After crowning Aaroh winners in its first iteration, Pepsi Battle of the Bands, a national platform which allowed bands a national platform, simply disappeared. When it did make a comeback several years later in 2017, it ran for a total of three seasons.
During its second run, bands such as Kashmir (2017), Bayaan (2018) and Auj (2019) were crowned winners, respectively.
All of the winning bands did release a new album - after PBOTB - with plans for follow-ups always on their mind.
Among them is 2017 winner Kashmir - who released their debut album, Khwaab in 2020 with a number of music videos including preceding its release such as ‘Kaghaz Ka Jahaz’, ‘Khwaab’, ‘Pari’, ‘Parwana Hun’ and ‘Dhoop’, accompanying the release.
Since then, the band has been a part of independent platforms as well as commercial ones, showcasing its alternate, acoustic arm, particularly during the great quarantine of 2020. They’ve also collaborated with voice of the desert Mai Dhai and paid tribute to the late Munir Niazi with ‘Hamesha Dair Kar Deta Hoon Main’.
However, the idea of a second album was always on their mind because several songs on their first album had already been showcased during their Pepsi Battle of the Bands 2017.
In 2021, the band released its most colorful and optimistic music video ‘Ayi Bahaar’. Working on their second album - as promised, Kashmir recently dropped its first single, ‘Chal Hutt’ from their upcoming second album, Zindagi. If you weren’t a fan of this terrific band (for some godforsaken reason) ‘Chal Hutt’ should certainly convert you into one.
Featuring Bilal Ali, Vais Khan, Zair Zaki, Usman Siddiqui, Ali Raza and Shane J. Anthony, the six-members group seems to have left its melancholic side behind for this one. Also, embracing the sound of today, electronic-synth is also a part of ‘Chal Hutt’ as it opens before the guitars, bass, drums chime in. Sitting in a colorful local bus, the band’s vocalist Bilal Ali (co-lyricist) is singing about a man who thrives on nepotism, self-adulation, broken promises (to the many) and more. The narrative is goes on about how they (the band) represented by its vocalist is explicit in its view and admits they don’t want to be like this figure or follow his path. In a sense, it is socio-political commentary but Kashmir is a nuanced act and they know how to frame the music with lyrics without becoming preachy. There are other characters who appear in the music video, making you wonder whom they are singing about. It is one of their strongest songs to date while the music video is both kaleidoscopic as well as a performance-oriented one. In other words, with ‘Chal Hutt’ as their first release from upcoming second album, Zindagi, Kashmir has set a higher standard for itself. Whether it lives up to it remains to be seen, but just for now enjoy the audio-visual return of Kashmir towards a new album.
Zeb Bangash on her
latest song, ‘Weham’
Zeb Bangash, who started her career in music as part of music duo Zeb and Haniya, cemented her position as one of the most recognizable, beautiful voices in Pakistani music.
Now a solo artist, who is also associated with Brooklyn-based music group Sandaraa, she seems to be the top choice for filmmakers and TV producers for their respective original soundtracks. After delivering the solo single ‘Kaash’, as well as the collaborative ‘Agg’ for the upcoming Sarmad Khoosat film, Kamli, she is back with a new OST called ‘Weham’ for a drama serial of the same name. Collaborating with the likes of Ahmed Jahanzeb (composer) and Sabir Zafar (lyricist), Zeb seems to have captured the nuance and storytelling the song needed.
Speaking about the song, noted Zeb, “I’ve had a wonderful time working on the OST for ‘Weham’ - the composition, the lyrics and the melody are so beautifully done and I have enjoyed every minute of the experience.”
Zeb Bangash has terrific songs to her credit including ‘Aja Re Moray Saiyaan’ from Coke Studio - Season 9 as well as songs sung in some of the earliest films during the revival of Pakistani cinema including Geo Films’ Manto (‘Kya Hoga’ - with Ali Sethi).