)
Peter Cat Recording Co
Formed around 2010 by the lead vocalist Suryakant Sawhney, this New Delhi-based band, with its infectious charm, can make you feel giddy and foolishly happy? Taking inspiration from an assortment of genres ranging from jazz to cabaret to Bollywood to bhajans, they call their music “midnight moonlight car chase music” and I can agree, but then it’s hard to put their sound into one category, so I guess you’ll have to listen to the music and decide for yourself!
Parekh and Singh
One of the most well-known Indian duos all around the globe, this dream-pop duo from the city of Kolkata became the darlings of the Indian Indie scene with their phenomenal debut album ‘Ocean’. Their music possesses a peculiar sensibility and a whimsical, magical beauty.
Fusing their Indian roots and their western likings together, this four-member band has gained a cult following in the country. It now holds an unparalleled position in the Indian Indie genre. They pen their compositions in Hindi, Kashmiri, and Urdu, effortlessly blending the Kashmiri folk tunes with the sophistication of modern rock. It would be hard for a listener to place their music in one category.
Neither Prateek Kuhad nor his songs need an introduction. But, just in case you’ve been missing out on the good stuff, the 31-year-old artist is undoubtedly one of the most well-known Indie artists. His track “Cold/Mess” was a part of former US president Barack Obama’s ‘Favorite Music of 2019’ list. Kuhad’s songs effortlessly capture life’s complexities with surreal minimalism. Exploring themes like the euphoric excitement of new love and the inevitable melancholy that follows, his songs leave the listener feeling warm. This artist is an absolute gem!
Here’s a link to his single Kasoor (Warning: you might want to grab some napkins)
With that, we’ve reached the end of the list. You now have some new music! As for me, I’ll be back with another musical post soon.