“So, like, why Russia?” That’s my cynically least favorite question I get about studying abroad in St. Petersburg for the next few weeks. Look, I get it. This is a country that was at “war” with America once upon a time. Our exposure to Russian culture is limited to thick Dostoevsky novels, Saturday nights drinking vodka, and a president who often refuses to wear shirts. These hardly count. So, as I’m counting down the days, for this 3 Of The Week, let’s go foreign.
1. “Not a Crime” – Gogol Bordello
I’ll start off easy- you probably have heard of Gogol Bordello or you at least have seen vocalist Eugene Hutz in Everything Is Illuminated. Many moons ago at Warped Tour I saw this band get seriously wild. Their circle pits were better than the harder bands and…some people got kicked in the face. Whatever. Point is, Gypsy Punks was one of very few albums that broke the American charts with members from Ukraine and Russia that played punk with traditional Slavic style. Gogol Bordello may be a deeply political/cultural band and may smell like a borderline crust punk, but everyone loves rowdiness.
2. “Момент Расплаты” – Invisible Border
One would think, based on little knowledge, that Russia would totally be into metal and hardcore. I hope I find this to be more accurate soon. Until then the reality is nu-metal is still extremely popular there. Trust me, that genre is still horrendous across cultures. However I don’t remember how exactly I stumbled across Invisible Border but their album 100 Days Without a Cause For War is decent hardcore.
3. “Новый год” – Leningrad
Ahh, Leningrad. Currently this is my favorite Russian band because they are that ridiculous. Their cartoon-style music videos are that gross kind of funny. They drink a lot. They sing about ladies a lot. They swear a lot (I can’t emphasize that enough). Giggles aside, ska is generally a sound that encourages having a great time and “New Year” is a perfect example. Давай!
До свидания for now.