Whoever said punk was dead was not only wrong, but obviously they’d never heard of Jemina Pearl. The 22 year old, former front woman of now-disbanded garage-rock band Be Your Own Pet, brags about making boys bleed on her blog, sings with (and not along to) Iggy Pop, and rides bicycles. Punk rock? Check. The singer has just released her solo debut Break It Up to plenty of good reviews and fanfare, and wrapped up her cross country tour.
Jemina Pearl started out fronting the Nashville band Be Your Own Pet when she was only 16, and the band managed to release two successful and indie-press approved records Be Your Own Pet (2006) and Get Awkward (2008) before their demise in late 2008. However, Jemina and her band mate John Eatherly had been writing together on the down-low for a while, and the result was a Jemina solo vehicle featuring legends far beyond what the singer herself could have imagined– Sonic Youth genius Thurston Moore is a guest on the album, as is TV On the Radio’s Dave Sitek. And her leading single, the very smart “I Hate People” is a duet with I-can’t-believe-he’s-actually-still-alive Stooges’ legend Iggy Pop.
Jemina’s sound on her new record is different, and she knows it. As a member of Be Your Own Pet, Jemina was a pint-sized punk who wailed at the top of her lungs, hitting notes in the highest of shrieking registries–basically, make sure to hide your puppies! On the solo tip, though, Jemina’s sound sees her experimenting with a variety of musical influences including 60s girl-group a la the Shangri-Las and surf-rock a la The Beach Boys. There are even some very Sonic Youth type moments of dissonant punk in the mix. Of course, her garage rock influences are still there (and thank god because the girl can rock out on stage like nobody’s business!), but they are decidedly more feminine and softer in inspiration, with Jemina citing proto-punk hero Patti Smith as one of the major muses behind Break It Up.
Besides experimenting with her sound, Jemina’s also begun experimenting with her look, in what many are calling a more “glammed up” phase. The former strictly jeans-and-Tshirt kinda girl is now donning items such as sequin mini dresses with fishnets, and denim daisy dukes. What can we say other than she must be growing up? Don’t worry though, she still has plenty of Converse and band-Ts in her wardrobe rotation as well.
Whether glammed out or beating boys up, its’ clear that Jemina Pearl is doing things her own way, on her own time. From collaborating with rock greats to experimenting with sounds that are out of her comfort zone, the singer is part of the new movement of women making music by themselves, for themselves. And how can we ever be mad at that?
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