Music from the South – Bands I like
There is no particular region in the country that gives us a lot of bands playing the same genre of music. Like how Seattle was associated with Grunge because of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Compared to that we get a lot of diverse music coming from a single region. Agreed that South India is too broad an area to categorize a single region, but still it’s really heartening to see bands move away from just wanting to play metal and try out new sounds, some of which may not always work.
Adam and The Fish Eyed Poets and Harsha Iyer (both from Chennai) have experimented with new sounds and have found critical acclaim for their fresh sound. The success of bands like Junkyard Groove, Thermal And A Quarter, The Raghu Dixit Project, Swarathma etc shows the wealth of potential that exists there.
Music is something that I feel comes naturally to South Indians given their close attachment with Classical music. Often these Carnatic influences find their way to band compositions. And if not, they very well instill a sense of melody in these musicians.
A few bands, some very new and some who have been here for a couple of years, have got me excited to listen to their forthcoming albums. In no particular order -
1. Grey Shack - Grey Shack is a Grunge / Funk / Rock n’ Roll band from Chennai, formed in mid of 2007. I became a fan when I heard their first song ‘ Gonzo’. The vocalist, Rohan Sen, has a very heavy voice not too dissimilar to Ameeth Thomas (of JYG). The play old school rock and roll music laced with grunge elements that makes you wanna dance around interspersed with head banging. Their music is tailor made for a live audience. A definite MUST HEAR band!
2. 83mph – 83 mph are a 6 member rock band from Chennai formed in January 2011 and have started participating in regional contests (and winning some) and generally putting themselves on the indie map. They state Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Muse among others as their influences. Choppy guitar riffs complemented by strong drumming, good vocals…they take their rock seriously. Hard rock?? Oh yes, some more please.
(I am particularly partial towards their ‘The Rizky Chronicles 1.0, a comparatively softer song.)
3. The Bicycle Days – TBD is not a newish band. They have been around for about 3 years, releasing an EP in 2010.
The Bicycle Days are a five-piece, psychedelic alternative rock band from Bangalore formed in November 2009. Their music is an ode to the bygone era of psychedelic rock. If you like Portishead, Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age etc, I am sure you must have heard of this band. Their music seems effortless and they don’t try too hard to be the torch bearers in their genre. It just fits.
My only complaint with the band is that they are taking too much time to release an LP. DO IT ALREADY!
4. The Bottleflower Seeds – The Bottleflower Seeds originally started out as a Grunge band. After a hiatus, they regrouped in 2005 and added a more alternative sound to their music. In 2008 they were chosen for the ‘Sutasi’ Talent Showcase in Singapore, representing the indie Indian scene. You can listen to their songs on their Facebook page. I don’t think they have released an official album as such.
5. Adam and the Fish Eyed Poets - Adam & The Fish Eyed Poets is a solo project of Kishore Krishna from Chennai, formed in 2008.It is really hard to believer that Kishore is just twenty and wrote, composed, played all the instruments (guitar, bass, synthesizer) and recorded all his songs in his bedroom in Chennai. He classifies his music as ‘pop proto pop’ and his influences include Dylan, Cohen, The Smiths etc. You can also hear folk, blues and even punk influences in his music. AATFEP has released two albums with Dead Loops being a more polished and darker album than its predecessor.
Give some time and let the music grow on you. You haven’t heard anything like this come out of India before.
Definite hearing: Purgatory City, Acid Facial, Suicide Girl (Listen here: http://adamandthefisheyedpoets.bandcamp.com/)
6. Skrat – I first heard this Chennai band when they recently released their forthcoming album’s preview video, which sees them play samples of their song. The video is titled ‘Skrat in the Shed’. They have been around for a few years but went on a hiatus following the release of their album ‘Design’. They are back with new sound and switch effortlessly between pop rock and alternative songs. They have made their way on my playlist.
7. The Family Cheese -Yohan Marshal, Homi Rustumji and Apoorva are the “Family Cheese“, a rock ‘n roll band from Chennai who play a great mix of blues, jazz and rock ‘n roll sounds. Yohan Marshal, who is the drummer for the band, also handles vocal duties. This is the first time I have seen an Indian band having the drummer as the vocalist. Rock ‘n Roll in the truest sense of the term, they are sure to win a lot of admirers in the years to come. Just hoping they don’t lose their way. There’s one video of theirs, where they performed at Score Night, that I had seen which made me sit up and take notice. You should find it on Youtube.
So these are bands that I am really looking forward to hear more of in the future. If you discovered any band from the Southern Part of India and think it is the next big thing, leave a note in the comments.
P.S It’s been a really long time since we have written anything. So please pardon the shabbiness. We hope to be more regular and improve on our existing standards
Kunal Pawar is all gung-ho about TDKR. He hasn’t been this excited since the last time he managed to find a packet of uneaten cookies in his office drawer. You can find him going on and on about the movie on Twitter. He also occasionally tweets about things that matter. But mostly about pop culture.