Tuesday, 21 April 2009


No. 77.
Bands named after / containing the names of animals.

Is it it me, or has the music world spawned an uncontrollably grotesque infatuation with the animal kingdom? It would appear that what began life as a Williamsburg practice space in-joke has grown so massively out of proportion that any body who's any body has a mutant furry-friend inspired side project going on nowadays.
In the 90s, it was all about buzzwords. Onomatopoeias were good. Blur, Elastica, lush, Sleeper, space. People's Christian names were good ones too. Anybody's would do really, but the more cliche and unimaginative the better. Ash, Gene, James, Arnold. Gary would have been a good one. Working-man names for bands with good old fashioned values.
Everything went a bit British Invasion in the early Noughties, although most of the NME penned 'New rock revolution' was coming from the east coast of America. It turned out that putting 'the' before your band name wasn't so bad after all, and saved you from having to start pillaging the names of your favorite soap characters for inspiration. Like any trend, there were good results (The eighties matchbox b-line disaster, The Rapture), and there were questionable results (The Hives, The Vines...).

The most curious thing about 'animal bands' is how everyone seems to favor the same three or four species. Most popular, I found, after an intense Google-thon were Bears.

Sea bear, Minus the bear, Bearsuit, Bear Vs Shark, Grizzly Bear, Panda Bear, Bear in Heaven, Bearforce, The Bear Quartet, Huggy Bear (vintage Bear band), Polar Bear, Golden Bear, Polar Bear club, Base Ball Bear, Bear Colony, Volcano the Bear, Bear on Bear, Vanity Bear. And quite simply Bear, to name a few.

Close behind were wolves..
AIDS wolf, wolf eyes, wolf and cub, wolf parade, sea wolf, Peter and the wolf, Patrick Wolf, Wolf Mother (RIP), Guitar Wolf, Peanut butter wolf, We are wolves, Wolf colonel, Super wolf, Alpha Wolf and yes, you guessed it, Wolf.

And last but not least, hoofed animals.
Band of Horses, Horse the Band, Sparklehorse, Hoggboy (remember them!) They shoot horses don't they, Snowpony, The Seahorses, The Pony express, The Goats, The Unicorns, Caribou, Deerhunter, Deerhoof, Dear and the headlights, The Mountaingoats, Lamb, Lambchop. Etc.

I remember walking down Parkway in Camden a few years back and noticing how looking though the 'upcoming shows' listings inside the Dublin Castle was akin to Flicking though a book of Baby names from a miserable mining town in the 1980s.
Fast-forward 8 or 9 years and browsing through the ever successful pitchfork website is like reading an inventory from Noah's Ark.
Its not that there's anything wrong with naming bands after animals, I just find it amusing how everyone seems to pick the same ones. Come on guys, how about some originality! Why are no noise bands named after Tapirs? Shoegaze bands after Bush babies?! To be fair, I guess theres something mighty and ferocious about a wolf or a bear, they are predators and dare to venture to the deepest, darkest corners of the forest. And i guess, if anything, playing the guitar with a drumstick, singing trough a fuzz box and playing in downtown shit-holes is the closest thing to the Homo Sapien's equivalent. And then there's the issue of camouflage....

New trend next week!

x B M J