Best Albums selected by Naman Saraiya
Best Tracks by Akshit Mridul & Archit Shetye


Ankur Tewari<BR>“Side A”

Ankur Tewari
“Side A”

Ankur Tewari, along with band Ghalat Family, returns with an entirely impressive new record, after a long wait of six years.

Tewari, while constantly juggling projects that fuel the storyteller in him, brings together his refined musical chops, sharp lyrical skills and surprising collaborations to the table, all of which seem to have been capitalised on rather well.

While the second half of the record, “Side B”, is expected to drop later in January, “Side A” is a largely wide-ranging display of Tewari’s songwriting prowess, and the flexibility it can provide varied producers to play with, almost like an open field.

♪♫ Listen: “Jhoom” ft. Zoe Viccaji + album stream

Ankur Tewari on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud + beehype.

Aqua Dominatrix <BR>“Overthrowing Magnus”

Aqua Dominatrix
“Overthrowing Magnus”

Akshay Rajpurohit’s prolific songwriting prowess, and ability to produce material for his solo project, Aqua Dominatrix while also juggling Pangea and Scribe, is impressive.

On his second release in as many years, Aqua Dominatrix plays our longer jams, more indicative of his live performances, which have been gaining more popularity over the year.

With a sharp sense of production, the understanding of machines and most importantly his skilled musicianship, Rajpurohit never ceases to amaze with his drive towards honing, and eventually excelling at his craft while making us dance.

♪♫ Listen: “Olav’s 2.7rs” + album stream

Aqua Dominatrix on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram + beehype.

Begum <BR>“We Are Excited”

“We Are Excited”

While “We Are Excited” isn’t as impressive as the New Delhi trio’s debut release, it offers up a rather clear view into the experimental nature of these musicians.

A friend debated with me about their similarity to pcrc, naturally because they share two members, but while retaining themselves in a similar sonic vein, the bands create largely unique songs, identifiable in their own sense.

With this, and other projects Kartik Pillai is involved with, it’s a good time to appreciate his contributions and the aesthetic he brings in songs presented.

♪♫ Listen: “We Are Excited” + album stream

Begum on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Donn Bhat <BR>“Connected”

Donn Bhat

Amongst my top few releases of the last year, and a critic favourite too, Donn Bhat returned with another record rather triumphantly. Bhat employs the services of ace producer Miti Adhikari to amp up the production, and from the sound of it, both producers had a great time doing so.

On songs such as “Connected” or “Beer is Over”, Bhat’s songwriting and and keen musicianship, as well as comfort of working with Toymob shines through. With Bhat also upping the number of live gigs, and debuting newer material, one can only hope for more music sooner than later.

♪♫ Listen: “Spinning World” + album stream

Donn Bhat on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www + beehype.

Lawntuba <BR>“On Silver Clouds”

“On Silver Clouds”

Man! This band, their sound and just their self-awareness and geekiness really gets to me, in a good way. I still haven’t watched them live, and they’re half a dozen gigs in, but I sure as hell hope that changes soon.

Otherwise if you plug in your headphones and play their new EP “On Silver Clouds” anywhere – in an open field, on a long uncomfortable mountainous drive, a log cabin in the forest, or high as a kite sitting in your sunlit room – it takes you to a dreamy world created by this fine duo.

♪♫ Listen: “Fields Are Breathing” + album stream

Lawntuba on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram + beehype.

MALFNKTION <BR>“Vote for Worms” EP

“Vote for Worms” EP

I really got into MALFNKTION’s debut EP “Hindustani Rascal” in the summer of 2016 trying to convince some friends that they needed to listen to more music coming out of India. I had just stumbled upon his music on Facebook (obvs!) and the Indian-ness he brought to his trip-hop, dub and other tunes was perhaps refreshing in an intelligent way.

With the new release “Vote for Worms”, the Bengaluru producer excels once again into carving himself an interesting soundscape to play within, making me hopeful of more skilled and sonically diverse conceptual releases in the future.

♪♫ Listen: “Roaches” + album stream

MALFNKTION on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram.

Parekh & Singh<BR>“Ocean”

Parekh & Singh

Adding this record in here feels a bit like a cop out, because it’s just that good.

