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BEST NEW BAND Minneapolis 2006 - Ass

Hardcore punk isn't supposed to be surprising anymore. King Kong covering Judas Priest is nearly the standard sound. But on a good new compilation, Twin Cities Hardcore: Bring It Together (TCHardcoreJournal.com), one group's holler is more blurt than growl. "In high school I was a punching bag/When I got out, I was a punching fag/You fuck with me, man, I will fuck with you back/I ain't gonna fall between no crack." These lines, from the singer of Ass, come during a sort of funk breakdown, with the band going silent for each verse. Then the messy groove lunges forward again, and the other boys (and girl) join in on the cheerleading chorus, which spells out the title "A.S.S.K.I.C.K.A.T.R.O.N." Though this gimmick has its limits, the song stays with you because lead vocalist Jim Ass is so bizarre. He contorts his delivery as if to sound crazy/threatening, but it's a geek's macho, which gives the bash-back anthem humanity. In concert, after this tune, the band veers back into Cookie Monster vocals and minor-key crunch, leaving one to wonder whether the song was a fluke. But they're good enough to grow, and growl with the best of them, too.

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