Archive for 'Year In Review'

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.

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.