Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Muppet Leather

The soft, fuzzy, synthetic side of hard core.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wrectal

An infinite series of destruction, each part of which has the same scatological character as the whole.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Kids Puppets

Delightfully hardcore, with triangles and facepaint.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Belching Urethra Aside

It's a medical thing.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nom Nom Vajayjay

Post-feminist hard core. Dykes on guitar. Dykes on bass. Dykes on drums. Dykes on vocals.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Focalt

Focalt's piano-driven melodies seek to produce a cross between the sentimental proficiency inherent in the romantic era of classical music with the syncopated, thoroughly upbeat fun of ragtime. An intriguing concept in the hands of a competent pianist, Focalt instead fumbles the transitions between the two widely different schools, producing an auditory train wreck in the process. The music wrought forth into an uncomprehending world makes substantial demands upon the listener, demands few are willing to yield to since the results are almost unlistenable at certain sections.

Splitting time between a grand piano and a honky-tonk upright, Focalt sits astride a specially designed stool which allows him the ability to slide dramatically back and forth between both instruments. A clever bit of stagecraft, it still doesn't redeem a bad idea or major musical incompetence. Smoke and mirrors are Focalt's trade and in that respect, at least, he doesn't disappoint.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jaimie James

The latest pop princess for the 'tween set, Jaimie James possesses good looks and absolutely no vocal range. In that regard she's just the latest in a very long line. Fortunately, computers can remedy the latter, though doing so is quite an effort and the label has to pay top dollar for the absolute best studio wizards. Though the technology has come along quite a lot in the years, sometimes James' singing voice sounds so processed that it seems she is singing underwater or in a cave.

James' voice is so bad, in fact, that she never even once risks singing live, relying instead on pre-recorded backing tracks. That phenomenon in itself isn't terribly uncommon these days, except that in most instances the backing band is highly proficient while the lead singer is not. James' musicians mime in front of the camera the same way their lead singer does, meaning that the entire performance is about as real as a three dollar bill. Or the Monkees.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bovine Einstein

The smartest cow in the herd is still just a cow.

Fear of Heights

Simultaneously silly and tremendously irritating, Fear of Heights rose to minor stardom on the strength of an out-of-left field hit that somehow struck a chord with the buying public and produced a Top 40 hit. Sometimes record companies can successfully hype an album or a single enough that it attracts the attention of a few influential critics, who by granting their approval, will single-handedly ensure for the lucky group a certain amount of commercial success by default. The label put money in the hands of enough king-makers to give Fear of Heights a notable critical reception at least for its debt album.

Milking the new wave formula of jittery, jerky tempos and distinctive, albeit out of tune lead vocals they sound exactly like the Talking Heads. No one is sure whether this was a strategic move to copy David Byrne's formula or merely a decision made due to the band's inability to formulate its own unique sound. The music press has been known to fawn over certain bands, often coming across as nonsensical and downright sycophantic in its rationale for lavishing this degree of adoration. Fear of Heights remain a critic's darling, though many observers fail to understand why.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saginaw

Underground hip-hop finds many fans among hipsters and college radio station listeners, particularly due to the fact that practitioners of the genre creatively pinch samples from almost every available source. Part of the fun as a listener comes in guessing exactly where the artist or group got their beats and samples. Saginaw try to work within the tradition, but aren't particularly gifted in the art of keeping a steady beat, nor in locating interesting audio source material. Since those two elements are essential components, the group is little more than a failure.

Supremely lazy might describe Saginaw's attitude towards hip-hop. Far more interested in smoking pot and playing video games, music for them is almost an afterthought and a discipline that is put together sloppily and without much preparation. Both are a recipe for disaster and it shows in how little airplay the group receives. Feeling that fame is their right, they loudly blame everyone but themselves and gripe to anyone who is willing to listen. Few care enough to grant them even that.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Luciferous

Hardcore groups have always been typified by a combination of amplified sludge, sonic assault, and throatily demonic screaming. Luciferous, to put it mildly, overdo the formula. Believing that bombastic is best and titanic is better, four singers simultaneously screech away in performance like electrocuted cats, strumming madly and utterly chaotically upon guitars amplified loud enough to cause instant hearing loss. The result sounds not unlike an explosion in a fireworks factory. The average lay person would find Luciferous substandard and mediocre, particularly if he or she were not a hardcore music fan.

However, a devoted cadre of hardcore fans show up to their shows, acknowledging that they really don't want to hear anything particularly novel. They want a kind of adrenalin consistency and cathartic opportunity and if this means that every single band sounds the same, then so be it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Politician's Progress

Barry Soniat came to public attention as a perpetual third party candidate, one whose populist rantings and proposed radical reforms were frequently discredited by the media but who, in spite of it all was beloved by an adoring fan base. Running a inevitably distant fifth place ever November, even coming in behind the Communist party's candidate for the highest office in the land, Soniat nevertheless, year in and year out collected the necessary signatures to place him on the ballot in every state in the land. Among a large slice of the electorate he was considered a bit of a bore and a consumate perennial loser, each time running a highly tasteful, but thoroughly bland campaign.

That was, of course, until after conceding in what he informed the press would be his last Presidential contest, he then decided to record an album of alternative rock standards. The first rule to be considered when recording an album of covers is: is this necessary? In the hands of a person with some degree of talent, yes. Soniat's quavery baritone is suspect enough, but the session musicians backing him play sloppily, both poorly rehearsed and not at all in synch with each other. Part of the reason why many have been hesitant to cover the alternative rock breakthroughs of the early 90's is that the personality and craft of each band in the era is so uniquely distinct and difficult to emulate competently. Slaughtering sacred cows by the bushel, Soniat manages to mangle every single song he records, turning him from a political curiosity in the media to the punchline of a huge joke. In ten years, the album he recorded might be a cult sensation, specifically due to how awful it is, but for the time being, he's an tremendously easy target of scorn and ridicule.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pangloni

The Italian composer Pangloni is a bit of an acquired taste---considered by many to be mentally unhinged. This reputation stems from the fact that he once created an entire symphony based on shattering, mutilating, or otherwise destroying a series of small glass objects in sequence. Several musicians refuse to perform these acts for fear of severely cutting themselves in the process. The public finds his radical concepts intriguing but often fail to show up for their performances. The New York Times at least bothers to review the piece for their Sunday supplement, though the comments made to describe the event are hardly encouraging nor particularly favorable.

Even more salacious and unpopular was Pangloni's series of piano etudes, each requiring a performer to file and hack away at the heavy wire of the instrument, producing an abrasive, annoying sound that sounds not unlike fingers on a chalk board. As theoretical constructs, the conductor's ideas are fascinating. As effective performances, however, they are utterly disastrous. Pagloni will always remain a curiosity, but will toil in obscurity for the remainder of his days.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cancerous Foreskin

You don't need to actually be a child, just have the mind of a child.

Mystikal

A rain stick, a wooden recorder, and a set of bongos. That is all. It is enough to hold the attention of the dreadlock wearing, soy milk drinking, thrift store frequenting, Wal-Mart hating, tastefully tattooed, and generally socially conscious set. Apparently it doesn't take much to hold their attention which means that their target audience either have not much in the way of discerning taste or are too frequently intoxicated to know the difference.

