Reviews

Нови Цветя (Novy Tsvetya) Cold War Collection LP

I recall Bulgaria’s НОВИ ЦВЕТЯ (New Flowers) being arguably the first punk band in that particular country under Soviet control. Releasing punk music during this time was economically prohibitive, and basically illegal in the eyes of the state. So in that context, this collection being released and distributed in the West in 2020 by an independent US label is a testament to the enduring and undefeatable spirit of punk. The recordings date from 1979 (!) to 1995. Side A seems to be the earliest stuff judging by the lo-fi production, and a sound much more akin to early Yugoslavian punk than famous Western bands. Production quality and fidelity greatly increases on the flipside, but remains raw and is probably the most easily digestible material here for most listeners. Musically the whole collection is great to my ears, it’s just missing the context! This release desperately needs an insert of some info to provide background. I know it’s all on the internet but there’s a disconnect if you don’t have it all in one place. In the late ’80s a few punk/rock/new wave bands managed to release music on the label BG Rock, which was a subsidiary of the state label Balkanton. So curious Western collectors like myself have managed to track down records from bands like РЕВЮ (Review), КOНТРОЛ (Control), НОВИ ГЕНЕРАЦИЯ (New Generation), КЛАС (Class), АТЛАС (Atlas), and some others, but НОВИ ЦВЕТЯ truly remained unable to officially release anything until after the fall of the Soviet Union. There have been other releases since then, but you know where to look for those. In the meantime, this is a really fun introduction for those interested in Bulgarian punk history. Just a shame about the lack of info!