Tag Archives: tunes from the big belly

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!

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A Shakey Picture

8 Nov

The Shakey Rays are a three piece rock and roll band from Chennai that have been creating waves of awed adoration wherever they bring their unique tunesmithery. Coming off of a brilliant show at BITS Pilani’s cultural fest Oasis, the boys are now gigging their way through Delhi, winning the hearts of hundreds of fans (and women) wherever they go. Top Five Records caught up with Dhruva, Vikram (Vicky), Niranjan (Ninju), guest bassist Abhinav (of fellow Chennai artists Adam and the Fish-Eyed Poets) and band manager Jolene for a quick fifteen minutes in between their hectic calendar.

Top Five Records: Congrats on the excellent show, guys! Those of us that weren’t lucky enough to be there to see you guys opening for TAAQ got regular, ecstatic updates from people that WERE there.

Pilani, as you guys know now, is in the middle of nowhere, which is quite a change for most bands gigging around India in the same five or six cities. Tell us a bit about what you were thinking when the cab driver was taking you through the seemingly endless rustic hinterlands of dust and Haryanvis.

Ninju: We saw our lives flash before our eyes.
Dhruva: Lord have mercy on our poor souls!
Abhinav: It was dusty.
Vicky: I was praying dude!
Abhinav: He (Vicky) was seeking divine intervention.
Jolene: It was exhilarating and scary at the same time. The drivers were racing each other, driving on the opposite side of the road and missing oncoming vehicles by mere feet of distance … we tried to alleviate the fact that our lives were on the line by alternatively trying to sleep, talking to each other and analysing the 90’s Bollywood love songs being played on the stereo. But all’s when that ends well, we got to campus alive and were later told that the sort of ride we had to campus was an important part of the BITS experience.

TFR: BITSians pride themselves on being, well, chilled out (sometimes a bit too much, actually). Tell us a little bit about your Oasis experience.

Dhruva: Brilliant!
Abhinav and Ninju: Special mention to Jashid and Champu (Vineet Chaudhury) for taking us around and being generally awesome.
Vicky: We didn’t steal any towels, though I hope I didn’t put one in my bag by mistake.
Jolene: I’m super glad we got to play this gig (thanks Neeharika, Karthik and the organizers). Playing in front of such a large audience, so different from the pub goers we’ve usually played to was an important step in itself, never mind the somewhat mixed reactions.

TFR: BITS was the first college gig that you’ve played as a band. How was that experience different from your usual gigs?

The whole band: More crowd! More people! Much better!
Vicky: We heard a horn from somewhere in the crowd during our set. That was sort of cool since we’ve been looking for a horn section since a while now and we randomly heard one; wonder where it came from?

TFR: One of the main concerns for most non-metal bands playing college gigs is that college kids expect metal and only metal bands. Did you feel that that was a concern at BITS? Did you get the crowd bobbing to the Diddley beat?

Dhruva: No, it seems like people only wanted to dance and we gave them that.
Jolene: I heard we were picked to play ahead of Scribe. That’s pretty cool, considering the band’s massive popularity.

TFR: Did you walk around campus a bit? Did anyone take you to Sarla, tell you what ‘putting’ is, or introduce you to the beauty of a Thunderbolt?

The band: Yes to all. Every item on the checklist, tick.

TFR: Tell us a bit about TAAQ. Did you meet/hang out with them?

The band: We met them, didn’t hang out with them. They seemed like nice people.
Ninju and Dhruva: Their drummer is awesome.

TFR: You guys have completed a country-wide tour recently. Do you have another such tour in the works? Tell us about some upcoming gigs.

Jolene: We’ll do another tour only after releasing an EP or album. We’re playing a lot around Delhi this month and charting out gigs for December/January as well. Details come up on our Facebook page as gigs are finalized.

TFR: If we still lived in a world of vinyl records rather than mp3s, then Shakey fans all over the country would have scratched their copy of Tunes from the Big Belly out of sheer over-use. We need new material! Is that happening?

Dhruva + Vikram: We are in the process of writing songs, most of them are still in the demo stage.
Jolene: 16th of this month is when we’ll digitally release a new single, hopefully with a B Side.

TFR: One of the biggest questions we’ve had about you guys, and one that shames us for not knowing despite being huge fans, is the origin of your name. Please tell us it doesn’t actually derive from “Shakira”.

 Vikram: No real history behind the band name. We were looking for something particularly interesting and Dhruva, being the most interesting member in the group, came up with “The Shakey Rays”.

Dhruva: I suppose there’s a degree of truth to that. It’s a question that often comes up, and I wish I remember how it sprung up- I think we we’d had a drink or ten when THE SHAKEY RAYS presented itself in bold letters.

TFR: A lot of BITSians read this blog. Is there anything you’d like to say, as a closing note of sorts?

Vikram: No, not really… Thanks for the chicken!
Dhruva: Thank you for dancing, BITS!
Abhinav: Thanks for Neeraj Shridar.

So there you have it. You can listen to each of the Shakey Rays’ pop gems of perfection here. Happy listening!

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