Mystikal don't have scheduled gigs, so to speak. Their performances are more like happenings. Or if, say, they happen to show up at the same time on Saturday afternoons in the park to participate in drum circles. This was how the group members met, all smoking cigarettes at a break in the action, pushed over to the side of the park, whereby they struck up a conversation and realized they had enough in common to justify starting a band. Since no member of the group has a strong voice, they instead resort to wordless chanting, which is an interesting effect to hear for a time, but is fairly limited in scope due to vocal limitations and an overall lack of creativity.

Mystial are background music for people to frolic and play hacky-sack. No more. No less.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Urban Legend

A Chicago-based foursome far more infamous for the off-stage exploits of its members than its musical performances. Urban Legend prove to have a skill for the sensationalist sound-byte, even the veracity of what they say is frequently called into question.

The female lead singer, for example, was nearly killed by spider bites. It seems her elaborate hairdo fostered a large nest of the insects. The bassist claims to have seen Bigfoot. The rhythm guitarist/pianist actually hails from Nigerian royalty in dire need of anonymous internet donations. The lead guitarist, a recovering Catholic, insists in interviews that the Vatican owns the world's largest collection of pornography. Lastly, the drummer sets forth a plea, imploring that as many people possible should sign a petition, else Jesus be portrayed as a homosexual in a forthcoming Hollywood film.

If Urban Legend are to make it, people must buy their albums. If the public does not, the economy will fall to shambles, Neptune will stop revolving around the sun, and computers will become infected with a horrible e-mail based virus.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Neurosis

While in college, the trio known as Neurosis bonded over shared emotional problems. High-strung and nervous, the band is notoriously media-shy and simply refuses to grant interviews altogether. Shunning media attention is usually the quickest path to obscurity and poverty, but Neurosis cares little for the limelight. They'd rather not be known much at all, really, which runs in severe contrast to most rock groups, who resort to at times desperate measures in an effort to be noticed.

Neurosis make for an interesting spectacle during live performances---all so clearly uncomfortable with themselves in a public setting that they trip over words, mangle guitar solos, and often times play out of synch with each other. One of the lead singer's more pronounced nervous tics occurs when he winds the microphone around and around his neck as the course of the show progresses, making many afraid he will unintentionally, eventually strangle himself. The lead guitarist insists upon three do-overs per song, which quickly grows tedious for the audience when forced to listen to a series of false starts in sequence. The bassist's singing voice begins quavery and flat, then quickly grows inaudible, as a case of severe performance anxiety arrives and grows more pronounced with every passing minute.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Special Olympics

The world's first amputee-only band, The Special Olympics are special, if by special you mean incompetent and severely limited by their disabilities. If they're expecting to be awarded a prize just for trying, they're would do well to think again. Advertising gimmicks have been a part of performances so long as there have been musicians, but the idea that people would flock to an act so hamstrung by physical defects that they could barely play their instruments is a tall order. Playing the role of the musical freak show can only take one so far.

The Special Olympics feature a one-armed violin player, a guitarist with pronounced stiffness and a lack of dexterity in the wrist of his fretting hand, and a pianist with no fingers. The singer is recovering from paralyzed vocal chords, so his raspy whisper must be amplified considerably to be heard. Each performer is in the process of attempting to find ways around his problem, but for right now the results are quite tuneless and unfortunate.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wilberforce

Armed with a Hammond organ and a gasping delivery, Wilberforce plays competent soul/funk. Desiring to look the part, Wilberforce Daniels grows an unkempt, massive Afro, which sways from side to side, seemingly under the control of its own gravitational field during performances. As a result, Wilberforce is a curiosity to the music listening public whose peculiarities alone draw a decent sized share of attendees to live shows.

The problem arises when one takes the time to observe his live performances in some detail. Most of his song are in the same key, use the same time signature, and are little more than re-writes of his best composition. He recycles lines of melody and sonic effects, and lest the audience desert him altogether, attempts to negate his limitations by flagrantly lifting ideas from other recording artists, hoping no one will call his hand on it. If he wins any degree of success, he is a lawsuit waiting to happen. It's just a matter of whose publishing companies sues Wilberforce first.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Hip Cats

Beat poetry punctuated with bongos and a stand-up double bass reached its apex in the late 1950's and though the form never completely went away, it is found in much diminished quantity these days. Still, from time to time some brave souls will try to breathe some life into the tired old genre. The Hip Cats, as they chose to name themselves, are three socially conscious, politically active college students who simultaneously recite free-form poetry of their own composition to a jazzy tempo. That's the goal, at least.

The group/performing troupe tip their hat to their beatniks ancestors by appearing on stage decked out in berets and clad from head to toe in black. It must be noted, however, that beat poetry lives or dies on a clever combination of rhyme scheme, rhythm, and syncopation. The Hip Cats can successfully manage none of these components in tandem. Instead, they engage in lengthy political rants against almost every imaginable subject, which stretch on for minutes at a time and do nothing to hold the attention of the audience. The situation is made even worse because all three performance launch into similarly expansive militant diatribes at the same time, changing what would have been a tedious performance into an incoherent and incomprehensible one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Falconetti

Falconetti needs no introduction because he is better known for his outrageous public behavior than his performances. He is best known, of course, for personally castrating himself at the age of thirteen in order to capture an otherworldly vocal register that no male nor any female could ever reach. The procedure itself has been illegal for nearly two hundred years, but Falconetti broke the law anyway to ensure he'd have a serious chance at fame. While the effect produced is rather interesting, males attending his concerts have a tendency to cross their legs over each other, painfully contemplating what the process of emasculation must have felt like. In fact, few men can make it through an entire performance without running for the exits, since the singer's eerie ability to hit exceptionally high notes never allows anyone in the audience to forget exactly how he came upon his unique talent.

Woman, however, flock to Falconetti, impressed by his talent, and aware that engaging in a relationship with a man who lacks testicles runs no risk of being impregnated. So it is that the well-known opera singer appears at a variety of publicity functions with at least one woman, sometimes two on his arm.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sea Shaman

Conceptual performance art is, by its very nature, a bit bizarre. Those who practice it demand unique, distinct, and frequently weird sounds to compliment the equally strange goings on that occur on stage. The emphasis is not on competence or even on talent, instead the desired backing music should be obnoxious, dissonant, and grating. There is no shortage of so-called musicians eager to fill this peculiar need.

Sea Shaman certainly is up to the challenge. A five minute section in which the actors are writhing about on the floor as though inflicted with a kind of extreme motion sickness is punctuated by the sound produced when jingling car keys are scraped across cello strings. Another lengthy section of the performance which requires the cast to cluck like a chicken in sequence is backed by the amplified sound of a pair of scissors cutting through cheap canvass. The jarringly unnerving result of this effect in tandem with what's happening on stage could not be any more incongruous.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Joanie Hancock

Attempting to redefine and reinvigorate the folk confessional singer-songwriter genre by adding a healthy dollop of jazz fusion, Joanie Hancock certainly gives it her best shot. It's really not her fault that the combination sounds like an auditory train wreck. The problem rests with her parsimonious record label, who can only afford to budget a few thousand dollars to cover the cost of the production. An ambitious project like this needs money, and lots of it.

Instruments in traditional jazz are often in different keys to each other, which requires that they be transposed with one another on paper and as such compatible musically. Transposing, however, requires some degree of skill and certainly demands a person who can read music. James, although an autodidact at guitar is not up to the challenge. The resulting sessions produce a full length that fails to chart but does win a cult audience of a few thousand rabid fans, who appreciate that she's tried to do something very different, even if the end result is utterly chaotic.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Capstar

Often as soon as rock musicians scale to the heights of superstar status, they have little to nothing to prove anymore. After selling out arena after arena, spending several weeks in the Billboard charts, being interviewed in all the best music magazines, and winning a never-ending stream of sycophants they frequently have a tendency to indulge in what are very rightly termed "vanity projects."

