Ever since iTunes opened up its store to customers in India, it has been bliss for me. I can now buy music at very reasonable prices – songs for as low as R12 and in some cases, even full albums for a dirt cheap R30. The opening up of the iTunes Store was the best thing to have happened for Indian music lovers but some of us, especially of the grey-haired (or, no-haired) vintage, the real deal is often all about buying the album in its physical, touchable form. There is a certain something about peeling off the plastic and opening up the jewel case of a new CD that digitally downloaded albums just can’t match. Read more
It’s been nearly three months since Frank Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange was released and I find myself going back to it over and over again. In fact, Channel Orange is well on its way to finding a berth on my best albums’ list of the year. It’s not as if I’m the biggest fan of R&B – indeed, the current crop of R&B stars such as Usher, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey and Beyonce, don’t do it for me. In theory, contemporary R&B is an amalgam of R&B (of course) and funk and soul and hip-hop, but much of today’s R&B music, with its mandatory pounding beats and formulaic dance-friendliness really is like a substitute for erstwhile disco music. The music is often repetitive and clichéd and the lyrics unmemorable – not my cup of beverage whatever that might be. Read more
My trainer is an ogre and I’m his guinea-pig. Or, his lab rat at the gym. What else could explain the torture he subjects me to every morning? Pull-ups, push-ups, presses of different kinds, squats, deadlifts…. till everything becomes a blurry haze and my body feels as if someone’s put it through a sugarcane juice maker. Of course, I willingly do his bidding—in what you could call a valiant attempt at postponing the sag of age with the help of a quotidian dose of extreme physical discomfort. It would be unfair to blame my trainer for what I go through every morning because the poor chap is only trying to help me do what I’ve signed up for. But it is a tough proposition: he is an insistent coach, firm and no-nonsense, but that alone is not nearly enough to see me through my workouts. For that I have to reach out for music. Read more
I don’t know how many people read this column regularly (four, perhaps?) but ever since Download Central began a little over a year back, I’ve heard one common response: “Why do you write about bands that we’ve never heard of?” This has become such a refrain that I’ve often felt a twinge of self-doubt. Am I really writing about completely obscure bands that no one knows or cares about? If that was indeed true, what was the point of writing the column?