Archive for 'Year In Review'

Best of 2019

Top Singles of 2019
1. Easter She Is Warm MP3s
2. Yu Su Roll With The Punches 12″
3. Gil.Barte L.I.G EP 12″
4. The Cool Greenhouse Crap Cardboard Pet 10″
5. Cosima Ploaia 7″
6. Paul Jansen & Zn. De Toerisme EP 2×7″
7. An-i + Unhuman An-i + Unhuman 12″
8. Victor De Roo ‘Nachtdichter’ Poëzie Door Alex Deforce 12″
9. Neon Neon 12″
10. Khidja In The Middle Of The Night 12″
11. Kilchhofer Anklin Moto Perpetuo 12″
12. Lo Kindre Chlorophytum 12″
13. Battle Break 2 compilation 12″
14. Jean-Luc Des Litres D’essence 12″
15. Civic Selling, Sucking, Blackmail, Bribes 7″
16. Davy Kehoe The Pilot 12″
17. Phillip Otterbach The Rest Is Bliss 12″
18. Anunaku Whities 024 12″
19. Black Merlin Kode 12″
20. De-Bons-en-Pierre EP No. 2 12″

Honorable Mention:
Exit Hippies Stoned / Stoned Agin 7″
Skee Mask ISS004 12″
Metrist Pollen Pt. 1 12″
Jensen Interceptor The Ultimate Wave Riding Vehicle 12″
Midland The Alchemy Of Circumstance EP 12″

Top Albums of 2019
1. Joshua Abrams Natural Information Society Mandatory Reality
2. Anadol Uzun Havalar
3. Game No One Wins
4. 75 Dollar Bill I Was Real
5. Kim Gordon No Home Record
6. Carla dal Forno Look Up Sharp
7. Zaliva-D Forsaken
8. Buttechno Badtrip
9. Priests The Seduction Of Kansas
10. Deafkids Metaprogramação
11. Meitei Komachi
12. Insanlar Demedim Mi
13. Francisco Davis Two Sessions
14. E-Saggila My World My Way
15. France Ott
16. ISS Alles 3rd Gut
17. Tom Of England Sex Monk Blues
18. Earthen Sea Grass And Trees
19. The Minneapolis Uranium Club Band The Cosmo Cleaners: The Higher Calling Of Business Provocateurs
20. Charly Bliss Young Enough

Honorable Mention:
Extended Hell Mortal Wound
100 Gecs 1000 Gecs
Bad Breeding Exiled
Gong Gong Gong Phantom Rhythm
L.O.T.I.O.N. World Wide W.E.B.

These are my faves for 2019! Thanks again for reading this webpage and sending in your records for me to listen to and lovingly critique. Not sure how long I’ll keep doing this (we’re about to enter Yellow Green Red’s twelfth year!), but I truly love doing it and have no plans of quitting. Honestly, I wish more of y’all would do it too – in this time of automated everything, it’s nice to read an actual human’s passionate thoughts on things, even if I disagree or have no idea what they’re talking about or whatever. Tell me where I can find more of that, so long as it’s not a damn Facebook group! As for my favorite live performances I witnessed this year, old white men were responsible, which is ironic considering my hatred toward old white men is at an all-time high. The collaborative set between Glands Of External Secretion and Orchid Spangiafora promoted by Jesse of People Skills was a joyous outpouring of inscrutable humanity; mostly totally hilarious, partially crude, poignant and stupid-dumb in equal measure. Even the performers were cracking each other up! The other live standout was none other than The Misfits at the Wells Fargo Center, each member their own self-contained spectacle, a true feast of the eyes with some of the most catchy punk rock ever written blaring past endless microphone feedback and smashed basses. I like to think I prefer to look forward rather than behind when it comes to music, but some relics are simply too fantastic and mesmerizing to deny. Onward to 2020!