Vanity projects can take many forms, but what they all have in common is that almost every one of them turn out to be awful. Here a few examples---the guitarist who has spent years developing his pentatonic, slightly derivative guitar soloing suddenly wants to release an album full of jazz standards, despite having absolutely no talent in that department. The pianist who effortlessly knocks out one lilting, perfect pop song after another switches instruments to the clavier or the harpsichord and hires an eighteen piece orchestra to back him. The vocalist who made his name in punk through his gasping, overblown vocal style now wishes to sing like Frank Sinatra, and no one has the guts to tell him his voice is totally unsuited for the genre.

Capstar is a very peculiar kind of vanity project. Three members of a successful, hard rock group have decided they wish to record a new batch of songs for a children's animated television program. The powers that be haven't given the series the green light just yet, but the group impatiently starts sessions anyway. What is being lauded by their label's promotion department as "the softer side of Capstar" should probably be called instead "some of the worst songs ever recorded". Vanity project have a way of revealing massive musical limitations. Without heavy distortion and high energy, the group aren't much of anything except dreaming big with nothing to back it up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No Talent Required

Punk

Opisthotones

Originally, I wanted to spell this with a schwa, but I am too lazy to look up the code. Just imagine the e is upside down, OK?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Band Name Here

Interestingly enough, Band Name Here never tours. No one except a favored few have even ever seen their faces. They don't make music videos and they never give interviews. Given all that, it's a wonder they even make a living, right?

Wrong.

Having learned early that it doesn't matter how good you are if you can't market yourself effectively, from the very beginning Band Name Here sold their music to the programming departments of major national network television stations. In exchange, their music is featured prominently in the background of many sitcoms, though they are frequently uncredited for their efforts. The group writes songs specifically to fit the action and plot of the latest episode, no matter how banal, and make no effort whatsoever to sound fresh, exciting, or edgy. Instead they blatantly copy the elements of whatever song is selling well in the Top 40 and produce an exact facsimile. This saves the television studios large sum of money, since they're not obligated to pay royalty fees to the record labels of these currently popular bands. Though those with a sharp ear can easily tell the difference between cheap imitation and the genuine article, most people are too busy watching their program to notice much of a difference.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jason

Jason is the son of a famous rock musician, a star so famous he no longer has to be referred to by his last name anymore. Everyone in the nation, if not the world is on a first name basis with him. Jason, however, is a different story.

Like the children of many famous musicians, Jason is famous by default, or at least by association, and is well known almost entirely as a result of the legacy of his father. It goes without saying that within a year Jason will have his own reality television show, which will probably feature a cameo performance or two from his famous Dad.

Sometimes the progeny of the phenomenally talented can keep pace with their trailblazing mothers or fathers, but often times they pale in comparison. Jason is clearly the latter. His voice is reed thin, his skill at the guitar is minimal, he has no prowess at any other instrument, and so despite being backed by the best session musicians and superstar producers money can buy, studio trickery and high production values alone can't disguise a bad product.

Still, despite his numerous limitations, Jason's music videos are well-received, gorgeously rendered, and tastefully presented. A handful of people who don't know any better still buy his albums and sometimes at parties someone put a song or two on, strictly for the novelty factor.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

4-Tran and the Monkey Man

*shrugs*

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Edict of Nantes

One part Renaissance faire, one part funk band, The Edict of Nantes sprouted fully-formed from the heads of two best friends whose interest in music appreciation was as pronounced as their love of classic 70's funk.

Electrifying a large wooden recorder, a lute, and the voices of two classically trained madrigal singers, the band utilizes unique time signatures and heavy dollops of reverb to produce a truly unique sound. Unique and pleasing to the ear are not always mutually exclusively, however and the Edict of Nantes proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Songs like "A Passing Pasture of Power" and "Soul Boogie Buecolic" are among the group's most requested numbers.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Prix

Properly pronounced "The Pree" but no doubt designed to have a double meaning as an immature pun. For this reason alone, The Prix are beloved by seventh grade boys around the world. The aforementioned group scored a coup by marketing their concert t-shirts to major clothing outlets, immediately creating a huge trend among the 'tween set. The garmet appeals to those who would have been inclined to wear the popular "Co-Ed Naked" or "No Fear" brand in the generation immediately preceding the current one. Within three or four years they become known as vulgar accessories and spawn a variety of sarcastic jokes frequently told in hipster circles.

For the time being however, clueless school administrators and teachers miss the point altogether and the few who do catch on can't really complain all that loudly. Compared to the messages emblazened across the chests of many kids these days, the Prix shirts are pretty tame, all told. Those who wear the shirts also have the option of plausibility denial--they can always claim ignorance as their best defense.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Discredible Hulk

I don't know. I'm sure it's great.

MILFs on Ice

Sometimes your mom just has to get down and chill!

My Feelings

Clearly, they suck, but what better moniker for an emo kid with a guitar?

Bat Box

The world has been waiting for this: goth hip-hop.

The Randolph W. Griffin Quartet

Billing themselves in the hard-bop style of jazz greats like John Coltrane and Miles David, The Randolph W. Griffin Quartet certainly attempts to dress the part. Nattily dressed in identical black and white suits, a different color handkerchief in the pockets of each member, they're impressive to see, visually at least. If clothes alone made for excellence, there would be no shortage of it to go around. Yet as is often the case, excellently dressed often does not mean excellently proficient.

To begin with, there's a simple matter of the name of the group itself. The title would not seem out of place adorning the name of a nineteenth century politician or a film director of overwrought epics, but unless meant in irony, it doesn't grab the attention of the audience. Next, there's a slight problem with the solos. Jazz musicians are expected to improvise solos on the spot, both as a means of showcasing the technical chops of each player and as a way of providing the audience an opportunity to observe what each instrument sounds like in isolation. The quartet manages to sound competent when each player provides his own part alongside the other three players, each designed to fit together seamlessly in interlocking fashion. That is not the issue. The problem, instead, is that when the audience calls for a solo, every performer grows so intensely self-conscious and nervous that the end result could not be described as music. Wavering, quivering trumpet, imprecise trombone, off-beat, off-tempo drumming, squeaky, squiggly saxophone---irregardless of the instrument, the end result is identical.

Unless they can conquer their stage fright, The Randolph W. Griffin quartet will never be much of anything. But, at least they look nice.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Scraggle

Hyperbole aside, punk rock at its core is little more than a bunch of angry, ugly kids in someone's basement. No group is more indicative of this sentiment than Scraggle.

Working the private party circuit, Scraggle has been featured in so many dark, dingy basements, antique houses, wine cellars, and converted warehouses that they crack jokes that, like Dracula, they will crumble into dust if they are exposed to direct sunlight. They work cheaply, for starters, and their utterly generic take on the genre means that they are loud enough to be heard, unremarkable enough to offer no offense to the audience, and inexpensive enough that they will play practically anywhere their services are required. For those who like their bands indistinguishable from the rest of the pack, kind of like interchangable parts, Scraggle is a favorite.