Initially released independently 3 years ago, the Kolkata duo re-released the record under UK’s Peacefrog Records to waves of positive and favourable reviews, and a rather popular music video, with another one on the way for the song picked below.

The duo weave a magical world, full of the comfort of a good pop song but the quirk of curious musicians constantly diving into their craft, and equally adept at experimenting with it. Listen to this record through and through, over and over.

♪♫ Listen: “Ghost” + album stream

Parekh & Singh on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Peter Cat Recording Co. <BR>“Transmissions”

Peter Cat Recording Co.

PCRC are such a polarising band in their live performances and prolific bursts of music, I’m only relieved that their process of releasing older demos and ideas in the form of “Transmissions” turned out to be so rewarding.

ecidedly it is not easy listening, and I’ve spent plenty a night letting the album soundtrack my life for 45 minute intervals. On “Bebe Da Vyah”, “Kya Farak Padega”, and the assortment of samples, diversions and sonic spaces the remaning songs create, it’s hard to not be lost in their raw nature, transporting you into frenzied jams within the band.

♪♫ Listen: “Bebe Da Vyah” + album stream

Peter Cat Recording Co. on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Riatsu <BR>“Reminiscence”


Shadaab Kadri’s debut EP constantly reminds me of sunny winter afternoons, such as the ones we’re in the middle of right now.

The ambient soundscapes, created by employing synthesisers and samples are Kadri’s first forays into releasing project under the moniker of Riatsu.

I’ve heard this record to fall asleep to, on slow indoor afternoons and while walking busy streets – and it helped me soundtrack many music videos.

♪♫ Listen: “What Have I Done” + album stream

Riatsu on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Run It’s The Kid <BR>“Run It’s The Kid”

Run It’s The Kid
“Run It’s The Kid”

The New Delhi lads played a rather low key approach to their record, live gigs and overall presence over the last year, but produced a gloomy and beautiful eponymous debut record.

With plenty of songs from their live repertoire, the four piece bring a warm, fuzzy envelope of emotions over their slow-paced, ballad-esuqe compositions, knocking out the entire record in under a week in a Kolkata studio.

On songs such as “A Great Big Scare”, “To The Moon” and “Love we’re made from porcelain” they string together eloquent musicianship, practising beautiful restraint in not making it all a jangly mess.

♪♫ Listen: “A Great Big Scare” + album stream

Run It’s the Kid on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Twitter, Facebook.

Sandunes <BR>“Downstream”


Sanaya Ardeshir recently released her new album, “Downstream”, which was definitely one of my top picks for the record of the year.

It saw the producer take a bolder step, feeling more confident in her own sound, while yet experimenting in her technique and also challenging the musician in her first, then the producer.

More on that here.

♪♫ Listen: “That’s been following me” + album stream

Sandunes on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Sundog Project <BR>“Tora”

Sundog Project

Principal songwriter Rahul Das isn’t afraid to explore varied sounds on this project.

The album called “Tora” in its entirety is a trip that creates ethereal, almost spooky and often intense worlds akin to a band Sundog Project are frequently compared to, Nine Inch Nails.

It’s almost a pity that Sundog Project don’t play as many live gigs as one would want, because listening to them perfect their craft live would be wholly satisfying on a good day.

♪♫ Listen: “Deity” + album stream

Sundog Project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

The F16s <BR>“Triggerpunkte”

The F16s

Chennai alt-rockers finally released their debut record after a long, almost tiring wait but did not fail to impress.

While the album does have it’s weak moments, otherwise perfectly well-crafted studio songs and self-awareness towards finding their own sound, a sum of their influences rather than derivations, warrant repeated plays for their varying moods.

And the best part? The songs work work well in a live setting, and now only if they figured out how to incorporate the ballads into their set.

♪♫ Listen: “Canibbal Life II” + album stream

The F16s on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp.

Unohu <BR>“Babel”


Unohu are a bunch of self-aware, young kids who dig deep into their newer, more contemporary influences but steer away from being a mimic of any of them.

They’ve consumed their alt-rock and discovered records on Spotify that haven’t hit a thousand plays, but stick to figuring it out on their own.

