Spring is here, which means something else besides Snapper Season: open-air festivals. I am happy to report that 2008 will see festival performances from STEREOLAB, THE GO! TEAM, EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY, THE PAPER CHASE and ENON, among others. Rumors are flying that CHROMEO or GLASS CANDY will finally make a visit to Moscow, but at this point nothing is confirmed. For now, we have to spend our nights indoors, in increasingly stuffy clubs.
In addition to its annual festival, this year Avant Productions is bringing a trio of British bands over on various nights in April for its "London Calling" festival (nevermind the fact that not one of the bands sounds like it’s ever listened to the CLASH). First to visit is Manchester’s I AM KLOOT (April 9, B2, 22:00), who differ from other Britpop/indie bands by having twisted and witty lyrics.
The Golden Mask theater festival continues, this time delving into Swedish indie with DIVISION OF LAURA LEE (April 10, Gogol, 21:00). I remember back in the late 90s, after REFUSED blew up and then imploded, everyone was getting psyched about the (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY and later THE HIVES, and I seem to remember these guys getting thrown around in that context as well. They’re Swedish, they listen to post-punk and post-hardcore, so they must be decent. Right?
The last Golden Mask event of any interest is Sweden’s MISS LI (April 11, Gogol, 21:00), a vocalist who mixes jazz, cabaret and blues. Although her lyrics are naïve, you don’t get the annoying twee-ness of so many other indie bands trying to pull this off.
CURRENT 93 (April 11-12, Ikra, 21:00) are one of those experimental British bands who seem to come here every year that I confess to just not getting. Current was founded in 1982 by DAVID TIBET, and initially took influence from early industrial music, using abrasive tape loops, droning synths and the like. In later works, Tibet has cast this aside, going for a more organic "apocalyptic folk" approach. Kindred spirit RICKY LEE JONES opens the first night, while BABY DEE opens night two.
Those of you who take pleasure in weird German experimentalism should enjoy the NOVA HUTA (April 11, Duma, 22:00) gig, as the man-and-his-Casio keyboard introduces you to "dachadelic" music. His countryman NEOANGIN – who seems to play here on a bi-monthly basis – also gets down to business, with his 90-second electro-pop gems. Some American dude named CHRIS IMLER opens.
Although LINCOLN BROWN (April 11-12, Krizis Zhanra, 23:00) hail from ol Blighty, their sound is much more rooted in American Southern rock than the sort of generic Britpop that Krizis usually trades in. Don’t get me wrong, you can still tell they’re British, as the music is a little too glossy, but not bad overall. On day one, Moscow’s THE TYPES and Novosibirsk’s excellent HOT ZEX open. Day two features locals BLAST and RADIODIM.
Although Spain’s DELOREAN (April 12, 16 Tons, 22:00) started off by taking influences from SEAM and NEW ORDER, little of that softness is present now, as the band is more of a thudding disco punk beast. They describe themselves as dance music made by punks, which sounds about right to me. Their compatriots THE REQUESTERS open.
One of the only times I ever bought an import CD in college was to check out France’s DJ CAM (April 12, Ikra, 23:00). Word on the street was that this dude knew hip-hop, and my $25 said the word on the street was right. His minimalist, down-beat instrumenal hip-hop is most similar to artists like DJ SHADOW and DJ KRUSH, but any hip-hop head should be into him.