Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Sean Gray

Birth (Defects) – Demands (Stream)

birth defects

In just under two weeks a small army of notable songs have been unveiled, including new titles from acts like Cowtown, The Pills, The Amazing, Trust Punks, Descendents, Tempesst, Ultimate Painting, Cave Curse, Trevor Sensor, Katie Burden, Tom Brosseau, Opposite Sex, True Neutral Crew, Crocodiles, Grieving, Henry Chadwick, Shapes In Calgary, Goblin Cock, and Saints Patience. That run of songs all but closes out the list of the finest tracks to cross this site’s path over the interim, with one notable exception: Birth (Defect)’s near-feral “Demands”.

A brief talk with Birth (Defects)’s vocalist (as well as social activist, Is This Venue Accessible mastermind, Accidental Guest head, and all-around great human) Sean Gray revealed that “Demands” was the first song the band ever wrote. Gray still considers it the band’s finest offering and, with this new version recorded by Perfect Pussy‘s Shaun Sutkus and rounded out by the band’s recently-expanded lineup, it’s not difficult to see why that’s the case.

Like nearly all great hardcore bands of any breed, Birth (Defects) draw considerable power from frustration and that frustration has never manifested more clearly than in the staccato stabbings of “Demands”, which complements the band’s most recent offering — the incendiary “Hanshin“, which will be the track’s flip-side on the forthcoming 7” — to perfection.

Through aggressive, chaotic caterwauling, Birth (Defects) carve out a home in a dark corner and sink their heels in deep, recoiling while simultaneously positioning themselves for attack. Feedback runs through everything, providing an air of discordance that drives up a sense of tension that never evaporates and lingers on after the final snare blast. Somehow, as raw and primordial as it seems on the surface, “Demands” can’t help but feel weirdly triumphant. It’s the sound of a band who have embraced their voice and are intent on projecting it through a row of sharpened teeth. The end result? A third-degree bite mark that deserves to be worn like a badge of honor.

Listen to “Demands” below and pre-order the 7″ from Reptilian here.

Birth (Defects) – Ascetic (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

One of the people that I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know since starting up this site has been Sean Gray, who- in addition to running Accidental Guest Recordings- has been an invaluable voice in contemporary criticism (especially as a leading figure in the accessibility movement). Easily one of the most knowledgeable figures in post-punk and hardcore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that his own project, Birth (Defects), absolutely rip. “Ascetic”, the band’s first official single, is a punishing piece of music that has no interest in frills and lands its succession of blows with terrifying precision. Dark, violent, and teetering on the verge of chaos, it’s a captivating first look at a project that already feels as important as it does necessary. High velocity translates to maximum impact and no one’s spared an onslaught that leaves the kind of mark that deserves to be cherished.

Listen to “Ascetic” below and pick up “Ascetic b/w Forged” here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Kevin Devine – No One Says You Have To
Our Girl – Sleeper
Sarah Neufeld – The Ridge
Wonky Tonk – Denmark
WALL – Cuban Cigars
Meercaz and The Visions – Kate… Actually
Past Life – Sever Your Love
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Clean Slate
Berwanger – Demonios
The Gonzo Show – Roxy’s Rage
Beverly – Crooked Cop
Heron Oblivion – Oriar
Joseph Sant – Nor’easter
CTM – Escorted/The Road
The Gromble – Real Sympathy
Eugene Quell – London Pollen
Le Rug – 1779
The Post – Easy Way Out
Eight Bells – Hating
The She’s – Cherry Red
The Brainstems – Red Line

Rookie Streams the Beyond Inversion Comp

Image of Beyond Inversion - A Benefit Compilation for Rachael's Women Center in DC (CASSETTE PRE ORDER)

Those with hyper-specific memories may recall the Beyond Inversion compilation coming up on this site before. Now, thanks to Rookie, the entire thing’s available for streaming. Any excitement expressed over the release has now doubled as the comp’s managed to somehow exceed expectations. Not only is this great music for a great cause but it’s a coherent overview of the current state of basement punk. MRR’s Sound the Alarms may very well garner more press and immediate attention in certain DIY punk circles but, of the two, this has a better shot of turning into something resembling a landmark. It’s not difficult to imagine Beyond Inversion finding longevity, nor is it difficult to imagine the release finding a home as a highly sought-after collection staple. 

In the Rookie article linked above, one of the curators of Beyond Inversion, Jes Skolnik (of Split Feet), also contributes some helpful know-how in organizational tactics for putting together benefit compilations. Beyond Inversion itself features more than a few incredible tracks from the likes of Perfect Pussy, Technicolor Teeth, Potty Mouth, Sadie Dupuis, Jail Solidarity, Bret Lanhan, Failed Mutation, Hive Bent, and many, many more. All proceeds from purchasing Beyond Inversion will go to Rachael’s Women’s Center in Washington D.C., an organization devoted to supporting women struggling with, and recovering from, homelessness. It’s a collection worthy of its honorable cause. Strong shows of support make repeating instances of great things more likely so do the right thing and pre-order Beyond Inversion

On a personal note to curators Sean Gray, Jes Skolnik, Accidental Guest Recordings, and all of the bands involved; thank you for bringing this into existence. Things like Beyond Inversion always make the world a little better.