Music Releases You May Have Missed in 2023

Before trotting into the new year, we decided to take a look back at some amazing music releases in 2023 that grabbed our attention. In this list, you’ll discover an artist’s debut Hindi song, old-school rock and roll, indie pop, rap, and a cross-country project, among others, that keep you craving more Indian and Nepali artists.

Adding to our year-end features on TFword, we have cherry-picked a few music releases worth checking out.

Specter – ‘ItSaulGoodman’

Specter- ‘ItSaulGoodman

After immortalizing the MILKMAN, rapper Specter paid homage to the acclaimed TV series ‘Better Call Saul’ via his November release ‘ItSaulGoodman.’ Sampled off the series theme song, the track is written and performed by Specter, with Frequency Time Space collective mate Tienas as the producer. The song tells a compelling story of Specter’s dual life as a lawyer and aspiring musician.

Yaatri – ‘See Me Now’

Yaatri – ‘See Me Now’

Kathmandu-based experimental music project Sahitya Nepal ‘Yaatri’ teamed up with Indian producer and multi-instrumentalist Vishal J. Singh to belt out ‘See Me Now,’ an epic hard-rock/grunge ballad. The track is packed with powerful drum action, tasteful key arrangements, and striking electric guitar riffs. Sahitya’s vocal dexterity leads the melody into more progressive rock themes.

‘See Me Now’ was released in June 2023 and its stunning music video, which captures diverse landscapes of Nepal, has amassed over 7,000 views at the time of writing. The Yaatri project also intends to put together a split album with at least 14 tracks, including seven English and seven Nepali singles, to represent Nepal’s marginalized voices next year.

Ishaan Nigam – ‘Gumshuda Main Hoon’

Ishaan Nigam – ‘Gumshuda Main Hoon’

Singer-songwriter Ishaan Nigam marked his ninth collaborative jaunt with lyricist-composer Brite Roy on his November 2023 release ‘Gumshuda Main Hoon.’ The Hindi-worded indie pop single harps on themes of introspection, inviting the query – “Are we lost in this world or is a world within us” – arranged tidily with the song’s chipper and uplifting tempo.

MEHR – ‘I Fell in Love with You in September’

MEHR – ‘I Fell in Love with You in September

After unleashing a stellar seven-track production on ‘A Shade of Blue I Mistook for Red,’ New Delhi-based singer-songwriter MEHR unveiled yet another composition, ‘I Fell in Love with You in September.’ Touted as “an ode to the nostalgia of love,” the music is a silky blend of infectious pop rhythms and dreamy melodies, with bright instrumentation and MEHR’s polished vocals. The artist shared in a statement, “The track is a showcase of my signature style: emotionally charged lyrics and melodic depth that perfectly capture the transformative essence of the season.”

Rahul Advani – ‘Oh My’

Rahul Advani – ‘Oh My’

Singer-songwriter Rahul Advani talked about “dealing with self-doubt and going through days where the clouds always seem grey” on his second musical outing, ‘Oh My.’ The indie pop/rock tune exudes graceful piano segments, upbeat guitar beats, and gorgeous harmonizing vocals that form the song’s outro. Rahul will soon release his third single ‘Fire Burning’ as well as his debut EP, ‘Elements’, slated for sometime in 2024.

Hautewulf – ‘Rescue Prayer’

Hautewulf – ‘Rescue Prayer’

Rapper/producer Hautewulf flails out thirteen years of life adventures on his debut album ‘Therapy Session,’ which comprises fourteen tracks steeped in rap, R&B, hip-hop, dark techno, and progressive metal. The artist submits,”‘Therapy Session’ is a compelling odyssey of self-discovery, a testament to Hautewulf’s ambition to find himself amidst the tumultuous journey of life. It beckons us to embrace the therapeutic power of art, the ability of music to heal the wounds that sometimes remain hidden.”

Since the album’s release in October, tracks ‘Love With A Stranger,’ ‘Rescue Prayer,’ and ‘Dream Station’ have clocked in over ten thousand streams each on streaming giant Spotify.

Abhishek Hazarika – ‘One Agitation’

Abhishek Hazarika – ‘One Agitation

Rooted in the sounds of grunge and hard-rock music, vocalist-guitarist Abhishek Hazarika pumped out the lead single ‘One Agitation,’ a striking grunge melody, of his debut album ‘BRIGHTENDASH.’ The six-minute belter is packed with distorted electric guitars, emphatic bass plucks, and intense vocals while integrating themes of hard rock, progressive rock, and flashes of the blues.

Discussing the track, the artist shared, “We all have that one thing in life which we seek earnestly, yet it eludes us. We get agitated & triggered every time we see someone else have it. Inspired by personal experiences, I wanted to make a song with a universal connect.” Hazarika has since gone on to release ‘Don’t Know What We Have Become,’ a track inspired by late icons of grunge, including Layne Stanley, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, and Mark Lanegan.

