A Fresh Dose of Baltic-Sad Wave: Bērnības Milicija From the part of the world that nurtured artistic luminaries like Sergei Eisenstein, Alexander Pushkin and Karlis Padēgs comes a young, new band hardly old enough to remember the tail end of the Soviet Union. Latvia is a small country bordered by Lithuania, Estonia and Belarus. It's got ever so slightly more ethnic Latvians than it does Russians, and it regained it's independence in 1992 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Bērnības Milicija -sounds like "bear-knee-bus meeleet-see-yuh," means childhood militia- is a band from Riga (Latvia's capitol) and they play music that sounds like a combination foreign language Joy Division, Gypsy subway-tunnel accordion wail, and late 80's Russian underground rock. To me, what's extremely special about Bērnības Milicija's music is that it continues the sad, dark, and utterly creative tradition of Soviet-Russian Leningrad supergroup Kino, or perhaps a better example is, Yanka Dyagileva. If you're unfamiliar with those two folks and consider yourself a conniseur of underground music from around the world, I recommend listening to Brian Turner's recent show, on which Kevin Pink Reason played a bunch of excellent Russian underground music. Speaking of WFMU, Bernibas Milicija has been getting some air time from that excellent outfit, in addition to KBGA.
Bernibas Milicija have got a new record called Nakti Gulot Uz Muguras which, like their debut Mūzika Dejām (Dance Music) was released by long-standing Riga label: Tornis Records.
While you're exploring that, there's a pretty solid handful of excellent Latvian music to be had from Tornis, which is also responsible for an excellent handful of 90's and 00's vintage stuff from all kinds of weird, obscure and excellent bands. Start by checking out Kartaga, Plastalins, Sarkanais Oktobris, Sirke and Voiceks! Inokentijs Marpls and Skyforger aren't directly associated with Tornis, but they make great music and are Latvians as well. If you'd like to go back further into the deep well of , search around for NSRD and Dzeltenie Pastnieki.