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BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE) Minneapolis 2008 - Laura Larson of Baby Guts

Beautiful female voices are something to be treasured. The sorrowful, bluesy wails of Joanna James, for instance, or the lilting harmonies of Allison LaBonne and Maria May of the Owls. But sometimes we're left wanting something less polished and more primal from our local ladies—and Laura Larson of Baby Guts is happy to fill the niche. Her traditional-singing voice is utilitarian at best, but in the land of the scream she is queen. If you're thinking, "But anyone can scream," think again—a great scream, especially one that doesn't cause permanent damage to the vocal chords, is an elusive skill. On the band's eight-track debut, Gasoline, Larson's screeches, shrieks, growls, and howls fling the listener headfirst through a plate-glass window of blind rage and wordless agony. "What will it take to keep my mouth shut?" she full-throat-hollers in the thrashtastic "Rocket Hips." We hope Larson never finds the answer.

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