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Friends and Distant Family: FPRF, Oligarkh, The HIK, and Gnoomes
Surrounded by a series of failing support systems, be they social or financial, four Russian ensembles turn to themes of family. In difficult times, thoughts of friends and colleagues grow more important.
Discolored Photos and a Darkening Worldview: The Pikkalma Label
The Pikkalma cassette label is based in the industrial city of Perm. From an already noisy location come some low-grade photographs, lo-fi media, and an increasingly ominous view of the world.
Resignation vs Discord: Burrow, Die Hard, Klad Yada, and Lo-Fi Woman
A handful of new, wantonly distorted or lo-fi recordings give voice to degrees of self-definition. The struggle for self-realization takes audible form... and yet acquiescence also looks appealing to some bands.
Nu-Disco: Mars Needs Lovers, Tapeaters, Sunday Morning, and Serj V
The sounds of glo-fi and nu-disco have a special resonance in Russia, considering the social context of the early '80s. So what is the lasting appeal of disco itself, when that same decade was so troubled at home?
Distant Signs: Shipovnik, Best Pessimist, WTTC, and Atlantida Saves
Four ensembles from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Perm, and Odessa employ the imagery of classic exploration. Maritime tales of distant, maybe mythical goals lead to the interweaving of desire and despair.
Solid Traditions for Unstable Times: Metaxy, Sang Sattawood, and TOTR
These ensembles from Perm, Minsk, and Moscow all draw upon the hard- and prog rock traditions of the 1970s. They do so in order to vivify a romanticism that once was very powerful indeed. And loud, too
A Soundtrack for Moving House: Dasha Rush and Mars Needs Lovers
Dasha Rush and Mars Needs Lovers are performers whose lives are tied to places very far from Moscow. Their music and thoughts provide some impressive reasons why
Dancing on the Edge of Primetime: Kira Lao, Pilar, and Artemiev
The realm between mainstream and independent music in Russia is very vague. For those bands who remain somewhere, say, between radio and television coverage, life can be rather nervous
Scaly Whale: "Music from the Fantastic Cartoons of Our Youth"
There would be something inappropriate about a long, involved text dedicated to the work of Scaly Whale. The keyword here is "simplicity": Scaly Whale is a one-man outfit whose music is replete with the naive hopes and fears of childhood. Although, by way of example, a fair collection of his wor...
Dos Buratinos: "Control U"
Last week a wonderful maxi-single appeared from the town of Perm, sometimes known as Russia's first big European city - if approached from the East.  (A strange honor, it must be said.)  The band in question is Dos Buratinos, whose name comes from a famous Soviet kids' story.

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