Sunday, June 12, 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4, 2016

If all goes well, I plan to migrate this blog to my own site,, so today I'm publishing the same post in both places to see whether there's any reason not to move it. This shouldn't involve a learning curve for anyone but me. It'll still be all band names all the time.

Arbor Labor Union
It's an awkward mouthful, and I respect that, as well the right of the workers who keep our trees healthy to organize.

The Briefs
Undergarments and the lack thereof! Because of my weekly close reading of the club listings, I'm always imagining dream gigs based solely on names that belong together. These two did the work for me by appearing at the top and bottom (really!) of a show last night with Square Pig faves Dead Bars (who will soon release an album titled Dream Gig). You can't make this stuff up.

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
Two fields of endeavor where close counts.

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
I'm a sucker for a name that's maybe just a little too long. I also appreciate the hybrid noir/sci fi vibe.

Shameless self promotion! My debut novel, The Gospel According to St. Rage, will be released in paperback and ebook by Pankhearst on July 14, 2016. Preorder the ebook now:

Meet Barbara Bernsen, Former Invisible Girl. 

Barbara isn’t your typical high school junior. She’s been invisible since the third grade. But when a magic hat brings her back into the light, Barbara is ready to take on the world. First priority? Start an all-girl garage band. Miraculous super powers were never in her plan, but sometimes you get what you need. Bullies and school shooters don’t stand a chance. 

Yes, we all love Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and Jessica Jones, but Barbara is the hero her high school deserves. 

Truth. Justice. Rock & Roll.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016

Seems like we had our May in April and now we're having Junuary just in time for Folklife. On the bright side, less chance of sunburn but you might not want to sit in the grass. These fine names come to us from indoor shows:

Anti-Nowhere League
We're gonna organize against that place that isn't.
We need more negatives in our name.
No, we don't.

Calliope Musicals
What the world needs is more steam powered instruments!

Pineapple Pig Storm
That crazy dream after the luau . . .
(Also, all those p's are just so fun to say.)

Told Slant
Where was this one when I did the literary theme a couple of weeks ago? Never mind, here they are now, having taken Emily Dickinson's advice re: truthtelling.

Vial 8 
Some of my favorite band names look like one thing and sound like another. I had to comb through the listings several times before I finally read this one and heard what was going on. I'm particularly pleased that they went with "tiny bottle" rather than "loathsome." It looks innocent but suggests trespass while hinting at poison. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 21, 2016

After 3 weeks in exile, I'm back at my own desk! I also have a cold, so I don't want to leave the house ever again, even though there are any number of great shows to see tonight. Due to impeccable bad timing, we have tickets to the opera, so we're doing that. If you're not doing that, here are some good names to choose from this week:

Booze & Glory
This seems like a more realistic aspiration for a band than fortune and glory. Playing for beer money.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre
This one falls into a perennial favorite category, the one that makes a rapid turn from one thing to another, causing you to spew whatever you're drinking out your nose.

Floating on his back among the stars, eating space urchins off his chest.

I grew up in a house with an actual woodshed: we stored stovewood and garden tools out there, and it also had a workbench for fixing things. Although we were a musical family, I don't think anyone ever went out there to practice an instrument, but my older brother (age 5 when we moved into that house) had heard enough about woodsheds to worry that he'd get more spankings. Fortunately, it wasn't that sort of woodshed, either.

Zombie Jihad
Can the unholy undead engage in holy war? 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 14, 2016

I'm in the late stages of preparing a book for publication, so it seems appropriate to go with a (mostly) literary theme this week, bookended by Shakespeare and Dickens. Thanks to the bands for cooperating and making it possible!

Casca's Dagger
One character's prop suggests the whole tragedy.

Fragile Lung
This is the exception to the theme, unless medical texts count as literature. There's a nice irony here in that their music is all about masterful singing, which relies on strong lungs.

In the Whale 
Where Ahab's leg resides.

Mandroid Echostar
Now we enter the realm of pulp sci-fi. I imagine this character was Buzz Lightyear's delinquent roommate at the Space Ranger Academy who dropped out and became a smuggler or spaceman of fortune.

Marley's Ghost 
Back to the classics for the other bookend, identical in structure to Casca's Dagger but referring to a character rather than a prop -- the first of four spirits intent on Scrooge's redemption. If it were up to me, Marley would get promoted to Heaven for this act.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7, 2016

I'm writing from a remote undisclosed location this week, but thanks to the magic of the internet, you can't even tell! We don't seem to be convenient to anything here so we don't plan on partaking of nightlife. Don't let that stop you! There are loads of creatively named bands out there, including these five:

Fire Retarded
This is a rare appropriate use of the word "retarded." Safety first!

Hollow Sidewalks
There's a whole underground city down there! (In Seattle, this is literally true.)

The other most important meal of the day. I want to see them on a bill with Pouch and Porch.

Pastel Motel
This one has a fun rhyme, and an odd nostalgic appeal for me. When I was around 9 years old, I read a funny middle-grade novel called The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink, about resourceful children playing detective around a rundown motel in Florida. It stuck with me even though I read it only once and didn't encounter it again for over 20 years, when I found a copy at a church rummage sale. I bought it and still have it, another 20+ years down the road. I still haven't stayed in a pastel motel myself, but I hope to someday.

Valley Maker 
Hint: it's water, in liquid or solid form.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30, 2016

Well, we've sent the cats off to camp and are about to go into exile ourselves for the duration of a much-needed bathroom repair/remodel. For the flooring, we've settled on vinyl:

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, the Square Pig will continue to post from an undisclosed location.

This was one of those weeks where it seemed I'd already written about all the appealing names, but a second pass revealed these gems:

Aeon Fux
I love it when sci-fi meets arcane compositional theory. I imagine this is the cool assassin little sister of Johann Joseph Fux. (This one jumped out at me because for years my brother has been working on an effectively eternal musical project called "Gradus for Fux, Tesla and Milo the Wrestler." In theory, it will go on for eons.)

Last Good Tooth
One of those basic things you don't miss till it's gone.

Moon Darling
Could be the name of an eccentric character in a quirky novel. Could be an affectionate response to the question, "What's that bright thing in the sky?" Or someone just really loves the moon.

Museum Mouth
I often complain that museums make my eyes hurt. I never thought about what they do to my mouth.

Redwing Blackbirds 
The rare example of a bird I can identify both by appearance and call. I include this one for my husband, who once wrote a poem that included the line "redwing blackbird on a bare tree top."