The year 2015 will see countless roots-Americana revivalists, dream-pop duos, and neo-soul indie rappers enter the already overcrowded fray of the post-internet music scene. Whatever bullshitty modifiers they use to describe their sound, one thing is for sure -- they'll invariably choose a stereotypical, trendy name for their project.
Despite the fact that the modern music landscape contains a menagerie of genres and genre amalgams, musicians aren't nearly as creative when it comes to choosing a handle. Frankly, the homogeneity is fucking embarrassing. If any of 2015's new crop want to separate from the herd, these are the tropes they'll need to avoid.
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5. "Deer" or "Wolf" Names
Notable offenders: Deerhoof, Deerhunter, Deer Tick, the Antlers (sorta), Wolf Parade, Wolfmother, Reignwolf, Wolves in the Throne Room, Yelawolf, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All
It's a goddamn miracle there isn't a band named Deerwolf frenzying the buzz-huffing tastemakers at Pitchfork. For some reason, every indie rocker with a reverb effect on their amp is titling their hypebeast after these specific poles of the animal kingdom. Sure, a lot of bands get cute by intentionally misusing the salutation (i.e., Dear Creek, the Dear Hunter), but that's far less ambitious than, I don't know, picking one of the other 7.77 million species of animals on the planet. As a matter of fact, just skip animals altogether. Our local wunderkinds Hippo Campus already have the best four-legged moniker in the biz.
4. Single-Word Plurals
Notable offenders: Grimes, Grieves, Nurses, LIONS, PRIESTS, CHVRCHES
Back in the early 2000s when indie rock first cracked TRL, seemingly every band had a name that was The ______s. The Strokes, the Hives, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and plurals of their ilk took over the MTV soundboard, leading Sum 41, of all people, to release this brilliant parody. Now, it seems that bands have forsaken the direct article in favor of single terms that are even more difficult to Google. Do your band a favor -- invest in a second or, fuck it, third word when you're workshopping names. Marquee makers aren't charging you by the character. Boston band Girlfriends had the right idea -- they changed their name to Bent Shapes when they stumbled upon the Google problem, and their new honorific is infinitely more novel and memorable.
Notable offenders: Tokyo Police Club, Procedure Club, Gem Club, Surf Club, Two Door Cinema Club
Hey, I get it, jamming in the practice space is a lot like hangin' with yer buds in a members-only clubhouse. No sellouts or parents allowed. But, unless you store your drum kit in a treehouse and have a secret handshake, maybe leave the "club" designation for children and the clandestine brotherhoods that secretly run the government. It's not the most common indie band name convention, but it is certainly the most insipid. Ditch the hobbyist aesthetic and name your band like it's a profession.
Notable offenders: Sqürl, Majical Cloudz, Wampire, CHVRCHES (again), Alvvays, Wavves
I suppose abandoning phonics is an alternative solution to the Google problem, but it doesn't do much for word of mouth. Plus it looks asinine, which isn't the association you want to drive when you're just getting your foothold in the industry. If you want to name your band "Squirrel" so badly that you're willing to resort to an umlaut, it's probably time to explore other options. What's uniquely troubling about the sensationalized spelling of band names is the misuse of the letter V, which seems to be a bifurcating trend of its own. Pointy letters are fun, I'll give you that, but all you're doing is making your band's moniker easier to chisel into a headstone.
1. Pop Culture Derivatives
Notable offenders: Joanna Gruesome, Salvia Plath, Twin Peaks, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Hoodie Allen, whatever garbage band your cousin plays in
The ultimate low-hanging fruit of band-naming trends is the pop culture pun. Somehow, co-opting the name of someone already famous now passes as novelty in indie circles. Whether it's as little as changing a single consonant sound (Hoodie Allen), subbing in a tougher-sounding rhyme (Joanna Gruesome), or simply just adopting the name unchanged (Twin Peaks), laziness is a certifiable craze. Have some pride, dammit. Name your band Wolf Clvb or DEARS before you consider working "Salman Rushdie" into an innuendo for your sludge rock quartet, because both options are less embarrassing than dumpster diving for cultural relevance.
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