Scraggle plays extremely fast, sloppily, and abrasively. Since the parties they play are usually awash in alcohol and other drugs, most people are too intoxicated to know the difference. To many partygoers, punk is about attitude, and attitude supersedes skill or dexterity. This philosophy of music, however, means that every song is played in the same key, with the same time signature, and using the same three chords. Those who believe that music is meant to explore different sounds and sonic textures end up disappointed. Those who believe music is a cathartic exercise and should be the perfect soundtrack to compliment violence, petty thievery, and senseless acts of vandalism are most pleased.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Gender Neutral

Following queercore to its logical conclusion, Gender Neutral are a quartet of openly bisexual Portland-based musicians. Comprised equally and deliberately of two men and two women, the music they create is frequently far less interesting than the perpetual cloud of scandal that hangs thickly around the group. To the music press and the general public by proxy, their combined output as songwriters and performers is far less important than the novel nature of the band itself. Defying the unwritten rules of Rock Band 101, they have all, at one point or another, dated each other, creating a never-ending stream of rumors, innuendo, and media-fueled speculation as to precisely who will enter into a relationship with whom next.

Gender Neutral do nothing to squelch the barrage of gossip; if anything, they encourage the hype and the frequent denouncement by conservative watchdog groups that inevitable result from it. Recognizing that their limited musical proficiency would likely never grab anyone's attention, they decided instead to reach for the easiest refuge of the minimally talented--a gimmick. This gimmick comes at the expense of their private lives, but some people will eager sacrifice their privacy for the trappings of fame. Frequent public displays of affection between members, spectacular breakups, and promises of ultimate fidelity show with exacting detail that the love life of every member is a bit like a game of relationship musical chairs. It's never known for sure whether these dramatic display of emotion and shifting allegiances are genuine or publicity stunts. Sources close to the band reveal that the line between fantasy and reality has been blurred so often for the sake of sensationalism that members themselves can no longer distinguish the difference between the two.

Gender Neutral quite cleverly describe themselves in every interview as harbingers of a new sub-genre, Androgenesis. No one is quite sure exactly what the style entails or if anyone other than the group itself can be said to adhere to the self-styled new movement. This ploy proves conclusively that just because you're wily enough to coin a neologism describing your style of music doesn't mean you have the talent or competence to back it up. However, in the world of shallow celebrity, that's a revelation that will take years to take a foothold in the public consciousness. In the meantime, people are too busy passing judgment on the internal drama and manufactured strife within the group itself to focus on much else.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wild Side Singers

Originally conceived as a Lou Reed cover band, Wild Side Singers, putting together the tracks for their debut album, work diligently to emulate the speak-sung voice of their idol in the studio. Though at least two of the four members is blessed with an excellent singing voice, the group tries every tactic in the world to desperately roughen up their vocal chords. Rodin Dowling, journeyman producer and Svengali to the band insist that each vocalist smoke two cigarettes in between vocal takes. Members are eager to oblige, but thus far, results have been heavily mixed.

No matter how many studio tricks are employed, they cannot escape the fact that Wild Side Singers, instead of emoting a kind of cocksure swagger a la Reed, instead sound pubescent, high-pitched, and halting. In frustration, producer Dowling hires session players to render an adequate facsimile of Reed's deliberately untrained timbre. The group is, however, allowed to play their own instruments to produce the backing track upon which the vocals will be layered. Their slight at not being allowed to sing a note on their own album, however, is a hard pill to choke down.

Surprisingly, their album I've Been Told That You've Been Bold scores an underground success in the independent charts. As a result they are asked to engage in a twenty city tour. The group is in a panic trying desperately to devise a way, any way, to sound authentic to the album. Failing to devise any adequate means of compensating for the huge shift in pitch that any sober person in the audience will easily recognize, they instead revert to the old standard of any anxious musician and begin using copious amounts of drugs. Ironically, drug abuse solves the problem. Who would have thought that heroin usage changes the tone of a person's voice?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

VHF

Beloved by its fan base of irony-drenched hipsters, VHS manages to rise above minimal competence to actually manage sell out a small club from time to time. Aware of the fact that constant touring would reveal the band's technical limitations, they play a show every three months, after obsessively promoting it in alternative newspapers, college radio station, and online zines. The novelty of a two person band utilizing a zither and two warbling, off-kilter vocalists proves irresistible to the tragically hip.

Every show, VHS adds an obscure and esoteric instrument to the mix. The audience is unaware of what it will be until they arrive for their latest gig. After going dumpster diving outside of a recording studio, the two members found an antique synthesizer which had been thrown away because it no longer functioned. Using skills culled from a year spent at technical college, the instrument was painstakingly rebuilt. Occasionally it works. Frequently it overheats.

VHF is currently in negotiations to record its first album, which will be released on a small independent label. After being pressed and released to the public, it will sell approximately 6,000 copies during its first run, quickly go out of print, and five year later be lauded in the alternative music press as a cult classic.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Magda

Magda is the brainchild of one Magda Hasekonlsky of Varna, Bulgaria. Magda and erstwhile keyboardist/producer John Bollington hope to create a new wave of lo-fi chamber pop, using cheap vintage Casios. Thus far, their sounds has been met with either indifference or brief, mild praise. A one paragraph review in the local alternative press proclaimed their first show as "inoffensive, exactingly performed, but dull".

Magda's icy stare, cold demeanor, and well-deserved reputation as high-maintenance princess translate well to her musical style. Casting a foreboding presence, Magda sits rigidly, impassively, in a high backed chair while singing. Bollington's dark shadings and keyboard flourishes appear well behind the singer, making it known to the audience that the focus should be on Magda, not her accompanist. The effect produced is rather striking, though hardly memorable.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Goated

Censored.

The Souls of Defeat

Too clever for their own good.

Lack of Hedgehog

You know they're weirdos before you even see the wigs.

The Lonerist

Kid learned to play the guitar and record multiple tracks on his Mac.

Raining Stars

Goth ethereal new age. Their first album would be, "Let it Reign."

Twenty Past Tomorrow

Some kind of electronica-pop?

Their opener is a whiskeyed up garage band called Late: Thirty.

Sasquatchewan

Canadian, obviously.

Victory Pumpkin

Upbeat!

Common Trolls

Yeah, the Internet is full of them.

Update

No, that's not a band name. That's a lead in to an explanation of where I've been, for the twelve people who are fans of this blog.

It's been a rough month. And the thing is, we are constantly generating band names around here, because we are getting wasted a lot. But I stopped updating them because thinking of things to write about them had become a chore. Because I don't know nearly as much about music as Comrade Kevin, who will teach you an upper-level course on the history of rock and roll, if you ask him.

But these awesome band names are piling up. So I'm just going to post them without too many words of explanation. Feel free to tell me what they mean in comments. Or, as always, to suggest your own band names. Anyone with two good suggestions can become a contributor to Open Source Punk Name Database.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Faux Paus

Brutal honesty is the calling card of this group as is a revealing kind of self-deprecating humor. Some might assume it's done in fun, as some kind of post-modern critique, but since they're a bit on the simple side, don't give them more credit than they're due.

A running joke revolves around the band's album and single titles, which are almost always an exercise in face value judgments---or to put it another way, what you see is exactly what you get. For example, Faux Paus' debut album was named Please Don't Judge Us Too Harshly, which was then followed six months later by Not Quite as Bad as the Last One. The group's first introduction to the charts was, appropriately enough a single called "We're Getting There, I Swear."

The latest effort reveals the frustration within the group, titled Never Going to Work Out. The lead-off single is called "Creative and Artistic Differences", backed with "Ego Problems".

