5 relatively underrated musicians you should try

Music is a soothing aspect of almost everyone’s life. It can be anything one needs at any point in time. A safe haven, a serene escape or a blazing motivator; these are just a few of the things music can be to a person. Discovering music new to one is often one of the greater joys a person can feel at a particular moment. Due to the busy life most of us lead, the magic of discovering music is lost to many. To help you find new music that can speak to your soul, here’s a few recent musicians/bands that might have flown under your radar. 

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Eida

Suggested Tracks: Nightdriver, What it means

Eida can no longer be considered underrated. They are a local band, consisting of a few university students with a great collective (and individual) sense of humour; evident by the name. Their music, in simple terms, is akin to modern dream-pop and retro wave with influences from 1975, Gorillaz and even The Strokes.

But from a more curious perspective, Eida’s music is much more. This group of talented musicians are not afraid to experiment and wouldn’t limit themselves to any specific genre. Their tracks invoke a very melancholic mood, and it is well worth giving them a try.

Chitropot

Suggested Tracks: Shondha Hole

Another local group. I found these guys off a random YouTube autoplay. Their music closely resembles fusion, in that they use a curious combination of instruments. But again, you shouldn’t fit things in a box. Very simplistic tone, vocal performance and the sheer emotion make them worth checking out.

Mitski

Suggested: Be the Cowboy (Yes, the entire album)

An American singer-songwriter, Mitski emphasizes creativity and experimentation in her work. Be The Cowboy is her 5th and latest album; she self-released the first two. This album received critical acclaim upon release and sets itself apart from contemporary pop music and music in general. The artist has designed the album with very short tracks, but each track invokes emotion and tries to get a point across. I suggest taking some time with this album, it is truly spectacular.

Oblique

Suggested track: Krishnopokkho, Bhondo

Not much introduction is needed for local Rock band Oblique, after the success of Aloron last year. They have been around since 2007 and are known for their use of unconventional, thought inducing and emotional lyrics. Rumour is that they are about to release a new single. So go ahead and check out their work.

Courtney Barnett

Suggested Track: Need a little time, Sunday Roast

The Australian singer-songwriter has a very loyal following. Her lyrics are embedded with witty humour and delivered with a dry, deadpan singing style. The combination is usually hilarious, emotional and curious at the same time. The best way to describe the emotion her music invokes would be; it encourages you to get to know the singer better. It enforces the need to delve deeper into her work, and that is possibly the best thing any music can do for its creator. Try out her recent album “Tell me how you really feel”, and please do.

Most of the time the reason for detachment to enjoying music is a rut.

All you might need is a little help with getting out of the said rut and finding the joy in music again. So take these musicians as a start to discovering music and musicians again, and let us know about the less known musicians you enjoy.

Looking back at the pioneering bands of Bangladesh

Bangladeshi bands have come a long way since the inception of rock here in the mid to late ’60s. They have transcended generations, musical genres and have firmly made their way into mainstream media. Their incredible popularity among the people of the country can be seen in most music festivals and concerts that are organized here.

Although the younger demographic is the majority to follow such music, there are many acts from older generations that garner a huge fan following to this day.  So we’ll be turning back time, to revisit some of Bangladesh’s earliest and most influential pioneers of band music.

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Zinga

Zinga was the first documented musical group of Bangladesh or East Pakistan back then. The band was originally formed in 1963 by a group of young students from Chittagong Government College.  Zinga’s music journey started as an Orchestra Band in Bangladesh which later became the first pop group. The group was the first to incorporate western musical instruments such as Drums, Guitar, Grand Piano, etc. to modernize traditional Bangla Tunes by Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Uchharon

The contribution and legacy of Azam Khan and his band Uchharon is quite unparallel in Bangladesh’s history. He and his band are called the Pioneer of Bangladeshi rock music. Their smash hits such as, ‘rail liner oi bostite’, ‘Alal o Dulal’, and ‘Saleka Maleka’ were huge to the point that they are still regularly getting radio play. Azam Khan passed away on June 2011 from oral cancer.

Souls

Souls was formed in Chittagong in 1972. They are considered as the most important band in Bangladeshi rock and roll. They were influenced by the music of The Beatles. In 1980, they released their debut album Super Souls, which was one of the first albums to be released by a music group in Bangladesh. There are still active to this day and is one of the most popular musical groups in the country.

Rock Strata

Rock Strata was one of the most influential bands to introduce and play heavy metal in Bangladesh. Alongside Warfaze, they have laid the foundation for many to today’s Bangladeshi heavy metal bands. Breaking up shortly after their first album, they reunited and also produce and released their second album on 2014. There are also the first to premier their live concert ‘One Last Live’ at Star Cineplex on September 2018.

The Era of LRB, Arc and Nagar Baul

The ’90s saw a huge boom in terms of great bands and great music being produced here in Bangladesh. And the three rock bands: Ayub Bachchu’s LRB, Jame’s Nagar Baul (formerly Feelings) and Hasan’s Arc, were at the centre of it.

These three uber-successful bands firmly established rock bands into the mainstream media with their immense popularity and were called Bangladesh’s ‘Big three of Rock’.

It’s quite difficult to imagine Bangladesh’s music scene without these three bands.

Read more: Trainwreck: The Bangladeshi metal band that rocked Wacken

Honourable Mention: 

Along with the bands mentioned above, the following bands have also played their part in developing Bangladesh’s music scene. They are The Windy Side of Care, Spondon, Feedback, Miles, Different Touch, Aurthohin, Dalchhut, Warfaze, Cryptic Fate, Black, Artcell, Arbovirus and Nemesis.        

Trainwreck: The Bangladeshi metal band that rocked Wacken

What a time to be alive for any fans of heavy metal music in Bangladesh. The country’s very own, Trainwreck, has represented Bangladesh at Wacken Open Air 2019.

