Archive for 'Year In Review'

Best of 2021

Top Singles of 2021
1. Blawan Woke Up Right Handed 12″
2. Horrendous 3D The Gov. And Corps. Are Using Psycho-Electronic Weaponry To Manipulate You And Me… 7″
3. Sweepsculp Sweepsculp 12″
4. Electric Chair Social Capital 7″
5. Game Legerdemain 12″
6. C.I.A. Débutante Music For Small Rooms 12″
7. Gombeen & Doygen D’Americana / Auto-Lies 12″
8. Tara Clerkin Trio In Spring 12″
9. Bunzinelli Godspeed 12″
10. Fairytale Fairytale 7″
11. Container Creamer 12″
12. The Tubs Names EP 7″
13. Omar S feat. John FM Music For Hot Babes Only! 12″
14. Public Trust Dirt In My Eye 7″
15. Blawan Soft Waahls 12″
16. Al Wootton Maenads 12″
17. Cousin Drumtalk / Toad 7″
18. CZN Luxury Variations 12″
19. TVO Alive! 7″
20. Deck In The Pit In A Lane 10″

Honorable Mention:
Alpha Maid Chuckle 12″
C.I.A. Débutante Pier 7″
Burial Chemz / Dolphinz 12″
Child’s Pose Eyes To The Right 7″
Jürgen Ratan Ringtones 7″

Top Albums of 2020
1. Waste Man One Day It’ll All Be You
2. Monokultur Ormens Väg
3. Sam Gendel Fresh Bread
4. Aaron Dilloway & Lucrecia Dalt Lucy & Aaron
5. Jean-Luc Guionnet & Will Guthrie Electric Rag
6. MMM On The Edge
7. Natural Information Society with Evan Parker Descension (Out Of Our Constrictions)
8. Anne Gillis <<...>>
9. Quarantine Agony
10. Gotou Gotou
11. Lavender Hex Bunch Of Flowers
12. Jana Rush Painful Enlightenment
13. Emily Robb How To Moonwalk
14. The Reds, Pinks & Purples Uncommon Weather
15. Rosali No Medium
16. Decha La Vida Te Busca
17. Eli Keszler Icons
18. Ulla Limitless Frame
19. Yu Su Yellow River Blue
20. GFOTY Femmedorm

Honorable Mention:
Andy Stott Never The Right Time
Goldblum Of Feathers And Bones
Vacant Gardens Obscene
Maxine Funke Seance
M Ax Noi Mach American Evil

Trying my absolute hardest to come through with any sort of positive spin on today’s state of affairs. Was anything good this year at all? In any way? See there I go, I’ve practiced writing this little intro like three times and I still can’t help myself. Anyway, I continue to listen to music all day every day, and it remains a joy even on my crappiest days. Unfortunately, even moreso than last year, it’s quite evident that the current social climate has taken a profound toll on artists, from the logistics (records are drastically more expensive to make and riddled with delays each step of the way) to the emotions involved (no explanation needed). Though YGR is basically a vinyl-only endeavor, I really don’t blame anyone moving away from vinyl records in the coming months and years. It’s costly, particularly in an industry where even our middle-aged population is used to years of enjoying any and all music for free. Never has the “love” been put to a greater test in the phrase “labor of love” than right now when it comes to running an underground label. Still, I sincerely love buying and playing records, I love their little art and purposefully listening to them and giving them my time, and I’m going to keep doing that as long as people I appreciate keep making them.

On a different and more positive note, I figured I should mention that I started a separate Substack newsletter earlier this year for talking about other stuff (how’s that for a sales pitch? “Ooh, he talks about other stuff, this I gotta see!”) called This Not That. Kind of on a hiatus with it right now, but if you haven’t already peeped there are a decent number of entries to check out. And speaking of writing, I should give a quick shout-out to my two favorite newsletters I’ve discovered this year. The first is Snake America by Sam Reiss, and it’s a joyous collision of hardcore, furniture design, weightlifting and vintage clothes. Sounds like it doesn’t make sense, but Reiss puts it all together seamlessly, and does so with a calming sense of care and sharp subtle humor. The other is the Joint Custody Record Freak Newsletter, written by the friendly and knowledgeable staff of the DC record shop Joint Custody. While I’m nauseated by the $499 South Park t-shirts they inexplicably peddle, their weekly newsletter discusses records they’re selling from a deeply personal and loving perspective, and it is always such a good read. Makes me wish I was hanging out with that crew, discussing Cannonball Adderley and Side By Side with equal enthusiasm and nuance. If you like this website I’m almost certain you’ll enjoy both of those. And lastly, while I discuss my favorite releases of the year below, I need to include the brief caveat that my actual favorite “new to me” record of the year is without a doubt Frigate’s Dreams Of The Deep, an ultra-obscure 1977 release recently reissued. I refuse to ever become a Reissue Guy but goodness gracious, the absolutely narcoleptic, barely-hanging-on-by-a-thread grooves they laid down resulted in the perfect soundtrack to my 2021. Highest recommendation!

