Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27, 2014

I'm pleased to announce that on New Year's Day, my blogging and fiction-writing lives will intersect in an exciting way. My first published story ("Hat" in the YA collection Heathers) ended with the teenage protagonist going off to start a band. Several months later, I saw a sign with a burned-out letter. "That's a band name I would blog about," I thought. I decided to give it to my fictional teenager, and she ran with it. The resulting story, "St. Rage," is now available for pre-order and will be published on January 1, 2015 as the 13th release in the Pankhearst Singles Club. It's short, it's funny, and it's only $ .99. If you like "St. Rage," please like St. Rage on Facebook and go listen to their first demo.

Meanwhile, a lot of nonfictional bands have shows coming up this week. Here are the five that caught my eye:

Cat Among Pigeons
Classic outsider scenario with so many possible outcomes. Cat bides her time, blending in and winning the pigeons' trust, then begins to pick them off one by one; they never figure it out. Or: Cat goes crazy trying to chase all the pigeons at once, and never catches even one. Or: the pigeons lull the cat into a false sense of security, then descend en masse.

I like the word and I like the animals. An octopus is like a writer: clever, solitary, makes its escape in a cloud of ink. Most appropriately, they're playing at the SeaMonster Lounge.

It Gets Worse
A simple and obvious play on the It Gets Better campaign, but so punk and so often true.

The Knowmads
Fun with our crazy English spelling. Wandering in a cognitive wilderness.

ZZ Top's Drummer's Drum Machine's Manager's Band
It gives me great pleasure to close out 2014 with something so gleefully over the top and simultaneously so depressingly downwardly spiraling.  

UPCOMING: Your Mother Should Know album release show, with Tom Price Desert Classic, Can You Imagine?, and Dead Bars  Friday, January 23 at the Highline Bar. I'd want to go to this show even if I wasn't playing!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 20, 2014

Here in Seattle, we're dreaming of a wet Christmas, as usual. There are plenty of interesting shows scheduled this week -- even a few on Christmas Eve -- so if, unlike me, you are not responsible for Christmas preparations, get out there and make some band's holiday brighter. I'm bestowing my blog gift on these five:

Atomic Ballroom
I like how the first four syllables make you think it's headed one apocalyptic way, and then it makes a sharp turn into something completely different and joyous. And can't you just see the Jetsonsesque neon sign for this joint?

A favorite incident of local history in one word. The non-standard capitalization makes it a treat for the eye as well as the ear.

Puddle of Mudd
I've always liked how mud and puddle not only go together but sound alike. That double-d completes the affinity.

Spirit Award
It sounds good, but everyone knows it's code for the Talentless Try-hard Trophy. But in this land of loser pride, that's a badge of honor.

Worm Ourobouros
The joke with worms is that you can't tell the front from the back. If it's swallowing itself, presumably the worm can tell.

UPCOMING: Your Mother Should Know album release show, with Tom Price Desert Classic, Can You Imagine?, and Dead Bars  Friday, January 23 at the Highline Bar. I'd want to go to this show even if I wasn't playing!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13, 2014

In addition to blogging about band names, I write a lot of long and short fiction. I don't trust poetry and only write it when I have to, so it's a little weird to announce that I am now a published poet.  My little effort "Popcorn" appears in the first Pankhearst Slim Volume, No Love Lost, now available in paperback here:

With that shameless plug out of the way, let's get down to the business at hand:

Connie and the Precious Moments
The surviving mug.
I'm a perennial fan of the classic X and the Y structure, especially when there's some clever twist to one or both parts. Nothing could be further from rock and roll than sentimental figurines. I have my own fraught relationship with Precious Moments, having received a set of four PM mugs as a wedding gift. We were not particularly sorry when some of them broke, but after 28 years, one remains and may outlive us all.

Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit
I like how this starts out as a random collection of not-obviously-related words, and then comes together in the end, much like an outfit assembled at Value Village. I have a few of these.

My Body Sings Electric
The old lit major in me is tickled by the connection of rock music to Whitman.

This makes a neat turn from old-timey Americana to a slick modern -- dare I say (1960s) futuristic -- vibe. 

South Kitsap Infidels  
Local flavor! There's a nice disconnect in the very specific locale modifying a noun seemingly from a whole other world.  

