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Kings of Infinite Space: Matushka, Vmgnovenijah, Parc Hotel, and Anderson
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.
Moving to Titan: Ink Twins, S3P, Empty Field, and The Alex Kelman Band
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.
Subversive Sentiments: Torba-na-Kruche, Kurara, OPAL, and Scofferlane
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.
Lasting Influences: Glintshake, TSUFA, 5 Vymir, and Bungalow Bums
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.
Fleeting Youth: Vstrecha Ryby, Trud, Devushka Shkol'nika, and Jack Wood
The innocence of youth is treated with bittersweet retrospection in some new songs from Chelyabinsk, Tomsk, and Moscow. All of these artists imply that childhood's naivety and hope are unlikely to survive for long.
Friends and Distant Family: FPRF, Oligarkh, The HIK, and Gnoomes
Surrounded by a series of failing support systems, be they social or financial, four Russian ensembles turn to themes of family. In difficult times, thoughts of friends and colleagues grow more important.
Nowhere in Particular: Biblioteka, EIMIC, February, and Blackpaperplanes
Through their use of other languages, employment overseas, and various forms of Wanderlust, these four bands work hard to ignore domestic culture. Anywhere - and anything - looks better than home.
Considerable Noise from Tomsk, Siberia: Jack Wood (FFM32)
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.
Lemonday: "Favorite" (Krasnoyarsk/ Saint-Petersburg, FFM28)
The Saint Petersburg band Lemonday are currently a threesome: Julia Nakaryakova, Zhenya Il', and drummer Anton Pokrovsky. Together their craft wonderfully witty, lo-fi songs about life's underdogs.
uSSSy: "Unsharp Mask" (Moscow, FFM16)
uSSSy is/are an instrumental duo from Moscow: Artem Galkin (guitar) and Pavel Eremeev (drums). As Galkin calmly announces his departure from the band, a central theme of absence reappears.
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