Blawan Woke Up Right Handed (XL)
Terrible year for everyone else, but a helluva year for Blawan! He started the year with the speedy and playful Make A Goose EP, continued with the dazzling studio tour of Soft Waahls and ended it triumphantly with Woke Up Right Handed. A relaxed (or non-existent) live schedule surely resulted in more time puttering around the home studio, and I’m thankful for it. The five tracks of Woke Up Right Handed are the finest Blawan’s made since the immortal His He She & She EP, exhibiting his particular brand of corrosive crunch, dark humor and a willingness to explore any unconventional combination of sounds and effects. Opener “Blika” sounds like ants crawling over hi-hats paired with a Beau Wanzer-esque monster vocal – a real stunner – and it’s followed by the woozy carnival funk of “Under Belly”, perhaps the highlight of an EP of highlights. If Insane Clown Posse dared to drop some bars on this one, it’d be their biggest hit, of that I am positive. Perhaps closer “No Rabbit No Life” deserves the spotlight, filled with more ear-tickling techno static, a lurching slug of an acid bass-line and the creeping sense that the club is about to cave in. Truly, you’ll have to hear them all.

Waste Man One Day It’ll All Be You (Feel It)
Starting to feel like a Feel It shill, seeing as my favorite album from last year was their Sweeping Promises debut, but it’s not my fault they keep releasing the best punk around! I swear it’s a coincidence. Now I’m putting my eggs in Waste Man’s basket, a group I don’t think I’ve heard anyone else get particularly excited about. What gives? Sometimes punk is perfect, and while I wasn’t expecting that sort of perfection to come from a band called Waste Man (though I’m not surprised such perfection is borne of New Orleans), they came pretty damn close with this full-length debut. At this point, I’m exhausted by punk that relies on irony or costume or some combination of the two, bands who come out of the gate daring you to hate them more than they already clearly hate themselves, or bands whose total lack of effort is worn as a badge of honor, a race to the bottom to see who can use the worst pencil drawing as a cover. Waste Man are the opposite of all that, writing songs with sincerity and fire, but also cynicism and snark and a slight dash of nihilism (as our times demand). And some truly crafty, stunning hooks. They sound like Saccharine Trust covering Rites Of Spring covering Shattered Faith (or Bruce Springsteen performing the American Youth Report compilation), and they do so in a way that feels effortless yet thoughtful. It’s a record that has failed to elicit social-media buzz because its merit is within the songs themselves, not cheap gimmicks built to elicit strong internet-comment engagement. Let’s all get back to that, I beg you.

Best of 2020

Top Singles of 2020
1. Xylitol I’m Pretty Sure I Would Know If Reality Was Fundamentally Different Than I Perceived It To Be 7″
2. Healer Resurgence 7″
3. Lolina Who Is Experimental Music? 12″
4. DJ Central Passion 12″
5. P22 Human Snake 12″
6. CS + Kreme howwouldyoufeelwithoutthatthought 12″
7. Ishai Adar feat. Maurice Sarfati Ana Belephoneq 7″
8. Zaliva-D Immorality 12″
9. Prutser Netels 7″
10. Beau Wanzer Kitchen Clock 12″
11. CB Radio Gorgeous EP 7″
12. Flower Crime Kalte Fliesen 12″
13. Home Blitz All Through The Year 12″
14. Glen Schenau Jhumble / Jearnest 7″
15. Reek Minds Reek Minds 7″
16. The Reds, Pinks & Purples I Should Have Helped You 7″
17. Lxury Tokyo 10″
18. O$VMV$M Phase 4 / Witch Linen 10″
19. Mosquitoes Minus Objects 12″
20. The Native Cats Two Creation Myths 7″

Honorable Mention:
Anunaku Stargate EP 12″
Black Merlin SFORMATOR 2 12″
Brannten Schnüre Ei, Wir Tun Dir Nichts Zuleide! 7″
AngstLust Animal Shelter 12″
ISS Too Punk For Heavy Metal 7″

Top Albums of 2020
1. Sweeping Promises Hunger For A Way Out
2. The Cool Greenhouse The Cool Greenhouse
3. Pavel Milyakov Masse Métal
4. Lewsberg In This House
5. Haus Arafna Asche
6. Straw Man Army Age Of Exile
7. On The Ifness U-Udios 4
8. Twinkle³ Minor Planets
9. Bill Nace & Graham Lambkin The Dishwashers
10. Beatrice Dillon Workaround
11. Fried E/M Modern World
12. Sleeparchive Trust
13. Profligate Too Numb To Know
14. CS + Kreme Snoopy
15. Ulla Tumbling Towards A Wall
16. Metal Preyers Metal Preyers
17. Patois Counselors The Optimal Seat
18. Chronophage Th’ Pig Kiss’d Album
19. Lemon Quartet Crestless
20. Narrow Head 12th House Rock

