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For several years, it was deemed impossible to be indie and Indian, at the same time.

Music produced for movies was eating into the sales, and there was very little commercial scope to be able to produce music independently. Even Biddu, he of the disco-funk and production fame, had to succumb to the charm of Hindi cinema’s mercenary prospects. Hindi music would also eat up the Indipop industry of the 90s, forcing consumers into two groups – those who listened to film music, and those who looked westwards for comfort.

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So thank goodness for the independent uprising of the last decade.

With the internet facilitating easy ‘shares’, and a younger generation open to concerts, festivals and fusion sounds, indie music from almost every genre known internationally can be found amply in India today. Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Youtube are helping local Indian bands find an international audience, as well as the much-required motivation to continue making great music.

But a few indie musicians are still under the shadows of commercial proclivity. We have the immensely popular Indian Oceans, Raghu Dixits, and Monica Dogras, but there are a few selected ones, who continue to make impeccable music from behind the curtains of pop success. Here are some you should check out.

Sulk Station

Armed with Rahul Giri’s melancholic synth beats, reminiscent of the gloomy, wistful sound of Massive Attack of yore, and elevated by Tanvi Rao’s sultry vocals, Sulk Station comprises a wonderful electronic duo. Their sound is haunting, and stays with you long after it has been heard, beckoning for repeated listens. India’s electronic sound has oft missed the presence of daunting melodies, as Thom Yorke is most wont to produce. Sulk Station fills that gap with beautiful compositions in Hindi and English along with evocative rhythms.

Listen up here

Maru Tarang

While not entirely an Indian band, Maru Tarang is 3/4th Indian and folk-fully so. Fine world music becomes part of the palate when Australian guitarist and vocalist Jeff Lang joined hands with veteran tabla player Bobby Singh, powered by the homely rhythmic talent of Sindhi Sarangi player and vocalist Asin Langa and Khartal player Bhungar Manganiyar. The result is Maru Tarang – a fusion template of ol’ blues and Indian folk, stirring soulful compositions that are as organic as they are transcendental.

Listen up here.

Soulmate

Soulmate is not an underrated or overlooked band. In fact, it is downright one of the most respected bands in India. So, why is it on this list, you ask? Because when India’s independent scene is chronicled, Soulmate often gets the miss for its lack of glamour, but when it comes to the blues, it is easily India’s one great answer to the genre. The band, formed by Tipriti Kharbangar, arguably one of India’s finest female vocalists, with skillful guitarist Rudy Wallang, Soulmate combines the groovy sounds of the genre with the reminiscent tunes of Shillong.

Listen up here.

Peter Cat Recording Co.

Whimsical and eclectic would be the words to describe Peter Cat Recording Co, because no other musician is making the kind of music they do. Combining the funk of gypsy music with the much stylised tunes of folk, carrying forth the grandeur of American soap-style retro-tunes, Peter Cat Recording Co is individualist at best! If their music doesn’t make you gape, laugh and dance in joy, we don’t know what will.

Listen up here.

Peepal Tree

The members of Peepal Tree are some of the legendary figures of the Bangalore metal scene, but what they produce with is the kind of music that is nostalgic of home. By fusing the elements of alternative rock with Hindustani vocals, the band manages to birth some exceptionally sound music. In that process, it imbibes within it the spirit of funk and grooves, with generous guitar riffs, making them an enjoyable act and cementing its position as a fusion rock band worthy of attention.

Listen up here.

Images sourced from the Facebook pages of respective artistes.

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