UPCOMING: Your Mother Should Know CD release show, with Tom Price Desert Classic, Can You Imagine?, and Dead Bars  Friday, January 23 at the Highline Bar. I'd want to go to this show even if I wasn't playing!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6, 2014

A new record: last week's post got 100 views! For a blog that usually gets 30 or 40, this is like the big time. Thanks to everyone who shares it with their friends! And thanks also to all the bands who keep this thing rolling. This week's picks:

Centaur Midwife
This kind of humanizes the mythical creature (if that's not an insult to centaurs). Like us, they benefit from help delivering their young. And now I've had a thought that never occurred to me before: where do centaur mamas keep their mammary glands? In the horse spot or the human spot?

Dumpster Baby
Homeless Man
These two get in as a bill, a heartbreaking but perfect pairing -- a little street family. In all seriousness, please remember the less fortunate this season as we celebrate the birth in a barn of a homeless peasant.

Fun X Force
Printed, it looks like a physics equation and read aloud, it sounds like a superhero party league.

Roadkill Ghost Choir
Something gross, something spooky, something inspiring. The spirits of flattened raccoons and possums join their voices in song.

UPCOMING: Your Mother Should Know CD release show, with Tom Price Desert Classic, Can You Imagine?, and Dead Bars  Friday, January 23 at the Highline Bar. I'd want to go to this show even if I wasn't playing!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 29, 2014

One holiday down, we return to our normally scheduled blog plan. Out of an abundance of choices, these five rose to the top:

John Paul and the Apostles
Spreading the rock and roll gospel! This puts a nice Biblical twist on the classic X and the Y structure. It also reminds me that I'm still waiting for Pope George Ringo.

Slums of Utopia
There's a whole dystopian novel contained in these three words. And they're playing their first show tonight!

Urine Idiot
This is so punk. Sometimes low humor is exactly what you need.

This word collision makes a sexual reference that is more hilarious than sexy. Also very punk.

Wizard Police
I didn't know nerdhop was even a thing, but I love it when I can grab the first band in the first show in the week's listings. What kind of fantasy author would I be if I didn't honor a wizard reference? It makes perfect sense that wizard crime would require a special force.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23, 2014

Due to a shortened holiday week, the pickings are a little slim in the club listings, so I'm taking this opportunity to do a Thanksgiving Retrospective of some favorites from the past. I have selected from Square Pig's first year in two categories: Names that are still Hands-Down Brilliant and Bands that have Been on a Bill with Your Mother Should Know. Here's what I had to say way back when:

Hands-Down Brilliant

Eighteen Individual Eyes
(from November 13, 2010) I have delighted in this name for months, so I'm thrilled they came up this week. The inclusion of "individual" makes it for me -- it's not just "eighteen eyes" but "eighteen individual eyes."  Is this an eighteen-eyed creature, each eye functioning independently? Eighteen one-eyed creatures? A nine-piece band? It's also fun to say -- all those vowels just roll off the tongue.

Out Like Pluto
(from November 20, 2010) I like Pluto. I'm sorry it got demoted from the planet club. On the other hand, it's so far out, maybe it doesn't want to be in our lame club.

High Class Wreckage
(from January 8, 2011) Yay! I've been waiting for these guys to show up. This name trips off the tongue, yet feels like an oxymoron. Full disclosure: I've seen High Class Wreckage twice. Their shows are reliably loud, dumb, full-on fun. Expect high-jinks and physical contact. (Technically, HCW was on a bill with YMSK, but before my tenure so I'm not counting it).

Garage a Trois
(from April 16, 2011) The perfect relationship in the garage-band capital. Way to pull off a foreign-language pun! (I'm also amused that the band is a four-piece).

Gazebo of Destruction
(from May 14, 2011) This one belongs to the opposing images school of band names. "Gazebo" is refined, elegant, civilized. "Destruction" is everything but. It doesn't hurt that "gazebo" figures in a couple of running family jokes.

 On a Bill with Your Mother Should Know

Ancient Warlocks
(from February 5, 2011) This appeals to my fantasy-novel side. Music and fiction are the closest to magic we can get: something out of nothing. It also evokes Spinal Tap and their tiny Stonehenge, and that makes me smile.

