From Mother Russia With Love

MotherRussia-02

The Russian Federation, I learned back in 2012, is quite the hotspot for punk, nu-metal and alternative rock that is rife with politically-charged lyrics. However, since I don’t speak Russian, I can only feel the discontent of these bands raging out against political unrest in their country through the music not lyrics. Pussy Riot, a feminist punk rock band that was notorious for their “unauthorized provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations,” were the recent scapegoats for Russian rebellion. In March 2012, two members of the band were arrested and sent to prison for their tactics. They were released in December 2013. Pussy Riot is a cool band, but, their message was bigger than their music, so here’s 5 of my favorite female rock artists from Russia whose music stands on its own …

5. Svetoten [Светотень] (Ufa). Svetoten is a female-fronted alternative rock band with Jay (vocals), Grin (drums), André (guitar) [who replaced Strike in 2012], and Leafs (bass, backing vocals). The band’s name translates as “Chiaroscuro” which is an art term for the interplay of light and shade. Svetoten released their excellent debut album, ВверхВниз, in 2011. I’m not sure if a follow-up was released although new singles have been released since. Watch the video for one of those singles, “Двойник”, here …

4. Lori! Lori! (Moscow). Lori! Lori! is a female-fronted alternative rock band formed in 2009. They are Masha Lori (vocals), Vic (guitar), Andrew (bass), Alexander (guitar), and Max (drums). Lori! Lori! is comparable to Louna [see #1] or Blondinka KsU [see #3], but, is recommended if you like American artists such as Skillet and Eyes Set To Kill. The band has released 2 albums, Всё неправильно (2011) and Меланхолия (2013). Watch the video for “Полчаса” [“30 Minutes to Rock”] here …

3. Blondinka KsU [Блондинка КсЮ] (Moscow). Blondinka KsU is a female-fronted alternative rock band formed in 2004 by Xenia Sidorina (aka Blondinka KsU). They sound like Nirvana if Kurt Cobain [who is Blondinka KsU‘s favorite rock hero] was a sexy Russian woman. The band has released 4 full-length albums to date: Я–Блондинка! (2005) Время всё разрушает (2006), Барби-убийцы (2009), and Барокко (2014). Watch the video for one of my favorite tracks, “Вместо жизни” (from Я–Блондинка!), here …

Blondinka KsU‘s looks, especially in promo pics, are, obviously, in stark contrast to her band’s grungy alt-rock.

2. Tracktor Bowling (Moscow). Tracktor Bowling is a popular nu-metal band fronted by Lousine Gevorkian (who is Armenian). Lou (vocals) is joined, in Tracktor Bowling, by Kondrat (guitar), Mult (guitar), Vit (bass), and Proff (drums). Tracktor Bowling, to date, has released 4 studio albums [Напролом (2002), Черта (2005), Шаги по стеклу (2006), and Tracktor Bowling (2010)], a live album [Vol.1 (2007)], and a live/acoustic double album [Полгода до весны (2007)]. The last studio album, Tracktor Bowling, is a Russian nu-metal masterpiece, and, it’s first 2 tracks, “Ничья” and “Правда”, are my favorites. So, watch the video for “Ничья” here …

1. Louna (Moscow). Louna is an alternative rock band fronted by Lousine Gevorkian  – wait, what? Yes, Lou is a Russian rock goddess! She is joined, in Louna, by Tracktor Bowling‘s Vit (bass), with Rou (guitar), Serge (guitar), and Pilot (drums). Louna‘s most obvious influence is Foo Fighters, but, mixed with a bit of Tracktor Bowling‘s nu-metal sound. They have, to date, released 3 studio albums [Сделай громче! (2010), Время X (2012), and Мы – это Louna (2013)], a live album [Проснись и пой! (2013)], and a compilation of selected songs from the first 2 albums re-recorded with English lyrics for Western fans [Behind a Mask (2013)]. Lou, by the way, sings in English with only a very slight accent. Here are my top 10 favorite Louna songs …

1. “Мама” [“Mama”] (2012). This track should have been Louna‘s breakthrough America hit!
2. “Мой рок-н-ролл” [“My Rock-n-Roll”] (2010). Very Tracktor Bowling-esque!
3. “Сделай громче!” [“Let’s Get Louder!”] (2010). This rocking march is like Louna‘s call-to-arms!
4. “Против Всех” (2012). I wish Louna would have re-recorded this song with English lyrics!
5. “Проснись и Пой!” [“System Destroys”] (2012). Love the refrain!
6. “Бизнес” [“Business”] (2010). A moody mid-tempo rocker with a sludgy riff!
7. “Кому веришь ты?” (2010). This is another track I’d love to hear Lou sing in English!
8. “Путь к себе” (2013). My favorite track from the newest album!
9. “Штурмуя Небеса” [“Storming Heaven”] (2012). The chorus, for me, recalls Halestorm!
10. “Во мне” [“Inside”] (2010). This track is one of Louna‘s few ballads! Awesome!

Мы – это Louna (2013) is represented with just one song because I only recently downloaded that album. I didn’t even know it was released! My top 10 will change, I’m sure, after a few more spins. Anyway, I previously embedded the video for “Mama” right here, so, instead, watch the video for “Мой рок-н-ролл” here …

OK, since both Tracktor Bowling and Louna are fronted by Lousine Gevorkian, I should have combined them both at the #1 spot, which would have moved Blondinka KsU into #2, Lori! Lori! into #3, Svetoten into #4, and this guilty pleasure into the open slot …

5. Princessa Avenue [Принцесса дорог] (Moscow). Princessa Avenue was a pre-fabricated all-female pop/rock band whose members were cast by music producer Viktor Drobysh via an MTV reality show in 2007. The band was led by Sasha Gurkova (vocals), who sang in Russian and perfect English, with Anastasia Kirillova (keyboards, backing vocals), Diana Tsirekidze (guitar), Karina Shtertser (bass), and Dayana Ramos-Laforte (drums). They released one (excellent) album, Princessa #1 (2009), before disbanding in 2011. “What I Didn’t Do”, “Only Girl In the World” and “Love Is Dead”, all power ballads, are favorites. Watch the video for “Tear” here …

All apologies to Dark Princess, SAVE, Крапива, По Ту Сторону Неба, эСМэС, and many other cool bands.

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