It’s hard to survive as a musician in India without submitting to Bollywood. Yet, there are a few bands in the country that may be considered the saving grace of the independent music scene of India. With music in different genres, languages and styles, some of these indie bands are already a big name and the rest are about to be in a matter of time. Check them out.
Check them out.
One of the pioneers of rock and roll in India, Parikrama is now 25 years old and only getting better. They’re are still one of the most electrifying bands to watch live in India and their quintessential essence of classic rock can hardly be matched.
The 2006 formed Hindi progressive band from Mumbai had their first album titled “Firdous” launched in 2013. The four member prog rock band is one of the finest vernacular rock bands in the country and their popularity is rising steady and fast.
3. Cassini’s Division
If you’re into good old funk rock but like your lyrics meaningful, this is the band for you. Cassini’s Division from Calcutta is one of the finest funk rock bands in the country whom you may remember as one of the three finalists in Channel [V]’s LaunchPad, 2009.
4. Still Waters
No, not the fictional band from Almost Famous. This is a real rock band from Gangtok, India. The band, formed in 2001, shot to fame with their incredible performance in the Great Indian Rock and were featured in MTV Roots as well.
5. Underground Authority
This one’s a mix of alt, rap rock and reggae with politically charged lyrics. The essence of rebellion and against in their music is much appreciated by the intellect seeking Calcutta audience but the Hornbill winners have proved its mainstream potential with their stint at India’s Got Talent as well.
6. Inner Sanctum
Bangalore’s thrash metal band, Inner Sanctum, had been the winners of Jack Daniel’s Rock Award, Levis Band of the Year and their 2009 EP, Provenance, had been was listed in Rock Street Journal’s Top 10 EP’s of The Decade (2010). Oh, and they had also opened for Metallica in 2011.
7. Them Clones
Here comes Delhi in the list with Them Clones, one of the finest alt bands in India whose “Zephyretta” is simply ethereal and that’d still be an understatement. The “Chosen Ones” by Channel [V]’s LaunchPad, 2005, Them Clones were also named the best band in Jack Daniel’S Rock Awards, 2006 and 2007.
8. Thaikkudam Bridge
Down in Kerala, this is one fine Mallu rock band that was formed in 2013 and their number, “Fish Rock” was major hit in the social media. Although, they have a number of rock songs, Bridge does not really care about sticking to one particular genre.
They may be one of the lesser known in the list, but the Delhi band has been gigging around quite a lot lately. Their music has a lot of blues and rock and roll to it with elements of synth pop and soul popping out every now and then.
The magnanimous rock gods of Bengal, Fossils were the pioneers of the genre called Bangla Rock. With boys and girls breaking into hysteria at the sight of the national award winner, vocalist and the band, Fossils took out on fans outside Bengal as well when they rocked Pune in NH7 Weekender, 2015.
11. Bhayanak Maut
The groove, hardcore death metal band from Mumbai has remained one of the most popular names in the metal circuit of India since 2003. Their 2014 album “MAN” is described as the “result of destroying the last 10 years of our lives” by the band. Deep shit.
12.The Vinyl Records
An all girl rock band from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, The Vinyl Records, have toured major metropolis of the country and have gigged at high profile events such as The LOUDEST Gig in Delhi, Ziro Music Festival and Puma Loves Vinyl.
Formed in 2006, Agnee had been one of the few Indian rock bands to have cracked a deal with Sony BMG. The and incorporates elements of classic rock along with Hindusthani classical and Karnatic music and had also given the mainstream music listeners a taste of indie with Yaariyan from the movie Cocktail.
14. Peepal Tree
One of the finest alternative rock bands from India, Peepal tree boasts of an incredibly fresh sound. The Bangalore based band sings in Indian languages with mix of funk, groove and electronica which and their melodies are hard to forget.
With the perfect raw essence of old school blues, Soulmate is one of the classiest rock bands the country has seen. Formed in 2003, the band from Shillong, Meghalaya, Soulmate was the sole blues band to represent India at the 23rd International Blues Challenge, America.
