At last count, over 125 Indian indie music albums and EPs were released in 2014. It’s been a year of big-name releases (Soulmate, Scribe, Shaa'ir + Func), impressive second albums (Hoirong, Skyharbor), super sub-genres (skater/surfer punk rock, electro cabaret) and bands whose music can best be described as Bollywood-infused dance rock (Laxmi Bomb, The Ganesh Talkies).

Like every year-end best-of wrap-up, this list is subject to personal bias. However, like any half-decent year-end best-of list, it aims to showcase the most original, interesting and relevant releases of the past 12 months.

For What

There's a surfeit of male singer-songwriters in the Indian indie scene, and most of them want to be the next Jason Mraz or John Mayer. Only one of them, Mumbai-based Sohrab Nicholson, wanted to be James Blake. He may not have got there compositionally but lyrically he arguably displayed more layers than his British music hero. The four songs on his debut EP For What are short stories peopled with characters most of us can either identify with or recognise. Sure, they're all inhabitants of disintegrating relationships but when Nicholson's documenting their lives in his crisp, sonorous tone, he makes us care for them.

The Supersonics
Heads Up

Kolkata quartet The Supersonics's difficult second album was made on the back of a break-up. The time apart did them well. Their 2009 debut Maby Baking was an alchemical collection of their post-punk influences from the 1970s through '90s. Their follow-up Heads Up saw them mining the earliest discs in their record collections. The result was a set that paid tribute to their love of the Beatles and Stones, full of bluesy licks, sun-drenched harmonies and plenty of rock n’ roll swagger. Musically muscular and lyrically melancholic ("You know I've got no virtues, you know I've got some issues" goes the hook of the track above), Heads Up was hands down the comeback of the year.

Susheela Raman
Queen Between 

You could argue that London-based Susheela Raman isn't technically an Indian indie artist but don't tell that to her fans who have helped make her a music festival regular here. This concept album was loosely based on James George Frazer's nineteenth-century tome The Golden Bough: A Study In Magic and Religion. Featuring an ensemble of Rajasthani musicians and Pakistani qawwals, Queen Between entrenched Raman’s place among our finest folk-fusion acts. And tracks like the sonically intoxicating "Sharabi" and surging party stomper "Corn Maiden" retained her spot as our favourite musical shaman.

Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean's seventh album was possibly one of their most challenging to make considering that it was their first after the departure of guitarist Susmit Sen and thus also their first with just two members of their most well-known line-up. Bassist Rahul Ram and drummer Amit Kilam roped in some of their famous musician friends to create seven collaborative tunes, and each of them was a worthy addition to the Indian Ocean canon. From rousing anthems ("Roday" with Vishal Dadlani) and plaintive instrumental jams ("Behney Do" with Karsh Kale) to just plain earworms ("Tandanu" with Shankar Mahadevan), Tandanu had everything we've come to expect from the veteran New Delhi band.

Imphal Talkies and the Howlers
When The Home Is Burning 

There aren't many Indian indie music albums with lyrics that talk about human rights atrocities across India, that mention a desire to leave the country even in these times of 'good days', and that ask its citizens why they let Modi walk free. There is in fact only one and it is the work of Imphal Talkies frontman, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ronid 'Akhu' Chingangbam, who is based out of both Imphal and New Delhi. His sophomore effort When The Home Is Burning contains compositions written as far back as 2007, including some of his best-known English songs such as "I Wanna Go To Moscow" and "India, I See Blood In Your Hands”, which have made him a music festival standout in recent years. It's a pity that the album isn’t accompanied with a digital booklet of translations of the Manipuri tracks. But even when they’re wrapped in easy melodies and bright folksy riffs, their sentiment and rage come through.