Ass Life 3 LP Discography CD

I’m not sure if I fully get this L.A. band’s mix of D-beat, stoner riffs, and surreal humor, but maybe I’m not supposed to. This CD compiles three ASS LIFE tapes into a thirty-one-song endurance test. The tracks (especially the older ones) are heavy—mostly blistering D-beat assaults with occasional forays into MELVINS-esque sludgecore, with lyrics that often read like inside jokes without a punchline. For instance, “Sildenafil Penis” links Viagra with the war-torn city of Aleppo (I think), and I’ll leave “Shapeshifting Lizard People,” “Gape It,” and “Boofing w/ Chris Farley’s Ghost” up to you to investigate. But then, there are other moments that seem almost sincere, like the lines, “I used to party / I don’t do cocaine / My son is my drug / My son is my drug” in “My Son is My Drug.” In “Serious Man,” we have “I’m a serious man / And we’re a serious band.” So, who’s to say what is irony, or if it even matters. The songs all rip pretty hard with full-throated hardcore and borderline metalcore chugging. The playing, thick production, and fat distortion tones are all top-notch, and the vocals, as disconcerting as the lyrics can be, fit perfectly. Near the end of the most recent collection, there are some interesting left turns. “Vomitive Hues” opens with a distorted, monotone rendition of the BEACH BOYS’ “Barbara Ann,” and “Really Cool Cars” surprises with clean guitars and sung vocals about “Pretty cool cars / Dependable, safe cars” that highlight L.A.’s economic disparities that allow some people to flex Lambos while others must use their cars as shelter. It goes from BILLY BRAGG folk to heavy alt-rock like FAILURE without sounding contrived. Weird and recommended.