by Nathan Springer (@drownloading)
Live splits are a rare breed. I don’t think I can think of one off of the top of my head besides the one you are currently reading about: a cassette release by Birthday Ass and Toothbrush, two bands with great names who approach noise from two very different headspaces. The result is a chaotic, yet strangely cohesive, genre-hopping voyage.
Birthday Ass rose from the ashes of Birthing Hips, an incredible Boston-based no wave band that I had the good fortune to catch live during their explosively brief career. Birthday Ass carries on BH’s yelped vocals, playful lyrics, clashing melodies, and stylistic shifts. This sound is very Boston- I can hear tinges of Every Kim Parcell and Guerilla Toss here and there. The recording, while unambiguously lo-fi, does a great job of capturing the frenetic energy of the band- there are six musicians in the group, so the result is a maelstrom of competing melodies and anti-melodies. I especially liked the horn parts and the prog-esque ending to “Plubbage.”
Toothbrush is composed of only drums and bass, yet they fill sonic space just as fully as Birthday Ass. Rather than creating a wall of noise through sheer number of members, they use distortion and dissonance to fill the room. Veering between sludge and more propulsive sections, Toothbrush sounds a bit like Lightning Bolt on cough syrup. The two tracks they contribute are brief, but they make me want to see what this band can do in a more extended setting.
Check out Live Split and order a tape from the Philly tape imprint Super Wimpy Punch (stay up to date with them for more great releases). The EP is out April 25th.