Tag Archives: We Could Be Dreaming

The Jack Daniels Rock Awards 2013





The eighth edition of the annual Jack Daniels Rock awards was held on the 22nd of February at Mehboob Studio amidst little hype and no fanfare. The invite-only event hosted by Sameer Malhotra and The P-Man (Rohit Pereira) saw successful rock bands from the scene, across genres, being feted for their musical efforts over the past one year, by people who had little or nothing to do with the scene.

Bombay punk rockers, Blek kick-started the evening performing songs from their debut album, Hexes + Drama & Other Reasons for Evacuation to an audience of around 100 people. Their half hour long set included some of their popular songs like ‘Minus the Makeup’ and ‘Fog + Strobe’ which was also nominated in the best song category. Blek’s set was followed by the first set of awards which saw Shantanu Hudalikar win the best producer award. Advaita’s The Silent Sea and Swarathma’s Topiwalleh shared honours for the best album art while The Blue Frog, Mumbai was adjudged the best live music venue.  The emcee then made Michele Obama’s virtual presence at the Oscars seem less random by calling upon a Bollywood designer along with an eye-candy model to give away the next set of awards – Blek were back on stage to collect their award, after being declared the best emerging band of 2012. The next award handed out was for the best keyboardist which was shared by Jason Zachariah (Jason Zac Band) and Zubin Balaporia (Indus Creed). The designer-model duo then gave a priceless tip of advice in fashion to the musicians gathered (who, judging by the vibes, couldn’t care less), before handing over the best drummer award to Jai Row Kavi (Indus Creed). Bombay Jam band Something Relevant was up next on stage, playing a half hour long medley of songs from their second album, We Could Be Dreaming which was released last year.

Actor Suchitra Pillai was then accompanied on stage by Ken Ghosh (Bollywood director) to give away the next set of awards – Tony Guinard of the Ska Vengers tipped my personal favourite Roop Thomas of Blakc to win the best bassist award. Thermal and a Quarter frontman Bruce Lee Mani deservingly bagged the coveted best guitarist award, having being nominated alongside other stalwarts like Keshav Dhar, Baiju Dharmarajan and Mahesh Tinaikar. A clueless Mandira Bedi then walked onto stage to hand over the awards for best male and female vocalists – Vivienne Pocha won the award for the best female vocalist scoring over equally good singers Samara C (Ska Vengers) and Suman Sridhar (Sridhar/Thayil), while Angaraag “Papon” Mahanta overpowered the likes of Uday Benegal, Rabbi Shergill, Bruce Lee Mani, Gareth D’mello and Vasu Dixit in a star studded list of nominations for the best male vocalist.

The Rolling Stone all-star jam that followed, showcased artists from bands like Something Relevant, Split, Goddess Gagged and Colour Compound, recreate the magic of some of India’s most popular rock songs  – from Siddharth Basrur and Gareth D’mello’s duet take on Them Clones’s ‘Zephyretta’  to Rachel Varghese’s cover of Junkyard Groove’s ‘Imagine’, Saba Azad’s cover of  Orange Street’s ‘Candywalk’ to  Gareth’s beautiful delivery of ‘Lucy’ by Zero, Suman Sridhar’s horror screams and deafening screeches on Workshop’s ‘Pudhe Sarka’ to Rachel Varghese’s rendering of ‘Trapped’ by Indus Creed,  the wonderfully selected set list for the jam had something for everyone’s taste and gave the attendees a lot to cheer about.

The Rolling Stone jam session was ensued by the last set of awards that saw Keshav Dhar’s Skyharbor bag the recently introduced – best metal band award before Papon made it two for the night after ‘Boitha Maro Re’ was adjudicated the best song, overshadowing some splendid tracks like ‘Maeva’ (Skyharbor), ‘Fog + Strobe’ (Blek), ‘Dissolve’ (Indus Creed) and ‘For the Cat’ (TAAQ). Former Miss India, Yukta Mookhey was then called out of oblivion to hand over the last couple of awards – Advaita’s ‘The Silent Sea’ won the top honours bagging the best album award, however it was Indus Creed who won the bragging rights and took home the 5 lakh rupees prize money after being adjudged the best Indian band for the year 2012.

