Power pop

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Sound Waves and Dark Spirits: VEiiLA, The Bajikans, Bright Falls, and Waltz
The Saint Petersburg duo VEiiLA uses some mythical figures to explain the power of sound over ostensible reality. Any ability of music to counter local misery, however, depends very much on one's location.
A Fixed Gaze: Imandra Lake, TSUFA, Harajiev, and Pinkshinyultrablast
Various dissatisfactions emerge in new recordings from Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Kazan, and Nizhny Novgorod. They all lead to a yearning for better values - represented by distant places or prior experience.
A Period of Survival: Parc Hotel, Gorodok Chekistov, Vhore, and Kira Lao
New rock recordings from disparate towns together suggest a philosophical shift - away from the classic songs of late-Soviet protest towards tales of consolation and empathy.
Safe in the Sky: Cepasa, Alex Kelman, and the New Õunaviks Compilation
Faith in social spheres is a theme discussed in new material from Moscow, Kiev, and a range of Estonian towns. Not everybody shares an optimistic view of audiences and other noisy collectives.
New Names and Pain: Ploho, Srub, Zvezdi, Vhore, and Super Besse
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.
The Experty.BY Awards and a Sense of Home in Belarusian Songwriting
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.
Travails: Pinkshinyultrablast, Loveburger, Slackers, and Vivienne Mort
Two new releases, both connected to Moscow life, declare the appeal of a slacker's worldview. A couple more, from Kiev and Saint Petersburg, have greater faith in the importance of hard work and daydreams.
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.
Holiday Highs and Lows: The Afisha "NG 15" Compilation (Part Three)
As we conclude a third and final overview, the "NG 15" album appears in Moscow. Twenty-six performers are gathered together in order both to consider the meaning of New Year and help a children's charity.
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.
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