In June a music event called "Pain Fest" will celebrate rock music from Serbia, Belarus, and - most importantly - Siberia. The bands from that part of Russia cultivate a link to the punk traditions of their home.
Four Russian rock publications play upon aspects of a psychedelic heritage. They either draw directly from Western traditions or extend the meaning of psychedelia from its roots in the Soviet '70s.
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.
A new Moscow EP brings together four ensembles all fronted by women - in order to celebrate March 8th. More important than either love or romance, it seems, are a range of related social issues.
A couple of Saint Petersburg projects find common philosophical ground in two areas. Both are saddened by the woeful potential of actuality - and then turn to their hometown for some time-honored forms of reverie.
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.
Several key reference points connect these projects. Some of them originate in Poland, while others take us to Ukraine. Bolder still, however, is the overarching desire of these performers to leave home altogether.
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.
Two new releases from FFM. One is Ukrainian, the other is Russian - and both are instrumental. The difference between them, genres aside, is in their attitude to the weight of the surrounding world.
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.