Country: Italy (originally Russia)
Genre: Punk rock
Single/video: Go Fuck You Self
Label: Altercation Records
Release date: November 21, 2016
Once again I was exploring Youtube and found a video that opened with a tattooed woman with a patched vest reading “Svetlanas” on the back. She looked pissed off, but as I watched the entire clip (about a minute and a half) it became clear she was pissed off for a reason. A brief aside, the video is streaming at Blank TV along with “I Must Break You” and other videos. To date they have a single, three EPs and five full lengths out. “Go Fuck You Self” is from their third full length “Naked Horse Rider” from 2015.
The woman we see in the beginning of the video is Svetlana’s frontwoman Olga, who takes on the riot grrll angst we’re all familiar with if we’re punk fans from the old school. However in contrast to Amy Taylor of Amyl and the Sniffers, her girl power is much rawer and overt without the need for symbolism or double entendre. As I read in an interview, since they spit similar venom toward their home country’s government they’ve been exiled from Russia since September 2014 and sale of their music there is illegal.
Keeping in mind that it’s harder to be a punk in Russia than it is in the US and UK, the controversy surrounding Svetlanas is causing them to become more well known in the rest of the world. Because their music is now unlawful and they can be arrested for going against Putin and the Duma elections, punks elsewhere are more than happy to give them a platform to air their views. Their rising popularity in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and Slovenia shows how much more people are hearing about them than before.
Their lack of fear about speaking against what Olga describes as corrupt rule in Russia is the reason punks in any country can relate to their sense of rebellion against the governmental and social atmospheres surrounding them and pressing them down. “Go fuck you self!” is a simple directive from a badass woman who expresses herself through the medium of punk and refuses to be victimized by male perceptions of female punks. Perceptions that have basically been outdated for more than thirty years.
Svetlana’s music is acute, masticating punk with a street style attitude that has endured since the 1990s, and Olga’s voice is a razor sharp equivalent to a high heeled shoe driven into the scrotum of toxic masculinity, to draw a crude comparison. So raw and stripped to the bone, the song evokes Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Discharge, Lydia Lunch and even GG Allin to a certain point. Not just in musical terms but in terms of the bombardment of blazing agitation those bands brought in a time before punk and hardcore bands were introduced on national talk shows and featured in national magazines.
From what I’ve been reading about them Olga and the band bring their energy to the stage wherever they play. They’re also getting their shit together as they have several endorsements, streaming channels and two booking agencies in Europe and the US. Be sure to check out their official site for news and streams of all their full length releases, including their latest “Disco Sucks” released in 2020. –Dave Wolff
Olga Svetlanas: vocals
Ricky: Lead guitar
Nick Oliveri: Bass, vocals