Name That Band


What’s in a name? There are so many bands out there now, it’s hard to keep track of them all. They are all over MySpace and iTunes, and every NYC venue has an extensive concert calendar. Sometimes there are three or four bands a night. It’s hard to know which bands I’ve listened to, what I’ve heard about them, and what they sound like. So I have realized that band name choice is very important. When names are similar, I start confusing them with each other, and I’m never quite sure if I know their music or not.

Sometimes the name similarities cause me to miss out on concerts. Kings of Leon is a popular band right now, but when I heard about them I thought I had seen them open for The Killers a while back. And I remember being bored and counting down the minutes until The Killers came on. Turns out that was a different band called Louis XIV. I guess all royalty blends together in my head. But here’s a look at the current trends in band names:

First, there are the ones I don’t know how to pronounce:

Then there are those band names I have pronounced incorrectly:
Pela (PAY-la, not PELL-a)
The Avett Brothers (AVE-it, not AV-it).

And the ones that have to give you instructions:
Aa (BIG A little a)
+/- (Plus Minus)

And who knew that “Yeah” would be a popular word in band names. Here’s a few:
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Then there are the ones that changed their name. Prince and Diddy did it multiple times, and I recently learned that another band changed their name from Say Hi to Your Mom to just Say Hi. And I wondered, did they have a falling out with someone’s mother? Or was t-shirt production too expensive with the added characters? I’m guessing they didn’t like how the limited space on show announcements forced their name to be shortened to S.H.T.Y.M. I can’t say I’m fond of the name Say Hi, but I guess it’s better than completely changing it to something else and then forever being known as something like Rocket Science (The Band Formally Known As Say Hi To Your Mom) with the resulting print on t-shirts: Rocket Science (TBFKASHTYM). But, I must recommend their song “Northwestern Girls”.

Some bands pick really long names, like:
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

And there are some odd ones, like Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. One of the bands I saw this summer was called The Ladybug Transistor. I’m wondering how far they can get with this name…but hopefully they’ll prove me wrong.

Then there are all the bands called “The Somethings” currently on the scene. From the Monolith Festival alone we have: The Giraffes, The Whigs, The Elms, The Postelles, The Kills, The Presets, The Muslims, The Veils.
In addition to:
The Shins
The Hives
The Vines
The Killers
The Strokes
The Fratellis
The Teenagers
The Virgins
The Raveonettes
The Pippettes

Some band names are so similar that it’s easy to confuse them when you see their name in a list of upcoming concerts. Here are some that I’ve mixed up:

I thought I saw Love as Laughter at the Monolith Festival, but as it turns out it was LoveLikeFire. I like Mirah, and I got slightly excited when I saw ads for Marah, hoping it was a typo. No such luck, so close yet so far… And when I first heard about Cloud Cult, I thought I knew them. But, no, I had an album from The Cloud Room.

Other confusing names:
Deerhoof / Deerhunter
Department of Eagles / Eagles of Death Metal
Delta Spirit / The Duke Spirit / The Dutchess & The Duke
The Rosewood Thieves / The Rosebuds

But my favorite band name is Tea for Julie. I’m serious, this is really a band. See for yourself here.

If I had a band it could be called, well, Second Doubles, or maybe I, too, could go the symbol route. Something like ÷, but I’d let people call us Division. Or how about just “The Best Band Ever”? I can hear it now. On the radio: “That was ‘Calamity’ off the debut album from The Best Band Ever.” In conversation: “Do you know The Best Band Ever?” “It depends. Which band do you think it is?” “The Best Band Ever.” “Yeah, I get that, but what’s their name?” (this may go on for a while…). At concerts: “Thanks so much for coming, we are The Best Band Ever.” And on the venue marquee: “TONIGHT: The Best Band Ever.” Who wouldn’t buy a ticket to that show??

So, if you had a band what would its name be?


9 Responses to “Name That Band”

  1. My band would be called Haerbourne, and it would not at all be like the eurotrash that you’d expect.

    Other notable great band names: Crooklyn Dodgers and Gnarls Barkley.

  2. 2 seconddoubles

    thank you, bert, your contribution to the reader participation portion of the blog is much appreciated.

  3. 3 ilya

    I think my band would take the articles of other bands and combine them for a name. The A’s or The The (which would, of course, be pronounced TAY-TAY). Either one is spectacular and doomed to fail.

  4. 4 seconddoubles

    I like The A’s, though you might have some disappointed or confused baseball fans showing up to see you. I think The The is attention grabbing, but good luck getting anyone to find you on a google search!

  5. 5 sb

    I’d call my band “the profesionals, yeah right!” or maybe Monkey Sea/Monkey Dew

  6. 6 Gabe S

    Already exists. And they’re awesome.

  7. Got a new favorite band for you… God Or Julie.
    I heard them mentioned on the radio and thought you might enjoy being the center piece during their performance, or something!

  8. Thank you for pointing that out. This band is obviously destined for greatness. I looked them up and found this info provided by the bassist Adam Johnson:

    “The band was discussing a friend who wrote literally every song about either God or his girlfriend Julie. In turn ‘God or Julie’ got thrown into our grab bag of album title ideas, but when I suggested it as our band moniker, the light bulb went on and we all jumped on it. Mainly because of it’s wide-open ‘what-the-fuck’ quality.”

  1. 1 Frightened Rabbit « Second Doubles

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