Friday, November 07, 2008

How to Advertise Creative Bankruptcy

It's simple, really. Just give your band a terrible name.

I was looking through the very popular and useful Pop Tarts Suck Toasted blog yesterday and noticed how many bands nowadays have awful, awful names. Not that a bad name automatically means bad music. (I am a fan of the Bassholes, after all.) But the old "judging a book by its cover" axiom isn't exactly true either. If one is going to show the poor taste and judgment of giving his or her band a shitty name doesn't it stand to reason that the same taste and judgment is not going to produce worthwhile music? Nine times out of ten, it's probably the case. Unfortunately, there are only seven examples below (all culled from MP3s provided by PTST, click on over there if you want to give them a listen) so that tenth time looks to be beyond our grasp. I was sincerely hoping that at least one of these acts would transcend their moniker but...

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart "Everything With You"
Fey, kissyface pop with a heavy Smiths influence. Actually, "pop" might be too strong a word as most pop music has hooks. Pleasant enough though the group doesn't really transcend their (obvious) influences. Coming soon to the soundtrack of a Juno ripoff.

Iran "Buddy"
Michener rock! Speaking of bad names, this is apparently TV on the Radio-related. I'm not a fan of TVotR but nothing I've heard of theirs is anywhere as dull as this. Honestly, this is barely a song and the lackadaisical Malkmus-derived vocals aren't helping matters.

Fake Male Voice "OMG!!!FMV!!!"
Also TV on the Radio-related! Could pass for a Prince deep cut though the purple one does have some rather, um, idiosyncratic ideas regarding quality control. Sexy enough to get you laid under the influence of the right drugs (I'm thinking paint thinner) though the apple chewing during the coda kind of ruins the mood.

Fight Bite "Swissex Lover"
Intro recalls one of the "songs" one could make a on and old Casio by letting it play in bossa nova or waltz mode and changing keys every so often. Then the vocals kick in. Did I say "kick?" I meant "prance." Rivals above Iran track for dubious claims to songhood. And it's like twice as long! Or just seems that way.

Dream Bitches "Bad Luck Bill"
New wave-y garage pop with female vox similar to that dog. Aggressively catchy but gets repetitive and wears out its welcome before the second verse. Cute quickly devolves into annoying sort of like Raven-Symoné during her Cosby years.

Blitzen Trapper "Gold for Bread"
Imagine Tom Petty was less interested in writing songs than making in weird noises. Then imagine his talent was sucked out through his eye socket by Jeff Lynne. Points added or deducted for "Mississippi Queen"-esque guitar tone.

Dent May & his Magnificent Ukulele! "Meet Me in the Garden"
Sample lyric: "The softest boy in Mississippi/Would like to know/Why you're so pretty/Whoa whoa." Yes, he rhymed "know" with "whoa." No, I'm not fucking kidding. Definite Brian Wilson (and possible Bacharach) fixation but doesn't have the skills or the pipes to pull off anything more than a pale imitation. If there's anything worse than dumb guys who think they're smart it's guys who try and sing even though they can't. I bet he gets all kinds of action from the ladies though.

Okay, I'll admit the above is sort of mean and probably proves the Staten Island Advance correct in calling me a jerk. (Though a winning jerk.) These are all fairly small bands trying to get a little recognition. They're the little guys, the Joe the Plumbers of the indie world, and here I am maligning them for no good reason. That is, of course, unless you consider trying to prevent my readership from stumbling into bad music a good reason.


Ben said...

I take serious, serious exception to the idea that Dream Bitches is a bad name for a band. I mean, that's a stretch right there. I feel like any band name that includes "Bitches" in it actually has potential to being good. If it were me, I might call said band The Ginger Bitches before Dream Bitches, but...I digress. Point is, not a terrible band name. You couldn't have picked Pet Ghost Project? I mean...

PB said...

I might have picked Pet Ghost Project but I didn't want to slander Heavenly Tenants by association.

Also, since PGP is playing Staten Island I didn't want to get beat up in case I decide to go to the show.

Pat said...

Hahahaha! Now I see why you beat my ass in the readers poll! So witty Paul Bruno, so witty. But seriously, Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Dent May are outstanding. Dream Bitches is repetitive, but otherwise solid. The rest you can rip as you like though me liking TV on the Radio I enjoy both Iran and Fake Male Voice.

P.S. - Congrats.

PB said...

I thought the Pains of Being Pure at Heart cut was okay, actually. At the very least it was good enough to hope they've might evolve into something more than the sum of their influences. But man, what a hideous name.

Dent May can at least be credited with writing a song which is more than some of the other entries. He should dial the preciousness down a notch or two (hundred) though.

Ben said...

I also like TVOTR (Paul, that's what you call the band, if you know anything about anything). Just thought I'd share that.

Tim Duffy said...

i feel like i should have an opinion on this entry, yet i totally don't. i feel empty inside. sigh.

Andrew P. Tipton said...

Whoa. Dream Bitches are amazing. Yoko is a really great songwriter. Give it another listen.