Black Plastic Clouds
(from November 5, 2011) As if black clouds weren't threatening enough! Any mention of black plastic reminds me of the ultimately ineffective weed barrier the previous owner of our house used in the front yard. We were digging pieces of black plastic out of the ground for years.

Curtains for You
(from December 4, 2010) Full disclosure: I'd heard of this band years before I saw them at the Columbia City Theatre (which has a stage with actual curtains), and the keyboard player has visited my house. But I think I would list them even if that weren't so. I like how the name references another era and aspect of American pop culture. (I tend to pronounce it "coitains" like the gangsters in old Bugs Bunny cartoons.) 

(July 2, 2011) I've been hearing about these guys and liked the name from the start. Pouch is one of those words that's fun and funny to say. (I'm planning to go hear them at EMP today, so it seemed like a good time to drop them into the blog.) I hope to see more bands named for hand luggage.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

November 15, 2014

I'll skip the small talk about our prematurely wintry weather and get right to the band names:

Choir Vandals
One week ago in a church theatrical, I played a mischievous chorister who opened the show by vandalizing the choir room. And now, this. Merely a coincidence?

Every Time I Die
I like the uncertainty. It's only four words, but the lack of punctuation leaves this phrase open to at least two interpretations. Is it merely an exaggeration of embarrassment, or does this character get multiple endings?

First Aid Kit
Not playing in Seattle this week as far as I know. Joel Adams, a photographer kinsman, posted a photo that he took of this band at Fun Fun Fun Fest. I loved the photo and made careful note of the name, which implies that your life could be literally saved by rock and roll.

John Hamhock and the Rooster Run Band
I love it when someone builds creatively on the classic X and the Y structure. All on his own, the frontman evokes a country-fried founding father, while the band evokes strutting, crowing confidence. Put them together and I think you can count on an enthusiastic and noisy good time.
A word mash-up that produces profoundly spicy guacamole.

UPCOMING: Your Mother Should Know CD release show, with Dead Bars and headliner Tom Price Desert Classic, Friday, January 23 at the Highline Bar. I'd want to go to this show even if I wasn't playing!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

November 8, 2014

After a wild weather week, it's a real pleasure to look out at blue skies and the last few leaves fluttering in a gentle breeze. And we even have a couple more hours of daylight! After dark, seek shelter in a dingy bar somewhere and catch a little music. Here are some well named possibilities:

In this family, neither mother nor father presides over the holiday table.

Sailing the seas of one's own inner being. Alone.

I remember hearing this vocal tic back in the early nineties, mostly among computer programmers. At first, I thought it was just one guy. Then they were all doing it, and now it has apparently spread further into the culture. Where will it all end?

Welcome to November in the Pacific Northwest! Aside from today, dodging the sun should be no problem.

Groovy, man. The third E is all it takes to perfectly convey the necessary stoner inflection.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November 1, 2014

As usual, we got zero trick-or-treaters last night (nobody wants to trek down and back up the steep hill). The young men of the household have promised to do their bit to eat up the big bag of candy. It's a lot but probably less than half as much as they used to bring home when they would stalk the neighborhood by a route that hit the most houses with the least backtracking. Which tells me there are probably a lot of other houses nearby with too much candy. The day after Halloween would be a good day for a block party, if only it weren't November!

Here are some treats to start the new month:

Alien Ant Farm
It Lives, It Breathes
It seems appropriate so close to Halloween to have two band names with that great B-movie vibe. I can imagine at least two scenarios for an alien ant farm -- aliens keeping humans or humans keeping aliens. Both pretty horrifying for someone! And any monster movie with the line, "It lives! It breathes!" is about to get real messy.
Blessed by a Broken Heart
Not often do I see a band name so genuinely touching. Enough time has passed to see what was gained through grief. This is grown-up stuff.

Sweet Blue Lanyard
The nerdy enthusiasm made me laugh out loud.

