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Birthday Ass & Toothbrush – Live Split


New England seems fertile ground for a particular type of quasi-punk/experimental/no-wave bands. Guerilla Toss and the now-defunct Birthing Hips are two examples that come immediately to mind. Boston’s Birthday Ass continues in the same vein. With whimsical/absurd lyrics (tooting the fruit, eating the root / strawberry fruit, blueberry toot) sung by Priya Carlburg and funky, off-kilter beats held down by Dan Raney and Jon Starks, the horns and guitar are given free-rein to create a perfect jumble of screeches and scratches. Reminds me at times of the Contortions meet Yoko Ono

Toothbrush, the brainchild of Chris Gervais (Nice Life, KGFREEZE, Wedding Camp) and Sean Ahern (Korovyov, Boat Dares) are a Portland, ME based improvised doom metal duo. Utilizing only bass, drums & imagination, Toothbrush keeps it low and slow. Improvisation is a tool not often utilized in the metal genre, and I know of few (if any) bands doing it. Their use of improv is very subtle, however, and almost imperceivable (which is usually the product of deep listening and respect amongst the musicians). This ‘unusual’ element works, and Toothbrush manages to be creative and forward-thinking in a genre where it is easy to fall into the well-worn Sabbath tropes.

This EP is very successful, in that it leaves me wanting to hear new full lengths from both bands. Live Split dropped April 25th on Super Wimpy Punch, and was celebrated that same day with a release show at Great Scott in Allston, MA.

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