Despite oddities of the award presenters, a no-show by most winners and a kitty cat on the loose, the award show at large went off smoothly, thanks (largely) to the free flowing Jack at the event.


We Could Be Dreaming by Something Relevant


Very rarely does an Indian band blow my mind away. Not just sonically or technically, but with their “super” feel, mood and melodies.

Something Relevant (STR) has blown me away with their latest offering ‘We Could Be Dreaming’. The subtle mix of technical proficiency, multi-genre music, brilliantly written lyrics, quality recording mix, and the “Indian” feel, makes this an album that you can listen to when you are on one of those long drives on a highway on a cloudy day, or while you just want to get up and dance to some tunes, or just for fun! I am a sucker for technique, and audio mixing. Throughout the album, they not only manage to keep the listener hooked on to the tunes, but also convey the messages behind the songs The best part is that you will remember their music.

These gentlemen from Mumbai certainly are here to stay and change the way audiences perceive Indian Bands and their music. This album perhaps is a milestone on the Indian Music Journey. A journey that aims to take Indian Band Music closer to audiences around the globe.Without much ado, let me go straight to the tracks on offer in this album.

The album starts off with this song called ‘Liar Liar.’ The song starts off with a bang. The band maintains their happy-go-lucky feel that one would associate with a STR song. The song has a brilliant chorus that just sticks to you incorporates superb use of the saxophone, which is neither too dominating nor too subtle to ignore, along with the mouth organ, the guitar tones, and of course the vocals which sound absolutely perfect for a feel-good pop-rock song. It’s a song I can imagine the band playing live, while the audience put their dancing shoes on and enjoy with the band! One thing which really pleases me when I listen to this song is the aesthetic sense of the musicians. They know exactly when to play what and when! Kudos to Something Relevant!

The second song is called ‘More’. Here again, it starts with the traditional drum roll, but goes to a quick bluesy/Latin groovy rhythm, and just like Liar Liar, this song has a phenomenal chorus. The lyricist must be congratulated for coming up with something that is so rich and musically and sonically pleasing! I loved the keyboards on this one, which stays in the background for most part of the songs, and fades in and out. From an Indian band, such high quality studio mastering is pleasantly unexpected and marks the beginning of perhaps an era of awesome Indian Bands with a unique sound.

‘Move Yourself’ is one of my favorite songs on the tracks. What I love about this song is the way it is sung, and the upright acoustic bass, which adds a brilliant flavor to the song. These guys definitely know how to get a crowd get up on their feet and shake a leg or two! The changes in the song are definitely worth applauding. For an Indian band doing this kind of stuff, I am sure, many will agree that this sounds pretty path breaking. The saxophone solo, which goes on with the bass and drums in the foreground with the guitar doing its subtle thing in the background is a treat for the ears, not to forget the slides used with the guitar which give it a splendid feel! The song addressed to the city of Mumbai is definitely one that you will remember!

‘Digging for Water’ is my favorite song on the album, for several reasons. First, the way the song starts is just plain smooth, reminds me of a train trip, the beats are reminiscent of a train chugging along. Second, the lyrics are just superb, and finally, this song has a superb saxophone part which sounds classy. The changes, the arrangement, the melody and the interludes make this pure ear-candy! I will say no more.

‘Heartbreak Interlude’ is my second favorite track on the record. I am a fan of minimalism, and this song is played by one stringed instrument that sounds like a ukulele, which has nylon strings, and an upright bass.

‘Just Another Heartbreak’ is perhaps one of the happiest songs to have come our way, that talks about heartbreaks. And what stands out in this song is the “jam” feel to the song. You can tell the vocalist laughs at one moment in the song, but they keep going. The drums and the bass form a very important part of the band, and in this song, they are like the superglue that holds the song together. Some phenomenal “moody” drumming with tasteful bass makes it a must listen. You never know what to expect. And the song ends with a brilliant jam. I am fan of the band just because of the guitar tones, and way they mix their tracks. The number of layers might not be apparent to the casual listener, but boy do the intricacies mesmerize the more serious listener, not just in this track but in the others as well.

