Girls with guitars

Less than two years ago, Avenge Vegas guitarist Lauren McGinnis and bassist Micah Silverman were two-thirds of a "typical" all-female pop trio, writing "poppy, straight-ahead and horrible songs." But soon, they craved something a little more serious. "We just had so much inside of us to say, we decided to push for something that wasn't the 'girl' sound."

McGinnis and Silverman rethought their style and started to incorporate elements of their influences, blending the angular rhythms of Muse with the off-kilter pop of Veruca Salt. Anchored by the muscular percussion of drummer Terry Walker, Avenge Vegas debuted in January with a pleasing and delightfully challenging sound, melding elements of catchy pop tempered with an insistent, guitar-based roar. "All these different styles come out of us at once," she explains. "So we wanted to make something as eclectic, wonderful, pretty and aggressive as we could."

Their new self-titled CD is a fitting introduction to the band, including audio and video recorded live at a variety of Atlanta venues. "A lot of people sit there and think, 'Oh, chicks and guitars, that's cool,' but when they see us play, it's not what they expect. And that's what we want."

Rather than run from the often-limiting "women in music" label, Avenge Vegas embraces it. "I really want to encourage girls to pick up instruments," McGinnis says. "If you want to play guitar — even if nobody thinks you should do it — do it anyway. Just don't be typical."

Avenge Vegas celebrates its CD release Fri., Sept. 24, 9 p.m., at Hard Rock Cafe's Velvet Underground. Linger and the Likes of Which open.