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 with inputs from VICE India staffers—across all departments, without being judgemental assholes.
For this week’s edition, I’ve got one of my favourites, if not my #1, music collective in the country to send me reccos. Consolidate are a music community based in Bangalore, run by Rahul Giri and Shoumik Biswas with help from Aniruddh Menon—each of whom has excellent projects, musicality and brains. These are their picks, uh huh.
“Your Dog” by Soccery Mommy
“For some reason I stopped listening to music altogether in 2018. Not really sure if I missed out on great releases, was just burnt out, or just generally letting personal struggles with my own music get in the way. Anyway nothing really resonated, especially albums. There were one-off singles, but looking back, I can’t really think of a piece of music which defined 2018 for me. Till I discovered Clean by Soccer Mommy, towards the end of the year. The album has been on repeat since then. Self loathing, vulnerability mixed with a fair share of bite and angst. Who can’t relate to that? "Your Dog" also kinda reminds me of Kurt Cobain.”
—Rahul Giri is Bangalore based producer, label runner.
“Tati” by Arnob
“I've chosen a song called "Tati" (weaver) by a Bangladeshi artist Arnob. I was first introduced to him by a faculty in college, whose name, incidentally, is also Arnab. There was a point when I was constantly listening to his music. And then I stopped for a really long time. I recently rediscovered his music and felt more connected to it this time. So, this Arnob guy, he does this other thing where he plays more folk kind of things (not a fan). But this solo stuff is really interesting for me. It's subtle in terms of the sounds he uses. I really enjoy the melodies he composes and the way he expresses emotion through them. They take these really predictable turns sometimes but it all fits really well. It's like straight-forward songwriting, it's in Bengali and it's not bullshit.”
—Disco Puppet (aka Shoumik Biswas) is a musician and illustrator
“Wit' Da Team” by Genesis Owusu
“I like the mood this track puts you in straight away; it has a nice funky vibe. And he (Owusu) writes quite well on some of his other tracks too. I think I totally overplayed this on a recent trip to Pondicherry. I shuffled through music I had been listening to in November-December to see what I'd choose for this mixtape. It could have easily been "Catch Your Tears" by Sol Monk & Jarvis or "Alone Time" by Eyedress amongst all the other random mix of music I've been listening to. Also just ran into Dimlite (what? where have I been?); check out their track "Pour Some Blood, We Got This"."
—Suren Makkar is a musician (blindnight) and visual designer
“Whack World” by Tierra Whack
“I’ve chosen Tierra Whack’s 15-minute audiovisual album "Whack World". My soft spot for autotuned vocals kept me going through this immersive wonderland. The format of 15 tracks, each one-minute-long, is ingenious and efficient. Her vision of this album is very well thought out, but also has a kind of bubblegum bursting spontaneity to it. She doesn't let you get comfortable. I like it when women artists are weird and funny and creative, and unabashedly so. It’s something I would like to see more of, especially in India.”
—Sandhya Visvanathan aka Pardafash is a songwriter/producer and graphic designer
“#MURTOWN” by Digital Suicide
“Digital Suicide was the first Indian punk band I stumbled across, and their music continues to be some of the most compelling I've heard. It's angry, hilarious, cringey, vulnerable and fucking crass. The riffs are super simple, bolstered by pummelling, visceral drums. Their music also contains a lot of elements used in electronic music production, but here, they are stripped of the expected glitter. Every sound in a Digital Suicide song is twisted and bent for maximum impact.
Frontman Daniel Langthasa's lyrics are intensely personal, with a pathological focus on love, sex, parties, the nation, and his place in it. As a South Indian, I only understand the English half of what's being said, but there's enough poetry in there for me to get behind. The songs unflinchingly document the psyche of a lot of young Indian men, capturing some of the hopes, fears, confusion and latent misogyny of a generation of men coming of age in a volatile world.
In "#AKHUNI", there is a verse that reads, "Fuck where I come from, my kingdom is long gone and I just want to move on." In #MURTOWN, Daniel repeats the verse and adds, "I'm in for the long run."
Though they seen to be on an extended break, Daniel's journey—from solo protest musician to community organiser and activist to Congress hopeful—has been heartening to watch. I have no clue what they're going to do next, but I'm waiting expectantly.”
—Aniruddh Menon is a musician based in Bangalore
“Maru Bihag” by The Anirudh Varma Collective
“It’s really rare nowadays to be bowled over by a track that isn’t trying to sound new. With the increasing saturation of music I find myself and my peers often digging desperately to find newer and newer sounds, which only leads to an endless rabbit hole. And then a track like "Maru Bihag" comes along, that’s openly generic, but still perfect. It connected with me in a way that music hasn’t in a long time, purely because of its composition. Every day while cooking, I inevitably start singing this song, because even without the music it’s brilliant. Most of what’s on my playlist would fall flat if I sung any part of it, and this is such a pleasant change from that.”
—Rishabh Iyer makes music under the name of Worms’ Cottage and Chir Pine. Is a part of Consolidate. Works as an animator/illustrator.
“Patience” by Tame Impala
“Given the success of Currents and his multiple, celebrity-studded projects since, Kevin Parker assures anything but patience at the talk of new music from his stable. The Tame Impala mastermind returned with a tune to please fans of the Currents as well as the Lonerism era—and to make my Friday infinitely better. The signature wah-wah interspersing with drony vox and a perfect balance of guitars and synths—we know he isn’t giving up on us early fans. And, can we take a minute to talk about the disco/African percussion? Tell us you’ve gone ahead and made a perfect Caribbean disco album, Kevin. Will Butler would be so goddamn jealous.”
—Naman Saraiya, Producer, VICE India, who is spiralling in the music of 2019
Check out our previous editions here.