I’ve been meaning to do a round-up of Pakistani music for fucking ever now. I put a lot of my eggs into landing a radio gig but a certain channel basically spent six months dangling me about and now there’s a truckload of excellent Pakistani music that’s slipping through our digital fingers. Anyways, I am now going to try and post this as regularly as I can. In the meanwhile, do check out pakium.com and koolmuzone.pk which are incredible resources. Also, will be posting on the new season of Lussun TV soon, which is the best repository for live-performances by the local underground, indie scene. OK so here we go. Finally, check out my dropbox which has a lot of Pakistani bands you haven’t heard of yet.
1. The Zinda Bhaag songs: If you haven’t seen Zinda Bhaag as yet, you better have a good fucking excuse. The soundtrack for the film is rather enjoyable, although the filmi touches mean that you appreciate them more once you’ve seen the film. But the sounds are really layered, fresh and have some excellent colloquial lyrics. My three favourite songs, ranked from 3rd best to bestestsest are:
Also, do check out the song Dekhain Ge, which is a decent effort, but gets hipster cred for lyrics being written by Mohammad Hanif:
2. Clubbing In Multan: This isn’t Talal Qureshi’s best song, and it isn’t a very slick video, but both are a lot of fun, and feature TQ and his bestie Adil Omar in a pulsating, tamasha-type action directed by the phenomenally talented Mooroo.
3. Tuntuna – Shamoon Ismail: After having completely nativised rap and hip-hop, there is now a concerted effort by Punjabi to take over blues and acoustic sounds as well. This is one of my favouritest examples of that impulse.
4. Nobody Loves No One – Jasim Haider: I’d heard a few blues songs by Jasim before, but this is something something else. A reworking of two of the most devastating songs for 90s kids, he mashes up Wicked Games with Vital Sign’s Tum Mil Gaye. The result is brilliant, though the Urdu vocals are far superior to the English ones.
5. The post-breakup Young Stunnerz: In a sad retelling of Pakistani music, underground band makes series of superb and popular songs, gets recognition, starts performing across the country, and then breaks up about four good songs into the whole scene. The latest Young Stunnerz song Fire in the Hole is better than the band’s previous few efforts, but still doesn’t compare to the phenomenal Burger-e-Karachi, Maila Majnu and Laam se Chaurha. Still this is a return to the band’s trademark, pop-culture heavy lyrical quality.
6. The Sound of Wonder: One of the most compelling cases for the Pakistani internet experience is that the online space also serves as a virtual museum for our much redacted history. This album was around a few years ago, and I’ve used several tracks in my films, but they still don’t get the attention they deserve. This is Pakistani film music from the 1970s when EMI provided a whole array of new western instruments to our genius composers. The results are some badmazing lyrics set to some dangerously funky music. Mention the lack of this album as a reference to any DaftPunk fan who’s getting annoying about how their latest album is so amazeballs.
7. Kinara – Zohaib Kazi feat. Sara Haider and Omran Shafique: Zohaib Kazi has been releasing a slew of collaborations of late which are the backdrop to a sci-fi story he’s gotten. I haven’t found much about the story, but the songs have been really intriguing so far, drawing upon the considerable talents of Omran and the assured vocals of Sara. Kinara is the latest track, though my favourite so far is Khwabon Mein:
8. Sound, Science, Love – Alien Panda Jury: If you want to feel like you’re not achieving much in life, check out Danny P. The trained chef has been playing live music since he was 12 years old, his first famous band (Messiah) broke out around the same time as Mekaal Hasan Band (a decade ago) he then was in one of those few post-rock indie bands to go mainstream when //orangenoise came on Uth Records, and now he’s making his own electronic music as APJ. An assured, complex album it is also quite accessible, referencing some generic riffs and melodies but restructuring the space within which they operate.
And you can check out their more detailed bandcamp page here.