This time I wish to introduce you to some post-punk/new wave gems from East-Central and Eastern Europe, focusing on songs not sung in English. All these bands contributed and contribute to form the aesthetics that we appreciate. From Polish coldwave over Ukrainian Novaya Scena to contemporary Hungarian minimal wave, you will find it all here – in no particular order.
She Past Away – İnsanlar
Album: Belirdi Gece
Among the newcomers of the last few years She Past Away are definitely my favourite. The musicians from Turkey know how to mix nostalgia with progression. If the 80’s were happening now, this would be their sound. It was, actually, hard to choose one song to feature, but the most outstanding on their first album is perhaps ‘İnsanlar’ (‘Humans’).
Maria Loves Me – Grad
Genre: Gothic Rock
Croatian band Maria Loves Me doesn’t have much songs yet, but what they have is really promising. ‘Grad’ (‘City’) can be downloaded for free on last.fm.
1984 – Biała Chorogięwka
Album: Radio niebieskie oczy Heleny
Bands like Siekiera helped form the Polish coldwave scene in the late 80’s. Although a little bit forgotten nowadays, the coldwave scene once had a big impact on the dark culture in this country. Here’s a song by the band 1984, one of my favourites, called ‘Biała Chorogięwka’ (‘White Flag’). The song has been recorded in two different versions.
Borghesia – On
Genre: Minimal Wave
Album: Ljubav je hladnija od smrti
Slovenian legends Borghesia are maybe best known for being industrial/EBM pioneers that gained international recognition with their hit single ‘Ni upanja, ni strahu’ (‘No Hope, No Fear’). They also produced a bunch of minimal wave, and ‘On’ (‘He’) is definitely a classic.
Ivanov Down – Outch Putch
Album: Novaya Scena – Underground from Ukraine!
The two Ukrainian cities of Kyiv (Kiev) and Charkiv were the birth place of an obscure music scene, called Novaya Scena (New Scene). This song by Ivanov Down, ‘Outch Putch’, may seem kind of weird, but it offers a unique experimental sound, typical for this scene.
Paraf – Odlazak
Genre: New Wave
Many people might not know that former Yugoslavia put out a huge amount of listenable music in the 70’s and 80’s. This song by Croatian band Paraf caught my attention. The female singer’s voice is reminiscent of Nico or Siouxsie and the instrumentation is classic post-punk.
Nosztalgia Direktíva – Tegnapok
Genre: Minimal Wave
Nosztalgia Direktíva is a minimal wave project from Budapest, Hungary. They have a dark, industrial-like sound, which easily catches one’s attention. ‘Tegnapok’ (‘Yesterdays’) shows the atmosphere of Nosztalgia Direktíva the best, which is described on their fanpage as following: “Rusty, entirely stripped industrial structures have their chilling and creaking dance with the letargic melancholy of the frozen time in East-Central-Europe”.
Siekiera – Nowa Alexandria
Album: Nowa Alexandria
‘Nowa Alexandria’ by Siekiera (speak: shyekyera) is maybe the most influencing and legendary song in Polish coldwave. A typical ear-worm, but one of the good kind.
XIII. Století – Elizabeth
Genre: Gothic Rock/Metal
Album: Ztraceni V Karpetech
A little bit bloated, yet epic and catching is the track ‘Elizabeth’ by Czech gothic rock band XIII. Století.
Voyvoda – Iztok
Voyvoda is a newer group from Bulgaria, which introduces a very intriguing fusion of post-punk and post-rock. By listening to the song ‘Iztok’ you can make yourself a picture of how this would sound. Their album is available on the homepage of af-music.