А sneaking suspicion that actuality is increasingly loud and intolerant leads to the search for other options: quieter love songs, wanton surrealism, or an escape into the realm of virtual bands.
Two bands from Minsk and two from St. Petersburg give collective thought to issues of self-determination. In all four cases, there's an awareness that freedom and fate are tightly bound.
Four bands from Tashkent, Vladivostok, St. Petersburg, and Samara ponder the meaning of subversion. What defines a "rebellious" spirit and should it be directed against social failings?
Some new recordings from Belarus and Russia endorse a practice of impromptu creativity. Various things, however, stand in the way of any such freedoms: the allure of profit, habit, alcohol... and fate itself.
These Russian collectives all invoke the theme of emptiness in their newest recordings. Beyond the limits of dull actuality lie other towns, countries, and even planets. They are all frustratingly absent.
Four young bands embody a spirit of protest, yet they're unnerved by the feeling that rebellion rarely changes anything. That combination of outrage and anxiety leads to a healthy self-irony.
The passage of time leaves its mark on the work of many performers, especially during the transition from youth to adulthood. These recordings try to hold keep those changes at bay.
The gallows humor in much Russian songwriting today bears a grain of truth. Grim quips about social existence come from a genuine dissatisfaction; as a result, collegiality is valued highly.
The move from a regional center in Russia to Moscow or St. Petersburg can be very daunting. A number of lyrical releases compare those shifts to some related doubts about society in general.
As the V-ROX Festival gets underway in Vladivostok, rock bands from around Russia come together - in a city that's maximally distant from the capital. Issues of geography come quickly to the fore.