Indian rock is neither here nor there; it is a fusion of western and Indian music while the lyrics are deep-rooted in the motherland. The rock music might have evolved to a great extent in the country but it still is at a nascent stage. We are far from seeing greats like Guns n Roses, Metallica or Led Zep. It is unfortunate that a lot of rock bands in India are disbanded without even launching properly.
But the rock lovers need not be very disappointed; we still have Indian rock bands trying to leave their mark. Here are a few bands that you must listen to if you are a rock-lover:
1) The Bicycle days:
This Bangalore based band released their debut album Calamitunes in June-2013. The Bicycle Days is a confluence of varied approaches to music and the idea of song. The most refreshing thing about them is they have something to say, their lyrics are their perception of the contemporary world. There are social commentaries, dialogues, haunting vocals and plenty of opinions to connect with. The album has seven songs. Mould and truce have poetic lyrics and the vocalist uses a haunting voice. Crawl has a Radiohead-like feel to it, basically nothing very new about it. Indignation is a medley of a lot sounds and a favourite from the album. On a 5 scale The Bicycle Days gets a well-deserved 3.
2) The supersonics:
Supersonics is a post-punk band from Kolkata; they split in 2010 but reunited in 2012. They released their first album Maby Baking was released in 2009 and was Indecision’s Album of the year. The band has catchy songs and great energy while performing. Maby Baking has eleven songs, each done in a different way. We are, we are and Blotter are the best songs from the album. The latter is a soft song, different from rest of the songs, they did. In most of the songs like Far From Human Race, Major Minor the vocalist Ananda Sen adopts a baritone, which a lot of people might not like. The Supersonics get a 2.5 on 5 scale.
No Hay Banda, their first album was released back in July. Odyssey is one of the few bands based in Gujrat. Its music is a slight blend of rock and psychedelic. They do not perform frequently since the members are scattered all across the world.
Their song Where you been has Hindi Classical music, rest of the songs have English vocals. Bringing back tigers is a heavy rock number, dealing with philosophical matters. Their first single, B Flat Minor, is wonderfully slow and mellow, Nostradamus is slightly long at 12 minutes but is soulful. No Hay Banda is about experimentation and Odyssey is a band that makes music for itself and not for its commercial appeal. They get a 4 on 5. It is probably one of the best in the lot. Sad part is you won’t find their music on Youtube, it is available on iTunes and bandcamp.
4) Thermal and a Quarter:
This band doesn’t fancy being called just an Indian Rock Band; they are through and through a Bangalore band. Thermal and a Quarter is the one of the oldest bands in country, formed in 1996, they have released 5 albums till date. You won’t hear raga-rock clichés like the strains of a gratuitous sitar (or veena) in their music. Their songs have a sound that is completely original with hard-hitting lyrics. The music isn’t completely rock, it can be blues, funk, jazz, prog, maybe even some soul. TAAQ have toured all across the world including USA, United Kingdom, West Asia and East Asia. Songs to catch are Grab me, If Them blues, For the Cat and Meter Mele one and a half for their neat baselines, terrific drumming and jazzy leads. TAAQ gets a 4 on 5 too.
5) Little Babooshka’s Grind(LBG):
LBG a Chennai based band was formed in 1996; they took a two year break in 2009 and came back in 2011. LBG are the pioneers of Indian rock music making electro-rock songs. Their music is a bit old school, with some exceptions Wake up…Break up, Codeine, Money. In all they have done around 35 originals, not a lot for a band that has been together for so long. Few other songs to listen are Part of me, Revolution Breathe and Two Frequencies.