As surprising as it might sound for a western publication, we here at Replicant Ears are no strangers to music made in Ukraine, having previously reviewed both Ummagma and Sounds of Sputnik (featuring Ummagma). We venture eastward once again with a playlist focused on artists from this currently war-torn country, giving credit to those bands who continue rocking on despite the pervading war theme. Here, with the help of Kyiv-based noise-rock/shoegaze/alt-rock crossover band On The Wane, we explore what ‘the breadbasket of Europe’ has to offer music-wise.
We learn more about On The Wane through their playlist below, but a selection from their bio is already intriguing enough: “Everything that we love can be described with these words: 80’s and 90’s alternative, post-punk, shoegazing, new wave, no-wave and noise-rock. We like knobs turned right, dissonances, noisy meditations, and motorik rhythms.”
This message comes from Eugene Voitov of On The Wane:
We would like to introduce you to music from our band, On The Wane, from Kyiv, Ukraine, as well as a host of other great tracks from our country. We started the band in March 2014. At that time, we had plenty of options about what we wanted to play, as there are so many genres we like. In the end, we decided to play alternative rock influenced by Sonic Youth, The Cure and shoegaze groups from the 80’s and 90’s. As for now, we have our debut album DRY, which we released at the end of 2014. This summer we are planning a tour throughout Ukraine and will also be recording a new EP. We dream about touring Europe.
We wanted to create a playlist of good music from Ukraine and the ex-USSR region, which includes alternative bands that are quite famous in our country, and well as young artists that are just beginning their musical career. The main uniting thread between all these tracks is that we love them all. We tried to list the bands in an approximate chronological order – from those with greater experience and who are perhaps better known, to those that are younger. We’ll launch into them right after a preview of three of our own tracks:
…и Друг Мой Грузовик:
One of our favorite bands. Non-standard line-up, abstract lyrics, and the improbable drive at gigs. Now, unfortunately, the group is disbanded.
Group with improbable energy. It isn’t simply folk. This is much bigger!
We are proud that Ummagma is a band from Ukraine. This is one of the best dream-pop bands in the entire history of the genre. Ummagma is one of our favourite bands, not only among local groups, but also in general. It was difficult to choose just one track, but we settled on “BFD” because of its tremendous atmosphere.
Electronic side project from the guys in …и Друг Мой Грузовик. Deep sound and touching lyrics.
This band existed for a very short time, but they left behind a few dozen beautiful pop songs. [“Заводим” is] one of our favorite tracks.
The Russian band Motorama is probably the best post-punk band in the ex-USSR region.
Not banal jazz-rock played with drums, bass and a saxophone.
Perhaps, the best Ukrainian shoegazers. This is a track from their new EP, which they released recently.
Another project of Anton from …и Друг Мой Грузовик with a groove electronic sound. It includes lyrics about dramatic events which have taken place in Ukraine in recent times.
Side project of guys from Motorama. It’s post-punk too, but more gloomy — almost pagan — with Russian lyrics.
Representatives of a rare genre for Ukraine — krautrock.
Trendy music that combines electronic sound with guitars.
CITY OF ME:
Post-punk is very significant to us. In our opinion, this is one of the best post-punk bands in Ukraine. This is a track from their new EP.
A man who we know in person. He makes electronic music influenced by Aphex Twin and Venetian Snares, and doesn’t strive for popularity. We would like to hear his music in night clubs!
Very young band, the members of which we also know in person. These guys are just preparing their first release, so we are sharing only a demo of their incredibly beautiful and sensual song “One Day.”
SHAUNA McLARNON fronts the popular Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma and provides vocals for Russia’s Sounds of Sputnik. Moved by her interest in the heart of the indie music universe, Shauna has helped build Ear to Ear Records from the ground up and also supports other indie artists through Shameless Promotion PR. She has spent a good portion of the last decade in Ukraine, however, not a fan of dodging bullets, Shauna is once again basing her activity out of Canada.