Listen, Friends: Dima Datskov (Ukrainian Rocker) / by Cyrus


We have a new guest column here at the Raw Music blog: Listen, Friends. (Almost) every Friday, I ask one of the musicians, filmmakers, activists, geniuses, bums or general music obsessives I’ve met in my travels to share what they’re listening to.

Dima Datskov is the vocalist, guitarist and spiritual leader of Ukrainian rockers Blooming Plum. We ran into the man at my favorite Odessa rock club, Exit, where Blooming Plum were headlining.

It was not a night for math-rock.  Odessa was tense and empty. Anyone who could had already left town. A week earlier, 42 people were burned and beaten to death in an unexpected outburst of violence between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian factions.  By May 9th, Victory Day, the city was still grieving. The annual parade was canceled. Sketchy dudes in poorly disguised body armor roamed the torn up streets.

But life goes on, and at Exit club, Blooming Plum were blowing our minds.  Jacob and I were taking a break from our rigorous schedule of listening to music, drinking heavily and recording battle stories to just listen to music and drink heavily.

Erena caught our eye first. The first female guitarist we'd seen in Ukraine, she looked like Bowie and shredded like Dimebag.

But it was Dima who made us sit down and listen.  He attacked the mic, neck taut, voice acrobatic and arch, a manic screaming ringleader with the crowd and the band at his mercy.

After the show, I learned that Dima could talk, too. He'd wandered from Vladivostok to Israel to Odessa as a military man, a punk rocker, a spiritual seeker.  He'd seen many mutations of the human form, and his conversation jumped from Middle Eastern occult myths to black metal riffs to penetrating questions about what exactly it was that we were trying to do.  His curiosity and breadth of knowledge were as exciting as his music. But he cut me off when I brought up the tension that kept most Odessans at home on that damp night.  "I'm done with it," Dima said, "We're all done with it."

Blooming Plum are still touring and recording despite the madness in the east. And Dima took the time to send me a list of what he's jamming now.  Check out his picks below, and listen to Blooming Plum here.

Dima's Picks:

Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business

I have discovered a beautiful creature of Morrissey and his brand new album “World Peace Is None Of Your Business.” Lots of interesting ideas and tools which are kindly infused in tracks, such as pitiful detuned piano that sounds like it is on the second floor just further down the block. Or tubes section, fading out mimicking to white noise. A whole bunch of invisible surprising thing are in this particular release. The album with the quality of a XVII century leather sofa which is still in use.

Black Book Lodge - Pendulum

Guys with passion.  Vocals - very pleased with his warm departure. Without much showing off, simple and with a good wide range. Big gap in vibrato - always correctly lays on our poor, screamo scum ears. Nontrivial band that’s for sure! These guys will make you clean your shelf from Black Sabbath playlist, and it should be there with Mastodon, Clutch, Red Fang, Them Crooked Vultures and Carmena Burana.

Tesseract - Nocturne

Very noticeable. One of the beginners of Djent concept in modern music. Lots of rhythmic asymmetrical figures. Almost a non-emotional band. Dry counting and violent riffs that make your mind flow, just like in the Japanese Go game. Don’t pay attention on vocals...In my opinion, it’s annoying.


Dakhabrakha! Speechless about this band. Just can’t describe their so extraordinary concept. The folk music of western Ukraine, but in a good alternative manner and delivery of material. Many native local instruments and voice polyphony mixing with gentle (almost acapello) songs. Be the first to listen to them and dig more in internet.