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If your idea of Chennai is that of a conservative little bowl, where everyone eats dosa, listens to Carnatic music, and drinks filter kaapi, you need to wake the hell up. Chennai has a thriving indie music scene — it is home to the Indiearth label — and has offered, apart from  A R Rahman, some fine acts like Junkyard Groove and Little Babooshka’s Grind. Here are five Chennai bands that are, quite simply, kicking ass.

Skrat

With its music often labelled as garage rock, Skrat is, clearly, one of the best rock’n’roll bands to emerge from not just down south, but the whole country, in recent years. Adrenaline-heavy riffs, catchy hooks and thumping grooves form the bedrock of the Skrat sound — a sound that has been making waves all over the indie circuit. Riding (literally) the success of their third album, Queen, released last year, the band has been touring the country extensively — get it?  — on their motorcycles.

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The band, comprising TT Sriram, Tapass Naresh and Satish Narayanan, was formed in 2006, and over the years, they have built a solid fan-base in Chennai. Here’s the new video to their song, Love Rider from Queen or you can listen to the entire album here.

The F16s

The F16s are an indie electronica act and they sure know how to get a party started. With its dance-floor-friendly sound, infused with elements of rock and electronica, the three-year-old band is a popular bunch already.

Besides ‘dodging cops since 2010’, they’ve played at the India Bike Week in Goa, the Hornbill International Rock Contest in Nagaland and were winners of the Jack Daniel’s Award 2013 for Best Emerging Act. Their second EP, Nobody’s Gonna Wait, released to admirable reception last year. You can check out their songs here.

Grey Shack

It all started in 2007 when a bunch of college blokes decided to jam and won their first city-wide competition when they were just about two weeks old. Grey Shack have come a long way since.

Grey Shack’s first album, Step Outside, came out in 2012, offering a sound that’s best described as a mix of rock ‘n’ roll, garage, funk and blues. The band won the Harley Rock Riders Find Your Freedom competition in 2013, which landed them their first international gig in 2014 at the European Bike Week in Austria.

Check out their single, Country Song from their 2014 EP The Soundgarden Sessions.

Blind Image

This thrash/groove metal band has been around since 2006 and they have two albums to their credit – Psychobabble (2008) and More Than Human (2009). Their crowning glory is, however, their multi-city tour of Australia in 2011 and Southeast Asia in 2012.

A few lineup changes later, the band is now looking to play across the country, besides working on a new album. Expect great basslines, nifty drums, cool guitar licks and gut-wrenching vocals. Check out their songs here.

Frank’s Got The Funk

This funky progressive rock outfit’s energy is infectious. Ever since they got together in 2009, they have been performing to packed houses in Chennai. The band released its debut album The Next Level in 2011 and are working on some new music and videos.

At the moment, they are busy with gigs in Chennai and Bangalore. Follow their Facebook page for gig updates and listen to Celebration from their new EP, Be Yourself, By Yourself here.

Image (from left to right): Skrat, Greyshack, The F16s, Blind Image, FGTF

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