Black Letters

Black Letters: Indie Dream Pop from India

black letters


I don’t know what “Falter” is trying to do, and that’s a good thing. The latest song by Bengaluru’s Black Letters starts off like it’s going to build into a Portishead groove before stopping and taking a clearer, R&B-like turn. Now I hear romantic Mogwai. Now I see an endless horizon and a blood red sky going on and on and wanting to drive all through it. The song’s music video shares a similar dreamlike haze. It’s all quite lovely.

From Bandcamp:

“Falter is the debut single from upcoming full-length album by Black Letters.
The new release via Overfeed Records is a follow-up to Petrichor, EP (2015) and Shapes On The Wall, LP (2014).”

Peter Cat Recording Co.

Peter Cat Recording Co.: for fans of Broken Social Scene and Yo La Tengo.

peter cat recording co.


You know that heady feeling you get when you listen to Broken Social Scene and Yo La Tengo? New Delhi’s Peter Cat Recording Co. specializes in this frizzy ghostly sound, which they refer to as “postmodern jazz.” And they’re wedding specialists?

All their releases, especially their latest ‘Transmissions,’ are worth listening to from start to finish. Stick around after “Bebe da Vyah” for “Connection (?)” and the BSS comparison will make more sense.

Peter Cat Recording Co.: Website Bandcamp SoundCloud

Adam & The Fish Eyed Poets – “Charliesheen”


Year: 2015

Album: More Songs from an Island

“Charliesheen,” my favorite song named after Charlie Sheen, bears a forbearing sense of dread from its fluent guitars and opening lines of its music video: “Where there is a will there is a way to delay disappointment.” From there things get less optimistic.

Like the postcard that reads “welcome to Malibu,” the narrator, who is the Chennai, India-based musician Kishore Krishna, the man behind Adam & The Fish Eyed Poets, is holding onto the idea that there’s place somewhere where he will feel less sad about being sad. Maybe it’s a physical place, like that Malibu beach. Maybe it’s more abstract, like death via suicide. I don’t think Krishna knows. That’s probably the point.

More Songs from an Island is a continuation of 2012’s Songs from an Island (how clever) and it continues the theme so clearly stated on the band’s Bandcamp: “Two terrible human beings find themselves stuck in an arranged marriage. Nothing really happens. So it goes.” I appreciate Krishna’s self-deprecation in his Kurt Vonnegut-like mission statement and the band’s genre description on its Facebook page, which simply reads “ugh no.” So it goes. Come for the guitars, stay for the storytelling.

Check out more of Adam & The Fish Eyed Poets on Bandcamp.

Imphal Talkies & The Howlers – “Ode to Loktak”


Year: 2014

Album: When the Home Is Burning

Loktak Lake in Manipur is the biggest freshwater lake in northeast India and one of the country’s most beautiful sights. But recent tourist development around the lake spurred on by paramilitary forces has threatened the livelihood of its citizens. Specifically, the invasion and burning of Loktak homes to make room for new construction has left many families homeless.

Imphal Talkies and The Howlers is a progressive folk-rock band from Imphal, the capital of Manipur. The group’s combination of Hindustani, alternative influences, and protest lyrics has earned them praise from local Manipur citizens and mainstream music critics, especially Rolling Stone India. “Ode to Loktak” is a song about Manipur’s struggle for peace and preservation and a call to arms to protect Loktak Lake and its people.

Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle – The Queens Of Bollywood


You might not recognize their names or faces, but you’ve heard the singing of sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle many times already. Together they hold the Guinness World Record for most recorded singers in history, each sister singing in over a thousand (!) Bollywood movies since the 1940s – and they’re still recording today. Pretty much when you think of Bollywood music and any sort of Indian female singing, you’re thinking of these two.

In Bollywood films, attractive young actresses lip sync and dance to Lata and Asha’s voices, which might be the reason why you don’t recognize them since they’re doing all the work off camera. With music being such an important part of Bollywood, the most popular movie industry in the world, these sisters are considered true living legends of world cinema and music.

Below are two examples of each sister’s singing, two from older Bollywood films and another from a more recent movie. This shows how Bollywood has changed over the decades but how some aspects, like the singing of these two legends, hasn’t changed.

Lata Mangeshkar – “Chalte Chalte” (from 1971’s Pakeezah)


Asha Bhosle – “Dum Maro Dum” (from 1971’s Hare Krishna Hare Rama)


Asha Bhosle – “Mujhse Dosti Karoge” (from 2002’s Mujhse Dosti Karoge)


And just to prove that these woman are really the singers, watch Lata’s live performance below.