16. Papon and The East India Company
This electric folk-fusion band from Delhi was formed in 2007 and they’re currently based in Mumbai. The band is one of the most popular names in the gig circuit all over the country and apart from doing major events in India, Papon and The East India Company have also gigged at the Dubai World Music Festival.
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17. Fiddler’s Green
The band sings about the folklore of the south Asian subcontinent along with musical elements from the folk music of Bengal, Bluegrass, Celtic, Sufi, Goan and many more. This extremely versatile from Calcutta has a very unique and unpredictable set list at their gigs.
Yet another fantastic band from Bangalore, Swarathma is a folk/fusion band with elements of rock and roll as well as Indian Classical. The band has been on the cover of Rolling Stones, India and has also won the Jack Daniel’s Rock Awards in 2009. The band has toured in countries like Morocco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and UK as well.
19. Chronic Xorn
Chronic Xorn are a metal core band that was formed in Calcutta, 2008. The first band to have released an album with a commercial record label and store release it with physical copies, Chronic Xorn remains a favorite among metal heads in India.
20. All the Fat Children
The rock band from Bangalore was formed in 2008 and believes only in producing singles. ATFC had been aired in MTV Indies and VH1 and their track, “I Can Fly” was released as a part of the project called Qyuki, a Shekhar Kapoor and A.R Rehman initiation.
This hardcore, experimental metal band from Mumbai has earned the name for being one of the most technically skilled metal bands in the country. The Top Ten Indian Albums of 2008 had Scribe’s debut album Confect in the fifth position.
22. A Mutual Question
Formed only in 2013, this post-rock band from Pune is already creating ripples in the indie music scene of the country. Although post-rock by genre, the four piece band had also experimented with Indian classical vocals in Eyes Everywhere (2013) and have managed to impress both fans and critics.
23. Tetseo Sisters
This is perhaps, the most unusual lineup in the list of the bands mentioned so far. The Tetseo Sisters are group of four siblings from Nagaland are are simply out of the world when it comes to their renditions of Northeastern folk music.
A progressive band which is although, from India, has its members from US as well. Signed with Basick Records, the band released their album titled, Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos in 2012 which featured Sunneith Revankar from Bhayanak Maut as well.
A rock band from Kochin, Motherjane is one of the most respected bands in the country. They had opened for legendary bands like Megadeth and Machine Head and are easily one of the most popular bands in college fests all over the country.
26. Shades of Retribution
Shades of Retribution is a death metal band formed in Assam. The Assamese lyrics of the songs talk about the struggles of living in this part of the country. The heavy music with lyrics pertaining to oppression and atrocities on Assamese population makes the band quite popular.
27. Ganesh Talkies
The Calcutta band formed in 2011 has a very unique sound with pop, electro-funk, alt rock mixed with a Bollywood. the winners of CONVERSE ORIGINAL BAND: 2012, the four piece band has been gigging all over the country for the last couple of years.
The alt rock band from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala is one of the beasts of Indian rock. With powerful, animalistic vocals, insane guitar riffs and intelligent use of turntables, Avial is clearly band that can represent India internationally any given day.
29. Demonic Resurrection
A blackened death metal band as they are called, Demonic Resurrection are the heavyweights of metal scene in India. One of the most successful metal bands of India, their fourth album, The Demon King was released not only in India but Europe and USA as well.
30. The Raghu Dixit Project
Probably the biggest name in the indie music scene in India, The Raghu Dixit Project’s music is based mostly on folks along with heart-wrenching ballads every now and then. The band has not only won the hearts of Indian listeners but they have also mesmerized the Queen of England and the entire Royal family in England.
31. Ankur and the Ghalat Family
Ankur Tewari’s Hindi project called Ankur and the Ghalat Family has a sound that is easy to listen. The band released their first album in 2010 titled Jannat and was quite appreciated by the Indian audience.
These were just a few to mention. The country has a lot more talent waiting to be discovered.