Best band-on-band synergy

Birth and Den

worldbirth.blogspot.com

noise-den.blogspot.com

Birth and Den—two bands that have the "impassioned, sludgy racket" thing down pat—can often be found on the same bill, and the pairing doesn't just work because they share drummer Ian Piirtola. Both groups put a visceral, distinct spin on the kind of depraved din that an equally depraved class of musician has long craved. The dudes in Birth dole out thick, bombastic postpunk that oozes with feedback, while the guys in Den inject a smattering of electronic experimentation into a caustic, blistering sound. And this year saw each of the acts drop striking debuts: Deadbeat released Birth's self-titled on vinyl in January and Retrograde dropped Den's Bronze Fog on cassette in March. —Leor Galil