Honorable Mention:
Regis Hidden In This Is The Light That You Miss
Actress Karma & Desire
Hum Inlet
DJ Metatron Loops Of Infinity (A Rave Loveletter)
Choir Boy Gathering Swans

Decided to switch up the year-end statement this time around, and instead of providing any sort of commentary on this unbelievable year (I don’t want to write it and you probably don’t want to read it), I’m gonna talk about myself for a minute. I’ve never done this here before, and doubt I’ll do it again anytime soon, so after nearly a dozen years of Yellow Green Red’s existence, allow me to break the ice: hi, my name’s Matt! Outside of doing this website, I sing for Pissed Jeans. A new song of ours was included in the Cyberpunk 2077 video game that just came out (hopefully it winds up on YouTube or something soon – I’m really proud of it), and we are (slowly) working on writing a new album, with intentions of continuing the usual smattering of gigs both local and abroad as soon as it’s safe to do so. Obviously no band has done much this year, the Jeans included, so here’s a chronological list of some of the extracurricular things I’ve done in 2020:

– Was interviewed about books and writing for the first zine released by Seattle’s Hex Enduction Records
– Briefly appeared in Stephen Malkmus’s “Shadowbanned” music video
– My gabber techno project Fine Jewelers released a track called “Running Mix”
– Published a couple of poems over on Wax Nine’s poetry journal
– Was quoted in Nick Soulsby’s Lydia Lunch biography The War Is Never Over
– Released a collaborative track with Mary Lattimore for the Distant Duos series
– Put together a mix of mostly sedate and obscure tunes for Silvox Recordings
– Made yet another mix, this one Christmas-themed, because why not
– Appeared on Lydia Lunch’s The Lydian Spin podcast
– Contributed poems to a new book and audio cassette release entitled Medicine For A Nightmare

Whew, that’s surely more than you ever wanted to know! I can also be followed on both Instagram and Twitter under the handle @mattkorvette if you’d like. And if you ever considered reaching out to drop me a line, by all means, now is the time! Actual communication with real people has never felt more valuable, especially if you want to tell me about the best record I’ve never heard. Now, onto my two faves of the year!

Xylitol I’m Pretty Sure I Would Know If Reality Was Fundamentally Different Than I Perceived It To Be (Thrilling Living)
It was an unprecedented year for all of us, constantly reacting to bad news and worse news and the arrival of new tragedies before the other recent tragedies could be fully mourned and processed. Go figure, then, that the most artful and contemporarily-reckoning musical response I’ve heard comes from Olympia’s Xylitol! Their earlier EP was great, but this new one absolutely destroys, distilling the overstimulated sense of disbelief we encounter on a daily basis with force and wit. It certainly contains my favorite punk lyrics of the year, with “I Want A Refund” constantly echoing through my head as I continue to wander through my daily tasks and not see my friends, wondering if there will ever be a point to all this. Of course, the music absolutely rules too: Xylitol have somehow found a way to distill Negative Approach’s formative moments into a bludgeoning device, mutated and evil but also timeless, too. My vinyl copy was actually pretty defective, skipping all over the place, though I realized it started to skip less with each consecutive listen. I literally played this record over and over again until it made it through without malfunction – if that shouldn’t be my record of the year, what should be?

Sweeping Promises Hunger For A Way Out (Feel It)
Even as I age, both mentally and visibly (okay, mostly visibly), I love that new music continually knocks me out, pumps me up, invigorates my spirit and leaves me feeling better than I was before it came along. That’s certainly the case with Boston’s Sweeping Promises and their full-length debut (care of the crucial Feel It Records label). I’m not sure how they found each other, but I’m thrilled they did, as this band comes hurtling out of the gate fully formed, clearly enlightened by the best punk and indie-rock of the past forty years and using that knowledge to create their own musical language. These songs are immediately gratifying and comprehensible – tough-as-nails scrappy post-punk with melodic hooks – but there’s an internal logic going on there that can’t be matched to anyone besides Sweeping Promises. Plus, vocalist Lira Mondal has the most forceful voice I’ve heard in a rock band in forever, distinctly bursting with emotion and range. I hear Mission Of Burma, I hear Erase Errata, I hear Desperate Bicycles, I hear Sleater-Kinney, but honestly I’d rather just throw on Hunger For A Way Out than any of those others right now (well, except for maybe the Desperate Bicycles’ “Advice On Arrest”, which I really need to make into my ringtone). It’s crazy that they came out with this, people loved it, and they were able to play a whopping zero shows in support of it. Can you imagine how great it’ll be the first time we get to see Sweeping Promises on a stage? It’s one of the bright thoughts keeping me hopeful through the end of this year.