Easter She Is Warm (no label)
Truly blows my mind that Berlin-based duo Easter only made it to vinyl once, in the form of an early split 12″, because the music they’ve made over the past decade is mindblowingly great. She Is Warm is their latest and greatest – file under “chillwave / left-field / electro” for a basic frame of reference, but these songs are so special and, well, warm, belying the disposable and generic aspects of the genre. Their formula is pretty basic, too: a deadpan Norwegian model recites her vibrantly funny and vivid lyrics over a backdrop of solitary beats suitable for a Too Short rap, Lil Uzi Vert slow jam or Sade love song. These songs struck me immediately, matching extreme sultriness with quirky turns of phrase and instantly lodging themselves in my brain (and the rest of my body, too). “Better” is the romantic hit, “Muscle” is a bizarre screenplay / personal ethos, “Cuppa” is the steamy flirtation and “She Is Warm” is so European it practically auto-corrects flavor to flavour. The peppy post-punk of “Schlechte Laune” is a strange detour (and my least favorite of the bunch), but Easter are creative geniuses and I trust their decisions. It’s silly and moving and tender and pure pop bliss and it doesn’t care if it’s on vinyl or not, so I’ll try not to care too much either!

Joshua Abrams Natural Information Society Mandatory Reality (Eremite)
Funny that Joshua Abrams and his Natural Information Society named their newest album Mandatory Reality, as it feels like a peaceful, holistic escape from the reality we are all trudging through on the daily. It’s definitely more of an alternate reality than a fictional fantasy, though, as these endlessly long grooves tap into some elemental force that is incomprehensible, soothing and entirely real, like a Fibonacci sequence painted in sharp contrasting colors. Sorry if I lost you with all that – this is just one of those records that is pure comfort food, with tracks that could go on forever (and nearly do) while revealing different nuances with each new encounter. It’s jazz, but also avant-garde minimalism, but also immediately recognizable and easily enjoyed by anyone not deep into either of those scenes. It’s a masterpiece! And what’s more, the actual double LP package feels special. I’m not saying I want to pay fifty dollars for all the new releases I pick up, but every detail of the physical presentation feels strongly considered, as if this wasn’t just another product to throw on a shelf but a lovingly-made package designed to transmit the sound and aura exactly as the artist wishes. In a world where everything is disposable and free and immediately forgotten, I’ll be appreciating Mandatory Reality for a long while to come.

Best of 2018

Top Singles of 2018
1. Reckonwrong Whities 018 12″
2. Upsammy Words R Inert 12″
3. DJ Qu Heed The Message 12″
4. Gil.Barte Sssjp EP 12″
5. Job Sifre Het Bestaan 12″
6. Fåglar I Bur Platt / Öppen Inbjudan 7″
7. Monokultur Monokultur 7″
8. Yu Su Preparations For Departure 12″
9. Khidja Plot 12″
10. Joy O & Ben Vince Transition 2 12″
11. Graham Dunning Way Too Much Time 12″
12. Healer / Dank Goblins split 7″
13. Beau Wanzer Beau Wanzer 12″
14. Pig DNA Strong Throat 7″
15. O/H Market Values 12″
16. Alek Lee Colors 12″
17. Maoupa Mazzocchetti Gag Flag 12″
18. Giant Swan Whities 016 12″
19. Leslie Winer & Jay Glass Dubs YMFEES 12″
20. Parsnip Feeling Small 7″

Honorable Mention:
MR TC & Lo Kindre The Storm EP 12″
U-NIX Nuke Portland 12″
Nathan Micay Whities 017 12″
Nazamba Vex 12″
Alexander Arpeggio Streng Geheim EP 12″

Top Albums of 2018
1. Patois Counselors Proper Release
2. Amnesia Scanner Another Life
3. Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes Music For Saxofone & Bass Guitar
4. Iceage Beyondless
5. Flasher Constant Image
6. Lolina The Smoke
7. Pious Faults Old Thread
8. DJ Healer Nothing 2 Loose
9. Yoshinori Hayashi Ambivalence
10. Daughters You Won’t Get What You Want
11. Wolf Müller & Niklas Wandt Instrumentalmusik Von Der Mitte Der World
12. U.S. Girls In A Poem Unlimited
13. Matthew Dear Bunny
14. Profligate Somewhere Else
15. De Leon De Leon
16. Gazelle Twin Pastoral
17. Tierra Whack Whack World
18. Eli Keszler Stadium
19. Edward Fortune Teller
20. Eternal Rot Cadaverine

