A few days ago, the Belarusian magazine Experty.BY announced a series of awards, dedicated to the best domestic music of last year. A wide range of prizes were involved, defined in terms of format or genre.
An air of social disappointment hangs over these recordings, made primarily in Saint Petersburg. As adult experience appears to offer little, the importance of prior cultural landmarks only starts to grow.
Fading faith in modern life or politics leads these ensembles to look elsewhere for superior values. Better ideas are found in shamanistic culture, experimental drugs, and other distant realms.
One of the most enduring reference points for Russian musicians over the last two decades has been outer space. The approaching New Year does little to encourage hope - and so distant planets still appeal.
Against the backdrop of a Russian tradition of politicized rock songs, four collectives in 2014 look for alternative values. They tend to be immaterial, in the best - and most romantic - sense of the word.
From Siberia to Moscow - and even Kiev - a series of new releases admit openly to the influence of Western music from prior decades. A dissatisfaction with the here and now prompts lasting retrospection.
All the way from Tallinn to Kazan, a selection of new recordings consider the value of escapism and/or imagination. A growing disappointment with the here and now only makes fantasy work harder.
This Siberian trio comes from the city of Tomsk. The local scene is not promising, yet that brings a strange advantage. In a place where there's nothing to gain, there's also nothing to lose.
"There's no point trying to drag some super-cool concept from our music. That's not what Hellspin is about. The band is about an emotional high. It's about feelings - and the fact that sometimes you just feel f***ing wonderful."
A couple of rock bands far from Moscow ponder the benefits of avoiding its cutthroat industry. No matter how that might sound like consolation for a failed career, other ensembles tend to agree.