Ever since I was the first time in Ukraine in 2005, I fell in love with the country, its people and its language. It was so different to everything I knew before. The normative basis is not unity, but diversity. Add a rich history with lots of glorious, but also painful moments, add the right amount of poetry and melancholy. Add some music. While most of this music belongs to the pop and folk sector, in the recent years alternatives are on the rise.
Let me introduce to you some alternative bands from Europe’s biggest – yet to many unknown – country.
Cold Comfort from Rivne was founded in 2012. The three guys make dark atmospheric post-punk/coldwave with a clear touch of the late 70s/early 80s à la Joy Division. Their sound changed a lot in the last years, just compare the following two songs ‘One Year Closer’ (2013) and ‘Beach Funeral’ (2016).
In 2014 Ukraine’s capital Kyiv saw the birth of a very promising post-punk band called Small Depo. With unique vocals the trio creates wonderful songs sung in Russian, as their recent song ‘Ne otpuskaet nikogda’ (‘Never lets go’) showcases.
Blablarism is a one-woman-project from Kyiv. Oksana, the lady behind Blablarism, surely knows how to mesmerise her listeners with her well-composed atmospheric synth-music and her reverbed vocals – she definitely hits the Zeitgeist. The song ‘Aelveora’ absolutely convinced me of her talent.
The Glass Beads
The Glass Beads were formed in March 2016. The original name was inspired by the book The Glass Beads Game (Das Glasperlenspiel) by Hermann Hesse. The song ‘Going’ is their first piece, but I was told that more such dark hits are underway.
Another great band from Kyiv is The Pleroma. Their music is a blend of post-punk, shoegaze and indie rock with lyrics in Russian. Unfortunately, The Pleroma seems to have disbanded last year.
A rather obscure project is the coldwave band Basement from Kyiv. The only music by them I could find was a demo with five songs from 2013. They have a powerful bass and a decent guitar. Would be nice to hear more from them.
The Ukrainians are a couple of Ukrainian guys living in England whose aim it is to cover famous songs, but with Ukrainian lyrics. The following song ‘Batyar’ e.g. is a cover of Morrissey’s hit ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’.