Archive for 'Year In Review'

Best of 2016

Top Singles of 2016
1. Daughn Gibson Vas 1 MP3s
2. Reckonwrong Whities 009 12″
3. CC Dust CC Dust 12″
4. Avalon Emerson Whities 006 12″
5. Asda The Abyss 12″
6. Sébastien Casanova Cloudy Others 12″
7. DJ Fett Burger Burger Trip 12″
8. Bruce Steals 12″
9. Primetime Going Places 7″
10. Good Throb Good Throb 7″
11. In School Cement Fucker 7″
12. Hogg Solar Phallic Lion 12″
13. Peder Mannerfelt Black Holes, Or How We Lost Solidarity 12″
14. JJ Doll JJ Doll 7″
15. Machine Woman Genau House 12″
16. Bad Noids It’s A Doggie Bag World 7″
17. Minor Science Whities 008 12″
18. Battle Breaks compilation 12″
19. Watery Love Ned’s Dreamcatcher / Meg’s Dreamcatcher 7″
20. Beatrice Dillon Can I Change My Mind? 12″

Honorable Mention:
CO/R Gudrun 12″
Burial Young Death / Nightmarket 12″
Powder Afrorgan 12″
Sheer Mag Sheer Mag III 7″
Wolf Dem Hydrophobia 12″

Top Albums of 2016
1. GFOTY Call Him A Doctor
2. Powell Sport
3. Neutral Neutral
4. Beatrice Dillon & Rupert Clervaux Two Changes
5. Anxiety Anxiety
6. Low Jack Lighthouse Stories
7. Nicolas Jaar Sirens
8. Ectoplasm Girls New Feeling Come
9. Demdike Stare Wonderland
10. Andy Stott Too Many Voices
11. Steven Julien Fallen
12. Fatima Al Qadiri Brute
13. Oren Ambarchi Hubris
14. Kyo Aktuel Musik
15. Steve Gunn Eyes On The Lines
16. Exploded View Exploded View
17. Sam Shalabi Isis & Osiris
18. Marie Davidson Adieux Au Dancefloor
19. M Ax Noi Mach On The Edge
20. Gate Saturday Night Fever

Honorable Mention:
Fadensonnen Gutter Wanderer
Purling Hiss High Bias
Anohni Hopelessness
Nuel Hyperborreal
Félicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma Comme Un Seul Narcisse

I trust the Yellow Green Red readership to be an engaged, thoughtful bunch, so I’m not going to remind you of the myriad ways 2016 sucked. Instead, I’ll tell you that I fell in love with a lot of great new music over the past twelve months, the best of which I’ve listed here. The Whities label out of the UK scored big with me, tipping me off to a world of new and young-ish electronic artists writing unorthodox smash hits. I also noticed that all-dude hardcore-punk bands are ranking lower on my lists than ever before – hey guys, take some inspiration from the wild n’ crazy femmes doing punk and hardcore bands and create something unique and interesting, not just authentically-inspired retreads! Counter Intuits, Powell, Lumpy & The Dumpers and Sauna Youth impressed me most from a live setting (Sauna Youth managed to do so on two continents), but it was Youth Of Today’s performance (on the eve of my birthday) that had me most inspired and charged, finally hearing those positive anthems live – perhaps that’s just the aging white dad in me. And most “2016” of all, both my favorite EP and album of the year were digital-only releases, speaking to the fact that while there is an unfathomable amount of underground music being made, the economy that holds it together seems to be weaker than ever, rendering vinyl records more of a collectible totem than a functioning form of music. Do me a favor and buy some records from the artists reviewed in these pages, so that our underground music scene might continue another year!

Daughn Gibson Vas 1 (no label)
I swear to you, if and when Daughn Gibson releases lousy music I will honestly tell you so, but he continues to captivate me with this understated four-track EP, released by himself on Bandcamp to a stunning absence of fanfare. He briefly explains what each song is about on the Vas 1 page (four twisted and disarming short stories come to life), so I’ll tell you that the music goes back to his sample-delic All Hell roots. The country is there, but it gets pushed aside a bit by some stunning David Bowie glam, ECM jazz-cum-Bad Seeds blues-rock and the Kate Bush-iest music Kate Bush never sang over. His voice is as rich and supple as ever, just a bit more weary and knowing (and the way he enunciates “viva” in “White On White” melts the ice in my drink). I doubt this will ever make it on vinyl, or in the ears of the millions of people who would love to hear it, but I’m content with Daughn Gibson remaining a personally precious gift, although I’m hoping you decide to share in this pleasure.

GFOTY Call Him A Doctor (PC Music)
PC Music is about three years beyond all the hot-takes and online chatter, basically a tired trend faded from our cultural consciousness, and GFOTY is one of its least revered artists. And yet here I am telling you that Call Him A Doctor is the catchiest, most entertaining, most subversively cynical, most gloriously stupid thing I’ve heard this year! There’s quite a bit of musical ground covered through this nine-song “album”, but it’s essentially everything I love and hate about the past three decades of suburban pop radio distilled and presented with a biting self-awareness. Live guitars (and maybe bass?) are prominently featured throughout, on songs that could easily be Fallout Boy or Weezer’s next big smash, but they are followed by elastic noise blasts that remind me of BiS Kaidan, the Japanese noise / J-pop collaboration that I never thought anything else would sound like in the history of music. In addition, there are a couple Wilson Phillips-esque ballads that are practically insulting to the listener (their instant sing-along memorability wielded like some sort of intentional virus), and my favorite, the title track, which feels like Smashmouth and Sugar Ray using Billy Squier as the inspiration to their next “summer jam”. And I didn’t even mention the song that opts for gibberish in place of lyrics (“The Argument”), so nihilistic and poppy that I leave it feeling like the concept of lyrics is finally obsolete. I didn’t realize I so desperately wanted to hear a pop record that practically gaslighted me through it, holding an ugly mirror up to my own face that I’m unable to turn away from, but I’ve been listening to Call Him A Doctor at least every couple days (sometimes on repeat) and have no idea when I might finally stop.