The additional X amplifies the vexation packed into this strong monosyllable. I've long thought Miff, Irk, and Vex would be great cat names (and have written these cats into the backstories of a couple of fictional characters). Now I think Vexx more perfectly balances Miff.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

October 25, 2014

About a year ago, I saw a sign on a self-storage place with a burned-out O, and began to write a story about an all-girl teenage garage band named St. Rage, which also ends up being the superhero name of the protagonist. To my surprise and delight, I learned this week that the story will be published in January as the first release in the 2015 Pankhearst Singles Club. So now I know -- when I say such-and-such would be a great name for a band, maybe I should write a story about them.

These bands are not fictional:

Boy & Bear
My first thought is of Christopher Robin and Pooh. My second thought is of Moose and Squirrel. I like the simplicity of the monosyllables related by alliteration, and the innocence of the image.

Brick + Mortar
Here we have another simple this-and-that pairing, this time with a functional use. A nice irony that their record is available online rather than (or maybe as well as) in a brick & mortar store.

For All Those Sleeping
Some Kind of Nightmare
A Taste of Daylight
I also respect the wordier band name, which these three represent. Taken together, they create a compelling little narrative about sleep, dreams, and waking. If by chance one could fall asleep to the music, one might indeed have vivid dreams -- perhaps some kind of nightmare -- and wake grateful for even the small taste of daylight we enjoy this time of year.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

October 18, 2014

We've somehow managed to clump all our late nights and early mornings at the end of vacation, thus undoing the good derived from the time off. Still not sorry we got out to the Power Skeleton CD release show last night. It makes me happy that a band with such a great name is also so creative and strange. And, it being October, that the stage was decorated with skeletons!

I'm done going out for a while, but I won't let that stop me from perusing the listings for excellent names:

6 Demon Bag
This sounds like something from a role-playing game, an item that allows you to collect the demons you defeat and use their powers. (Which shows that I live with huge nerds -- I guessed that without knowing it was an actual thing in World of Warcraft). Upgrade to the 12 Demon Bag for just one gold piece more!

Brides of the Lizard God
This one has that campy, B-movie vibe I love so much. A bride is an image of ceremony and anticipation of sex. Brides, plural, adds a more salacious note. But -- brides of a deity, so is it a religious thing? But the deity is a lizard, which turns it into a monster movie or possibly dinosaur porn. What a poster this would have!

The robot uprising has been cancelled because all the robots are stoned.

The Loveless Building
We haven't had a winner in the Local Flavor category in some time, so this was a happy find. I've eaten in at least one of the restaurants to occupy this Capitol Hill landmark and remarked on the accidental forlorness of the name.

The Preatures 
I love English spelling, which gives us words like "creature" and "preacher" that rhyme without looking like they should. Now we know who performs the Lizard God's wedding.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014

Our endless summer is finally loosening its grip, but October is so beautiful around here, I really can't complain. I'm a day late blogging because yesterday, our 28th wedding anniversary, we eschewed the grubby rock clubs of last weekend for glitzy theater and fine dining. Possibly we'll be back in the bars later in the week because we're on vacation! I'm tempted by a show next Friday: Power Skeleton album release show, with Sun Giants and perennial favorites Ancient Warlocks, at Darrell's Tavern in Shoreline. I've listened to part 1, A-M, of Power Skeleton's 26 Songs about the Natural World. How can you not like improvs with names like "Ants (with Aphids)", "Hagfish," or "Motorcycle Helmet"? How often is metal this endearing?

Even more great band names:

Astro Tan
I'm always taken with how much can be done with the change of one letter -- from multi-passenger conveyance to the ultimate in safe tanning. I suspect you can get away with a low protection factor while working on your star tan.

Jungle, Empress of
OK, this is two bands on one bill, but I want to see the resume that includes this past work experience.

Ecstasy for English majors.

The Owl Parliament
I love that "parliament" really is the correct term for a group of owls. For that matter, a group of humans is, yes, a band. So where's the band called Toad Knot?

Wreckless Freeks 
Creative spelling gives us one word that sounds like its opposite and one that looks a little freakish.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October 4, 2014

It's not too late to head out to the Macefield Music Festival in Ballard and discover or get reacquainted with a wide variety of local music. If last night is any indication, the rest of the festival is not to be missed. We were sorry to have to skip Tom Price Desert Classic -- 6:00 p.m. was too early for us to get all the way to Ballard after work. But we were there in time to enjoy the surf sounds of Boss Martians, proto-punk rock from the Sonics (an intergenerational love fest), one beautiful a capella duet by Inly, and a great set of raw, rocking, heartbreaker blues (and jokes about sad songs) from Star Anna. And, hey! The Sunset is in the middle of converting from a bar with a stage into a music venue with a bar. Best wishes for a happy end to the project.

