Young bands around Russia see little financial promise in their craft. Local reality does much to frustrate a material view of songwriting - yet an admission of those woes brings other issues to the fore.
January LPs from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg show some general tendencies in how Russian rock sees itself today. Grand civic themes of prior decades are now absent.
As mainstream media offers young Russian bands little support, a couple of responses emerge among amateur ensembles. Romantic views of both solitude and friendship transpire.
A lyrical strain runs through some Russian rock releases this week. It begins with wistful dreams of leaving home - and moves with increasing satisfaction to distant planets or a bottomless ocean.
Several rock publications this week come from Moscow and its environs. Nonetheless, for all that potential, these bands toy with themes of decadence, paranoia, and even the apocalypse.
A handful of new lo-fi or DIY recordings leads to a discussion of "peripheral" enterprise, far from any center of national media. For all the problems that causes, there are also discernible benefits.
Despite assumptions that Russian noise- and garage rock might might be interested in a range of social agendas, some new recordings suggest that an apolitical stance means more.
A solo artist from Krasnoyarsk makes some dark quips about the tendency of life towards "misery and decay." Gradually, however, three simultaneous rock releases turn his humor into bona fide fatalism.
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?