This Year In Music: 50 Homegrown Releases That Were On Our Radar In 2023

HG Music - A Year In Review
HG Music - A Year In ReviewJanma Paar, Prabh Deep

In the symphony of sounds that defined the past year, HG Music - A Year In Review invites you to traverse the rich musical terrain cultivated by homegrown artists across genres. As we bid farewell to the last 12 months, join us in celebrating the standout tracks that shaped the sonic landscape of the year. From indie anthems to hip-hop revelations, this curated collection spotlights the 50 best releases that emerged from the creative depths of local talent, underscoring the profound impact these artists have had on the global music scene. Brace yourself for a rewind through the diverse beats, melodies, and lyrics that encapsulate the essence of a year brimming with Homegrown musical brilliance.

Paisa - Prabh Deep

This track pulls you in with its lush, almost alarmingly laid-back beat that’s punctuated by Prabh Deep’s hypnotic syncopated lyricism. It’s been on all of our lists and has been absolutely perfect for those ‘kick back and chill’ moments of your day this year.

Climb That Hill - Jamna Paar

That intro bass line is absolutely impossible to ignore and it only gets better from there with glitchy synths and vocals, and flute samples that hold oodles and oodles of melody. This is a sleeper banger that has subtle nods to the anthemic drum & bass bangers we know and love.

Pulp Motel - Dreamhour

If you’ve ever been driving down a scenic coastal road as the sun sets and thought to yourself self “Boy, I really wish I had the perfect song for this”, then boy do I have some good news for you. Pulp Motel’s synth-heavy, almost retro feel gives you that unmistakable feeling that you’re on an adventure unlike any other. 

Condemned - Dirge

Condemned brings forth everything we love about Doom-Metallers Dirge to the fore in spades; from devastatingly heavy guitar passages to dark, ethereal interludes to guttural vocals that make you want to dive straight into the depths of your neighbourhood mosh pit. 

Electric - Polar Lights

Polar Lights is thoughtful, playful, melodic and melancholy wrapped into an immaculately produced and layered offering. There are not a lot of tracks that make you feel floaty, pensive and euphoric simultaneously and this is certainly a track we’re going to be bumping for a long time after this year.

EndaVishesham - Rebel 7

There’s something about the beat on EndaVishesham that makes you want to get up and bounce. It’s the perfect soundtrack to those moments in your day when you need that one banger that’s going to get you in the mood to seize the day.

Fatima's Poplar - Ruhail Qaisar

The dark, poetry of Fatima’s Poplar drips with delay, decay and a forbidding cadence that transports you to the horrors of the shade; a primal place where light is but a distant memory and the base instincts of humankind take over. While it may not be for everyone, it’s sublime experimental music at its finest.

Indrajaal - Kohra

We love the vaguely cyber-punk-esque feel of this track as a whole. It’s futuristic but still immediately accessible and sets the scene for a city that never sleeps and a night out that you never want to end.

To Remain/To Return - Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily

There’s not a lot that Arooj Aftab touches that doesn’t immediately turn to sonic gold and this track is no exception. There’s a pensive melancholy that permeates the entirety of the track and it is this that puts you into an almost trance-like reverie where the mind can wander uninhibited. 

Andar Bandar - vinayak^a

There’s a sublime complexity to the layers on Andar Bandar that tickles the mind as the track builds, peaks, and crescendos to the point where every listen feels like a slightly different experience as you notice a section or part you might not have heard before.

Mandnyan Shaam - Gaekhir Republik

With tracks like Mandnyan Shaam, Kashmiri band Gaekhir Republik magnificently capture the grief and hope of their homeland. The rawness of the emotions and motifs that they bring to the fore give their listeners a glimpse into their complex lives, identities and lived experiences. 

Songs Or People - Sarathy Korwar

Sarathy’s technical ability is unquestionable but what sets him apart is the way he combines this with an impeccable awareness of song structure and compositional awareness to create music that caters to listeners across a wide array of backgrounds and influences.

Go To Sleep - HanuMankind ft. Parimal Shais

Go To Sleep by Hanumankind captures the conflict and self-confrontation of an artist rising in the industry. It's produced by Parimal Shais and the music video is directed by Bijoy Shetty inspired by David Fincher's Fight Club.

Swali Hu - Donn Bhatt ft. Sakur Khan Sufi

The collision of Rajasthani baul and electronica unfolds in this ethereal composition. Infused with the authentic sounds of sarangi and dotara, accompanied by an Afro-rock-inspired tone, the track succinctly delves into the windswept mysticism of the 18th-century saint Bulleh Shah in a post-industrial era.

Phonecall Freestyle - tricksingh & Eyepatch

Sampling a ring from the iconic BSNL Landline telephones we’ve all grown up to, this desi hip hop banger perfectly captures the artists this generation that has made nostalgia their playground in self-discovery and innovation.

bliss - ZZ

Taking us back to the pop music aesthetics of the 90s and 2000s, this flirty track over a dancehall-type beat is our very own, South Asian version of the Seal Paul universe.