And there's a whole week of other, non-festival shows after this! Here are some names to consider:

Being as an Ocean
I'm taken with the philosophical/literary affect here. Every being is vast and complex, loud and wild. (And as it turns out, they set wordy, poetic lyrics to loud, thrashing music. It all fits!)

Circus Sized Peanuts
I like this for the goofy nostalgia hit. A Google search brings up the band's Facebook page first, followed by images of the orange, giant-peanut-shaped marshmallow candy, which was the first thing I thought of when I saw the name. I'm nostalgic mostly for the shape and texture; the taste, not so much.
Deadly Poets
I knew I distrusted poetry for some reason . . .

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
Classic X and the Y structure, with a psychedelic twist and a neat double meaning in the band's name.

Under the Puddle
I like that I get to begin and end with bodies of water, as different as they can be. This implies greater depth than a puddle usually contains. What other worlds exist just below the surface? (I've just finished Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which must be informing my sense of things).

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 27, 2014

Got no plans tonight? Now you do: Dead Bars at the Kraken, 9:00 p.m., opening for Lincoln Hawk, Bastards of Young, and Civil War Rust.
And here's some other cream that rose to the top:

Kung Fu Vampire
The club listings accidentally ran the names of two acts together, so at first I thought it was Kung Fu Vampire Psych Ward Druggies, which was too over-the-top good to be true. I still love the B-movie vibe. 

Moon Taxi
And step on it!

Oh, happy language that allows transformation from mundane kitchen appliance to Western outlaw by the simple removal of context.

Twang Junkies
Too much is not enough.

The Unsinkable Heavies
I always enjoy a good paradox.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

September 21, 2014

It's still sunny and warm, but it must be fall now -- leaves are turning color, it's dark by 7:30 p.m., and you can buy Halloween candy at the grocery store. Treasure the remaining days when you feel like wearing shorts and drinking outside. Soon enough, we'll want to huddle in the dark and turn up the music. Here are just a few bands who might be willing to help out with that:

Deep Sea Thunderbeast
Without resorting to Google, I'm happy to take this for an English translation of a) the scientific name of a prehistoric marine reptile; b) the German name for a really big whale; or c) Godzilla. It's a solid yet evocative description of . . . something loud.

The Man from Somewhere Else
It's fun to imagine a place where the person who fits this vague description is distinct enough for the definite article. Actually, I grew up there.

Running the words together transforms an entry in an agricultural fair into a miserly champion who hoards all the medals.

Skies Below
I like the disorientation packed into this simple phrase, and it gives me a literary idea. (Sit tight; maybe it'll go away). In one of my SF manuscripts, a character speaks metaphorically of "kissing the sky." A recent reader pointed out that as he is already in space at the time, he is outside the sky/atmosphere and maybe I should choose another word. Well, maybe. Or I might have another character puncture his poetry, and then remind him of it on re-entry, as they kiss the sky from above.

Wild Pack of Canaries
"Pack" is a hilarious word to apply to little songbirds, but I imagine the din is epic. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

September 13, 2014

The random music mix at our house is gaining a strange intelligence. Last night it came up with this Walt Kelly classic:

Oh, roar a roar for Nora
Nora Alice in the night
For she has seen Aurora
Borealis burning bright.
A furor for our Nora
And applaud aurora seen!
Where throughout the summer has
Our borealis been?

Tonight should have perfect viewing weather, so I'm hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, if there aren't too many trees and too many lights. If not me, someone else will, and I am happy for them.

Meanwhile, out where the boom bands play:

Bongo Love
I'm starting to feel this, after a lifetime of being uncertain about bongos. I got my spouse a beautiful set last Christmas, and have been learning to play them. There's something satisfying about getting that nice doong sound with just fingers on drumskin.

Manifested Travesty
I love the internal rhyme, and the very erudite way of saying "obvious lie." Pure poetry.

