Archive for 'Year In Review'

Best of 2023

I’ll tell you what the worst of 2023 is, far and away: the goddamn United States empire and its endless funding for war, murder and genocide. Never felt sicker to my stomach about my home country than I do right now, the only silver lining being that it seems that more and more people are seeing the United States and its various imperialist tentacles for what it all truly is. Get these bloodthirsty sociopaths off my planet, now and forever! That said, in an effort to momentarily set aside the heartbreaking, disgusting state of affairs within which we’re all expected to behave normally, please allow me to try to celebrate some of the high points of my musical year. You’ll find my trusty best-of lists below, but first, here are some other things that stood out and feel relevant to share:

– If you didn’t notice, Yellow Green Red is also now available on Substack via Same exact content as this domain, just through a different, more modern service that people seem to like, and delivered as email newsletter. I guess you can comment on there too, if you really wanna be that guy? I see no harm in signing up for it and checking this site, and telling all your friends to do the same.

– My band Pissed Jeans released a seven-inch single, No Convenient Apocalypse, on Sub Pop Records. It’s a merciless banger and I urge you to give it a listen, and even purchase if you feel so compelled.

– My project with living cultural icon Jo Livingstone, The Dolorous Stroke, released its debut two-track EP digitally on Bandcamp (where else?). You can check that out at if you’re curious.

– As far as movies go, Rotting In The Sun was my absolute favorite of the year. If you have a quota of naked penises you intended to see in 2023 and you’re far behind, this film should catch you up quickly.

– Rather than focus on any single live performance, I’d like to highlight the joy of watching familiar artists perform numerous times, actively following the evolution of their respective sounds and styles. I saw both Bill Nace and Carnivorous Bells numerous times in 2023, and each were joys to behold, every single time. Bill Nace collaborated with a wide variety of players, really honing in on the taishōgoto as his current realm of sonic exploration, whereas Carnivorous Bells tried out brand new material (off what will hopefully be their third full-length) and tightened up their hits, as precise as the watchmaking program drummer Leo Suarez is enrolled in. Excluding music performances entirely, watching Eileen Myles read from her newest book was transcendent, captivating and hilarious. Eileen has the timeless sex-god energy of Iggy Pop when they walk in the room, a natural-born charisma that we can only hope rubs off slightly on the rest of us.

– Generally not a reissue enthusiast over here, but I have to shout out two incredible records that I may have never heard in full had they not been dutifully pressed to wax in 2023: Mindecision by Мир, some of the most distinctive early hardcore I’ve heard in forever, and the self-titled Gee Gee Decorator album, the most WTF anti-talent funky no-wave nightmare on the planet (those holding original copies, please take my money).

– Do you subscribe to Matt Schnipper’s Deep Voices Substack? If not, you should. We have the same first name and have known each other since he invited my band to play a show in his school gym back in like 1999, and I am consistently impressed with his ability to articulate what good music does to him. If I can write like Schnipper on an off day, I’ll feel like I’ve succeeded.

– Al Usher’s “The Evenings” is my favorite song of 2023, just an endlessly-replayable adult-Balearic banger in the mode of Ann Steel, though my absolute favorite “new to me” song of the year is “Star Rider” by Hällas, found on their 2017 full-length debut Excerpts From A Future Past. A good friend told me that Hällas made him want to challenge himself to become an even stronger songwriter (his band opened for them recently), and he told me as we hung out together at Double Decker Records on its final day of existence, December 2nd, 2023. No single entity comes close to having shaped my musical identity as much as Double Decker, and I am nowhere near finished lamenting its loss, both the sick record scores that I snagged from there since age fifteen to the lifelong community of friendships and co-conspirators it’s responsible for forming.

If you’re reading this now, I thank you sincerely, and if you’ve ever reached out via an email or DM, sent in a record, or communicated in any other way (I’ve gotten real letters this year!), I thank you even more. I love writing about music, but it would be a whole lot less fun if no one was on the reading end. Emails are nice ( and Instagram DMs are cool (@mattkorvette)… hopefully I’ll just see you around in 2024.

