Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Original cassette release
by Jake Kussmaul (new contributor)

In late 2008, a simple search of "russian grunge" into YouTube led me to a song called "Wherry?" by Military Jane, its accompanying music video a noticeably worn VHS copy. My initial thoughts were along the lines of "Awesome! These guys are the Russian equivalent of Alice In Chains!" (as anyone might have claimed, provided they aren't too harsh on "clone" bands). In fact, I'd actually left a similar comment: "sounds like alice in chains". Not thinking to further research the band, I passively clicked off the video and moved on.

The next year, I saw an email in my YouTube inbox, which brought up a reply to my aforementioned comment. It read, "That's because AIC is the favorite band of the frontman :))" . From there, I was suddenly inspired to dig deeper into this all-male band with a female name. Think of it as a rather bad ass rechristening of a certain superhero's girlfriend: Military (no, not Mary) Jane.

Upon googling the song "Wherry?", I discovered that it was from their album, "Blackest Paint Colored Brush", from 1996 (thank you, Discogs!). Apparently it was reissued with different, almost bootleg style cover art, shown here:

Now, fast forward to 2014. After having mp3s sourced from a bad tape, I'd actually managed to locate the 2002 copy, for $2.50 plus free shipping. What a deal!

The tape in the flesh, harnessing the energies of my room.

 As you'd expect, this was a brand new copy; no wear or damage of any sort. To say I was relived to hear the album in full sound quality is an understatement. Without further digression, let's talk about the album!

All the songs are in English. English that, even after repeated listens, is still beyond easy to understand. With the exception of a few songs, you may be able to pick out a few words or phrases, but for the most part, it's not very clear. Even so, the vocalist Ilja has a natural grit and isn't afraid to showcase his inner Layne Staley. Yes, the songs do contain obvious Alice In Chains influence, but there does exist some variety (the punk tinged, "time is running out" feel of  "Room #1", the manic, Cobain-esque fluctuations of "Long Rain", and the bittersweet but content ballad "Queen"). Even those that aren't as "original" ("Dark Noise", "Wherry?", "Dead Mary") are worthy of mention for their sheer merit. Another thing to note is that this is an independent release, rather than an investment from a major label intending to capitalize on a fad. This is truly a raw, passionate ode to an era of which the band wholeheartedly embraced.

Since 1997, Military Jane has changed its name to Pilot (Пилот), and continues to experience tremendous critical and commercial success. Although their sound leans more toward modern rock and the songs are in Russian, the band hasn't left their past behind. Check out this Pilot performance of the 'Jane' classic, "Neverman"!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Radiance and Redundancy
by RC

I hate to admit it but this one has this awesome sound.  After learning that Guided By Voices or was it just Robert Pollard?, covered one of their songs, and it is kind of unsurprising how Mr. Ellie tend to cover some songs from other bands and thus jumping from one band to another and or just having other awesome music materials to collect and putting it all inside a briefcase and thus allowing it to be heard to some group of people, musicians and non-musicians to endear and enjoy.  And much to my delight, this one needs to be heard as well. 

Wait, how many words has is it been?  Well, The Soundtripper recommends this album, nevermind if you won't understand the words or the meanings of all the lyrics, it's just the sound or the music for me is what matters I suppose to some extent.  And the contexts one may need to affirm and learn afterwards. Well there you go.  

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