Wednesday, January 14, 2009


A few years ago I noted in this blog that band names tend to run in trends. Pretentious strings of florid words in the 80s (Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark, Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet), single nouns in the 90s (Oasis, Blur, Nirvana), and the definite article plus plural nouns in the early 00s (The Shins, The Strokes, The Hives, The Killers).

In the late 00s, however, we have moved on. Right now the trend in band names seems to centre on Wild Animals. Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Caribou... it's like every indie musician from here to Glastonbury gets hit with an idea to form a band while lurking outside the Lords of the Tundra exhibit at the zoo. Every morning I wake up to music on my local alternative radio station, pretty certain that I'm going to hear the latest groundbreaking single from Pygmy Shrew or Orange-Bellied Parrots.

What can explain this bizarre round of groupthink? It doesn't help that most of these musicians seem to have been cast in the same mould already - a bunch of lo-fi stoners who think that the unkempt beard is the only conceivable alternative to emo hair. I say get a haircut and some chinos, hippie, and maybe you can come up with a name that actually means something.

Maybe this is why I like Vampire Weekend. Not only have they bucked the trend name-wise, but they're a nice group of preppy boys in pastel polo shirts who sing songs about the intricacies of grammar at the Oxford University Press. If you hung out with them you might get invited to their parents' place in The Hamptons for the weekend. Hang out with the Fleet Foxes and you'd probably just get day-old lentils.


Anonymous ninjamoeba said...

Although it would be awkward being the only one in the room without a trust fund or a black slave, surely.

12:42 AM  

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