Mumiy Troll

Founded in 1983 by musician/actor/philanthropist Ilia Lagutenko, Russia's Mumiy Troll actually went on hiatus twice—once while Lagutenko served in the Soviet Army and again as he went to work with a business consulting firm in London and China.

But once Lagutenko got the band together for a third time in 1996, it didn't take him too long to find success. 1997's Morskaya became hugely successful in Russia and Lagutenko has gone on to parlay his androgynous performance style and love for melodic hard rock into a successful musical venture in seemingly every country but the U.S. And that's quite the shame: Mumiy Troll's music is just plain cool.

Perhaps the band's first release on an American label, the strangely compelling Comrade Ambassador from last year, will help the band achieve a portion of the success here that they've seen in their homeland and abroad. Songs such as "Mothers and Daughters" and "We Overslept" certainly demonstrate the inspiration of Lagutenko's stay in London and his introduction to the Brit-pop scene. Thankfully, though, Lagutenko and his collection of able sidemen have never abandoned the Russian influence that made Mumiy Troll so interesting to begin with. Long fluent in English and Chinese, Lagutenko's musical scope is wide and varied, well deserving of a little American love.