Baltic rock bands gathered recently at the Tallinn Music Week. Interviews and PR materials from all the groups suggest that the main target of today's rebellious songwriting is dull actuality.
The new film from Renata Litvinova and Zemfira involves much discussion of death as a tantalizing passage. For other artists, far from Moscow, physical distances take on an equally striking metaphysical air.
The St. Petersburg quartet Polusa often speak about their hometown. Perched on the edge of the Baltic Sea, it combines the security of terra firma with a strange, foggy "freedom" beyond the shore.
The Nizhny Novgorod band Hronop have persisted for 27 years. The outlook developed across that timespan is, in essence, absurdist. It's a worldview that appeals to younger Russian artists, too.
Four rock bands speak of hard, physical effort - and the damage it does to long-term optimism. The daily grind eats away at a number of fragile ideals. One Moscow collective, however, has a possible answer.
Lenta.Ru and Kroogi continue to gather interpretations of classic songs by Akvarium, in recognition of the band's forty-year career on stage. A wealth of memories emerges from the project's participants.
In a cultural realm ravaged by piracy, music rarely offers a stable career. Other, duller employment is required - in order to fund any creative endeavors. Championing lofty ideals, therefore, takes hard physical work.
Four new rock recordings from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Minsk touch upon social optimism. Three of the bands admit a suffocating sense of civic demise; only one of them remains upbeat.
Recent psychedelic, stoner, and doom-rock recordings have been grounded in a certain attitude towards Russian society. That sense of civic fatalism actually informs some quieter, more introspective bands, too.
Sounds emerge from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Saransk, and Kiev to address some very local worries. Love songs struggle against "lo-fi" actuality, leading both to anxiety and - eventually - forms of acquiescence.