“Babel” is a way more mature release than their debut “Asunder”, and sees them as a more confident trio – now only if they stuck around once their educational aspirations are fulfilled.

♪♫ Listen: “Call My Name” + album stream

Unohu on Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram.

V/A: Consolidate <BR>“FRNDS & FMLY 16”

V/A: Consolidate

The Bangalore electronica / experimental collective have been pretty active at releasing / showcasing music through this release and varied gigs across the country in the past year.

I can’t wait to hear more from co-founders _RHL (who played a killer set at India’s first ever Boiler Room party) and Aniruddh Menon, personally.

This year also saw a release from label mate Worm’s Cottage, in “Standing Feathers“, Disco Puppet’s “Spring” EP and Oceantied’s “Tribes“.

♪♫ Listen: “Ice and Fire” by Oceantied + album stream

Consolidate on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter + beehype.

Your Chin <BR>“Peeping Till It’s Noise”

Your Chin
“Peeping Till It’s Noise”

Raxit Tewari returns with yet another impressive, now his third, EP called “Peeping Till It’s Noise”.

It is definitely his most adventurous and diverse release yet, Your Chin delivers moody, danceable and perfectly good pop songs all rolled into sixteen odd minutes or so.

With consistent releases from Tewari in the last couple of years, in 2017 we can only hope for a solid return / release from his band Sky Rabbit.

♪♫ Listen: “Shine” + album stream

Your Chin on Soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook + beehype.


Ankur Tewari
“Aa Jaao”

Ankur Tewari has been a prominent figure in the independent music scene for a long time. After what seemed like an hiatus, he blessed with a lovely “Side A” EP.

“Aa Jaao” is one of the finer tracks from this stand out masterpiece. (Archit Shetye)

Ankur Tewari on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Instagram + beehype.

Bipul Chettri

Bipul Chettri is a truly divisive figure, a fact that I unfortunately found out the hard way. With a huge debate raging on the time when my colleague introduced him to beehype, it was truly a spectacle to see fans from both sides of the border so earnestly fight over his nationality.

Which is completely understandable seeing the sheer talent he possesses, a glimpse of which can be seen in this breathtaking song in what has to be one of the top albums released this year. I was lucky enough to witness the effect he has on people live and how he unites people with his music.

Having said that, I’m ironically hoping that his inclusion here sparks a discussion similar to last time, not because I’m interested in the drama, but simply so that his soulful music touches even more people around the globe because of the attention. (Akshit Mridul)

Bipul Chettri on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Soundcloud, www.

Celestial Teapot

This entry doesn’t exactly belong to 2016 as such, with it’s release coming sometime around the last couple of months in 2015.

That being said, I honestly feel that it deserves a mention considering that, at the point of release, the band behind this stunner had no music online and were just beginning to carve their image on social media.

And I feel that, given a few listens, you’ll agree too. In fact I’d highly recommend listening to the entirety of their debut album “One Big Sky”; it is top quality stuff. (Akshit Mridul)

Celestial Teapot on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

“Jungli Sher”

The hip-hop scene in India never really took off. 2016 is a year where everything changed and finally the hip-hop scene basked in the limelight it truly deserved.

A lot of credit goes to this artist and this piece in particular! Here’s the mighty Divine with the track “Jungli Sher’. (Archit Shetye)

Divine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Donn Bhat

Donn Bhat dropped a bomb of an album of the same name, which by many is considered one of the best of the year.

The versatile musician has been wooing audiences for years and raised the bar of alternate electronic music with this album and this great track. (Archit Shetye)

Donn Bhat on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www + beehype.

Dualist Inquiry

New Delhi-based producer Sahej Bakshi, also known as Dualist Inquiry, has to be one of the most talented electronic acts in the world right now.

His brand of electronica with a live core never disappoints. My colleague has quite beautifully (and accurately) covered the entirety of his latest album “Dreamcatcher” so I’m not going to go into too much detail.

For me, the first single off that album, “Sleepwalker”, was definitely one of the highlights of the year. (Akshit Mridul)

Dualist Inquiry on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, www + beehype.


I’m going to be very honest here – “Bastion” would not be my first recommendation from Farfetch’d’s “Southern Skies Motel”.