They are part of the 29 bands from around the world competing in the “Metal Battle”. Metal Battle is the music festival contest for international newcomers. And judging from their performance, it’s safe to say that they have definitively left their mark on the crowd and back here at home.

The long journey

Trainwreck’s journey all the way to the German music festival was not an easy one. They had to overcome several hurdles on their road to Wacken. They were part of a number of bands to send in their demo which saw them take part and win the first Wacken Metal Battle Bangladesh chapter, up against four other supremely talented local bands.

That paved the way for their slot in the “Bangalore Open Air 2019”. With bands from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the victor would receive the opportunity to perform in Wacken Open Air. After coming out on top, the band got its ticket to Wacken. They started a crowdfunding campaign to fund their trip to Germany. Some of the country’s most popular musical acts such as Shunno, Arbovirus, Mechanix, Powersurge, Owned, Conclusion and our very Tahsan Khan got in on the action, to raise support for the band.

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Live At Wacken

Anyone who’s been to their local gigs knows what sort of intensity Trainwreck brings to any show with their brand of groove metal. And to see that same energy on Wacken’s history stage with the flag of Bangladesh strapped to A K Rahul’s a guitar was quite unreal. 

The stage or the crowd of wacken did not seem to faze them and they delivered a killer set. They performed four of their own tracks and finished their set with a bang with their mosh-pit inducing “909”.

Abir Ahmed Shuvo, A K Rahul, Ekram Wasi, Habibullah Farhan, and Asif Mahmood, take a bow, you guys have truly outdone yourself. 

Trainwreck is in contention with 29 other bands from all over the globe as the newest international newcomers and five thousand Euros which will be announced at the end of the festival.

This can only be a blessing for our local music community and industry from all genres here in Bangladesh. Hopefully, it’ll also get us to invest in our music scene which was clearly long overdue.  And as for Trainwreck, the sky’s the limit to them right now.  

Things you certainly miss from the 2000s

The 2000s were not just a wonderful decade from your old calendar. It was a melting pot of music, movies, fashion, literature (and everything cool) that was deemed unruly but kickstarted a new wave of culture in Bangladesh.

At the turn of the 21st century, globalization was having a massive impact on our life in Dhaka. Yours truly, like any other 90’s kid, have been part of the following things that made us giddy and still aches our heart to go back to the 2000s.

1. CDs

Courtesy: Bangla CD Covers

Before piracy took over the country, the premium medium for listening to music was CD. Compact discs sold like hot cakes prior to the advent of illegal websites like Doridro or Fusionbd.

Tahsan, the famed celebrity was reminiscing about the golden days of physical music on a radio show saying, “This one morning, I got a call from my record label G-series. They congratulated me as my solo album “Krittodasher Nirban” sold out a million copies. They also wanted me to stop by their office to collect the royalty.” You see, people didn’t hesitate to buy music legally. It’s just the internet who interfered and the rest is a tragedy.

2. FM radio

It was 2006 when I was playing around with a gigantic radio. I was rotating the notch in hopes to catch the Bangladesh Betar. But to my utter surprise, I found radio Today, the first 24-hour radio station of the country. The station was running its test transmission. This was the first time I heard the word ‘Radio Jockey’, a jargon unheard of among the millennials of Dhaka. And thank God, the FM stations brought diversity in their playlist unlike Bangladesh Betar and rose to stratospheric popularity.

Soon enough, a couple of other stations joined the cohort and catered audio entertainment to a generation who barely tuned to a radio station beforehand.

Rasel bhai…or Loveguru, anyone?

3. ETV

If you had cable tv subscription at your home in the early 2000s, consider yourself lucky. Ekushey television was launched in 2000. The only open terrestrial channel (other than BTV) became a household name across the country.

Kids and adults who used to nag their parents for dish antenna were soon engrossed in shows produced by the channel. Every drama, telefilm, dubbed series or music videos ETV premiered turned into a cultural phenom.

Who could forget the witty Debashish Biswash hosting ‘Pather Panchali’ or the graceful Ahmed Rubel starring in the horror series ‘Pret’? I used to wait for music video reruns around 6 pm just before I dragged myself for studies. Those were the days!

4. The Underground scene

A new wave of band music was emerging from the underground scene. Limited fanbase and genres which have never been done before by local musicians were prerequisites of the UG movement. Bands like Black, Artcell, Cryptic Fate, Arbovirus and many more notable names became part of this journey and are still going strong with their stellar on stage presence.

Read more: Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Just imagine some kid walking into a CD store to discover the newly released record of Artcell. The fantasy gives me shivers down the spine!

5. Cyber cafe

In the 2000s, a few fortunate people had access to super slow dial-up internet. For the rest of us, we had cyber cafes. Every alley of Dhaka city swarmed with cyber cafes, and I don’t remember any of them serving caffeine drinks of any sort.

The Cybercafe was the place where cubicles were set up for your privacy so that you browse the ‘Yahoo messenger’ era internet for 30 TK/hour.

Raise your hand if you took a friend to a cafe to open your first Facebook account.

6. Landline

Land phones were still relevant in the 2000s. Talking to your friends or significant other was made easier by landlines. People even fell in love with strangers by calling the wrong number in hopes to meet someone of the opposite sex. To have a landline connection, one had to go through seemingly endless paperwork. Can you imagine some govt employee giving you hell because you want to have a landline at your home? Gen Z would be bewildered to hear such fairy tales.

Do you ever feel burned out over all the technological amenities that claim to make our life easier? I certainly do. The list can go on since there was no shortage of awesomeness in the 2000s. Yellow taxi, film camera and Tin Goyenda is just a few other names that still makes us nostalgic.