OMW - Yuhina

I mean, what girl hasn't dreamed of running through a dreamy, enchanted forest trying to find the way back to herself after a failed situationship? Yuhina gives us that space through this track to reconnect with ourselves over a delicious synthwave bassline.

Tradition - Yanchan ft. Sandeep Nayaran

Tradition ingeniously contemporizes Carnatic music as Yanchan skillfully blends the timeless melody of Manavyalakim in raagam Nalinakanthi with a pop/house beat. The track's emotional depth emerges from this fusion, with Sandeep elevating Yanchan's initial vision.

Jhaag - Chaar Diwaari

The song 'Jhaag' appears to delve into the complexities of a troubled relationship, highlighting issues of control, emotional manipulation, feeling unheard, and the struggle to maintain one's emotional integrity despite the circumstances. The lyrics portray a complex narrative with metaphors and strong imagery.

SHOR - Dokodoko

This electropop track, enriched with a grunge-inspired twist delves into the concept of external and internal clamour, representing the chaos that shapes one's identity and existence with a very Dev-D sonic & visual aesthetic.

THATS A FACT - Yashraj, HanumanKind, Manïn 

This track is a playful juxtaposition of HanuMankind's high-pitched vocals and a versatile style with Yashraj's contrasting rapid-flow delivery. Manin's commendable production work is evident in the track's lively beat, complete with well-executed drums and 808s. The collaborative effort exudes a unique raw energy.

Lover's Garden - Dream Enterer

If fantasy was a musical genre, this track would be its flagbearer. The track embodies the haunting beauty of love, capturing the essence of a formless energy that resists definition; wild, untameable.

The Bridge Between Us - Pacifist

A timeless, post-hardcore narrative of matters of the heart, depicting the gradual separation of two souls. Pacifist engages in a confessional exploration of failure, personal growth, harsh realities, and enduring pains, using pen, ink, paint, canvas, and parchment to convey authentic reflections.

Bahaane - OAFF, Somanshu, The Rish, Lisa Mishra

Amidst a landscape of heartbreak anthems and euphoric tunes, 'Bahaane' stands out with its authentic portrayal of real-life challenges in love. With heartfelt lyrics and a soul-stirring melody, the track resonates as a musical masterpiece, capturing the profound complexities of a connection worth preserving in the face of adversity.

Asymmetrical - Dot.

"Asymmetrical" is a playful and jazz-influenced composition where Dot talks about her psychology teacher who taught her that a symmetrical face is biologically attractive. Delving into the theme of love with curiosity and childlike innocence, the song asks, "I'm asymmetrical.... Am I still lovable?"

Hold me - Ditty

"You're lonely my friend and I am as well

Our roads don't meet though, we're faraway friends"

It poetically evokes a universal feeling that almost all of us can relate to — the loneliness we experience when geographical boundaries separate us from our loved ones.

Anniku Raathiri - Mali, Madhan Karky, Vishal Ravichandran, Harshan

Anniku Raathiri (that one night) narrates the story of a woman caught in a repetitive night, symbolising societal oversight and fear. Stranded without an Uber on a rainy night, she encounters eerie experiences and seeks refuge in what should be safe but turns out otherwise.

Just A Metal Kid - Bhayanak Maut x Uday Benegal

Bhayanak Maut's single is a sonic journey immersed in the enthusiasm of India's metal scene, echoing the band's historical nods to influential peers. The track encapsulates the vibrant emotions of growing up with metal in India, capturing the essence of moshpits, BC/MC chants, and the rich tapestry of experiences in between.

I Got You - St Cyril

I Got You is an upbeat pop-rock song that follows the course of a developing romance, depicting the journey from being deeply infatuated to anchoring such a transient emotion in something more substantial and tangible.

Halfway - Taba Chake

This pensive track is crafted to resemble the intricate path of our emotions, with its coiling tension and eventual dynamic release, encapsulating the struggle of navigating between the present and the past, an internal conflict one must ultimately come to terms with.

Some Kind Of Nothing - Tejas

Tejas' blends Rock, Funk, R&B, Soul, and Electronica in this upbeat track. With his distinctive touch, the track not only defines his signature English Pop style but also underscores his pivotal role in shaping the dynamic landscape of independent English songwriting in the subcontinent.

Kulli - Tech Panda & Kenzani

Delhi-based electronica maestros Tech Panda and Kenzani skillfully blend Sufi mysticism with modern production, elevating the timeless vocals of 'Kulli Vichon Ni Yaar Labh Lai' into a dancefloor anthem. Enriched with the resonance of the Arabic oud, the duo's musical alchemy creates a captivating fusion.