‘Be Real’ starts off, and I know instinctively that there will be quite a lot of rap. I was proved right as the song went forward. Be real is a very different offering from STR – a song bordering on rap, with a chorus which is quite interesting. What I loved about the song is that you could clearly hear the instruments, unlike the electronic beats that you generally associate with rap. Along with a solid groove, the real hero in the song is, apart from the vocalist, the guitarist. Splendid use of the guitars to come up with something that sounds so simple and yet so interesting.

‘Groovy Sense of Timing’, a duet with guest vocalist Sofia blew my ears off. What an amazing singer, she is! Perfect for the blues or jazz! You name it, she can sing it! The song keeps a very solid bluesy-pop-rock feel throughout. And finally our man behind the keys – Luis, gets a solo, which sounds like hot chocolate sauce on a cold vanilla ice cream scoop! This song will take you back to the days when pop had real instruments behind it. The saxophonist is a wizard in this song. And believe you me, you will want to groove to the song. This song is my third favorite on the album and just goes on to show the versatile the band is.

‘Matters of State’ is a brilliant take on the “state” that the band refers to. Replete with solid laidback lyrics, reminds you of this group called One Giant Leap! The total reggae feel is superb. You will be bobbing your head up and down by the time song ends. The keyboardist is very subtle and shows his prowess throughout the song. It is something that if you listen to closely will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, thanks to the sheer awesomeness of it. Bongos are a perfect ending to a song about a King who has lost his crown and mind.

When the song ‘Turn the Wheel ’ starts off, you immediately imagine the Saturday Night Live band playing the tune, but then the tempo and mood changes, and you are immediately transcended into an ethereal space, which is a surreal place to be in. The exemplary mixing and recording, not to forget the skills of the musicians of the band, makes this a brilliant song. I am sure I am not forgetting these lyrics in a hurry. Superb display of musicianship and a must listen.

‘I Can Swim‘ starts off with a solid movie background score feel, but suddenly the tone changes and there are tablas and a plethora of other instruments. The melancholic tone of the singer and the general appeal of the song make it sound a little sad, but then the chorus gives you hope. The bass fills up the song throughout, while various instruments fade in and out beautifully. The song was sung by two singers, and they have done a fantastic job. Laced with rap, melodic lines, and beautiful harmonies, this song greets you like the first rains of the monsoons! And maybe that is why the song is called so, it reminds you of the cool feeling when you get drenched in the rains, or maybe jump into the pool for a swim. I love the different tones used by the guitars in the entire album, but this song truly brings about some beautiful tones. Kudos to the guitarist Tanmay Bhattacherjee for this song! The tempo changes from melancholic to downright happy. This song would make for a good live performance. One that I would love to be part of.

All in all, an album every music lover must definitely buy. No, they don’t sound like any other group of musicians. No it’s not like everything you have heard before. The musicians prove again, that proper training, know-how and sheer focus and dedication can lead to music that is both unique and something that can reach out to masses without being “commercial”.

I came across this band in 2011, when I was browsing Reverbnation for new bands and sounds. The tracks listed were live recordings of songs the band played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I was struck by the seemingly simple, yet multi-layered and rich sounds, the feel-good, peppy lyrics and the genial use of various instruments. Then I tried very hard to see them live, but failed, only to learn that they had taken a break from making music to go attend music school and hone their skills! I have been eagerly awaiting the release of their second album, ever since.

While I was waiting, I did some research on the band and found a lot of things which were very interesting. The band wanted to set up their own jam studio, and finally found an old cotton mill in Mumbai, which they converted to their own studio calling it “Cotton Press Studios”. This is a group of individuals who are driven and are definitely here to stay. I am eagerly waiting to listen to whatever else they can churn up.

This album is self-produced at the Cotton Press Studios, a place where one can jam in a ‘professional environment’. A final hats off to all the band members for composing and coming up with such a treat for the ears. . I think one of the hallmarks of this album is that all the choruses are absolutely spot on, not to mention the use of all the instruments. Kudos to all the instrumentalists who have contributed to this album. A special shout out to all the guest musicians who were a part of the band’s songwriting and production process. The audio engineers deserve special credit for lacing the album with such finesse.

So my strong suggestion to all music lovers is that you give Something Relevant’s We Could Be Dreaming a listen. I am sure you’ll want to buy their music, which I consider to be an important milestone in the bittersweet journey of Indian music.