However, despite the fact that my favourites were released in a time frame beyond the scope of this list, this track comfortably fits in among my top tracks of the past year.

I know I’m supposed to be talking about singles here, but that’s just how good the entire album was. (Akshit Mridul)

Farfetch’d on Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram, www + beehype.

“She Sands Sea”

Quantity and quality are two things that come to mind when talking about Kumail, with the prolific electronic producer regularly charming us with his soothing, downtempo brand of music with this particular track being a personal favourite. (Akshit Mridul)

Kumail on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

“Haq Hai”

Pushing the envelope for hip hop scene for the past few years, is Naezy who with his slick lyrics and street roots has inspired a generation of youngsters to stand up.

This socio political track by this rapper is one great example! (Archit Shetye)

Naezy on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

“Take Me There”

The independent music scene has not witnessed a phenomenon as big as Nucleya. He has raised the bar of the Indian independent music scene all in all.

Here’s the track from his last album “Raja Baja”! (Archit Shetye)

Nucleya on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.


Ketan Bahirat is not a guy who likes to stay idle. When he isn’t making some great music with the post rock outfit Until We Last, he’s setting dance floors alight under his electronic avatar Oceantied.

Recently back from the Red Bull Music Academy in Montreal, Bahirat took no time to hit the ground running with his latest EP “Tribes” being released recently and this track, incorporating catchy beats and heavy bass being the pick of the bunch. (Akshit Mridul)

Oceanied on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Prateek Kuhad
“100 words”

Look’s like there’s no stopping this young artist. He followed his album “In Tokens & Charms” with an amazing set of singles. One of them being “100 words”! (Archit Shetye)

Prateek Kuhad on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, www + beehype.

Run It’s The Kid
“Love we’re made of Porcelain”

A lead single in an album of potential lead singles, Run it’s the Kid’s debut self titled album really set the tone for a great 2016 musically with their brand of moody waltz with “Love we’re made of Porcelain” taking the cake.

Definitely looking for a lot more from this act. (Akshit Mridul)

Run It’s The Kid on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

“Crystal Pink”

Sandunes has already appeared in our best-of lists in the previous years: in 2014 and in 2015.

Her new album “Downstream” is also a treat. Great garage-sounds to get your feet tapping, and the song “Crystal Pink” is our pick from this lovely album! (Archit Shetye)

Sandunes on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light is one versatile act. Spanning genres and languages, the fluidity in their songs is simply breathtaking.

“Tum”, which literally means you, is a prime example of this. Great loop potential on this one. (Akshit Mridul)

Shadow and Light on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

“Chemical Hands”

Skyharbor has been making India proud in the global metal scene for the longest time. Having done a badass North America tour and several other countries, they have been raising the bar for the Indian metal scene.

They are loved by audiences everywhere and here’s their latest track “Chemical Hands” proving why! (Archit Shetye)

Skyharbor on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Stuck In November

Stuck in November’s “First Slice of Cake” was an album that I was fortunate enough to stumble across due to a set of weird circumstances. And I couldn’t be happier.

“Strongs” is one of the most beautiful math rock songs I’ve heard in a while and takes more than the first slice of cake in my opinion. The artwork is brilliant too. (Akshit Mridul)

Stuck In November on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram.

The F16s

The F16s have got to be one of the freshest acts in the scene currently. While their debut album “Triggerpunkte” took a long, long time to come out due to production overhauls, the wait was completely worth it considering the sheer quality of the release.

I think my colleague described it perfectly when he wrote about it earlier this year and “Moonchild’s” juxtaposition of sweet melodies and gritty content makes it one of the top singles of the year. (Akshit Mridul)

The F16s on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Bandcamp + beehype.

Vernon Noronha
“Come Back Jack”

Singer-songwriters always manage to tug at your heart strings much more easily than a lot of other artists. Vernon Noronha’s Come Back Jack is a perfect example of this.

The song portrays the real life story of the artist’s father, who has been missing for a long time now, with the accompanying video doing great justice to the sensitive content. An emotional ballad that stays with you a while after it’s over and a definite highlight this year.

Sometimes simple indeed is best. (Akshit Mridul)

Vernon Noronha on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.