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After 15 Years, the Nashville Punks Be Your Own Pet Are Roaring Back

The first two gigs felt good, though, like that teenage chemistry had never left, so they kept writing. Their musicianship, finely tuned over the years, allowed them to better articulate their ideas, and the wisdom of age helped remove childhood egos from the mix. “We sound like four songwriters giving it their all,” Vasquez said, “instead of a couple dudes trying to come up with rockin’ riffs.”

That energy funneled into perhaps the most punk-rock song about not being punk rock, “Goodtime!” Built around Stein’s guitar, “it’s the ultimate FOMO of being a parent,” Pearl said. She thought it would be funny if she took the model of hardcore bands erupting into a shout-rants, except here she’s shout-ranting about having to pay her mortgage.

“Bad Moon Rising” charts Pearl’s struggle with bipolar disorder, and Stein used a real drill to create the sound of a “lobotomy doctor.” “It’s nice to make light of something that has caused me a lot of pain,” she said.

On “Big Trouble,” the band gets political: “I want wages for housework, I want child care for free, I want on demand abortions, full body autonomy,” Pearl shouts, articulating the anger that bubbled beneath the surface as a teen and then a new mother.

“Nathan said recently that it feels like our second first album,” Stein said, and everybody nodded. The artist Allison Russell, Pearl’s close friend — their daughters have gone to school together since they were 3 — thinks it’s the strongest work of the band’s career. “I’m thrilled for her to be back on her own terms,” Russell said in a phone interview. “This is a classic record that people will grow with. And motherhood doesn’t mean you can’t make the best punk rock of your life.”

At the end of her beer, Pearl was ready to pick up her kids and prepare for her daughter’s impending birthday. “As a mom, I feel forgotten,” Pearl said. “This album is me taking the power back.”

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