In the wake of a garage and punk festival in Moscow, the question has arisen of protest songs. Is that style, volume level, and its violence synonymous with hopes of civic change? The answer is surprising.
Rock recordings from St. Petersburg and beyond fall to a growing sense of fatalism. Destiny seems to accompany the gradual, grim transition from hope into hopelessness.
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.
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.
From Rostov-na-Donu comes psychedelic noise-rock that looks back with fondness to the earliest days of the Space Race. Heavy industry suddenly started to throw off the shackles of gravity.
"There's no point trying to drag some super-cool concept from our music. That's not what Hellspin is about. The band is about an emotional high. It's about feelings - and the fact that sometimes you just feel f***ing wonderful."
Amid discussions of a museum celebrating the Leningrad Rock Club, four young rock bands from Russia and Ukraine publish new material that doubts those early, social goals. Civic plans are now private.
In a range of new recordings from Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and Chelyabinsk, aimlessness comes to the fore. These young musicians have scant faith in social progress: "uselessness" becomes their goal.
Hoping to develop their careers in a meaningful fashion, these bands consider writing uplifting or consoling love songs. Reality, however, unfolds in strange ways and fosters a less optimistic outlook.
A handful of new rock recordings include overlapping issues of isolation, impending poverty, and grim destiny. Considerable effort is needed in order to erase those feelings of diminished agency.