I have held back on writing this piece thus far only to allow emotion to settle down. For when something that you’ve grown to love, cherish, be attached to disappears, what do you do but mourn. For many of us – and not just in Bangalore – CounterCulture was a very special place. We made new friends, hung out with old ones, the musically gifted among us made great music (ok, maybe not always) that the rest of us grooved to and always, always, we had great fun. This was a place for discovery, a launch pad for new bands, a familiar home for established artists. Read the rest of this entry »

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Books and movies used to have dark references to a confinement ‘treatment’ where the victim would get hammered but not a trace would be seen outside on the body. It wasn’t morbid fascination but more the scientific curiosity of my early years. But never mind my strange childhood – that’s not the point. Now imagine being subjected to this treatment AND coming out of it feeling good. No? Well, it’s real. Torche manages to pull that stunt off with aplomb on ‘Restarter’. Read the rest of this entry »

What next? is a question that constantly raises – as a need rather than as bored luxury – its head to push development; be it technology, art, adventure, evolution (where do you think the X-men came from?). I’ve never understood the genre of music called post-rock, not so much the music but the name itself. For that matter I don’t get proto punk, grindcore or any of the gazillion metal sub-genre names. Yup, I’m quite old school. To me post rock seems more a question, a search for that what next? after traditional rock. Which really leaves it open as a wide field, doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Bangalore’s weather blessing is a thing of the past although it’s still a lot better than most of our other big cities. No, what really gets me kicked about this place is the number of Indie music gigs that happen every week. Even so, last Saturday was a particularly long concert day. I’m sure there was a lot else happening but I attended two gigs that day. The first was the single-day Emerge fest which had Alt-J headlining. This event had been on for some time but it gathered crazy momentum and buzz once the organizers announced Alt-J would be part of it. Read the rest of this entry »

The only thing definite about Hoirong is the band’s refusal to have its music defined. Ambient, noise-rock, punk, art-rock, post-rock, lo-fi…whatever it is, it’s been high-fives all round for its 2014 release “Dandaniya Apradh”. In its demand to stretch your known understanding of musicality, it holds something in common with “To Be Kind” by Swans (also released this year). Yet in another way “Dandaniya Apradh” is the anti-“To Be Kind”; the latter notable, among other things, for its ambitiously epic duration while the Hoirong album spins you around rapidly on a dozen axes with its packed short bursts. Read the rest of this entry »

 

I had drafted a review of Mirel Wagner’s “When The Cellar Children See The Light” but let it lie because BDWPS‘s review says almost everything that I wanted to say about this stunning album. In my opinion, one of the top albums not just of 2014 but ever.

Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs

Mirel Wagner

When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day

[Sub-Pop; 2014]

Rating: 9

Two years ago, Mirel Wagner emerged from Finland like a haunting ghost, bringing with her the sparse, folk storytelling that had long been forgotten. Her songs told darkly disturbing fairy tales of death and decay, all conveyed through only her raspy, alto voice and the soft strumming of her guitar. Her approach seemed simple enough, but the combination of the lo-fi production and Mirel’s hypnotic melodies resulted in one of the best folk albums of 2012.

When I first purchased Wagner’s latest release, When the Cellar Children See the Light, I worried that the sophomore curse would hinder all the elements that made her first album great. Would the songs sound as gritty with amped up production value? Would Wagner lose sight of the muse that inspired such intense songs as “No Death” and…

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Skrat caught a lot of notice with their highly acclaimed sophomore effort “Bring Out The Big Guns”. A little under 2 years later, the band’s back with its third album, “The Queen”. Right from the swirling start of the opening track “Machete” you know that this powerhouse punk trio is dishing out something special. Just that the sound is no longer only punk. That second album was marked by a lot of light even if the band played hard. This new one rides on a heavier, darker sound. Read the rest of this entry »