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Breaking: Semi Precious Weapons

December 17, 2008 12:43 PM ET

Who: Brooklyn's Semi Precious Weapons, a quartet of foul-mouthed, heavy-riffing glam rockers led by rambunctious frontman Justin Tranter.

Sounds Like: Tranter is like Adam Ant, T.Rex's Marc Bolan and Ziggy Stardust wrapped into one, singing lead on AC/DC's Back In Black. On the band's debut album We Love You, which features "Magnetic Baby" and "Her Hair Is On Fire," Tranter's life's-a-party lyrics and cocky swagger takes center stage over riffs ripped from the Knack's "My Sharona." "There's 10 songs on our record and nine of them are about how fantastic I am," Tranter says. "In different settings, different time periods, different hats, things like that."

Vital Stats:

• Before signing with Razor & Tie, the band self-funded the release of We Love You with the money earned from Tranter's jewelry line, Fetty. Tranter has sold over 100,000 items of jewelry in stores like Barney's and Urban Outfitters. "As a band, we're still broke," Tranter reports, "but as a jewelry designer, no."

• Tranter isn't shy about his ego or causing a little controversy. "The album is called We Love You, but I originally wanted to call it Abort Rock & Roll," Tranter says. "I was strongly advised against that." As for songs like "Semi Precious Weapons" with lyrics like "I can't pay my rent but I'm fucking gorgeous," "That song is just about how fantastic I am," Tranter gloats. "Once you say that out loud, you have no choice but to keep making up brilliant shit."

• If you haven't already seen the band's bombastic videos, you may recognize Tranter from an episode of MTV's Made where he helped a geek turn into a rock god. Tranter has the makings of a good Made coach: The band studied at Boston's Berklee School of Music, where he excelled with a 3.9 GPA. Despite the classical training, "We were like 'screw it, someone needs to have fucking fun. Let’s have fun.' And so we started a party band, and it worked."

Hear It Now: We Love You is out now. In the meantime, check out our exclusive Breaking videos, featuring the band's intense performance of their hits "Semi Precious Weapons" and "Magnetic Baby" live from New York's Cutting Room.

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Song Stories

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A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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