Birth (Defects), “Ascetic”

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Birth Defects Photo by Megan Lloyd.

Baltimore fixture Sean Gray operates the Fan Death and Accidental Guest labels. Last year, he launched a resource—and, crucially, a conversation—regarding accessibility and live music with Is This Venue Accessible. Most recently, Gray’s dour rock outfit Birth (Defects) announced a new 7-inch, due next month via Reptilian Records, and shared the a-side, “Ascetic”.

On “Ascetic”, Gray is accompanied by Rob Savillo, Ian Graham, Chris Morawski, and Erik Wisler. The song employs a fade-in, feigning limp production for just a moment before the pretty devastating totality of its gurgling low-end and squealing feedback sets in. Gray’s vocals, meanwhile, alternate between a dizzied, opiate croon and lumpen-hostile shout, evocative of cheeky AmRep rock posturing.

“Ascetic”, which follows a split cassette released last year, features cover imagery by Terence Hannum, Baltimore artist and member of the left-field black metal group Locrian. The stark monochromatic palette and impression of shards colliding fits the group quite nicely.