Top Singles of 2023
1. Blawan Dismantled Into Juice 12”
2. Al Usher The Evenings / The Visitors 12”
3. Carrier Fathom 12″
4. Disintegration Time Moves For Me 12”
5. Chris Korda Not My Problem, I’ll Be Dead 12”
6. Waste Man Waste Man MP3s
7. An-i Rabble EP 12”
8. People’s Temple I’m With The People’s Temple 7”
9. Emptyset Ash 12”
10. Gruuel Elite Controller / Softness On The Other Side 7”
11. Haus Arana Dunkelheit Bleibt 7”
12. Beau Wanzer A Dead Person’s Monologue 12”
13. Drab Majesty An Object In Motion 12”
14. Peder Mannerfelt The Benefits Of Living In A Hole 12”
15. Bjarki Tears In Berghain 12”
16. Gruuel Nobody’s Daughter / Dust With Legs 7”
17. Rat-Nip My Pillow 7”
18. Body/Head Come On EP 2×7”
19. Civilistjävel! Fyra Platser 12”
20. Pretty Sneaky PS002 12″

Honorable Mention:
PLO Man Anonymousmaterial 12″
Secretors Comparing Missile Size Vol. 1 7″
Delco MF’s The March Of The MF’s 7”
Montel Palmer Südstadt 7”
Dubamine Cool & Relax 12”

Top Albums of 2023
1. Mary Jane Dunphe Stage Of Love
2. Equipment Pointed Ankh From Inside The House
3. Ssabæ Le Roi Est L’oiseau
4. Spiral Dub Spiral Dub
5. Lewsberg Out And About
6. Feeble Little Horse Girl With Fish
7. A.S.O. A.S.O.
8. Pmxper Pmxper
9. Water From Your Eyes Everyone’s Crushed
10. ConSec Wheel Of Pain
11. Quade Nacre
12. Carnivorous Bells Room Above All
13. Avalon Emerson & The Charm
14. Sweeping Promises Good Living Is Coming For You
15. Otto Willberg The Leisure Principle
16. XIII Permanent Rain
17. Bill Nace & Chik White Off Motion
18. R.M.F.C. Club Hits
19. Heavy Metal IV: Counter Electrode / Iron Mono
20. Sharp Pins Turtle Rock

Honorable Mention:
Graham Lambkin Aphorisms
Sam Gendel Blueblue
Leda Neuter
Fairytale Shooting Star
Burnt Envelope I’m Immature: The Singles Vol. II

Blawan Dismantled Into Juice (XL Recordings)
I dunno what to tell you… Blawan just keeps doing it, over and over and over again. Dismantled Into Juice is a dramatic reinvention, and yet it comes as no surprise that this is what a new Blawan record sounds like in 2023. He’s always had bigger, thicker chords and pads than anyone else – do they make illegal growth hormones for synths? – but on Dismantled Into Juice it sounds like the software has reached that sentient status we’ve all been fearing. Even without any clear 4/4 kick, there’s an incredible sense of motion to these songs, a sort of sweeping pull I’d associate with the ocean tides. It’s a wild accomplishment as is, this sort of re-structuring the DNA of techno rhythm, but Blawan turns these cuts into distorted pop songs too, complete with vocal hooks I suspect to not be entirely human. (Vocalist “Monstera Black” is credited, but they might be as real a person as one of those AI Sports Illustrated correspondents.) No one else appears to be on Blawan’s level, nor is anyone particularly trying, as it’s such an imposing and oily surface, a slip and fall guaranteed for anyone who doesn’t have Blawan’s supreme skills of balance and dexterity. Not sure how he’ll top this one, though I’m certain he somehow will.

Mary Jane Dunphe Stage Of Love (Pop Wig)
Mary Jane Dunphe’s solo debut was a work in progress for a while; I knew she was looking for a label, shopping around demo tracks and working on it when she could, dealing with life’s many unexpected hurdles all the while. I was not expecting Justice Tripp’s Pop Wig label to be the one to release it, but I’m certainly glad he did, as it’s a triumph! Dunphe is one of the most visceral live performers around, we all know that now, but Stage Of Love showcases her unique songwriting styles, big on hooks and weird, powerful lyrics, her commanding voice bursting at its seams. I suppose this is a synth-pop record if you had to file it somewhere, but her music is too complicated and messy to really fit neatly in any particular slot. Seems like the biggest cold-wave synth-poppers rely on vague, sad lyrics and typical aesthetic signifiers, whereas Stage Of Love bursts with a kaleidoscope of undiluted emotion, from heartbreak to joy and everywhere else. It’s her lack of easy classification that might explain why I don’t think I’ve seen Stage Of Love on any other year-end lists… I read someone say it sounds like Arthur Russell, which I don’t hear at all, but that’s how it goes when you’re doing something pure and unique – it’s not easily understood by the masses, and those who do enjoy it experience it differently. For my money, it’s like Kate Bush trapped in Twin Peaks, performing at a hybrid surprise-party / funeral wake, and yeah, it’s categorically my favorite album of 2023.