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Eisenwerk Orchestra of Power

Three German computer geeks set forward their sincere, yet nonetheless awkward synthesis of electronica and funk. Incorporating repetitive sampling with the booming brass sound of a live trombone and alto saxophone is no easy feat, and certainly beyond their combined limited musical talents. No one faults the group for the daring effort, but they simply aren't competent enough to pull off the endeavor.

Karl Reiss, the band's de facto leader, periodically switches back and forth from his console to strap on a fretless bass, laying forth a few mellow grooves, as the song demands. Most performances are punctuated by meaningful, but often incoherent vocalizing in English, clearly not the group's first language. What results is a kind of English/German hybrid that ironically is understood well by neither native English speakers, nor native German speakers.

Avoid at all costs.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nickajack All-Stars

Attempting to expand country music to the latte drinking, yuppie set, Nickajack All-Stars certainly have their work cut out for them. The group suffers from a lack of hick cred among the traditional country music listening set and a total dearth of interest among hipsters and young professionals. With the support of the former, the band could play at the Grand Old Opry and be adored by pickup truck driving, tobacco chewing, blue-collar workers. With the support of the later, their twangy vocals and unusual lyrics could find a kind of irony-drenched popularity. Sadly, they fail on both counts.

Hits include, "The Blue Blue Sky of my Skye Skye Vodka", "My Prius Just Died", and "Whole Foods Blues."

Monday, July 14, 2008

Instantonitis

Geek rock at its finest. Each of the four members holds a phD from a prestigious Ivy League school and had every intention of ending up in a reputable profession, but found that music was a more lucrative endeavor. Their album The Hour of Not Quite Literature showcases the group's disarmingly simplistic interlocking keyboard, bass, rhythm guitar, and drum parts. Their tired take on roots rock shines through competently on exactly one song, which everyone in the audience calls for by name.

Aside from that, every song is in the one of the same three keys that guitarists find the least challenging. Despite this, the band scored an unexpected number fourteen hit in the charts with "Phonological and Lexical", a song that explores English grammatical terms. It was quickly latched onto by secondary school educators in an effort to try to seem hip while at the same time teaching high school students the beauty of adverbs, prepositions, and modifiers.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sharpsburg Prairie Dog

Beloved among aging baby boomers, Garrison Keilor, and NPR listeners, Sharpsburg Prairie Dog's take on bluegrass utilizes two warbling female vocalists who sing carefully crafted high-harmony duets, an electrified banjo, a fiddle player, and a washboard bass. Although every song sounds completely identical to the one that came before, no one seems to notice or care.

Members of an Americana, back-to-basics music movement which makes no pretenses towards originality in songcraft or performance, Sharpsburg Prairie Dog instead tries to emulate early twentieth century folk and to sound exactly like Appalachian hillbilly music. The intent may have been to revisit a long forgotten musical form, whose original practitioners have long since passed away, but instead of pushing the genre forward, the result produced is a kind of willful inertia--each song part and parcel of an endlessly repetitive nostalgia piece that everyone professes their love for out of a desire to seem trendy and on the cutting edge, but no one really cares much for in reality. In reality, it's just white noise, albeit a trendy kind of white noise.

Monday, June 30, 2008

ElectroniK Meat Babies

Seamless melange of techno-grunge with a sexual edge. Volatile electronic beats, repetitive high-pitched lyrics, and revealing pleather jumpsuits form the backbone for non-stop retro fun.

Sparky's Lust Muffin

The plaintive wail of the long-haul trucker singing softly along with the radio as his big rig speeds out of control down a fog-covered mountain, this is the aesthetic of Sparky's Love Muffin. Folk blues with raunchy but good natured bite.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yosepef

Billed as Slovakia's answer to Bob Dylan, this rather bold claim is, in fact, a rather presumptous and unfair comparison made mostly out of a combination of wishful thinking and bad billing. While Dylan was a genuine lyrical genius songwriter with an often biting wit, Yosepef's lilting folk and lush fingerpicking seems rather subdued by contrast. For the Western release of his first extended player, the artist was forced to learn English phonetically in a mere four days, and the result produced is a a kind of off-kilter, awkward delivery that only accentuates the strangeness of the music.

Yosepef Norageniskal's breezy, albeit heavily accented voice embraces the starry-eyed optimism and lushly ornate sound that characterizes a warm summer's day. Either that, or a soundtrack to an animated children's film from the 1960's.

With the hit singles, "Flowers in the Upside-Down Breeze", "A Cloak of Velvet Twilight", and "Embracing Your Vegetable Spirit", the album found a cult audience in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, but flopped massively in the rest of the United States, and for that matter, the rest of the English speaking world.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Joseph Pendelton's Beefeater Band featuring Morgan Graflington

The world's first prog rock/polka hybrid band incorporates state-of-the-art sound effects with a dose of good old fashioned accordion-driven auditory spectacle. One could never accuse the group of aiming low, as evidenced by a multitude of sweeping concert length songs that often pass the ten minute mark. Lead gutarist Graflington is kept busy for the majority of the show, standing behind a small tower of computers that produce the sonic backdrop upon which the sprawling accordion solos, the band's trademark, are built.

With song titles like "Twenty-Third Century Centaur" and "Eleven Hundred Woodchucks Baked in a Pie", the band revels in deliberately verbose titles, having never met an adjective, nor a noun it didn't like. Album covers are produced by the band's drummer, who took a class in collage art at a community college. Said community college happens to also be the location by which the group found itself with an only slightly used and only slightly stolen timpani, which is used frequently and meant to add a symphonic sense of theatricality to the proceedings.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

There's Always Room for Fail

Little can be said of a band that dedicates itself to the pursuit of suck. Their target fan base is fifteen years old, male, and unable to get a date. There's Always Room for Fail, or TARfF, is loud and obnoxious.

Big Glasses for Men with Big Heads

Snarky, silly, and savvy in the spirit of acts like Spin Doctors and They Might Be Giants, Big Glasses for Men with Big Heads sing quasi-meaningful ballads about topics as diverse as fishing, the age of dinosaurs, the lymphatic system, and hydrogen bonds.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Drinundel

This vaguely Scandinavian sounding band caters to the Renaissance Fair attending crowd. If you're the sort of person likely to concoct a pseudonym for yourself that sounds mysteriously foreboding while at the same time exceptionally geeky, Drinundel are the group for you.

So, Lord Belvedere, and Lady Portutia, party like it's 1599, and in the process don't forget to talk loudly about your strongly-held opinions regarding The Lord of the Ring trilogy and your recent command of Middle English. If you'd have liked to live in a world of mead, chivalry, and ill-fitting tunics, then congratulations, you've found your element. If you've always wanted to wear a pompadour, ladies, then welcome to the club. If you break the ice by referring to the Red Dwarf convention you attended four years ago, you will fit in well.

Most of the women in attendance are exceptionally overweight and at least superficially Wiccan in spiritual beliefs. Men grow their hair down to shoulder length and wax poetically about their authentic period facial hair. If you like singing antiquated drinking songs, most of which are either Irish, Scottish, or English in origin, and make no pretense of concealing a puerile sense of toilet humor, this is your crowd.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Nuclear Holocaustic Bloodbath

...or, in short, hardcore death metal at its most amateurish.

Four sixteen-year-olds, garbed in black and wearing Hot Topic finery, hail from a small southern town. During performances, the guitarists crank up the distortion and their $800 effects pedals to disguise a lack of authenticity or anything remotely resembling actual talent. Each song utilizes the same four power chords, though they are in the process of learning a fifth, and soon hope to incorporate this technical innovation into their songwriting canon.