Stitched Up Heart
This name manifests what comes after the heartbreak songs that make up so much of pop music: dress the wounds so they can heal, then go on, scarred but yet alive.

Stories Away
Stories are that powerful. Drop them with care; they tend to explode.

Valhalla Boys & Girls Club
I have to admit I wasn't very excited about my band-name search this week, until I came to this one, which buoyed my enthusiasm enough that I went back and uncovered the four gems above. I imagine kids getting out of class and crossing the rainbow bridge to their after-school program. I wonder if their parents know about the quaffing and fighting?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

September 6, 2014

Having now played at the ostensibly haunted Jewelbox Theater, I think I can say "haunted" = "has hummy old wiring." But maybe it is haunted, because not one but two kickdrum feet were lost without a trace. Good thing I always carry spares! In spite of the hum and the ghosts, the sound in that place is great and I urge you to check it out.

The listings were rich with appealing band names this week. I narrowed it down to these lucky five:

American Roulette
Just like Russian Roulette, but with a high-capacity magazine to -- um -- improve your chances.

Drains to Sound
I love these kind of "found names" that reorganize your understanding of simple words. Is it just coincidence that Seattle, a city with a lively music scene, is on the shores of a body of water called a sound? Makes it almost too easy to name a band, when you can just use something you found stenciled on the curb.

Element A440
Gotta like a technical music reference, especially when it sounds scientific.

Five Alarm Funk
As much as I appreciate northwest loser pride, I also love when a group has the confidence to own how hot they are.

Glaciers on the Moon
As a space travel and science fiction fan, I'm always on the lookout for space-related band names. I like this one because it sounds made-up on the face of it, but there very well might be water ice deep in some of the moon's craters. Our solar system is still full of surprises.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 30, 2014

Once again, a shameless plug: Your Mother Should Know, Canals of Venice, and the Spencer Glenn Band have a show at the Rendezvous on Thursday, September 4, 9:00 p.m. (Think of it as a Seahawks afterparty!) We're looking forward to playing in the Rendezvous's Jewelbox Theater, a nice little venue that I haven't visited in a while.

Meanwhile, I have perused the non-Bumbershoot listings and gleaned the following rich harvest:

Butt Dial
I appreciate this reference to a contemporary phenomenon that is accidental, potentially embarrassing . . .  and completely unimaginable in the days when phones had actual dials. Which gets me to thinking: how long will we continue to call it dialing?

Ca$h Bandicoot
A long time ago, a certain young relative was constantly -- and vocally -- excited about a certain video game. This sly reference reminds us what it was really all about.

Kitten Vacation
I can't imagine that kittens need vacations, so this must be about a special resort where you drown your stress in cuteness. Or perhaps it's the other way: a complete fast from internet videos.

The Subpoenaed Lemur Vocoder Orchestra
The Subpoenaed Lemur is found in the same field guide as the Greater Plausible.

Swiss Patent Clerk
I will always have a place in my heart for band names based on ostensibly boring careers. I think I will start a band called Commercial Title Officer.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23, 2014

Early Square Pig faves Ravenna Woods have an all-ages show at the Crocodile tonight, with Country Lips and friends-of-Your-Mother-Should-Know Mikey and Matty. $8, 8:00 p.m. Sounds like a fun show that I'm sorry to miss!!! More info here:
Here's what I had to say about Ravenna Woods on December 4, 2010: I saw this band on the same bill with Curtains for You and can attest that they put on a great show. They make the list for neighborhood-level local flavor. In fact, the name implies that they're my neighbors. 

And here's what I think about this week's picks:

The Goddamn Finkelstein Shit Kids
I like the implication that they've proudly claimed as their name an elderly neighbor's oft-repeated rant.

Internal Error
Mundane frustrations are elevated when converted to band names. In the same way, we transform our own inner mistakes and regrets into art.

Jesus on the Moon
This is timely for a reason few people would get, but I hope I can influence more so they will. "Epwa," my favorite story in Mermaids (the new YA story collection the Pankhearst Writers Collective) takes place in a floating community centuries after a catastrophic flood of an entire world. Random fragments of Catholic dogma have been blended with new mythology of water, moon goddesses, and an afterlife in the undersea palaces of the Mermadden. The Pilot, who knows more history and science than anyone else and is regarded as a heretic, tells the protagonist Hannah that a long time ago, men walked on the moons. At another time, she tells about a man who walked on water. Hannah wonders if they were the same man. The Pilot doesn't know -- but she thinks so.

