By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The laws of music journalism state that when a precociously good new band comes along, one must harp on the members' ages. So, OK, blah blah blah, the four members of Nashville's Be Your Own Pet are all teenagers, the oldest just barely legal.
Great—now that's out of the way. Rock and roll arguably has always been the music of teenagers: if not performed by them, then consumed by them. But pubescent performers were also responsible for some of the genre's biggest breakthroughs. Just one example: The Kinks' Dave Davies was only 17 when he slashed his guitar amplifier to create the signature distorted sound of the band's breakout hit "You Really Got Me." Still, the fresh-faced never fail to ignite a media frenzy, especially with the advent of the music blogosphere. The skinny teens of Be Your Own Pet have released just one full-length album, this year's self-titled debut. But they've already played several legendary U.K. festivals such as Glastonbury, spawned rabid fan Web sites and posed in white-hot designer duds for fawning hipster magazine spreads. But all of that aside, these kiddies deliver a screeching garage-rock punch worthy of a match with the heavyweights. Crunchy guitar courtesy of a love affair with the Stooges? Check. Pop hooks created with inane repetition, à la the Ramones? You got it. Then there's the firecracker of a front woman, a platinum-haired siren with a piercing wail and an unforgettable name: Jemina Pearl Abegg. So they're loud, a little snot-nosed and catchy as hell. In other words, rock and roll in its purest form.
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