The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Be Your Own Pet Breaks Its Leash

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 1, 2006 3:27PM

For roughly the last year, it seems that any American rock and roll act has only made itself known to people in its homeland by first capturing the hearts and minds (and blogs) of the UK. Then again, when the pop charts here are taken with bands that sound more like the Pussycat Dolls and less like the New York Dolls, it’s little wonder that we come late to the game on a band like Be Your Own Pet.

2006_06_byop.jpgNary a press clip about BYOP passes without some mention of the following: lead singer Jemina Pearl’s Iggy Pop-like stage antics (done one better thanks to her tendency to puke onstage), the group’s average age of 17, the marvelous afro of bassist Nathan Vasquez, and the group’s music industry parents and their cooler-than-your-high-
school-band influences like the Ramones, XTC, and Television. (If the writer is blessed with a longer word count, drummer Jamin Orrall and guitarist Jonas Stein warrant a mention for their surf rock-meets-MC5 style musicianship.) Until now, there’s been little else to write about, as their recorded output has been limited to a few singles and import-only EPs.

But one of those singles was “Damn Damn Leash,” one of the best songs of last year if for no other reason but its ferocity, which should make every upstart pop-punk band head back into the garage with its tail between its legs. Thankfully, this is the band’s cornerstone for its self-titled, full-length record hitting stores this Tuesday. Time out of the U.S. spotlight has allowed the band to tighten up its sound without losing any of its anger, thrash or bratty fun, so long as you can tolerate the occasional Suess-ian rhyme scheme (socks/rocks, rocket/socket, riot/Hyatt).

This summer, the band makes a pair of appearances in Chicago: at Beat Kitchen this Friday and in the sweltering heat of Lollapalooza (which should put the front row on orange alert for a possible upchuck attack from Pearl). BYOP has managed to sustain the interest of the rock press on the strength of its live act, and one can only hope this tour will give those same scribes a few new anecdotes as well.

Be Your Own Pet appears at Beat Kitchen this Friday the 2nd in an all-ages show at 9:00 p.m. with Whirlwind Heat. Tickets are $10.