Be Your Own Pet
Nashville is inexorably tied to Country music. In an attempt to broaden its scope, Nashville began billing itself as Music City. Makes sense. Given the level of talent residing there, why be limited to one genre? It got to the point that in the '90s the #1 station in the market played Rock (granted that was because there were five Country stations and only one Rock channel). Still, it's somewhat surprising to hear of a Punk band, like Be Your Own Pet, hailing from Nashville.
Be Your Own Pet formed in '02 and had an impressive pedigree. The Orrall's are the sons of Robert Ellis Orrall, a well-known Country songwriter and performer - he had a hit or two in the early '90s - before returning to songwriting to pay the mortgage. Along the way, he formed Infinity Cat Records which was housed in the family's basement. That's where Be Your Own Pet started.
Abegg is the daughter of Jimmy Abegg, noted musician/artist/photographer (including album covers) while Vasquez is the son of Latin Jazz guitarist Rafael Vasquez, best know for his work with the San Rafael Band.
The group's debut single, "Damn Damn Leash," on the Infinity Cat label, got the band noticed. A couple EPs preceded the group's '06 self-titled full-length debut. The set led to appearances in England at the Reading and Leeds Festivals.
Jake left to spend a year in Iceland (why?) and Jamin split for college (well, that makes a little more sense). The brothers later revived their band JEFF. Or maybe they never left it.
In the run up to BYOP's sophomore effort, '08's "Get Awkward," the group did a stint as the opener for Arctic Monkeys.
2006 Be Your Own Pet
2008 Get Awkward
2005 Damn Damn Leash
2006 Summer Sensation
2006 Extra Extra
2007 Rocket Science
Abegg is like the girl next door - if you live near a women's penitentiary. She has been compared with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Karen O and justifiably so. In "Bunk Trunk Skunk" she sings "I'm an independent motherf*cker! To steal away your virginity." Who needs subtle?
She can be sassy, nasty and defiant. Fortunately, the band keeps up.
"Be Your Own Pet" is glorious Punk from start to finish. "Thresher's Fiall," "Stairway To Heaven" (not a cover of the Led Zeppelin classic, in case you're wondering), Bog," with slashing guitar, and "Let's Get Sandy (Big Problem)" really do the trick. "Fuuuuun" has a rollercoaster feeling with a strobe guitar.
BYOP goes right over the top (without even a casual glance back) on "We Will Vacation, You Can Be My Parasol" then effectively backs off a little for "October, First Account."
"Get Awkward" marks the inevitable move toward power-pop Punk, meaning a scant nod toward melody and the use of recognizable song structures. The good news is Be Your Own Pet still knows how to kick it out and "Get Awkward" is mercifully absent of cloying ballads or heavy-handed arrangements. The group's songs, more like short, intense blasts, are spot on as Abegg's lyrics encompass those with only "sex on their mind" to being the "hottest chick on the scene." Then there's "Zombie Graveyard Party." It's as much fun as the title implies.