Best Albums of 2014
according to 16 Belarusian critics
text by Dmitri Bezkorovainyi

.K <BR>“Unison”


Singer/songwriter Evgeni Kuchmeyno comes from a rural part of Grodno region. His music is a fusion of acoustic guitars and processed sounds, topped by his nervous voice and screams. He recorded “Unison” (“Унисон”) during a village retreat – a truly psychedelic modern shaman stuff.

♪♫ Listen: “Днём не пой” + album stream

.K on VKontakte.

Groosha<BR>“Out Of Place”

“Out Of Place”

Singer/songwriter Nastassia Vertsel made a simple yet a strikingly beautiful piano-pop record. She’s not trying to be overpolished or overproduced and it makes her debut only better – very natural and sincere. Let’s hope her relocation from Minsk to New York will only help her music develop.

♪♫ Listen: “Apple a Day” + album stream

Groosha on Bandcamp, Facebook, VKontakte.

Earworm <BR>“Amber”


Violin-led noise/post-rock trio from Grodno released its first EP back in 2004 followed by another EP in 2008. “Amber” is their very first full-length record which made quite an impression on Belarusian and foreign experts, who pointed out its raw sonic power and passion.

♪♫ Listen: “Beckerite” + album stream

Earworm on Bandcamp, VKontakte, Facebook.

Mustelide <BR>“Secret”


Mustelide is the alias of a singer-songwriter Natalia Kunitskaya. A keyboard player in a few rock bands before, she released her first solo album on the Russian indie label Temnye Loshadki in September 2014, preceded by several singles.

“Secret” has received many positive reviews in Belarusian and Russian indie circles, and eventually won the “Best Indie-Pop/Electronic Album” award at annual ceremony.

♪♫ Listen: “Smisl” + album stream

Mustelide on Soundcloud, FacebookVK.

Vuraj <BR>“Rajok”


Belarusian modern folk tradition is quite strong, started in 60-70s by Pesnyary, and continued in the 90s-00s by Troitsa, Palats, Kriwi. “Rajok” (“Раёк”, meaning “Little Paradise”) is the first proper studio album from this band.

This solid record brings together traditional Belarusian songs and rock arrangements. Nice melodies, prog-rock bits and some true mysticism in all that. “Best Folk Album” at awards.

♪♫ Listen: “Vełytaj, perepyłko” + album stream

Vuraj on Facebook, VKontakte.

The Toobes <BR>“Road To The Big Time”

The Toobes
“Road To The Big Time”

Their powerful mix of alternative and revival rock plus a singing drummer became a sensation in 2009 in Belarus. They also played massively in Poland in 2012-2013, where most of the band members live now.

Third album finds them mastering their sound (production as always by their guitar player Konstantin Pyzhov) to the absolute perfection.

♪♫ Listen: “Road to the Big Time” + album stream

The Toobes on Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, VKontakte.

Akute <BR>“Reaĺnaść i sny”

“Reaĺnaść i sny”

Third album by Mogilev-based rock trio – one of the most popular Belarusian young bands of the latest years combines melancholic pop rock and post punk.

Youth-appealing depressive lyrics, catchy tunes, and good sound production by Dmitri Ivaney from the Ukraine make “Reaĺnaść i sny” (“Рэальнасць і сны”, or “Reality and Dreams”) a memorable record.

♪♫ Listen: “Scieny” + album stream

Akute on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, VKontakte,

Lavon Volski <BR>“Hramadaznaustva”

Lavon Volski

Lavon Volski (Лявон Вольский) is one of the three Belarusian rock legends. He started his music career more than 30 years ago, going through top bands like Mroya, N.R.M., Krambambulya, now an established solo artist.

His first in four years new album “Hramadaznaustva” (“Грамадазнаўства”, meaning “Social Studies”) brings together one of the best songwriting in his career, angry social lyrics and superb sound production done by a Norwegian sound producer Snorre Bergerud.

♪♫ Listen: “Milicyjanty i prastytutki” + album stream

Lavon Volski on Facebook.

Tonqiхod <BR>“Pradmova”


Debut album by this rock trio is an unexpected mix of technically flawless art-rock, bursts of post-punk and tricky ironical poetry in Belarusian.

On “Прадмова” (“Pradmova”, meaning “Preface”) they made art-rock sound joyful again. “Best Debut Album”, “Best Rock Album” and “Best Album in Belarusian Language” at awards.

♪♫ Listen: “Piesnia pra Viasiellie” + album stream

Tonqixod on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, Facebook, VKontakte, www.

Port Mone <BR>“Thou”

Port Mone

The new album of the acclaimed instrumental trio is unusual and beautiful on all levels. From recording, which took place not in a convential studio, but in a real forest, to the music itself.

“Thou” is a pure flow of emotion – powerful and unlimited. Deservedly, it was voted not only “Best Instrumental Album”, but also “Album Of The Year” at awards.

♪♫ Listen: “Meeting” + album stream

Port Mone on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, VKontakte, www.