Bent Left 

Andrew Miller

Bent Left's liberal-leaning moniker seems apt, given the group's self-proclaimed goal of "doing our best to change the world." However, the Kansas City trio grew into its name's political implications. Formed in 2002, when its members were in their early teens, Bent Left originally offered a more sophomoric explanation. "When we were in high school, slanted penises were really funny," bassist William Malott sheepishly explains. Bent Left's travels (booking treks to Alaska and Japan) and college classes informed more recent records, such as 2004's Steal Back the Government and 2005's Skeletons in Your Closet. The band's sound has evolved as well: Initially almost as happy and hook-driven as fellow phallus-obsessives blink-182, Bent Left is now grittier, with rugged street-punk vocals and rowdy, "whoa-oh" sing-alongs.

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