Tag Archives: sulk station

Saturday Morning Breakfast Songs: A List

13 Apr

Saturday morning, half past ten.

It’s Saturday morning. The curtains in your bedroom are slightly parted, and there’s a pleasant breeze breathing through the window. A beam of sunlight, just warm enough, glances across your face and bathes the room in a tint of impossible comfort. You just want to lay in your bed forever, a frequent flier between ‘awake’ and ‘asleep’.

You’re not unique in this experience: we’ve all been there. The question is, of course, what should you listen to? That’s where we come in. Here are the top five songs to ensure you wake up to a lazy, relaxed and perfect weekend. Since this list could engender a vast number of possible choices, we’ve narrowed it down a tad by including only inputs from within the subcontinent. Enjoy!

1. You Can Wonder, by the F16s

The F16s are a four-piece indie pop act from Chennai with an impeccable sense of rhythm and tone. Their lovely song, “You Can Wonder”, instantly brings to mind drifting clouds, aquamarine waters and, undeniably, contented laziness. It’s like sipping a fresh lime cooler on a Hawaiian vacation. From the laid-back guitar to the mellow phrasings of the singer’s voice, “You Can Wonder” hits every note of the perfect breezy song. We agree with the F16s: this song lies “between a fantasy and what is real”, much like those fleeting moments where you can still kind of remember what you were dreaming about.

2. Summer State of Mind, by Plastic Parvati

At all of 49 seconds, this excellent song by Plastic Parvati (Kolkata-based The Ganesh Talkies’ Suyasha Sengupta) boasts of four lines of lyrics and an addictive tabla-like beat that will make your morning almost improbably happier. Besides, there’s also Suyasha’s voice: jazzy, quirky, and positively drenched in lackadaisy. We promise you that even in your sleepy lethargy, you’re going to press ‘replay’ as soon as this song starts fading out.

3. Sleeping in the Back of Her Car, by the Shakey Rays

Here at Top Five, we’ve already heaped a lot of praise for our favorite Chennai boys, The Shakey Rays. This beautiful track from Tunes from the Big Belly picks up from the “crazy, hazy night” before the lazy weekend morning in question. On this fateful night, the singer walks around with beer on his breath and a smile on his face, meets a girl, gets into her car and (surprise!) falls asleep. Like most material that the Shakey Rays put out, everything on this track just fits: the palpable jangly beauty of the guitars, their immaculately harmonized vocals, and pleasantly nuanced drumming on Niranjan Swaminathan’s part. Oh, and the lyrics. This song could soundtrack your dreams: let it.

4. Monkey in Me, by Nischay Parekh

Nischay Parekh is a young singer-songwriter from the storied city of Kolkata with a voice that was intended by God to sing softly over sleepy mornings. The pretty, happy “Monkey in Me” is, frankly, a bit of a sensory overload: reminding you of sugary doughnuts and morning coffee (with vanilla swirls!) as much as it does of the way that green, sunlit leaves sway in a gentle breeze. Apart from Nischay’s delicate and gifted vocals, we also eagerly doff our hats to Shaumik Biswas’ intuitive drumming and Rohit Kapoor’s talented bass-playing. “Cosmically speaking, I think I’d be dreaming if I fell in love,” sings Nischay, but we beg to differ slightly: you’re going to fall in love with this song (and Nischay’s music) because it is exactly what you should hear when you’re dreaming.

5. Bindya, by Sulk Station

After shuttling between Kolkata and Chennai, we’re going to direct you to Bangalore’s trip-hop phenomenon Sulk Station’s gorgeous track “Bindya”. On this song, Tanvi Rao recites a beautiful hymn-prayer with all the splendor and clarity of sunlight filtering through a pristine rural morning, and Rahul Giri backs it up with a subtle touch of his electronica. “Bindya” is one of those songs that, if heard in the correct moment, can leave you completely spellbound. That magical twilight zone when you’re just waking up is one of those correct moments.

