Archive for 'Year In Review'

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.

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.