Nuclear Holocaustic Bloodbath are beloved by their fan base of heavily tatted, pierced, and often drug addicted young women, several of whom became pregnant in their late teens. These unfortunate misfit groupies openly and quite fashionably shirk their parental responsibility by effectively handing their unwanted children over to long-suffering parents, in effect freeing themselves up to attend concerts and to live a life of cheerful hedonism.

Group members came up with their name one study hall, after finishing a spades tournament. It was agreed by consensus vote that the name sounded "scary enough, but not too scary".

The primary songwriters work a grueling shift at a convenience store back home, and dream of being a superstar. Each will, after high school, secure a job as an electrician or plumber's assistant.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Impa'chillin

Just another chronic jam band playing interminable drum solos and long-winded guitar riffs with the occasional catchy lyric. Basic background noise when you're sober, increasingly cosmically amazing the more the listener alters his or her consciousness.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Dune Buggies

A Neil Young cover band, The Dune Buggies explore the exact point at which good intentions and minimal talent meet.

Comprised of four music geeks, TDB, as they are affectionately known by their legion of approximately twelve fans, often play college towns in Ohio somewhere in the neighborhood of around eight in the evening. Despite the fact that the only people in a smoky-dive bar at eight o'clock are either a) hard-core alcoholics or b) the girlfriends of group members, this matters little to them.

As an aside, they are routinely beaten at local Battle of the Bands competitions by a woman named Carla who plays the spoons.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Everybody Loves Wang

Family-friendly and folksy, Wang plays guitar, harmonica, and kazoo, and shares the stage with children's choirs and soft-rock combos. Peter, Paul, and Mary meet Raffi, if Raffi were Chinese.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Bee's Knees

This Twenties revival band is one part Dixieland Jazz, and two parts vintage clothing. Members play period instruments: a decrepit banjo, a dusty trombone, a decaying piano long out of tune, and a scuffed up trumpet. They have to be extremely careful not to overdo it, else the nearly eighty-five year old museum pieces fall apart in front of the audience. Priding themselves on a combination of purity and minimalism, they simply can't dance the Charleston in clothing that old, else their broad-brimmed cloches or ties that resemble an egg in the stages of scrambling crumble into dust or bust seams.

Women wear floor length raccoon coats that shed like crazy and scatter the front rows with fluff. Men slick their hair back and stride with faux confidence back and forth across the length of the stage, projecting an air of ridiculous optimism common only to the period.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Malicious Poetry

One of those haunting punk acts whose angry, percussive rage punctures your senses, leaving behind the empty holes of ghostly recognition that allow their subtle lyrics to blow through your spirit as if it were a pan pipe.

Friday, May 9, 2008

GlauPunk

At first glance GlauPunk is a disturbing mix of french bar music and german hard core punk. At second glance they are just as disturbing. Fortunatly for listeners, that garbled mish mash of syllables and sounds is not actually any specific language, therefore they are unlikely to actually offend anyone. Well, not lyrically, anyway.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Short White People

Looks like emo, sounds like ska, this is a band of contradictions. Although the drummer is only 5'4", she is a woman of color, and the rest of the band are of average or above-average height. Short white people produces great dance music with funny lyrics about topics such as road trips where nobody has a map or gas money or taking small children apple-picking.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Satan Cookies

Sweet, sour, hot and tasty. This band is evil in the most chocolaty kind of way. Songs include "Dip you in Chocolate" "Oatmeal heart" and "Snickerdoodle this, B@#%$"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tamponstry

Tamponstry is angry, angsty and passionate, a quarter of the time. The rest of the time, expect artsy tunes that resemble folk music. The lead singer once locked herself in a dressing room for a week. Those in the audience that were patient were treated to what they called " the best show on estrogen"

Friday, April 11, 2008

Disappointsville

Sarcastic songs, mostly about breaking up. The band's first effort, Welcome to Disappoinstsville, was a concept album that chronicled every aching step in the drummer's long, drawn-out break up with his high school girlfriend while the fourth album Population: Four Pissed-Off Guys covered more diverse territory, including separation, divorce, restricted visitation rights, and unemployment.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Crack Sloth

This one was a real band--for about fifteen minutes. My friends formed it in a high school, back in the stone age. I don't think they had any musical talent, though, so the band didn't exactly go anywhere. This name was the best thing about the band, and they wanted it to live on in electronic form, so here it is. If you want to revive Crack Sloth, just let me know! They'll be thrilled.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Tepid Chukky

What can you say about a band named after a bottle of hard cider that's been left open on the windowsill for two days? They're not as flat as their namesake, and less fattening. The cymbals hit you harder, though.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Pejoratives

There are plenty of words one might use to describe The Pejoratives, and all of them are rude, inconsiderate, and politically incorrect. The sax player can make his instrument wail all seven of Carlin's words you can't say on TV, and the lead singer has Tourette's. This is a band favored by middle age men who haven't quite forgotten their punk roots even though they're married with children.

Tweeker Muffins

Speed metal meets Martha Stewart in this group. Songs include "Sift then Measure" and Grease my Pan".

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clogmoor(e)

A recent import from Scotland, Clogmoor(e) is reminiscent of the good ol' days of punk rock. Authentic in sound and emotion. They deftly avoid any odvious musical puns and metaphors and delve into a real sound that leaves you feeling alone in the highlands.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Little Balls Upstairs

Four scrappy guys playing thrash metal like robots with bad wiring. High energy performance and unintelligible lyrics. Their second album, Big Balls Downstairs, was a huge seller in Scandinavia, but the band broke up after their lead guitarist fall off a dam. His body was never recovered.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Amorous Moose

You may think they're kidding, but they play like they're serious. From the hit single "Baby, I Love Your Rack" off their breakthrough album, Lovesick, to the non-stop energy of the concept album, Migration, the members of Amorous Moose work hard to hold their own among more anthropocentric rock bands. Recently, they made headlines with three upbeat, intense cuts all hitting the top 40 charts at the same time: "Like Green Moss," "Natural Salt Lick," and "Runnin' through the Taiga."

PhilSpore

Nobody knows what Phil is or how to identify his spore, but the band rocks. Their music runs the gamut from lovely protest a la U2 to angry slack a la Green Day. Great fun for music lovers.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Naked in a Sock

Begun as a tribute band dedicated to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Naked in a Sock quickly discovered that it was really the thrill of being naked in public that drove their sound. As a cover band they are quite good. However, their own original songs are weak and tasteless. Of course, so are their stage shows.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Unmanity

Three androgens in miniskirts and ripped fishnets, Unmanity's atonal arrangments deconstruct modern music at the same time that their minimal costumes strip down stereotypical notions about gender. Both difficult and intriguing to watch, but mostly just difficult to listen to.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Laughing Larry and loquacious Lemmings

Raised by aging beat poets in the back of a VW camper bus, Laughing Larry writes acid pop and marijuana melodies. Fortunately for fans this band relies on music and not a message. Fun tunes and a great stage show make Larry and the Lemmings fun for the whole family. Unfortunately for fans, the latest tour has been cancelled as the tour bus is broken down in a field in the Willamette Valley.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Technoquakers

Good clean living and righteous electronic vibes: Technoquakers will blow your soul.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ham Powder & Garlic Wafers

Inspired by a recipe from an upscale cooking magazine, they practiced really hard, but they never made it to Battle of the Bands. They never even made it out of their mom's garage.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Interrupting Cow

Sweet dulcet lowing. Hardly. Built around the premise that no one instrument should be more important than any other, nor should anyone person have more lead singing time than any other, Interrupting Cow in usually incoherent, and always irritating. Fortunately that particular brand of sound works well in a mash pit.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Deyolkit

Hard-core angry feminist pop punk featuring such enduring tunes as "Out of My Bush!" and "I Kissed Janet Reno." The band has been around since the early 80s, maintaining a small but dynamic fan base and experiencing a surge in popularity every election year.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Box of Tapioca

Box of Tapioca eliminates the middle man by producing tracks that follow all the conventions of elevator music. Low-key instrumental ditties that blend into nothingness are the hallmark of this ubiquitous, yet forgettable band.