Best of 2015

Top Singles of 2015
2. Vexx Give And Take 7″
3. Galcher Lustwerk Parlay 12″
4. Beatrice Dillon Face A/B 12″
5. Lutto Lento Whips 12″
6. Nhk Yx Koyxen Hallucinogenic Doom Steppy Verbs 12″
7. Perc Gob 12″
8. Mystic Inane Eggs Onna Plate 7″
9. Shed Constant Power 12″
10. Dynamo Dreesen, SVN & A Made Up Sound Untitled 12″
11. Asda Three Tracks 10″
12. Powell Sylvester Stallone 12″
13. Golden Teacher Sauchiehall Enthrall 12″
14. Sheer Mag II 7″
15. Lime Crush Lime Crush 7″
16. Snakepiss Arson 12″
17. Frau Mira 7″
18. Chaperone Pond 12″
19. DJ Jus-Ed & Move D Brothers EP 2×12″
20. Sacred Product $ A Ride 12″

Honorable Mention:
Archie Pelago Clammy Customer EP 12″
Joey Anderson 1974 12″
Violence Creeps I’m Broke / Gridlock 7″ flexi
Zadig Kern Space Adventures Ep #2 12″
Patsy Tuley-Tude High 7″

Top Albums of 2015
1. Daughn Gibson Carnation
2. L.O.T.I.O.N. Digital Control And Man’s Obsolescence
3. Helena Hauff Discreet Desires
4. MB / OD Shplittin’ The Shtones
5. Institute Catharsis
6. Goatsnake Black Age Blues
7. Hieroglyphic Being & J.I.T.U. Ahn-Sahm-Buhl We Are Not The First
8. Egyptrixx Transfer Of Energy [Feelings Of Power]
9. Mike Cooper Fratello Mare
10. CP / BW Untitled
11. Kerridge Always Offended Never Ashamed
12. Marching Church This World Is Not Enough
13. ADMX-71 Coherent Abstractions
14. Kurt Vile b’lieve i’m goin down
15. US Girls Half Free
16. Rupert Clervaux & Beatrice Dillon Studies I-XVII For Samplers And Percussion
17. Grimes Art Angels
18. Dawn Of Humans Slurping At The Cosmos Spine
19. Royal Headache High
20. November Növelet The World In Devotion

Honorable Mention:
Richard Papiercuts If
Vainio & Vigroux Peau Froide, Léger Soleil
Greymouth Greymouth
The Coneheads L​.​P​.​1. Aka 14 Year Old High School PC​-​Fascist Hype Lords Rip Off Devo For The Sake Of Extorting $​$​$ From Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L​.​P​.
Cairo Pythian Touched

Holy moly, let’s flush this year down the toilet and start fresh! Thankfully there has been some great music to help us suffer through it, although everyone always says “Wow, so much great music this year!” and it’s kind of a pointless thing to say because there is great new music every year. I thought Vexx was going to be the best live band I’d see in 2015 (nothing can stop Vexx but Vexx itself), second year in a row, but then Goatsnake quietly decided to do a few East Coast dates and utterly melted my mind, as each band member’s sheer perfection at their craft added up to something beyond perfection, some sort of godly event no human deserved to witness. I’m serious! I also loved watching Marching Church’s drunken performance, although I probably enjoyed one of the Ian Mackayes in the band shushing the crowd during Norman Westberg’s opening set even more. And of course, RIP, Scott Weiland.

CCTV CCTV 7″ (Lumpy)
The NWI punk scene (that’s “Northwest Indiana”, believe it or not) has been responsible for an overflowing cornucopia of top-shelf punk music this year, mostly at the hands of one Mark Winter and his friends. The Coneheads certainly got the most recognition (the dreaded “people outside of the immediate underground punk scene taking notice and giving praise” scenario), but this 7″ by CCTV is its finest export thus far. I first heard this band from a freakin’ Tumblr MP3 link and was immediately hooked, and this four-song EP builds on that wonderfully, exhibiting ultra-speedy undistorted new-wave punk that instantly worms its way into your brain. It’s proof that a thoughtful four-track recording will forever out-do laptop recording software (or even most studios), and that no matter what the musical climate, there will always be amazing weirdos doing what they wanna do all by themselves.

Daughn Gibson Carnation (Sub Pop)
I willingly acknowledge that I am probably Daughn Gibson’s biggest fan, but even with full awareness of that fact, where was the rest of the world when Carnation came out? It’s not even that the vast majority of indie critics and radio DJs and bloggers who loved All Hell hated on Carnation, it’s that no one even seemed to acknowledge its existence at all. Fucking SPIN lists Daughn as one of their “artists to watch” or whatever and then doesn’t even review the follow-up to his Sub Pop debut! I suppose that’s a not-totally-unexpected outcome for a record as singularly-minded and fearless as this, carving out an entirely separate path from whatever people expected of Daughn Gibson and breaking into territory I can only assume the world will eventually catch up to. The whole record exists in a mist of sad longing, while each track takes on a different role, like eleven fascinatingly different movies from the same director, all rich with their own bent characters, evocative moods and all-too-real human emotion. I must’ve listened to “For Every Bite” a hundred times this year, and each time it made me feel like I was Charles Bronson, walking into a bar where ZZ Top is playing pool and George Thorogood is pouring shots, fresh from the revenge-murder of the thugs who kidnapped my daughter. What do you want music to do for you if not that?