I think it was in Mumbai where I was living in 1996 that a friend slipped me a CD by Phish, a band that I’d heard of but had never heard. “Great stuff for former Deadheads,” he said. The album was Rift and its cover showed a man lying in bed diagonally, which I later realised was the depiction of one of the songs, Lengthwise, which features on the album. Read more

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Sometime last year, when the Contrast Podcast, a weekly collaborative by a bunch of mp3 bloggers, first became irregular and then disappeared altogether, I felt like an addict who has been denied his fix. Contrast is a podcast that began in 2006 and every week, usually on a Tuesday, bloggers presented a theme which they spoke about and then presented songs relevant to that theme. It could be anything – from a body part (say, the brain) to something like Boiling and Steaming. Read more

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I don’t know why I went into a sudden R.E.M. phase a few weeks back but it could have to do with the fact that a colleague had acquired their new box set of re-mastered (with bonus and live tracks) versions of their first three albums—Murmur, Reckoning and Fables of Reconstruction. I dusted off my old R.E.M. studio albums, all 14 of them, and began listening to them after ages. Then I tried buying that box set but I still haven’t located a music shop that has it. Read more

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Late last month, as 2010 wound down and the usual end-of-the-year blues began clouding my mind, two missives brought a smile to my face. One was a compressed zip file, delivered digitally to my Gmail inbox and the other came via creaky, old snail mail in a packet delivered to my office. They were two new albums by two bands from two cities, Boston and Delhi, which are at least 11,400 kilometres apart. What is more, both the albums were sent to me by the bands much before they were scheduled to be released officially. Read more

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