Best Albums of 2018
selected by Naman Saraiya

Dreamhour <BR>“VLLNS”


Where the fuck did Debo Sanyal emerge from, and where has he been all this while? Am I just slacking, or am I struggling in keeping up with all this new music? Goddamn, this album, aptly (and quite hip) titled “VLLNS” is a stroke of genius from Sanyal – who has performed, produced and written all the songs on this record.

Contribs include vox support and more from fellow local and international musicians, and sick AF artwork from Visual Amnesia, formerly of Underground Authority – making this whole thing a sucker punch – to my ears, senses and my ass, parked on my office chair, which can’t stop moving as this comes on.

♪♫ Listen: “Blood Patrol” + album stream

Dreamhour on Facebook, www.

Lo! Peninsula <BR>“AKA Lo! Peninsula”

Lo! Peninsula
“AKA Lo! Peninsula”

I’m not sure how to explain the joy of stumbling upon this band, by meeting their frontman / guitar player earlier in the year at their hometown of Imphal, Manipur. Their grit, sound and attitudes are all top notch, subdued and definitely take you by surprise when you’re least expecting it, and that’s something we need more of from Indian bands.

From their humble recording process, approach to playing shows to eventually making it to this Top 10 list (alongside the one on KEXP), I hope Lo! Peninsula scale higher highs, and see no lows.

♪♫ Listen: “Evil Favours” + album stream

Lo! Peninsula on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp.

Morning Mourning <BR>“Is This Biodegradable”

Morning Mourning
“Is This Biodegradable”

Shantanu Pandit’s release got fairly slept on, but this kid’s talent is mad good – be it RUN! It’s the Kid, his solo work or the newest project, Morning Mourning.

On “Is This Biodegradable”, Pandit explores his inner feelings, mellow leanings and musical prowess all together, culminating into a beautiful record that delivers on all levels – the music and the feels.

♪♫ Listen: “Leather Jacket” + album stream

Morning Mourning on Facebook, Bandcamp.

Paraphoniks <BR>“Silhouettes”


South Bombay boys Sid Shirodkar and Shatrunjai Rai Dewan put out an exceptionally refined EP in “Silhouettes”, and its been on repeat for me through a big portion of the year.

Some stand-out tracks are “Plasma Pie” and “Vacillate ft. Azamaan Hoyvoy.” Cheggit!

♪♫ Listen: “Plasma Pie” + album stream

Paraphoniks on Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp.

Peter Cat Recording Co. <BR>“Portrait of a Time (2010-2016)”

Peter Cat Recording Co.
“Portrait of a Time (2010-2016)”

I’ve written about this band on many an occasion, but they just keep coming back with more and more amazing stuff. PCRC signed to Paris indie label Panache earlier in 2018, and have since been churning out some nice videos for their music.

Material worthy of three albums has got condensed, reworked and stuffed into a “Portrait of a Time (2010-2016)” and has been on my playlists since – be it the gorgeous “Love Demons” or “Copulations” or even this song, which doesn’t feature on this record – but might as well be.

Each band member’s solo projects – be it Jamblu, Lifafa, or Bhola playing bass with Prateek Kuhad – this is a band of doers, not faffers – and I wish we had more of them in our midst.

♪♫ Listen: “Copulations” + album stream

PCRC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, www.

Seedhe Maut <BR>“Bayaan”

Seedhe Maut

The new kids, the cool kids, the fucking lit kids – that’s what Seedhe Maut are. To quote the outro to their song, which in my opinion, well summarises what the duo and their album are all about – “you guys are keeping it real, man / you guys are keeping it a 100, man / when i see you guys perform, I see a couple of 20-somethings, you know / we’re not gonna sell out / they found a form of art, they made it their own, put their own touch to it, and they’ve kept it real since / to me, when they’re performing they’re not just out there in front of a crowd pretending, posing, rapping, acting / this is not an act / this is real life / this is seedhe maut.”

Nothing seems to summarise this late, late album drop better than this, and their impact. If there’s a duo I’d like to see blowing up, it needs to be them. Period.

♪♫ Listen: “Meri Baggi” + album stream

Seedhe Maut on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Skyharbor <BR>“Sunshine Dust”

“Sunshine Dust”

Acclaimed prog-rockers from New Delhi, Skyharbor have returned to form with their third album called “Sunshine Dust”, and the results have been pretty damn consistent throughout the entire 13-track record.

While some fans were unsure of the heavier, perhaps familiar sounds of the mid-noughties, the album worked as a great running companion for me during a few months of the year.

♪♫ Listen: “Sunshine Dust” + album stream

Skyharbor on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp.

Smalltalk <BR>“Tacit” EP

“Tacit” EP

Smalltalk are the result of younger kids channeling their influences in the right direction – and it shows. My guess is these kids from Bombay grew up on a heavy dosage of Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys and Hiatus Kaiyote in their college days, and man, would I love that or what?

On their EP “Tacit”, the quartet bring forth a heady mix of songwriting that wanders soul, R&B grooves and good old guitar chops to the blend. The four-song EP is a good presentation of their abilities, and I hope they expand to newer forays sooner rather than later.

♪♫ Listen: “Come Back” + album stream

Smalltalk on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.

Swarathma <BR>“Raah-e-Fakira”


Veteran folk-rockers from Bangalore, Swarathma return after an extended break that definitely saw them look inward and reflect on their existing sound.

The band bring in sharp production, courtesy of guitar player Varun Murali, and a varying sound in their vox – making them as exciting as I thought they were a decade ago.

♪♫ Listen: “Raah e Fakira” + album stream

Swarathma on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Tienas <BR>“Unavailable” (Mixtape)

“Unavailable” (Mixtape)

Perhaps once a year there’s an artist who I seem to entirely dig, but also feel isn’t getting his due – and for 2018 it was definitely Tienas. The dude’s live act is hella impressive, be it holding the flow to the T or using his face to let you know how he’s feeling it, or flailing his limbs around like a motherfucker – he has it all.

His mixtape is a polished, well-rounded attempt at showcasing a best-of of sorts from Tanmay Saxena aka Bobby Boucher aka Tienas, but dig deep into the YouTube hole and there’s many more shiny objects (for your ears).

♪♫ Listen: “18th Dec” + album stream

Tienas on Facebook, Instagram.