Best of 2022

Another year in the books! It’s more of an uphill battle than ever to actually press up a record and/or get your music out into the world and noticed by people who might enjoy it, but that just means I have a stronger appreciation for those who do. Incredibly close competition this year; while these are definitely ranked in order, both lists could easily change from day to day. Thankfully, I am free to enjoy all of these fine releases, as are you.

In addition to my top picks listed below, here are some other 2022 favorites:

– The best live set I saw goes to Kite, who flew in from Sweden to play with a handful of forgettable mall-goth bands and blew them straight out of the water. It blows my mind that this isn’t the biggest synth-pop band in the universe: from the stage show to the songs, they’re absolutely untouchable. Second best performance I saw goes to Sweeping Promises (on the same stage as Kite no less, the pleasantly-dingy Underground Arts venue in Philadelphia). It’s tricky to turn a home-recording project into a band on stage, but they were phenomenal; the songs sounded different but equally as enthralling as their modern-classic debut LP.

– Read more books than ever this year – I kept track, twenty-eight! – but as for 2022 editions, the Corporate Rock Sucks history of SST by Jim Ruland is wild fun. Sure I love Black Flag, but my biggest takeaways were the dazzling array of Zoogz Rift releases (ten albums alone between 1985 and 1988!) and the hilariously bitter feud between Greg Ginn and Negativland. On the fiction tip, Little Rabbit by Alyssa Songsiridej is my top pick, a kind of dark and unexpectedly seductive modern love story if you want to call it that (I’m not sure I want to call it that).

– I do not possess the critical acumen to discuss movies with a depth beyond surface level, so I’ll just say that I loved Tár, Triangle Of Sadness and Emily The Criminal. Plus, there’s really no way to go wrong with that Dio documentary.

– Lastly, my absolute favorite musical social media presence goes to Perverts Again / Cruelster. Are you following them on Instagram? Their feed, besides an ongoing Kevin Smith bit, is full of clips of them hanging out being absolute goofballs with each other. They’re constantly making fun of each other in the sweet way that only life-long friends can, and they make me laugh all the time, from the clip of the one guy explaining Marvel movies to his dead-eyed friends to a riotous practice-space butchering of “Victim In Pain”. Plus, Sam McPheeters seems to like all their posts, and I can’t think of a better stamp of approval for awkwardly hilarious punk behavior than his. Solo projects are cool and all, but the camaraderie on display by this crew brings a tear to my eye. I wish they were my friends, even though they’d probably just make fun of me (in surely hilarious ways).

As always, communication is encouraged – until I get the Yellow Green Red Bulletin Board System up and running (just kidding… maybe?), feel free to shoot me an email ( or Instagram DM (@mattkorvette) if you feel compelled to share your thoughts, questions or concerns. Thanks for reading… see you bright and early on New Year’s Day!

Top Singles of 2022
1. Daughn Gibson Kriminelle Energie MP3s
2. Objekt #5 12″
3. Gaia Tones Dream 12″
4. Persher Man With The Magic Soap CD
5. Front De Cadeaux Sad Is Fashion 12″
6. Map.ache So Oder So 12″
7. Horrendous 3D Horrendous 3D 7″
8. Extortion Seething 7″
9. Amphibian Man II Amphibian Man II 12″
10. Deep Heavy Fear Dark Days 12″
11. R.M.F.C Access 7″
12. Act Now Louis Adonis / Wow Factor 7″
13. Two Shell Icons 12″
14. Delco MF’s EP 7″
15. Shanti Celeste Cutie / Shimmer 12″
16. Rhyw Honey Badger 12″
17. Tapes Meets Nikolaienko Sunda School II 7″
18. Otto Karawane Deep Cover #6 12″
19. Beau Wanzer / Hieroglyphic Being 4 Dysfunctional Psychotic Release & Sonic Reprogramming Purposes Only 12″
20. Picture Metric EP 12″

