We chose top 10 albums released in 2019 in the Eeastern European countries. These are the albums we listened to most often, or records we consider the most interesting and note-worthy.
10. Злурад – Во благо злу
Злурад (Zlurad) from Moscow defines their music as powerviolence/progressive punk/improv/sludge. Indeed, the noise level is high. Their really loud and rather aggressive sound, places Злурад very close to grindcore. What stands out in all of this noise are the seemingly random sounds of the brass section. The instruments emphasize the characteristic style of Злурад, a loud blend of the aforementioned genres. One can easily fall into lose oneself in the hazy noise and screams of the vocalist, which practically, are hard to understand. The music is perfect for moshpit. Beautifully raw sound conveys a great deal of unsettling energy.
9. Palina – Грустные песни
One should come back to this pure and subtle indie pop not only when reminiscing Palina’s concert at Halway Festival in Białystok. As the vocalist sings firmly, her calm and soothing, yet expressive voice conveys much emotion When it comes to the arrangements,the compositions are simple and rather unsurprising, but the simplicity is its strength. On the lyrical level, there is much sensitivity in Palina’s work, which, eventually, clinches the good reception of the whole album. One can easily be hypnotised by hillout melodic sound, especially after hearing the beautiful trumpet solo in Ежевика.
8. Braii – Lovely Dark Things
On their debut studio album, Braii mixes the rawness of post-punk with atmospheric touches of new wave and clear influences of alternative rock. It is the only record with the songs sung in English. The band finely intertwines the vibrancy with longer, slower and more structured compositions. The songs on Lovely Dark Things tell a story inspired by personal experiences of the vocalist Oksana Bryzgalova. It is a greatly produced album with professional, smooth sound of the guitars – but the authentic raw post-punk sound has not been lost in the process of production. The compositions create a rather dark and unsettling atmosphere.
7. Деревянные Киты – Супер
At the beginning they were playing shoegaze, then Деревянные Киты started to experiment with other genres hoping to create their own unique sound. As a result of the search came their second studio album. Супер was recorded by a band in search of their own sound, the band which is trying to let other people see them as significant on the Russian music scene. And one can say they did become quite successful. 2019 was the year the band played at some of the bigger music festivals in Russia, and the single from Супер was remixed by, amongst others, Sasha Galianov from Shortparis. Their music is a fine blend of atmospheric dream pop with a subtle taste of electronic and indie pop. The sound at times echoes funky vibes. Other times, the shoegazing guitars create an atmosphere of beautiful melancholy. And it is hard not to be hipnotised by the atmospheric and clear voice of the vocalist Sveta Matveeva.
6. Buerak – Шоу-бизнес
A melodic blend of post-punk, new wave and subtle traces of coldwave. The songs on Шоу-бизнес convey a strange energy whic fits in with the cold and rather dark atmosphere. Bueark’s music stands out because of its danceable, melodic and buoyant sound. The pleasantly eassy guitar sound is quite captivating.
5. SALUKI – На Человека
The new studio album of the young rapper from Moscow. Deep sound soaked in hard bass and fine beats. SALUKI has a great flow. His voice can be at times very expressive, only to sound as though he was bored with what he is saying the very next moment. He tells stories from the streets of Moscow, opowiada historie ulicy, dreams and fantasies of violence and being rich. Although the tropes are quite overused right now, there is something very captivating in the way SALUKI tells these stories and in the brilliantly produced compositions.
4. увула – Нам остается лишь ждать
Melodic and vibrant post-punk with subtle traces of emo. The raw and very energetic sound can instantly make one dance and jump around the room. The voice of the vocalist at times conveys much emotion, other times he sounds as though he does not want to sing at all. The music create a fine, cold and melancholic atmosphere.
Very energetic and melodic punk mixed with screamo and beautiful, noisy guitars. The songs on the album are honest and full of sensitivity. The voice of the vocalist can convey a great deal of emotion. Botanichesky Sad experiments with rhythm breaking, and they do it quite well, making their songs sound even more explicit and emotional. It is a great accumulation of punk energy.
2. Ssshhhiiittt! – последнее лето, Pt. I/Последнее лето, Ч. 2
An incredibly energetic post-punk with at times painfully direct and emotional lyrics. This year Ssshhhiiittt! has released two great EP’s: duology последнее лето which tells a story of the past summer, being young in love, making mistakes, and dealing with mental health problems. But it is the music of Ssshhhiiittt! that speaks to the core with its strange energy. Ssshhhiiittt! mixes a beautiful melancholy, a deliberately excessive emotionality (finely described in the lyrics) and sensitivity with an illustrious, post-punk rawness and energy. It can make one jump and dance around the room just to create a quite contemplative atmosphere the very next moment and let one focus on the lyrics, especially the emotive texts of Ножи and Развалины. Ssshhhiiittt! experiments with their sound, starting with surf punk in серф панк, emo in Радио Волн i последнее лето and turing away from the raw guitar sound in drum machine and keyboard driven Развалины.
1. Shortparis -Так закалялась сталь
A brilliant, very atmospheric and dark, yet danceable sound of avant-pop/pop noir full of strange energy. The songs on Shortparis’ new album are well-thought-out and create a mysterious, dark and unsettling climate. What stands out is their melodic, danceable and unintruisive sound. Moreover, the vocalist Nikolay Komiagin hypnotizes with his characteristic, wonderfully expressive voice, and every song on the album is greatly arranged. As a result, Так закалялась сталь is a very coherent and cohesive album, a well-thought-out concept from A to Z, with the fantastic single страшно, because of which Shortparis started to gain more and more recognition throughout the world. The characteristically enigmatic lyrics convey bitter-sweet thoughts on the situation in the band’s motherland. But not only that. Other lyrics are less likely to be understood: the more ambiguous and unclear, the better. It also seems as if Shortparis has finally created its own sound. A brilliant and very vibrant sound full of energy, beatiful melancholy and wonderful sensitivity. A very unique sound. Так закалялась сталь (and Shortparis’ concerts) is a warrant of a very intense music experience.