Wednesday, May 04, 2011

How To Name Your Indie-Band

Devil's Butt Affliction? Something like that.
A long, long time ago, indie-band names were cutting edge. There was danger, death and implied intoxication in a group's name, with the odd unusual plant or creature thrown in, and sometimes an obscure, pseudo-intellectual literary or film reference. Colours added colour, even though that colour was usually black or white. Puns generally worked. Nowadays, all the good names have been used already. It took me 15 minutes to come up with ten generic indie-band names, all of which are interchangeable. So if you’re forming a band, feel free to take the list below, juggle the words (sorry, concepts) around, and become Dirty Blue Fiction, Cult Blood Alligators or Pale Candy Daffodils.

There are a couple of simple rules for a standard three-word indie-band name. The first two words are mainly just one or two syllables, and are usually descriptive. The final word is generally two or three syllables long, and is usually a noun. That’s it. Now go and print up those eye-catching posters that would make a passing student think, “Wow, they sound cool. And if they have a cool name, I bet they make some really cool music.” Adopt moody pose, grow your hair over your eyes, wear self-consciously crappy old clothes, drone away using voice and amplified guitar (a youthful, slim and decorative female on keyboards will also help), and hey presto, you’re indie! You’re welcome.

Crystal   Meth     Alligators
Dirty      Jerk     Limousine
Pale       Blood   Orchestra
Dead      Blue    Cigarette
Creepy   Sweet  Daffodils
Electric  Beach   Therapy
Luna      Disco    Skylarks
Black     Widow  Dreaming
Acrylic   Candy   High-Lights
Cult       Zoo      Fiction


J3 said...

My new band the Cult Candy Skylarks bring a 60's girl group pop sensibility with a respect for late 80's Americana and the double bass styling of a young Tommy Aldridge circa the Black Oak Arkansas era. We've been described as Nirvana meets some Japanese band I can't quite remember. We'll be touring random basements throughout the US over the Summer to maintain our authenticity while our marketing and PR department deftly and aggressively shops us to interested parties. Correction: due to legal issues we're now known as The Cult Candy Skylarks Are. Rock on.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

You are nine-tenths of the way to making it, and have correctly identified the necessity of claiming to fuse multiple semi-obscure genres that no one in their right mind would bother to actually check up on. I'll happily book you into our basement - just be sure to turn up late, make unreal nutritional demands on your rider, growl at the staff, and stress that encores are only played begrudgingly. We'll be sure to alert potential ticket-buyers only after the event - post-hype marketing via social media is our specialty. Post-garage meta-metal trio Dead Jerk Therapy to support.

No Good Boyo said...

I salute your sudden outpouring of posts, Pop. Spring is clearly in the air, if you call Spring Spring in the US.

My own college bands fitted your litany perfectly. The Dead Pharaohs in particular were a reference to Durrell's Alexandria Quartet. The same could not be said of our tracklist - "I'm The Pope (You Know What I Mean)" being our most successful effort.

Grab Grab The Haddock were useless, but golly what a name! It's the repetition I like. A Welsh thing, probably.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Weren't Grab Grab The Haddock from Hatfield? 'The Last Fond Goodbye' 12" EP, executed with archetypally clumsy charm, is a treasured part of my thin, round collection of sonic plastic.

tom.ato said...

Great column, Pop. (By the way, re Royal Wedding, you were right, should have said "some of the nation" not "nation" as a whole).
I used to work in an organisation where we had great fun with just such a list as yours on particularly boring afternoons, three colums, say thirty words, along the likes of:
conceptual targeted outcomes
mandatory ringfenced finance
and you could literally take one word from each list and make some meaningless, but authentic-sounding, phrase which everyone could pretent to understand but meant absolutely zilch.

nathan3e said...

Moody pose, hair over eyes, crappy clothes....all true, but you missed the memo about lazy A&R people comparing every new remotely noisy band to My Bloody Valentine and early Jesus & Mary Chain. Can one laugh and gag at the same time? You know what sounds like Loveless and Psychocandy? Loveless and Psychocandy. You know who doesn't sound like MBV and JAMC? Every band that has ever been compared to them.

No Good Boyo said...

I think you once played me the Haddock EP during that memorable dinner at your place in West Hampstead with Julian and your then missus.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

...where I believe you told us the anecdote of how a friend had slipped the phrase 'grab grab the haddock' into his or her doctoral thesis.