Honorable Mention:
TSVI & Loraine James 053 12″
Joy Orbison Pinky Ring 10″
A+A 060 12″
Montel Palmer Wayback 7″ flexi
Flex TMG Whisper Swish 12″

Top Albums of 2022
1. Straw Man Army SOS
2. Katie Alice Greer Barbarism
3. Lolina Fast Fashion
4. Sumerlands Dreamkiller
5. Ssabæ Azurescens
6. Sick Thoughts Heaven Is No Fun
7. Gauze 言いたかねえけど目糞鼻糞
8. Anadol Felicita
9. Kilynn Lunsford Custodians Of Human Succession
10. Treasury Of Puppies Mitt Stora Nu
11. Earthensea Ghost Poems
12. GFOTY Femmedorm
13. Ulla Foam
14. Front De Cadeaux We Slowly Riot
15. Carla dal Forno Come Around
16. Tony Molina In The Fade
17. Feeble Little Horse Hayday
18. Torn Hawk Toxic Sincerity
19. Jjulius Vol II
20. Chronophage Chronophage

Honorable Mention:
Rigorous Institution Cainsmarsh
Gerry Franke Found Myself Or Just I’m Dead
Horse Lords Comradely Objects
Ellen Arkbro & Johan Graden I Get Along Without You Very Well
Dale Cornish Traditional Music of South London

Daughn Gibson Kriminelle Energie (no label)
It’s rare that a Daughn Gibson release avoids my year-end top ranking. Since All Hell in 2012, no one has done it as strangely and memorably as he, and while I’m happy to count him as a personal friend, you’re not reading this blog because you want a middle-of-the-road year-end recap of the same crap everyone else “coincidentally” noticed, you want this one specific guy’s opinion! But even if I never met Dee Gibs, his music, more bizarre and singular than ever, would strike a chord deep within me. Like prior releases, Kriminelle Energie is meticulously assembled, this time from a bevy of life-like MIDI controls as opposed to samples. It sounds like the first AI rock group to receive a human heart transplant, uneasily seductive and unnervingly real. These songs are catchy at first but continue to grow on you, full of precise detail and references both arcane and hyper-modern. Music for the dark web, no doubt; these are songs that should’ve only been discovered via links in comments on Pornhub videos and bitcoin URLs. It’s certainly Gibson’s most political work yet, though political in the way that Denis Johnson is political: he lays out compelling characters caught in fantastic situations and lets the audience figure out what it all means. And in the most striking/confounding fashion, Gibson put Kriminelle Energie up on Spotify and Bandcamp in June, only to pull it from streaming a couple months later. Is he the first artist to do an actually-limited digital release, as opposed to leaving everything available for free in perpetuity? Why aren’t the youth doing this? You’ll absolutely want to hear “Fuckin American”, but if you haven’t already, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way: digging around on Limewire, trading MP3s with other faceless strangers across the digital expanse.

Straw Man Army SOS (D4MT Labs Inc Neurosonic Research / La Vida Es Un Mus)
It’s never been easier than now to make great punk music. Everyone has whittled down what works best, concentrating the finest aspects of the classics alongside a handful of acclaimed flexis and demos into punk music that would score straight As were punk a test based on technical merit. The real challenge is to make exciting punk music, songs that haven’t already been written a hundred times over but instead feel vibrant and newly alive (while still firmly being actual punk music and not something else entirely). Few can do it, especially in 2022, but Straw Man Army are one of the finest to do it today. I loved their debut album, and SOS is even sharper, a righteous stab of tender fury. In the way that SOS exists in the proud lineage of killer punk, I hear a mix of Crass Records-style anthemic rancor alongside Hüsker Dü’s melodic prowess, early Bad Religion and the speedy art-punk of Uranium Club, though Straw Man Army have such a singularly definable style that their music is immediately recognizable as their own, from the weird synth/nature interludes to the dazzling drumming and rapid-fire vocal/guitar attack. The tunes are incredible, and they’re driven home by Straw Man Army’s staunchly DIY (or at least “Do It With Your Community”) approach, far removed from pro-tude band photos, an attention-seeking social media presence or slimy corporate collaborations. Straw Man Army’s form of punk isn’t delicately-assembled window dressing, it’s a thrilling and inspiring force of will.