Monster Machine - Shruti Haasan

On her single, Monster Machine, Shruti Haasan takes her audience into the depths of a dark, primal and abundantly sensual set of personas that aim to speak to a liberated, emancipated human spirit; one that’s unafraid to explore the complexity of love, lust, desire, and rage. 

Shringaar - Gaurav Raina, Komorebi, Curtain Blue, Bhanwari Devi, Tarana Marwah

Created for Anita Dongre's Rewild collection, a fundraiser for elephant conservation featuring block prints, gota patti, embroideries and Pichhwai art hosted in Jaipur at the City Palace, the track pay homage to Rajasthan's cultural landscape & Rajasthani folk music with Bhanwari Devi’s soulful voice.

Langur Lucid

Produced, written and recorded entirely in his own home on an iPad, Langur Lucid's track is and electronic ode to the angst, despair and a nonchalant acceptance of the human condition; the kind that makes us surrender to whatever is bothering us in a soothing, sweet embrace.

Khatta Flow - Seedhe Maut ft KR$NA

Seedhe Maut and KR$NA seamlessly blend their lyrical prowess over a hardcore hip-hop landscape showcasing not only their superiority in the rap game but also the meticulously crafted music and production, setting ablaze a barrage of chopper flows with an unmistakable intensity.

THAPPAD! - Prabh Deep

Unhinged bars, seamless flow, tight music production, and a vibrant music video inspired by American comic books — Prabh Deep delivers it all!

BILYA - Ahmer, Tufail, 30KEY

BILYA delivers an electrifying bilingual lyrical onslaught. With 30KEY!'s influential production and Akash Shravan's masterful touch, the track not only showcases the region's exceptional quality but also invites listeners to jump and rap along to its infectious rhythm, celebrating Kashmiri hip hop.

BHUSSI - KSHMR, Seedhe Maut & Karan Kanchan

The high-octane rap record drops some slick verses by Calm and Encore ABJ — the men who brought the house down at Delhi stadium last month — featuring the ferocious hip-hop duo Seedhe Maut, and Gully Gang's no-holds-barred producer Karan Kanchan.

Perfect Life - Tsumyoki

This track is a breezy pop gem, featuring refreshing transitions that mirror the artist's imaginative escape from societal norms. The dynamic song structure, coupled with its feel-good vibe, serves as a mood lifter during gloomy days and transforms into a celebratory anthem on brighter occasions

Bad People - Rae Mulla & harithelion

Boom bap flows over a soft jazz hop beat, an old-school sample and a dude being as real & vulnerable as he can without skipping on some slick double entendres — just sublime.

Shyam - Bandish Projekt ft. Isha Nair

The alchemy of electronica with mystical Indian elements create a mesmerising modern-day hymn in this collaborative track. Isha Nair sings an Indian classical bandish in raag Puryadhanashree over a production that mixes Lofi with Neuro chill soundscapes capturing the voice of a quintessentially contemporary India.

Chorni - Divine & Sidhu Moose Walla

Sidhu's fourth posthumously-released track with after his tragic death is a testament to his legacy and the million hearts he touched with his powerful music, opening the doors to the mainstream music industry for Punjabi artists, stories & musical expression.

Roz Roz - The Yellow Diary ft. Shilpa Rao

The overwhelming, addictive highs and the agonizing lows of a modern day relationship are translates visually and sonically in this bittersweet tale of the the affairs of the heart by The Yellow Diary in collaboration with Shilpa Rao.

Elevation - OLD

A nectarean piece of Chillwave heaven for the ambient heads that are looking for the perfect background music as they take in the mesmerising beauty of existence on their late night drives or early morning walks.

Dhuin - Tajdar Junaid

A good score can become synonymous with the identity of a film. This poignant masterpiece by Tajdar Junaid sonically interprets the quiet struggle and raging, restless ambition that comes with chasing your dreams in Achal Mishra's Dhuin.

Fantastic Cosmic Hicks - Antariksh Daddy

The breakbeat-infused track from Delhi-based Anandit Sachdev AKA Antariksh Daddy is exactly what you'd expect from a spaceman like himself — a hint of the old-school Azax Syndrom-ish menacing ambient high-pitched pads for the cosmic travel along with some syncopated punchy bass that you'd encounter if you ended up at an underground club from another planet.

One7two - Shantam

Influenced by IDM, Drum n Bass, and Breaks, the EP showcases dynamic audio manipulation, spirited drum patterns, and a symphony of instruments, the track delivers a fuzzy, ambient and delightful electronic cocktail.

Filter Coffee - Aditi Ramesh

Filter Coffee by Aditi Ramesh serves up a modern anthem with shimmering electronic-pop/R&B vibes addressing our constant need for validation and attention on social media.

Do the dance - Sid Sriram

A perfect example of Sid Sriram's genre-defying music, weaving together Pop/Soul, Indian Classical roots, and alternative/ambient influences in a captivating fusion of visual and auditory artistry accompanied by children from The SLGV Carnatic choir.