Meteorite – ‘Begaani’

Meteorite – ‘Begaani

Delhi-based experimental/alternative rock band Meteorite served up a tantalizing debut track ‘Begaani’ in June 2023, tied together with a powerful vocal presentation, pounding percussions, and plastered with steamy guitar riffs. “This track represents the universal experience of heartbreak, and we pour our hearts into capturing the intensity of those emotions. We hope it resonates with everyone who has ever felt the sting of lost love,” shared vocalist Suryansh Chauhan.

Meteorite followed ‘Begaani’ with a hard rock single ‘Love of a Kind,’ in September 2023. The foursome has an album titled ‘Kahani’ looming on the horizon.

Shweta Srivastava – ‘Kahan Hoon Main’

Shweta Srivastava – ‘Kahan Hoon Main’

Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Shweta Srivastava released her sixth single ‘Kahan Hoon Main,’ a flowing key-riddled tune stitched together with ambient production courtesy of musician Garvit Soni and honeyed vocal performances. Speaking about the song, Shweta says, “It encapsulates the essence of the quote, ‘You are where you are meant to be’ and is a reflective encouragement to have faith in the calling of the heart.” ‘Kahan Hoon Main’ is also Shweta’s maiden Hindi music offering and nestles inside Season 2 of her Original Music Series.

Charitrh – ‘Wild Wild Sunshine’

Charitrh – ‘Wild Wild Sunshine’

Soaked in influences of Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, A. R. Rahman, and Green Day, Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Hardik Bansode aka Charitrh dished out his self-produced rock single ‘Wild Wild Sunshine’ in September. The track is a splendid hard-rock composition threaded together with contemplative lyrics, throbbing drums, and spectacular guitar riffs.

“I started with a straightforward riff, but I wanted to surprise the audience, so I played around with the song structure by softening it out and then shockingly turning it up. Since our attention spans aren’t lasting as long as they once were, I make an effort every time to create something that will hook the audience. And with ‘Wild Wild Sunshine’ I tried to accomplish just that,” said Charitrh in a statement.

Cinnamon Cigars – ‘Why’

Cinnamon Cigars – ‘Why’

Singer-songwriter duo Cinnamon Cigars shared their fourth single of 2023 with a pensive and somber release, ‘Why?’ Backed up by a serene touch of percussions and keys, Shubham Kundu and Geetika Chatterjee of Cinnamon Cigars pen their longing to espace the tumultuous state of life to the unknown while still looking for belongingness. ‘Why?’ is accompanied by a DIY music video created entirely by the pair.

KillZen – ‘A Voice in the Wilderness’

KillZen – ‘A Voice in the Wilderness’

Following the release of their singles ‘Grey ft. Karma’ and ‘City Lights’ earlier this year, KillZen marks their final release of 2023 with ‘A Voice in the Wilderness.’ The track was first debuted as part of their live set in 2021, with the duo now releasing the studio version as an evolved outcome. ‘A Voice in the Wilderness’ marks KillZen’s first DJ-friendly track, rich with pulsating beats and striking synth works that capture the dreamy tone of the number. KillZen is a live electronic act comprising of artists Abhishek Chaturvedi and Anannya Gupta.

Zuboski and Ron B – ‘Lilith’

Pune-based composer and producer Zuboski and singer/songwriter Ron B from Mumbai joined forces yet again for the modern alt-rock song, ‘Lilith.’ The track spins a contemporary analogy on the goddess Lilith of Jewish mythology, engulfed in a linear rock number with elements of progressive rock and dissonance. Zuboski and Ron B previously worked together on the track ‘Taxi Driver’ in 2022.

Bombay Noor – ‘Khoye’

Bombay Noor – ‘Khoye’

Mumbai-based music collective Bombay Noor forages their purpose in life amidst the feelings of being lost in ‘Khoye.’ The Hindi-worded single channels the unprecedented juxtaposed with an upbeat rhythm, lingering synths and sing-along harmonies. Bombay Noor’s Sanchi Gangawane and Anway Gangawane are the vocalists for ‘Khoye,’ as lyricist/composer Abhijit Kachhap and producer/composer Adith Anande round out the members of the collective.

Project Hamsadhwani, Niranjan Menon – ‘Patang’

Project Hamsadhwani, Niranjan Menon – ‘Patang’

Nirajan Menon and Project Hamsadhwani have captured the essence of Indian classical music fused seamlessly with splashes of rock in their latest outing, ‘Patang.’ The track describes the symbolic liberation of a ‘patang’ or kite, inviting listeners to break free of their clutches and soar above their inhibitions. Singer-songwriter and producer Niranjan Menon lends his voice to ‘Patang,’ sharing composition and production duties with Sarthak Ray of the New Delhi-based solo Indian classical fusion act Project Hamsadhwani.

Artists mentioned in this list: Charith | Shweta Srivastava | Meteorite | Rahul Advani | Abhishek Hazarika | Hautewulf | MEHR | Ishaan Nigam | Specter | Yaatri | Zuboski x Ron B | KillZen | Cinnamon Cigars | Bombay Noor | Niranjan Menon x Project Hamsadhwani

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