So there you have it. Have a nice weekend!

Anthems for the Insomniacs: Top Five Late Night Tracks

1 Jul

It’s 2 in the morning. The silence of the world outside is almost overwhelming. ‘Normal’ people are fast asleep by now. You, on the other hand, are wide awake. Perhaps you’re lying in bed, mind wandering in the midst of a journey with no fixed destination. Maybe you’re at your desk, midnight oil burning away as you attempt to use the uninterrupted free time and creative boost of that ghostly hour. Or maybe you’re just awake because you have nothing better to do. Either way, you need a soundtrack – music to set the tone for your night, to capture the peaceful, bittersweet, beautiful nature of true late night. Luckily, you have us to provide you with five such songs!

5. Cayman Islands, by Kings of Convenience

Norway’s traditional musical export of black metal is heavily challenged by the indie-folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience (KoC). “Cayman Islands,” from the band’s 2004 album Riot on an Empty Street, sets the scene perfectly for an extended late-night session of intense pondering. Melodic finger-picked guitars flow and meld together in warm, rich, relaxing harmonies, and serve as the perfect backdrop for Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe beautiful, mellifluous voices. Øye and Bøe sing in perfect unison, in a vocal dance with neither leader nor follower.

4. If We Cannot See, by Devics

“If We Cannot See” by Los Angeles indie-rock outfit Devics features the same reliance on warm harmonies, but on a much more grandiose scale. Dreamy, ethereal piano chords shift into overwhelming shoegaze-inspired guitars, as soft breathy vocals whisper-sing lyrics full of beautiful melancholy. It’s almost as if this song was designed to inspire the late-night bittersweet artist in you.

3. All I Need, by Radiohead

Radiohead has always been known for the quality of their music, the emotions their songs invokes and their almost uncanny ability to musically portray your thoughts. “All I Need,” from the album In Rainbows, carries on this tradition. Thom Yorke’s moody, melancholic voice and lyrics underscore the low, driving bass-line, textured soundscape and drumbeat. Echoes of guitars and pianos turn up in odd, unexpected places. The song’s climax is paradoxically both chaotic and melodically refined. “All I Need” is a gloomy, realistic vision of everything in your life that’s going wrong, but what better moment to reflect on all that than while lying awake in bed at 2AM?

2. Take Me Home, by Sulk Station

Bangalore’s first real trip-hop duo are a class apart in India, and not just because there’s almost no one else doing what they’re doing here. Sulk Station’s Rahul Giri and Tanvi Rao have been getting rave reviews from anyone who’s been fortunate enough to hear them. “Take me home” from the album Till You Appear features Tanvi Rao’s beautiful voice in all its haunting, understated glory, admirably supported by computer-and-synthesizer based music that stands toe-to-toe with the best chill-step out there. This is the kind of song that perfectly captures that raw, soul-weary, tired feeling you have after a too-long day of non-stop work. Too awake and alive to sleep, yet tootired to get out of bed? Throw this track on, lay back, close your eyes and let Sulk Station take over your mind and soul.

1. Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl, by Broken Social Scene

Broken Social Scene has been a critical darling almost since their inception, and is one of the few indie music collectives that does in fact do justice to the term “supergroup,” even if they do eschew the term. “Anthems For a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” features everything you’d want in a late-night song. High, breathy, effects-laden vocals are sung over a lilting combination of soft strings, banjos, perfectly simple drums, and guitars that focus far more on atmosphere than technique (and rightly so). The song develops gradually, gathering momentum and building up to a sustained plateau that will keep you on a musical high long after the final notes have died down. Spend some time listening to the lyrics – in a few simple lines, they express what countless teenagers and college kids have gone through and continue to go through, as they grow up and find their (sadly all-too-often fake) identities. This song will both paralyse you and invigorate you, breathless, as your mind races with all the possibilities that lay before you.

– Manickam.

Agree with the top 5? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section! 

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