It's been awhile since we've heard from locals IN A NUTSHELL (December 6, 16 Tons, 22:00), but in that time they've managed to write another album, as well as get plenty of praise for what they've been doing so far. If you're out of the loop, they sound kind of like ANTARCTICA, which is to say they sound like a shoegazer version of SMASHING PUMPKINS. Not bad. Plus, no BILLY CORGAN.
Moscow's best post-rock band, SILENCE KIT (December 7, Podmoskove, 21:00), play what is becoming a rare Moscow show. I'd go but I'll be at the FAUST show (see Top Picks).
I'll be the first to admit that I never got into DEPECHE MODE. But because of them anyone with some synths and "dark" lyrics can get a gig in Moscow. The fifth SYNTHETIC SNOW FESTIVAL (December 8, Tochka, 18:00) brings together the Netherlands' CLAN OF XYMOX, America's ASSEMBLAGE 23 and RED FLAG, as well as locals ALTERA FORMA, UTERUS INSECTED and SLEETGROUT.
Also in the electronic realm is England's RENEGADE SOUNDWAVE (December 8, 16 Tons, 23:00), who haven't been very active over the last decade. However, in the decade prior they were at the forefront of English electronic, right up there with 808 STATE and POP WILL EAT ITSELF. In their heyday, the Renegades were known for mixing dub and hip-hop with industrial. God only knows what they're up to these days.
The show is on a Sunday, so you might not want to drink too much, but the only thing going on the next day is BRYAN ADAMS (December 10, Kremlin Palace, 19:00), so you can afford a hangover.
Making his third visit in twelve months, Swedish DJ guy JAY-JAY JOHANSON (December 13, B1 Maximum, 20:00) moves his electroclash song and dance from the intimate Ikra to the cavernous B1. He gave up on the trip-hop stuff because people started laughing at the word around 2002. And it worked: If you know any of his stuff, it's "On the Radio" from his last one.
The common knowledge in Russia is that if you're in a band, you're not gonna make any money unless you're a lip-synching popsa monstrosity or you are willing to play corporate events. And while companies generally go for the lowest-common-denominator at their events, recently I was fortunate enough to attend an advertising agency's birthday party and see the St. Petersburg power-pop trio DEVOCHKI NE HOTYAT (December 13, Podmoskove, 21:00; December 14, Krizis Zhanra, 23:00). Their anger, humor and musical senses combine to sound kind of like the early 80s GO-GOS before they started sucking balls. The first gig is a solo show, while the second gig also features BRIGHT and VIRGIN TEARS.
A month ago I wrote that NATHAN FAKE (December 13, Ikra, 22:00) "asks to be called a 'composer of minimal techno compositions.' Sounds like a DJ to me, but whatever." Well, he cancelled his gig last month due to visa issues, so he forced me to plagiarize myself. Thanks, Nathan!
I don't make it out to that many underground shows enough anymore, but I hope to make it to this one: the legendary underground band NOCHNOI PROSPEKT (December 14, Aktovy Zal, 20:00) is playing with my favorite local band, garage punks RIVUSHIE STRUNY, as well as neo-folk diva VERA SAZHINA and some band called INQUISITORUM. Should be good beer-soaked greybeard dissident style fun.
The core members of BACKWORLD (December 15, Dom, 20:00) worked with everyone from RICHARD KERN to J.G. THRILWELL to LYDIA LUNCH before eventually starting his own band, which delved into English folk music and Christian mysticism, with a slight dabbling in 60s psycedelia. The band has drawn comparisons to CURRENT 93 and DEATH IN JUNE, and its newest record even has a guest visit from the former's DAVID TIBET. American avant-garde cellist JULIA KENT (ex-RASPUTINA) supports, with local dark-folk act NEUTRAL opening.