Firstpost Playlist: Beirut soul, Swedish rock, Melodic Tamil and more

This week take your heart on a strange journey  — explore feelings that you've never thought you had with songs for lost lovers, songs for your 'Sunday chill' or music simply to accompany your viewing of art by Edvard Munch.

Listen and read on.

The Junkies Ball by Billion Dollar Babies

Right off the bat, The Junkies Ball — the lead single from Billion Dollar Babies's latest LP Chemical God — is arguably one of the Swedish hard rock outfit's heaviest offerings so far. An amalgam of sneering vocals, driving rhythms and a singalong chorus, this is a promising track and certainly whets the appetite for the rest of Chemical God. A minor criticism: At around three minutes and 45 seconds, it's way too short.

Karan Pradhan

Hello (cover) by Walk off the Earth ft. KRNFX

There are covers of songs, and then there are covers of songs by Canadian band Walk off the Earth (WOTE). Remember that '5 people 1 guitar cover' of Gotye's Somebody that I used to know? Yes, that band. While WOTE has started making original music, most of us including me subscribe to their YouTube channel for their quirky one-take interpretations of popular songs.
The acapella cover of Hello by Adele is their latest and they are assisted by beat boxer KRNFX. Instruments used include Spinny tubes, PVC pipes and bells. Sarah and Ryan's harmonies are wonderfully contrasted by Gianni's high pitch rendition of the chorus and KRNFX creates magic with his beat boxing chops.
Even aesthetically speaking, the use of coloured instruments against an overall black backdrop, toggling of the spotlight on the singers and the sheer coordinated effort to make this one-take video is a pleasure to behold. After you're done with this, also check out some of their older one-take covers if you haven't already.
Nimish Sawant

Shim El Yasmine by Mashrou' Leila

Mashrou' Leila formed in the American University of Beirut — the band's name means 'overnight project'; it was indeed formed overnight when band members Haig Papzian (violinist) and Andre Chedid (guitarist) asked for people to join them for a 'jam' to sing about the political stress they were experiencing in Beirut. A resistance that emerged as a soulful expression of the self, Mashrou' Leila is that beautiful orgasm when politics and music meet one another. This is made more powerful in a society in which gay desires can have you killed.

Shim El Yasmine (Smell The Jasmine) set to the raspy, smoky voice of Hamed Sinno is about yearning — saudade, if you will. Sinno's voice is haunting and aching. He beseeches your heart to feel what he is feeling, perhaps then, we would understand? Openly gay in a culture that finds homosexuality repugnant, Sinno has written Shim El Yasmine for a man who once broke his heart. The gentle drums and the long, fantastic solo jazz trumpet (by the excellent Erik Trufazz) interludes make this song, the magic that it is. Also listen to, Lel Watan (The homeland)  and Wa Nueid (And Us — this one is just fantastic).

Vishnupriya Bhandaram


The Music Scene by Blockhead

Switch off all the lights in your room. And watch this video and listen to this song in absolute darkness. Trust me, it'll be completely worth it. Apart from the fact that The Music Scene has some great instrumental music which includes a unique and excellent bass and brilliant rhythm, the video is an explosion of colours.
Showing you how meticulous and imaginative artwork, animation and music can combine together to create sheer beauty, The Music Scene will hold you in thrall as you watch the colourful chaos on screen mix perfectly with the music.
Anshu Lal
Brought to the Water by Deafheaven 

The songs from Deafheaven's first album, Sunbather, could have served well in a soundtrack to an Edvard Munch painting. Their innards were dipped in the same gloom that pervades the Norwegian symbolist's canvases; these were then enclosed in a carcass fashioned from the Shakespeare sonnet that lent the band their name: 'I all alone beweep my outcast state/And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries/And look upon myself, and curse my fate.' Deafheaven sang dirges in shades of black.
Their most recent album, New Bermuda, mottles this raven darkness with shades of silver. "Brought to the Water", the opening track, is emblematic of their modified art: it speaks of evolvement and progression; you can now set an early work by Francis Bacon to their renewed song.
Jaideep Giridhar

Papaoutai ​​by Stromae

Brussels-born singer with Rwandan roots, this was Stromae's comeback album in 2013. Papaoutai sounds melancholic at the beginning but they dare you to accuse them of having anything but the sunniest of dispositions.

Stromae is the Europop megastar you would have never heard of. Europop is fizzy. Stromae, however, blends the corn-syrup pleasures of continental pop with tough lyrics. Papaoutai fuses Congolese rumba with piano house on a song about absent fathers. Papaoutai is the perfect song for a Sunday​, when you are nursing a nasty hangover.

The infectious sound and Stromae’s laidback delivery will have you singing this the whole time.

Devparna Acharya

Thalli Pogathey by Sid Sriram, Aparna Narayanan, ADK (Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada)

At Firstpost, we do a lot of work and then every once in a while (almost way too often), a colleague pings you a song, forcing you to stop what you were doing and to listen to the song — I walked into Thalli Pogathey like this. It's a song that grows on you quite instantly, lyrics set to fairly simple catchy tune that make you want more. It lacks the intensity of Gira Dil Kahin Dafatan (from Delhi 6), but is perhaps made in a similar vein — lyric heavy with the perfect musical arrangement.

Rohini Chatterji

Show me by Alina Baraz and Galimatias

Picture this. It's a Sunday morning, and you've just woken up. You're not sure if you should feel happy that it's an off, or that you have to resume work in 24 hours. What do you do? Listen to Alina Baraz, we say. This LA-based singer rose to popularity mostly on social media but her collabs with music producer Galimatias is what brought her on the map. Show Me is the chill-est of chill songs. Infact the entire album, Urban Flora, is like flying on a magic carpet, or walking on clouds. Yes, it's so good that we're coming up with the cheesiest of metaphors. Do yourself a favour; switch off your phone, brew a cup of tea and play this song on loop. Thank us later.

Swetha Ramakrishnan

Updated Date: Feb 07, 2016 11:04 AM

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