Q*suck

Hearkening back to the early days of punk rock, Q*suck keeps it real by using only purloined instruments, which are destroyed by the band as the finale of every live show and most of their studio albums. Given their method of acquiring guitars and the frequency with which they go through drum kits, fans have learned that scheduled performances hinge on whether or not the band is in jail. Most music shops hire extra security when Q*suck is in town, but none of this alters the band's utter lack of talent or the rabid devotion of their base.

obesecentricity

These guys are huge! The bassist tops out at 400lbs. And he is the little guy. Their music is as big as they are. Concerts are a bit like attending a symphony on LSD. No, that doesn't sound right, is the symphony on LSD or are you? Doesn't matter, it is fun either way. Just don't let these guys stage dive.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wingowangowongo

An all percussion band. Loud, raucous, and thouroughly engaging.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chichi and the Wonderpants

So many things about are surprising. Not the least of which is that they are good. A bossanova feel to the Emo sensibilities is the first thing that catches the listener off guard. Don't be fooled thought, Chichi is hurting and belts out the pain. The Wonderpants ( a motley group of disaffected teens from upper crust Miami) have put their expensive music lessons to good use. Their dedicated following have nicknamed themselves the "coconut cutters".

Monday, February 25, 2008

Disrespectful Tweed

Quiet noise. A surprisingly enjoyable group out of Boston, Disrespectful Tweed unleashes the buttoned-down anger of the intellectual trapped in a material world. Popular among college music djs and underground club goers, the band makes a decent, but not ostentatious living playing rock and roll, punk, ska, and anything else that strikes their fancy. A band with integrity and a mission.

Third Place Victory

Celebrating the loser who exists in everyone's heart, Third Place Victory plays Green Day covers along with their own dreary brand of rock and roll, focused on ill-fated relationships, girl who don't look at you twice, and parents who insist that you need to move out now that you're in your 20s. Their record sales would probably be more impressive if their fan base wasn't so prone to suicide.

Spongelica

If you've ever spent a weekend binge drinking, woken up on a stranger's couch with a keg tap stuffed up your ass, and headed out to a bar for a little hair of the dog, you can identify with the 180-proof lyrics of Spongelica, the band that just rolled out of bed and hasn't had a moment to comb its hair or brush its teeth since 1997. Drawing on the old-school punk traditions of minimal musical talent suspended from a tenuous relationship to mind-altering substances, Spongelica appeals to the angry drunk in us all.

Officially The

Clean-cut teeny boppers hearkening back to the 80s, Officially The presents upbeat ballads along the themes of boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-for-girl, boy-freaks-out. Some songs extol the virtue of best friends, lollipops, and shoes with wheels built into the soles, one of their few concessions to the modern era. Yuppie style is religiously adhered to in music videos and concert tours. Band members are replaced as soon as they appear to have mostly completed puberty.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Flibberygibbet

What started as Grandma Wilson's practical joke has since gotten a lot of attention on college radio. Well, college radio that is still really college radio. Flibberygibbet takes the wonderful melodies of such greats as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. and blends them with the chords only a grandmother could love. The sense of nostalgia has won a large following. But be warned, concerts support a black market for Depends, not drugs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Quivering Yak

A tight ensemble of ten men and women joined by the common thread of recovery from cults or escape from restrictive religious upbringings. Their music merges the ephemeral, wavering melodies of ecclesiastic chants with the hard-core bass line of post-industrial noise. Very high-class stuff.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Prepucescent

If you find Howard Stern a bit too intellectually lofty, Prepucescent may be just your speed. Imagine, all the vulgar hilarity of you'd expect from a group of twelve-year old boys at summer camp, combined with the scrawny, sweaty vibrations of a house full of meth heads.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

4 1/2 Foot Drag Queen

This cover band has taken traditional disco anthems and thrown them in the blender. Harsh and glamorous at the same time 4 1/2 Foot Drag Queen brings the anger and angst to Gloria Gaynor and yes, I think they will survive. These girls know how to rock. And they don't forget their hard core punk roots.

Friday, February 15, 2008

SpoonTater

Bluesy, deep hills funk. Who knew you could do that with a banjo?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Furacity

The boys in the band have always kept mum about their sex lives, but audiences don't fail to speculate on the meaning of the animal costumes that dominate their live performances and videos. Although their lyrics are safe for children and work, numerous Furacity fanfic and slash parodies clutter the various Internet forums devoted to their style. The music, peppy teen anthems and slow love ballads written to lovers of indiscriminate gender, is secondary to their popularity.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Guthry Bucks a Monkey

Post apocalyptic folk. They have a lot to say, unfortunately, you just can't hear them.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Discum and the Bobbulators

As the dulcet tones of the Theremin weave their dreamlike aura around your subconscious , the drums pound against your breastbone and you gradually begin to wonder if you should have had quite so many Dixie cups of that electric Kool-Aid. Discum looms overhead, a giant among men, as the Bobbulators mount relentless sorties against your peace of mind. It's OK. Just get up and dance for six or eight hours and you'll feel just fine.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Brandy Prune's Jubilee

Good old-fashioned Christian sound! The uplifting spiritual music of Brandy Prune, former porn star turned moral agitator, will send your soul soaring to the stratosphere. Brandy Prune's Jubilee includes a chorus of 45 white-voice castrati, two pipe organs, a full complement of harps, and anything else that can make a joyous noise unto the lord. Let the spirit move you!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Raychel Rayz Garbage Bowl

Angry screaming mad enviro-punk noise. Lyrics include facetious calls to bury the Earth in non-recyclable plastic, increase conspicuous consumption, and watch more TV. Concerts generally end with the mosh pit being drenched in vegan vegetable soup while monitors flash images of techno-waste dumps.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

110% Ass

You'll know it when you taste it. It's 110% Ass. Three brothers banded together to form this beloved speed metal group. Dicky, Moon, and Harry Buttes have been playing drums with each other since childhood, but the band goes through an unfortunate number of bass players, losing five to carpal tunnel in the last three years, and two more to persistent tinnitis.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Frotractors

Never has protesting been so fun, hip, and funky. An eclectic mix of disco and anti-war folk tunes, the Frotractors manage to make you think while making you dance. Their breakout single "Disco isn't dead, but out troops are" has managed to both create a huge following and threaten to land them in GitMo.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Old Stinkpaw

Tobacco-flavored rockabilly meets bluegrass banjo.

