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ARJUN S. RAVI
OUT OF TUNE

Arjun S Ravi is the editor of Indiecision (http://nh7.in/indiecision). He believes in brutal honesty, and thinks your band sucks.

You thought last year was bumping? 2013 will blow your mind

Clown With A Frown

his will be my final column of 2012, and what a year it's been! Every year the indie music community in India gets bigger and busier, with more bands, more clubs, more festivals, more releases, filling up the Indian indie almanac. And 2012 was the biggest and busiest of them all. While I'm tempted to share a roundup with some of the highlights from the year gone by, given the sheer quantity of 'best of' material to take from, a full issue of Guardian20 would be insufficient, let alone this lonely column. Instead, I'd like to take this opportunity to look forward, and shine a spotlight on some of the artists you should keep on your radar for 2013. The year has produced some incredible new artists who continue to change the way we think about our local scene. Most of these acts have made their first serious indie career moves in 2012, be that through a minor release or a tour, and you'll be seeing and hearing a lot more about them in 2013 on your indie blog of choice, and your Facebook and Twitter streams.

Spuds step out of the box to create magic in the Mumbai rock sceneARJUN S. RAVI

First up, Mumbai pop rockers Spud In The Box. Regular readers of Out Of Tune may remember a column in June this year where I talked about the young band. Having caught the band live several times since then, and having heard some of the recorded demos they've been putting out over the last few months, the case for the Spuds as the sound of 2013 has grown near undeniable. The band's music is chock full with strong melodies which power a euphoric pop rock pastiche that's given legs by the vocal harmonizing of frontmen Ankit Dayal and Rohan Rajadhakshya. A full-length studio album, produced by veteran engineer KJ Singh (who's worked with the likes of Indian Ocean and Rabbi Shergill), will be out next year and I suggest you keep an eye out for that. Like the young Spuds in Mumbai, another set of below-legal-drinking-age pop rockers with loads of potential comes in the form of Bangalore's Clown With A Frown. I recently had the opportunity to check out the Strawberry Fields winners live and I was impressed by not only the quality of their original material, but also their assured stage act. Frontwoman Abby Bec Attawar's powerful, unwavering falsetto delivers crisp pop vocals to an inventive, yet somewhat familiar pop rock structure that's given an additional punch by a powerful horn section. Expect a release in 2013, and hopefully, more touring outside Bangalore for these kids.

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Most of these acts have made their first serious indie career moves in 2012, be that through a minor release or a tour, and you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about them in 2013 on your indie blog of choice, and your Facebook and Twitter streams

nother Bangalore act to stay on the lookout for are rock quartet Parvaaz. They released an EP earlier this year called Behosh that has been a regular part of my playlist since I caught them live in Mumbai this August. Their material is a refreshing brand of Hindi/Urdu blues-based rock that's some of the most original, non-English indie music coming out of India right now. Unlike many Hindi rock (or "folk rock") acts that try to create a crossover sound and that are often weighed down by the language, Parvaaz's music stays clear of the crossover cliché's, instead channeling Ahmed's Kashmiri background and lyricisms through an irreverent rock 'n roll filter that's immediately gripping. Chennai alt-rockers Skrat share a similar contempt for Indian rock clichés and are another act to keep your eye on next year. They blipped on the indie map earlier this year with a YouTube video titled Skrat In The Shed that saw them perform five songs in a, um, shed (YouTube it, it's well worth your bandwidth). I caught them live at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Bangalore last week and was taken by their infectious energy, and a special alt-rock "jugalbandi" (that they dedicated to Rajnikanth). A debut full-length album is promised in early 2013 and I'm really looking forward to that.

Apart from these, also look out for acts like Kolkata indie poppers The Monkey In Me (and their frontman Nishchay Parekh who also performs solo), Chennai metallers TWKC (whose debut EP The Solar Haymaker is one of my personal favourites of 2012), electronica acts Mode7 (the solo project of ex-Bay Beat Collective man Raffael Kably) and OX7GEN (drummer Aditya Ashok's drum 'n' bass project), and (phew!) the Bombay punk trifecta of Blek, The Lightyears Explode and The Riot Peddlers. Yup, 2013 is looking pretty special already. See you next year!

 

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