Honorable Mention:
Niagara Apologia
Objekt Cocoon Crush
Lavender Hex Album 2018
Boothroyd Pure Country
Just The Right Height Let Forever Be Only You Tonight

And so concludes the tenth year of this website’s existence. Time flies when you’re avoiding cassettes, I suppose! Maybe now is an appropriate time to thank y’all for: sending in your records to review, particularly those from overseas for whom the postage costs are ridiculous; emailing me with corrections (typos, band info, record label spellings, etc.), kind comments and praise, friendly (or rude) disagreements, or any little message to let me know you’re out there; and telling your friends about the site, too. I write for me, but let’s face it, I’m really writing for you! Sometimes this can feel like work (you think all those little record covers re-size and upload themselves?), but those times are rare, and I intend to continue at it as long as I possibly can – I’d feel too guilty to stop, imagining my ever-growing pile of to-be-reviewed promotional records going undiscussed.
Looking back on 2018, I didn’t really have the one record that I knew would define the year for me: Amnesia Scanner, Sam Gendel & Sam Wilkes, Iceage, Flasher, Lolina and DJ Healer all felt like the best at times, to name a few. The rare CD release made it onto my list this year – Eternal Rot’s Cadaverine (superbly grotesque dirge-metal) – as well as the first YouTube-based release to make it onto a YGR year-end list, Tierra Whack’s magnificent Whack World, which seems to have elevated her from a Philly sensation with 500 Instagram followers to an international Grammy-nominated superstar. I’ve found that labels with strong curatorial abilities are more necessary than ever, as 500 new records are released daily, and wading through it all is impossible, even for geeks like us. Labels like Feel It, Neubau, Whities, Pan, Iron Lung, Growing Bin, Giegling, Knekelhuis and L.I.E.S. have been crucial in helping me discover artists I would’ve otherwise missed. I hope you’re sending them your money… I know I am. Fight war, not wars, and I’ll see you bright and early on New Year’s Day with the usual batch of reviews!

Reckonwrong Whities 018 (Whities)
The proper review for this one is forthcoming next month, but seeing as I’ve listened to this new Reckonwrong EP pretty much every day since it was released about a month ago, I’ve got plenty to say about it. It’s the work of a young British chap named Alex Peringer, and he takes the electro-futurist sounds one might associate with the Whities label and bends them into beautiful shards of art-pop. His British accent is either wearily drunk or just AutoTune-drunk, and it gives his delicate and infectious songs the signature quality of a pop auteur such as he. There are four songs here: two club-ready hits that’ll have your arms in the air no matter how full your drink is, and two tender piano ballads that are poignant and vulnerable, but still a little silly and gobs of fun. I so desperately want to know more about this man, how he came up with his music and what steps he took to create it, but it would be most fitting if I never find out. There’s beauty in his mystery!

Patois Counselors Proper Release (Ever/Never)
Yeah, so I’ve never heard of the Patois Counselors either, but they put together a shockingly unheralded masterpiece, the glumly titled Proper Release. They’re a post-punk band from an uncool state in an uncool country (North Carolina, USA), and they weave together so many of my favorite things about arty underground punk-ish music – the psychosis of Men’s Recovery Project, the art-funk of Liquid Liquid, the carefree bluster of Tyvek, the unbehaved jangle of The Fall, the lunatic squall of Mars… hell, I hear a little Ted Leo in there, some Pere Ubu sci-fi toughness, and the self-assured dance-punk of Parquet Courts too. I’m giving you inspiration for a solid mixtape, but Patois Counselors seem beholden to none of these other groups, so much as they share a kinship in the way that their ideas burst with weird life, resulting in songs that are memorable after a single listen, and of course warrant endless repetition. What do you think the folks down in North Carolina do with a band like this? Do they even know how to properly appreciate them? Does anyone? I’m hoping and praying Patois Counselors take their show on the road, as I intend to one day shout along to the bristly chorus of “Repeat Offender” no matter who might be watching.