Vlad and Joe
Who Let the Kulaks Out?
Everyone says that neo-Russian folk duo Vlad and Joe is just a novelty act. Infusing Russian folk songs with an electronic drum set and a bevy of keytars, they do seem kitch, but did in fact sell over 10 million albums for governmental redistribution. Their highly anticipated Who Let the Kulaks Out?, a comeback of sorts, returns to their labor camp roots, to tell the tale of noble crushing of the kulak class of bourgeois dissenters. The first single, "There's a Fly in my Borscht," which is playing every half-hour on nationalized radio, features cuttingly humorous lyrics over a folksy Cyrillic beat, sharply satirizing the so-called plight of the newly de-programmed kulak farmers. New experimentations, however, like the organ on "Opium for the Masses," fall into the Judeo-Christian value system and will surely be censored when the album is released. While Who Let the Kulaks Out? is surely equal to the rest of the Vlad and Joe back catalogue, it does not reach the equality of their stunning debut Run Capitalist Run.
-- Comrade Lopez
Live from Kibbutz Ba'ram
Yoni Steinwicz has always been a curious figure in communist music. He started off as a klezmer clarinetist, playing Zionist rallies throughout Eastern Europe. He signed a two-album deal with BMG and even played the French horn on Houses of the Holy and a few Elton John records. In the early '80s he sheared off his peot and became a full-time ranch-hand at Kibbutz Ba'ram, just north of Haifa. On his spare time, he managed to assemble a band, later dubbed "The Kibbutzniks" to spread the socialist world sharing millions of albums throughout Israel.
Last year, Steinwicz put on a free concert at his home in front of Israel's entire Kibbutz population, the product of which is CD/DVD Live from Kibbutz Ba'ram. He recounts the glory days of his past on such hits as "In Zion I found Marx" and "Milking Cows to Feed the World." On "Capitalism, Shmapitalism," his most popular ballad, Steinwicz sang a cappella in front of a sea of enflamed shekel notes. Live from Kibbutz Ba'ram is a true testament to pure and simple socialist live music from one of its most tried-and-true masters.
-- Comrade Todd