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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So, What Exactly Is A "Supergroup"? Some (Not Entirely Serious) Definitions

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Mister Heavenly
  • Mister Heavenly
Mister Heavenly
The news today out of indieville is that Sub Pop has signed Mister Heavenly, a new group featuring Nick Diamonds from Islands, Honus Honus from Man Man, and Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse. (Can we pause for a second to ponder what a mischievous mindfuck this outfit will be? Have you ever seen Islands? And a sample Facebook status: "Practice starts in a couple of hours. Good thing we're all hungover!" Oh no.)

Anyway, said group plays its first-ever gig tonight in Seattle, supporting Passion Pit, and will headline its own show Thursday at Cafe Du Nord. But before then, and because of today's announcement, we get to watch music journalists all over the web whip out their S-words and wave them all around. No, no, you sick fucks, not the word that starts with "S" and ends with "long." We're talking about the word "supergroup." We saw this noun dangling all over stories about Wild Flag, and in fact, we even used it. Sub Pop modestly kept the S-word in its pants for today's blog post about Mister Heavenly, but Pitchfork showed it off in a headline. A Google search reveals that quite a few other writers laid out their S-words in front of Mister Heavenly as well.

All of which makes us wonder: What exactly is a "supergroup"?

So, naturally, we thought of a few definitions:

1. A group whose music you haven't heard yet, but that you'll buy tickets to see anyway.

2. A group with at least one member from a band you pretend to care about.

3. Any band whose members include Eric Clapton and/or anyone who used to be in Led Zeppelin.

4. A band whose mere formation warrants a post on Pitchfork's news blog.

5. A band that will never be as good as the band(s) that made its members famous.

6. A side project that, after a night (or several) of excessive alcohol, drugs, driving, and/or sex, became a main project.

7. A band that can afford sillier-than-usual promo photos (see above; really, guys, eating Chinese food on the roof?) Also, a band that gets promo photos before it ever plays a show.

8. A way to get people to actually listen to the shitty bands its members use to be in.

9. A better gig than blogging about music for NPR.

10. An excuse for all those weird band name ideas previously relegated to the back of the notebook.

11. An outfit that gets signed to a prestigious indie label before recording a demo or playing a show.

12. Any band in which Dave Grohl plays drums.

13. The personification of '60s/'80s/'90s nostalgia.

14. Tepid scraps from the breakup of some band that was really great.

15. Fertile leftovers from the destruction of a band that was truly crappy.

16. When applied to Velvet Revolver, an erroneous use of the word "super."

17. A band that's really just like any other band, but with more ego and bigger hype.

Do you have any helpful and/or hilarious definitions for the word "supergroup"? Leave them in the comments below.

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown and @iPORT

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Ian S. Port


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