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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

10 Words That Will Make Your New Band Name Suck in 2011

Posted By on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 7:00 AM

There's really no way to get around this: We're tired of your lame band names, musicians.

Every year, it seems there's a rash of similarly-monikered new outfits hankering for our eartime. And while we do love to check out new music, we'd sincerely appreciate a bit more imagination and independent thinking on your part -- especially when it comes to coining this name you presumably dream to see on the front of concert halls worldwide. So as a helpful guide, here are 10 words to avoid if you're naming a band this year.


1. Teen
Want to waste some precious moments of your life? Go to Pitchfork and search for "Teen." You'll find Teen Daze, a Canadian electronic project; Teengirl Fantasy, another bedroom electro-pop group, this one a duo; Teen Idols, The Velvet Teen, Teen Sheiks, and many more. That's of course leaving out worthy antecedents like Teenage Fanclub, and the approximately four trillion songs already written with the word "teen" somewhere in the title. We don't know why "teen" is such a popular stem word for indie-leaning group names these days, but if you want us to pay attention, don't include it in yours.

3. !!! or <<<**>>> or OoOOoo or oOooOO or \^^/ or some other not-quite-clever and totally un-Googleable punctuation nonsense.
You do want people to find out about this "band" you're in, right? (Clarification: !!! was clever in 2001, and it still looks cool on album covers, and it's fine now that everyone knows to just type "chk chk chk," but wasn't that such a pain in the ass for a while?)

4. Black
Exhausted, killed, quartered, burned, buried, exhumed, and slain through overuse several hundred more times as a stinking-lame zombie of an idea, the word "black" does not belong anywhere near your band's name. And yes even the names "Black Rainbow" and "Black Sunshine," both stupid anti-literal attempts at cleverness, are taken. Move on.

5. Bear (and all animals, actually)
Any given night in America, you could go see Grizzly Bears, Panda Bears, Minus the Bears, Bears Vs. Sharks, Bear Hands, Huggy Bears, and even Bears in Heaven. Also: Barn Owls, Dinosaur Feathers, Nobunnys, Caribous, Deerhunters and Deerhoofs, Stone Foxes, and birds galore. It makes going to a show rather like going to the zoo. Which reminds us: these days, "zoo" is overused beyond good taste, also.

6. "Boys," "Girls," and "Kids"
None of these will help you recapture your fleeting youth, no matter how badly you want to quit temping/making lattes/substitute teaching/picking up garbage and go on tour. (Not that going on tour with a band is another paste-eating day in kindergarten.) And long gone are the days when fans were tricked into thinking that seeing bands with whippersnapper names would keep them young, too. Just face it: you're old. The next thing you'll do with a boy or a girl is wipe their helpless infant ass. Better start a well-named band now and ward off parenthood as forcefully as possible.

7. Crystal
We're mystified by this one. Are all of you on tina? Do you just think it would be cool to be on tina? Or are you entranced by amethyst? Perhaps spellbound by sapphires? Tripping out on your quartz watch? In any case, Crystal Castles, Crystal Antlers, Crystal Stilts, Crystal Skulls, and, hell, even the Crystal Method have this one covered ad nauseum. Maybe its time to start brainstorming fungus names?

8. Young
Young? We went over this: You're not young. You're not a "marble god," a "prism," an "L," a "gunz," a "jeezy," a "buck," a "galaxy," a "widow," or a Neil, either. That said, there's still a smidgen of potential in "young": "Eat the Young"? Great metal name. "Explosive Young"? Decent, if presumptuous, synth-pop. "Young'n Tasty?" A sardonic vegan punk band. "The Young Fools"? Taken, and it's mainly the title of a Paul Verlaine poem. We won't dismiss you outright; just be damn careful if you decide to claim this word for your band name.

9. Lil
At the risk of outlawing a tired, though useful, word like "big," we must protest the continued use of the prefix "Lil" for everyone shorter than five-foot-ten. You aren't that lil', people, especially not in your own minds. And anyway, there are already a hundred famous hip-hoppers called "Lil" something. That's not even counting all the MySpace pages Lil B has. If you can't be tall, wouldn't you at least like to stand out?

10. Magic
Not with that name, your band isn't.

What'd we miss? Send suggestions, simplifications, and retributions to us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, Ian S. Port himself @iPORT, and like us (if you still can!) at

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