Brown Bag Flue

When the lead singer, Billy Ray Virus, lost his fifth job as pizza delivery man for gross irresponsibility, the next step in his life seemed obvious: start a punk band. Named for the mysterious malady that forced Virus to rack up the all-time record for sick days in the Domino's franchise, Brown Bag Flue delivers the desperate, nauseating rhythm of the painfully unemployed. It is the music of those who know they have squandered every chance offered to them, and who cling to the fleeting illusion of success in a last-ditch effort to save any remaining scraps of humanity.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chicken Chinese Cheese

The latest reader submission comes yet again from K's Mumbo Jumbo. Thanks and keep visiting back! We're adding band names as fast as you suggest them.
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Created as a rip-off of Raffi, Chicken Chinese Cheese found success where it least expected it, among college radio listeners. Clever tunes like "D is for Deciduous" or "The Upside Down Elephant Farm" found massive appeal among listeners of all ages wishing to relieve fond childhood memories. Instead of educating kids as to the virtues of the metric system, the change of seasons, or how best to learn multiplication tables, the group toured several towns where the median age of attendees was closer to eighteen than eight.

"I have to admit," says founder, Dave Mukowsky, "I always thought we'd be opening for a large mechanical puppet, not the latest indie rock group. This was most unexpected."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bryllunq

A little rough around the edges, Brullunq is a band that has nowhere to go but up. Showcasing an astonishingly fresh perspective on power pop, the band writes clever, narrative lyrics hung strategically from chord-bare musical frames. These are a bunch of kids with a bright future, making music for the love of it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Unjunktivitis

Like a tragic, inflammatory disease of the imagination, Unjunktivitis disrupts the brain, sampling world music and all but overpowering it with layered tracks of people screaming in pain. This band is popular with the sort of folks who ground up and snorted Ritalin as children and who grind up and snort Clozapine as adults.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pimpchouli

What's that smell? It's Pimpchouli, the band that reeks of fragrant hos. When three dirty, rap-loving hippies came together with a guitar, a drum kit, and a synthesizer, Pimpchouli was born. Borrowing elements from rap and jam music, Pimpchouli plays concerts that are not only interminable and meandering, but also jarring and unpleasant. A real niche market there.

Nativity Brand Pickles

Low-key electronic riffs mingled with clever percussive lines. Wind chimes, xylophones, and that mainstay of elementary orchestra, the triangle, figure prominently in this paradoxical New Age-Punk fusion band. Although the band has only had one single on the charts in the twenty years they have been releasing albums (at a rate of one every nine months) that song endures, and even those who have never heard of the band can be heard singing the catchy chorus to their eponymous hit, which runs, in part, "A manger full of pickles in every bite."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Angel Licker

Beginning with their debut album entitled, The Finest Liquor on Earth or in Heaven, this irreverent band produces upbeat, peppy tunes whose amusing sophomoric lyrics skirt the edges of good taste while demonstrating a passable knowledge of philosophy and theology. Although their music has a steady audience and, in the case of songs with more unintelligible lyrics, occasionally hits the charts, most of the band's revenue derives from T-shirts and posters depicting images of girls with wings and halos receiving oral sex from band members, accompanied by the band's catch phrase, "mmm...sacrilicious."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Unocculous

It is not like an I. It is not like an eye. It is not like an aye. It is Unocculous, the least focused punk band you have ever heard. Ample distortion sands away the rough edges of their drunk-induced dischord enabling them to weave dream-melodies straight from the abyss. It's fortunate that Unocculous is a modern band; their sound is simply too powerful to be contained by a medium as insubstantial as vinyl.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fawke Ink

Foul-mouth lyrics meet heavy metal noise. Although they look as though they spent the decade in the gutter, all five members of the band were born to powerful and wealthy family. It's a little known fact that both the drummer and the bass player are Kennedy cousins. Their music is all right, if you like that sort of thing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big Unusual Snot

The submissions have been pouring in! Today's band name comes from K's Mumbo Jumbo. Thanks for your idea! Keep 'em coming!
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Big Unusual Snot is a largely forgettable pop punk group comprised of four eighth graders. All are friends with founder, Taylor Hersh, aged 14, of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Taylor's girlfriend, Amanda "Cutter" Armstrong, tries her best to sing backing vocals but she is inevitably drowned out by the distortion produced by the large amplifier that guitarist Josh Hammersmith got for Christmas. The size of Hammersmith's amp in no way is indicative of his skill at the instrument. Each group member has his or her own unique sense of rhythm, which is to say that staying on beat is a major challenge.

Group members plan their future in study hall before second period language arts. They rehearse on Saturday afternoons in a storage shed rented by Taylor's uncle. Big Unusual Snot has dreams of fame, which will have to be put on hold until it learns more then two original songs. Rehearsals inevitably end in abrupt fashion when the group short-circuits the storage facility's electrical power.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kill Uncle Corndog

This request comes from reader Freida Bee. Thank you for your suggestion! In future, those who would like to participate, please leave us a comment with your proposal. We'll be glad to post it AND give you credit for the suggestion.

Thanks,

Ed.
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The largely silly, slightly satirical offerings of Kill Uncle Corndog's stoner rock are beloved by recreational drug users around the world. Studio recordings prominently feature such off-the-wall instruments as slide whistle and finger cymbals, all of which are nicely complimented by lead singer Donnie Gruland's quavering falsetto. Live performances often include lengthy interludes whereby group members jump off stage to play hackey-sack with the audience. Dig Me Some Uncle Corndog is the title of the band's official website.

The group has been known to release expansive double albums, deliberately neglecting to inform the buying public that the second disc of the set is actually the same mix as the first, albeit sped up considerably and played backwards. The title of each album is usually an extremely awful pun.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Blitzkreig

This Dusseldorf-based trio's brand of Krautrock is punctuated by droning synthesizers, largely monotone basslines, guitars that sound like heavily distorted seagull mating calls, and an electric metronome. The members stand stock-still, impassive, and largely emotionless during live performance. Audience members are asked politely, but repeatedly not to dance.

The group's music appears to reflect a political statement of some sort, one based on some esoteric, extremely philosophical abstract concept, which no one yet has been able to correctly explain. In interviews, every member states a different, though no less equally cryptic justification for its existence.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ball Ox

They look like frat boys, they smell like stew bums, and they sound like constipated sumo wrestlers! You don't want to know how they taste. It's Ball Ox, plowing your ears with the finest musical seed: punk forever!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Game of Strife

They speak the truth about the ruthless machines of modern society, four young men in black with angry thoughts and angry words. They speak truth to power.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Farblonjet

You've never heard of the klezmir-ska connection? You will believe, after you hear Farblonjet's dulcet wail and frenetic Caribbean beats. All the diaspora you can swallow compressed into a single band. Oppression never sounded so sweet.

Scrubble

Have you ever had your ears cleaned with a rusted wire toilet brush while sitting in a massage chair with disembodied hands shaving the back of your head and your public hair at the same time as Yo-yo Ma practices electric cello in the attic and a trio of sopranos sing dirges in the basement? Scrubble's kind of like that, except with feedback.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Constellation Prize

The Constellation Prize had their early roots as a high school garage band, made up of five prototypical geeks who figured they might actually get laid if their quit the computer club and turned their attention to popular music. Originally conceived as a Doors cover band, they eventually parlayed their not unsubstantial talent into haunting original music and clever, science-themed lyrics, most of which go right over their fans' heads.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

3-D Stereophonic Laser Love

A glam rock band, members proudly sport glittery platform shoes and heavily rouged cheeks. A majority of the clothes the group wear on stage have a large likelihood of being nowhere to be found in the men's department. Their rabid fan base comprises an interesting mix of women who find androgyny in all forms intensely sexual attractive and men who openly admit to homosexual encounters.

Song titles include the top forty hit "Venus is Lovely (This Time of Year)", "Alien Protein", and "Star Lover". All of these and more can be found on their album entitled A Wizard with a Hot Guitar.