Once in a while, you may want to listen to music from other countries, in other languages.
However, this is not as simple as it sounds. Type in 'Russian Music' and you may get a lot of Russian language Music. Note that a lot of it actually comes from Belarus as well as Russia. However, there are many types of Russian music, just like there are many types of music in English. Folk, Rock, Pop, Hip-hop, 'Designed' girl bands, etc etc.
What if you are one of those people who want 'indie' music? One thing that you can do, is visit last.fm, find a band, and then click on 'radio'. It will play artists similar to the one you are listening to.
Playing "bands similar to Serebryanaya Svadba" or "Cassiopeia" has allowed me to listen to all sorts of fascinating Russian language music that is also 'indie'. For example, Alina Orlova, Dsh! Dsh!, Chikiss, 2H Company, Rocker Joker, Lyook, Deti Picasso, Serebryanaya Svadba or Tatyana Zkina (ok she's actually kinda pop but...)
Another very interesting last.fm link is Инна Желанная. There you run into Ива Нова, Theodor Bastard, Optimystica Orchestra, Жанна Агузарова, and many other interesting artists. I doubt "indy" applies to all of them, but then again, labels are just abstractions that can never match reality.
Then there is youtube, where you can run into artists like Pelagaya (Пелагея)
Is is a strange thing. People who like 'pop music' might like russian and english pop music, but they might dislike indie music, regardless of the language. And vice versa - people who like indie music, might dislike pop music, regardless of it's language.
It reminds me of Phil Rosenthal's documentary about the guy who tried to translate an American sitcom for a Russian TV audience. The TV show was named "Everybody loves raymond". The russian version is called called Воронины, you can watch it on youtube (here, or simply search for Воронины youtube.
So, the 'sitcom', the art form, is made up of far more than dialog - the meaning of the words themselves might almost be irrelevant. What makes up a sitcom, then? Is it the timing? The characters? The family relationships depicted? The beat? The rhythym?
It reminds me of "The State" skit about Crispy Pops: which is on youtube. It is a cereal commercial - but all of the actors just speak in gibberish instead of any ordinary language. What is the difference, then, between this commercial and a 'real' commercial? It is not the lighting, the expressions, the acting, the gestures, the timing, nor the framing of the picture. The difference is that they are speaking nonsense - but in a sense isn't that what the language in a 'real' commercial is full of too? Nonsense? What does the phrase "part of this complete breakfast" even mean? What is the difference between saying that and "duh duh duh duhddduh duh duh?".
It seems so strange, that something as simple as a Sitcom or a Commercial can have so many parts to it. Or that something like music, has so many ingredients, so that a person who likes 'indie' music will, without even understanding the words, be able to identify, and even prefer, what is 'indie' music in another language that they do not even speak.
What are words anyways? Do they even matter?
Q&A with Phil Rosenthal, interview at Santa Barbara Film Festival, youtube.
I must point out when I say 'Russian' I may also mean, the "Three Russias", White (ByeloRussia, Belarus), "Normal" Russia, and then the Ukraine. I'm guessing some might be insulted by conflating these, but what name should I then use? "Slavic"?
Another interesting group of Indie music are Russian bands that sing in English. like InWhite.
Their lyrics sometimes are not exactly grammatically perfect English, but somehow make more sense than some of the top-40 in America. I compare, for example, InWhite's "Closer" and, say Sugar Ray's "Fly".
Then there are the metal thrash bands, a remarkable example being Traktor Bowling. (Which, interestingly, has a name using Latin characters but sings in Russian)
It is not exactly alternative, but I can imagine some of their songs 'crossing over'. Maybe it's just me.
Then there is Chikiss, who plays some kind of piano music that I don't know what category to fit into, but its kind of slow and ambient.
Interesting note... there is an entire blog at the UCLA (Univ California Los Angeles) devoted to this type of thing. http://www.farfrommoscow.com/about/