Monday, June 19


Today's post comes from Russia, with love. I received an e-mail a while back from Olga, who had some very nice things to say about this here blog, and also generously supplied me with some sound samples from the St. Petersburg band the Vertigo. I liked a number of the songs and am happy to be sharing them with you today.

The Vertigo started out as a three-piece (Iliya, Lesha, and Anton) in 2004, before being joined by second guitarist Sasha earlier this year. They have performed in both St. Petersburg and Moscow and plan to record their first official EP sometime before the end of '06.

The Vertigo, unlike many Russian artists, look to the rest of the world for their inspiration - everyone from Joy Division, the Velvet Underground, and the Cure to Interpol and Franz Ferdinand. I also think that lead singer Iliya has a bit of Placebo's Brian Molko in his voice (but minus the whine).

As I was curious about the seeming lack of Russian indie artists in cyberspace, I asked Olga about the current state of the music scene in the former "Evil Empire" (which, by the way, as a kid I always thought made them sound uber-cool; Death Star/Darth Vader-type stuff). Regardless, Olga informed me with a certain note of sadness and regret that indie music in Russia is not exactly going great guns, as the more mainstream (read: bland) pop artists get almost all the investment and exposure. A sad state of affairs, to be sure (though I know that if I turned on American radio right now I'd likely be assaulted by some turgid turd of a tune by Nickelback or any number of karaoke-whore castoffs from American Idol). So, it's bad all over, Olga (well, maybe not so much in Sweden....). We most definitely feel your pain.

So I hope you'll all give the Vertigo a listen today, and perhaps keep an open ear to the overall indie Russian music scene, wherever it may be able to break out from the mundane mainstream. Hell, I almost feel like I have a personal stake in this. I love "Crime and Punishment" (and find myself attuned to Raskalnikov in more ways than is probably healthy). I don't much care for Tchaikovsky's symphonies, but his celebrated piano and violin concertos are timeless and grand. And, finally, though I am actually Polish-Irish, I share the Russians' love-of and weakness-for vodka. It is, after all, what my body uses instead of blood.

[MP3] "Denied"

[MP3] "(Is There) A Place"

[MP3] "Stay"

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