Not since Chrissie Hynde stormed into the U.K. and unleashed the Pretenders has an American punk chick showed up on British soil and caused such an unqualified commotion. Muffin Spencer, lead singer and chief irritant for the punk/hip-hop quartet Brassy, left home four years ago in search of something different, which she found in Manchester in guitarist Stefan Gordon, bassist Karen Frost, and drummer/programmer/scratch artist Jonny "DJ Swett" Barrington. After a handful of requisite singles and EPs, Brassy finally released its first album in England to wide acclaim and healthy sales. It's taken nearly a year for it to be domestically issued, but Brassy's impressive debut, Got It Made
, has finally reached our shores and is inspiring every bit the noise here that followed its release in England last year. The band has claimed and lived up to influences as wide-ranging as Public Enemy, James Brown, and Motörhead, and made a fan of nearly everyone who has come out to see it live. And as with any band with this kind of jet lag affecting its stateside debut, Brassy has already begun work on its second album, some of which may wind up in the band's set list as it tears into town on its first American tour. The tension between Barrington's proficient scratching, Frost's circular bass runs, Gordon's spiky riffs, and Spencer's distorted howling/rapping gives Brassy a singular sound -- something like Blondie fixated on the Stooges' Raw Power
. In Brassy's capable hands, there's no question that the equally visceral disciplines of punk and hip-hop are well-suited to a blended presentation.