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.
From the outskirts of two capitals - Moscow and Minsk - come some songs designed to inspire. They discern a certain civic or ideological "emptiness" and hope to offer a consoling alternative.
Themes of transience come to the fore, either in terms of impermanent human achievements or the passing of the seasons. Once that universal flow is recognized, a sense of calm transpires.
Four Russian bands champion their chosen styles, from "garage revival" to "quarter-tone rock," based upon Middle Eastern traditions. Across them all, diligence hopes to drown out reality.
These five collectives have various ways of interpreting the future. It is viewed in terms of patience or a distant horizon. Others, less hopeful, prefer retrospection, psychedelia, and total despair.
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.
Four unrelated releases from Russia find a stable common ground - in their attitude towards fate. Citing a number of "inevitable" issues within Russia's past or present, they toy with fatalism.
The noisy garage rock of two young Russian bands is, unexpectedly, a reaction their anxieties. Some grand alternatives to despair - fantasy and boundless optimism - also run into various problems.
Four new rock releases from Belarus and Russia express forms of protest against typicality. Social failings give rise to a contrary mood: not everybody, however, shares the same level of self-confidence.