It’s no wonder why Alanis Morissette expressed her gratitude toward India in her 1998 song “Thank U.” It’s a subcontinent whose culture has influenced the Beatles and No Doubt (thanks to Ravi Shankar’s sitar and the Hindu symbol of the bindi) and international dance classes (see the Bollywood explosion of the last decade). Here we celebrate five musical artists upholding time-honored traditions and propelling the country of 1.3 billion into the future.
Playback artistry is a prevalent industry in the Bollywood film world. When lead actors don’t have the pipes to pull off their songs, directors will hire studio performers to dub in their vocals. Asees Kaur is one of the superstars of this field, with her epic mezzosoprano giving each note radiance. She’s been a contestant on Indian Idol and other competition shows, but her soaring voice puts her ahead of the pack.
This collective of chillwave and hip-hop producers is delivering some of the most sumptuous beats this side of the Ultra festival. From the languid “Dystopian Fantasy” by Three Oscillators to the oriental doom tune “Samurai San” by Karan Kanchan, the Where There’s Smoke mixtape is a must-have for EDM fans looking for the next big thing. (Lead image courtesy the collective.)
Can’t wait for Queens of the Stone Age’s new record? Wet your whistle with these drone lords and their split EP with DBF. Their music is like Soundgarden gone goth, with sinister tracks such as “Agents of Nihil.” (The band even have a photo of Chris Cornell as their Facebook profile in vigil.) We assure you, our beloved Spoonman in heaven, Shepherd are honoring you in the best way possible: with thundering instrumentation and guttural vocals from Deepak, Namit and Michael.
Rupinder Singh “Gippy” Grewal” is the exemplary entrepreneur. The term gets thrown around too casually these days, but this hotel management graduate, actor, director and singer really can do it all. He’s one of the biggest names in Punjabi pop—the pungi-laden genre that charms snakes and club-goers alike—and shows his global appeal by shooting his most recent music video in the Los Angeles River. Grewal has a bodacious bravado and talent to boot. (Thanks to Bhangra Releases for the suggestion!)
We miss electroclash, the wonderfully scuzzy genre that owned the dance halls in the early aughts. This boy/girl duo is keeping the glitter alive with tunes that would appeal to fans of Grimes, Scissor Sisters and similar artists. Imaad Shah is the son of a Bollywood luminary, so he knows how to enchant an audience, and Saba Azad’s flamboyant outfits and gusto reminds us of Karen O. They’ve got two releases for your perusal over at Bandcamp. (Thanks to Scoop Whoop for the recommendation!)
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