Attempting to keep up with new releases is exhausting. And the never-ending quest to discover an act before they hit >1000 plays on Bandcamp is all but rewarding. Having given up full-time music writing a little while ago, more often than not, I find myself feeling a mix of FOMO and IDGAF about new local music while compiling my Spotify playlists. With this feature, we (that, is I) aim to put together a weekly mixtape—without being judgemental assholes.
For this week’s edition, I’ve got the inimitable nrtya team to recommend tunes for us. A label, artist management agency and constant supplier of new releases, nrtya is a breath of fresh air in the country’s independent music landscape, and I couldn’t have been happier to host them for a playlist. We’ve got inputs from their co-founders, artists (including personal faves such as Tre Ess) and more, in this super heady mix.
“Evergreen” by Yebba
"I recently discovered Yebba when she and PJ Morton won the Grammy this year for Best Traditional R&B Performance for their interpretation of "How Deep Is Your Love". Her voice is amazing, soulful and poignant, with an ability to really touch you deeply, and her story is something beyond this. Yebba lost her mother to suicide when she released her first original song and subsequently changed her stage name to Yebba, which is her name Abbey spelled backwards—a joke she shared with her mother as a child. "Evergreen" is a tribute to her mother, and the music video was shot in her mother’s church. Yebba’s powerful vocals are supported by a beautiful collection of voices in a gospel style choir. She’s also sang on Chance the Rapper’s
, and is dropping an album soon that I’m really looking forward to."
“Make It With You” by Bread
"When I was a kid, this song was on constant loop during the many car journeys with my parents. Listening to it again after so many years, I can now understand why. This beautiful, laid-back Bread classic is so simple but has something so timeless about it. It is now on constant loop during all my car journeys and I can't ever stop singing along to it."
—Pratika Gopinath, vocalist from Easy Wanderlings
“La Lune” by Anurag Naidu
"I've always admired Anurag Naidu's playing but when he dropped his album, this is the track that resonated the most with me. Being someone who grapples with anxiety, "La Lune" has many a times helped me personally, and I consider this track timeless."
—Brecilla D'Souza, vocalist from [My Kind of Blue ](https://www.facebook.com/mkobmumbai/)
“Trying Not To Die” by Louis Cole
"Louis Cole’s "Time" was one of my favourite albums from last year, and in my humble opinion, an underrated (or perhaps, under-appreciated) record that I want more people to hear. The relatively popular tracks are "Weird Part Of The Night" and "When You’re Ugly"—the latter of which features Cole’s frequent collaborator and one-half of Knower, Genevieve Artadi—but I thought I’d pick one of the several other great songs on the record.
There’s a lot to love in this song. The irresistible groove, the heart-melting gospel vocal harmonies in the bridge between the chorus and the second verse (and in the outro), the sardonic refrain, and of course, Dennis Hamm’s wonderful piano solo. I don't like making comparisons to other artists, but if you like Thundercat, you will probably like this song, and this whole album. (Incidentally, Thundercat features on another song on the album, and Dennis Hamm also plays frequently with Thundercat.)
In an age of ‘chops’ and several impressive multi-instrumentalists, Louis Cole has carved a unique space for himself and brings a lot of emotion, vulnerability and fresh perspective to his music. I can’t wait to hear what he does next."
—Sid Shirodkar, multi-instrumentalist and producer at Ape Echoes
“Sungazer” by DRUNK
"Can't stress how much I fuck with this song. It sounds like bipolar disorder. This one piece has helped me learn so many things about music. Coincidentally I heard this when I was starting to mess with odd time signatures because nobody really goes wild with them in Hip Hop. Ended up making a jazz EP that week so that was pretty cool. But yeah I highly recommend this joint. I almost forgave white people, that's how much I like it."
—Sumit Singh Solanki, producer & rapper Tre Ess + has a dope new song!
“Yefikir Tizita” by Mulatu Astatke
"I chose this track from Mulatu Astatke's masterpiece "New York–Addis–London: The Story of Ethio Jazz" for the emotion it brings through with the composition. The groove instantly locks you in while the various meandering lead instruments make the composition flow. Mulatu is known to be the father of Ethiopian Jazz and has been at the forefront of the genre for over three decades. I first heard of Mulatu after watching a Nicolas Jaar interview where he cites Mulatu as one of his greatest sources of inspiration. A lot of scales in Ethiopian Jazz are strikingly similar to some ragas and Japanese scales. "Yefikir Tizita" translates to nostalgic love, and the song is peppered with these almost sneaky tunes that implant themselves into one's memory, making for an enjoyable listening experience even if the album is on repeat."
—Sharan Punjabi, co-founder at nrtya and producer & DJ Tansane
“Wacheewan” by Okedo
“Okedo—a Goa- and Delhi-based duo comprising Will Clark (on synths and vocals), and Ishaan Gandhi (on drums and electronics)—is one of the newest additions to India’s fast-growing alternative live electronic music community. On "Wacheewan", the duo explore fervent, frantic loops immersed in wavy synth lines, all rolled in with a hectic pace on the drum kit, that in more ways than one, control the pacing of the song. Reminiscent of a love-child of a song that would emerge between James Blake and Sandunes, Okedo’s music sounds like the perfect soundtrack to Thursday nights for cool urban kids in India wanting to vibe. While the music sounds exciting, my hope remains that it finds an audience wider than those of friends and friends of friends, and evolves in a way that would do justice to Clark and Gandhi’s musicianship and craft.
PS: Exciting new releases on nrtya, outside of Okedo, include an EP from Nush Lewis, National Animal x Park Circus, and Rayburn.”
—Naman Saraiya, Producer who is bored of all your new releases
Check out previous editions here.