Tuesday, August 19, 2014

soviet kitsch

Regina Ilyinichna Spektor went rummaging for answers in the colorful and chaotic contagious character studies of this eccentric and emotional art folk adventure.  Born in Moscow, Spektor studied classical piano from the age of six and, after her family emigrated to the United States when she was nine, continued her musical studies at  the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in New York.  She began performing in clubs in New York City's East Village where she became associated with the anti-folk scene.  

Spektor admits:  "I really wanted to be part of that movement, but I wasn't one of the cool kids. [Laughs.] I only got lumped in afterward, which was exciting. A lot of the musicians whose music I really liked were called "anti-folk." It wasn't considered anti-folk when I was doing it, because my piano stuff was a bit too classical, and it wasn't cool. [Laughs.] But I think anti-folk is more about anybody who plays at The Sidewalk Café, stuff like that. I don't think it's necessarily a sound of music, or a type of music. It's more like an attitude. People with acoustic instruments, playing songs and singing in their own voice. Not in a really stylized way, but kind of conversational. And a lot of their focus is way more political than mine ... It wasn't a style, it was a community and an attitude that connected people.  It was, like: 'We don't care about the industry and the mainstream. We do whatever we want to do and if people want to listen, that's great'. It was more about words and less about music. Skills were sort of uncool.   I loved that scene, as it was a very nurturing place to be. Everyone was broke but everyone went to each other's shows, nursing the same beer all night to save money. You would see some great moments in music, even if there were only nine people watching."

After two self-released albums, '11:11' and 'Songs', her third album 'Soviet Kitsch' caught the attention of Sire Records after she went on tour with The Strokes.   Although the album did not chart, it established her as a singular voice in the underground music scene, even as it confused many listeners.  Spektor says:  "I am very, very aware that my music is not for everybody. I'm amazed and just happy that this many people gravitated towards it because I didn't really know. But the purpose of it isn't to be…you know, there are those people who are these avant garde snobs or indie snobs and they are like, there to “challenge you” and I think that's a very condescending, didactic, horrible way of making art. To me that's a fucking nightmare because I think that people are really smart and really intuitive and really cool, so I want to work very, very hard to write something that's not going to bore them. It's almost like I have to strive to make something on the level that they are on. And in that way it's really exciting to do these different things because everybody is so multifaceted ... When you're using your own voice people think you are talking directly to them and about yourself, but I don't want to obscure anything. I have a hard enough time talking about myself in interviews as it feels it might take away from the freedom of the music. I try to stay out of the way of the songs as much as I can."



'Your Honor'

'Ode to Divorce'

'The Flowers'

Survival Guide to  'Soviet Kitsch' 

 'Soviet Kitsch' 
full album:


"Ode to Divorce" – 3:42
"Poor Little Rich Boy" – 2:27
"Carbon Monoxide" – 4:59
"The Flowers" – 3:54
"Us" – 4:52
"Sailor Song" – 3:15
"*** / Whisper" – 0:44
"Your Honor" – 2:10
"Ghost of Corporate Future" – 3:21
"Chemo Limo" – 6:04
"Somedays" – 3:21
bonus track
"Scarecrow & Fungus" – 2:29

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