Jett blazes trails as label owner

Joan Jett has had a varied career, from her `80s hits to her `90s riot grrrl association (forgive her acting on the “Highlander” TV series) to her Warped Tour comeback in 2006. This year, she became the first female guitarist with her own Gibson signature model guitar.

What you may not know is that she was the first female to own and operate her own record label.

Blackheart Records was established in 1980 and in recent years has become home to an impressive roster of acts.

There's the female front trio the Dollyrots, whom Jett met on Warped Tour. Its infectious single “Because I'm Awesome” has been used on “Ugly Betty,” a Kohl's commercial, and in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.” There's the fidgety rock of Texan female trio Girl in a Coma, who combine the angular guitar work and powerful vocals of Sleater-Kinney with heartfelt Smiths-like lyrics. Both have played the Milestone this year. And there's Albuquerque sister trio the Eyeliners, churning out classic bad girl punk.

But Blackheart isn't just a girls' club. Formerly of punk band the Briefs, Steve E. Nix leads the Cute Lepers, who play Tremont tonight. The group snappily captures the spirit of classic early punk. Combining crisp pop with gritty street punk on its debut “Can't Stand Modern Music,” the band is part Generation X, part Johnny Thunders, and continues the recent quality of Jett's roster.