Snakes of Christ
Not on the same bill with Jesus on the Moon, but they should be. Snakes get a bad rap in a lot of religious imagery, but they are God's creatures, too -- devouring vermin since the beginning of agriculture.

The Ukadelics
A happy accident of a common consonant sound bring together unlikely partners in a way that is not only fun, but obvious after the fact. I wanna go to this luau!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

August 16, 2014

The downside of sticking with this project for going on four years: it was a bit of a challenge finding five band names to honor this week -- not because there weren't a lot of good ones, but because there were so many I had already chosen in the past. A couple more passes through the listings yielded the following:

Anxiety Fair
If Thackeray were writing today.

In our 30-years-and-counting improv project, Banned Rehearsal, we grab every opportunity to make puns based on band or banned, but I don't think we've ever had cause to do this one. Coincidentally, I just watched Behind the Candelabra last night, so I can't help imagining some kind of Liberace connection.

Garlic Man and Chikn
Classic X and Y structure meets dinner! What's not to like? Bonus points for creative spelling.

I'm a big fan of punctuation in band names. The placement here is great fun and emphasizes the noisiness aspect.

The Plot in You
Fiction writers are often asked which is more important, plot or character. This implies that character is plot and plot, character.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 9, 2014

SHAMELESS PLUG: Your Mother Should Know is playing tomorrow night, Sunday, August 10, with Canals of Venice and Bucktoad at the Skylark Cafe, 3803 Delridge Way SW. We recently recorded a full-length album that we hope to release soon, and we'll be playing the whole thing live! 7:00 p.m., $5, all ages, and Skylark has great sound and great food!
Facebook event

Some other bands are playing this week, too. Here are a few of them:

Brain Drain
In Friday's club listings in the Seattle Times, Brain Oil is the first rock act listed and Brain Drain is the last. This implies that music lubricates your thinking, but what you add on Friday is only good for a limited time and should be drained and replaced weekly for best results.

A King Also
I love the way this comes across as formal yet offhand. "You are a king? I am a king, also." Or: "I'm a touring musician, and a king, also." Humble, but not too humble.

The Last Ten Seconds of Life
I hope I get to spend them making music, like Louis Vierne, who died at the console of the organ of Notre Dame. If not playing, then listening. Not a bad way to go.

Stop Light Observations
It sounds so scientific. There probably is a lot of useful data to be collected about vehicle and pedestrian traffic. But it's more likely a study of how many people are eating, texting, shaving, applying makeup, and rocking out when stopped at a light.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 2, 2014

OK, now that the storm has passed and I can plug my computer back in, let's see about some band names:

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
It's rare that I blog about a name big enough to headline a venue like the Crocodile. I like this relentlessly positive instruction for how to participate in a no doubt upbeat song. It works equally well as advice for dealing with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

The Finger Guns
I recently finished writing a short story about a girl who gains superpowers, including a fully functional finger gun. So let's be careful out there.

Free Salamander Exhibit
I like to imagine this name was usurped from a hand-printed sign for a low-rent roadside attraction. Or who knows, maybe there are actual amphibians in the band. Either way, it signals something interesting and unexpected.

Haints in the Holler
Pine Hill Haints
It's like an Ozark invasion! (Which wouldn't be a bad name for a band . . .) I was delighted to encounter these hillbilly usages in two separate shows in the same week. Downhome authenticity is implied.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July 26, 2014

Summer returns at the tail-end of my vacation, but that's OK; I sleep better when it's cool. If you want to go out beyond Block Party or Torchlight Parade, here are some bands to whet your imagination:

Arsonists Get All the Girls
I dig the confidence in the absurd assertion, though I'm reluctant to visit a reality where this is true.

Falty and the Defects
This one combines two favorites: classic X and the Y structure and Northwest loser pride.

Made of Boxes
Take humble materials found around the house and build a dream. That's how we make music around these parts.

One Legged Bandit
Funny how a simple change of appendage alters the whole picture!

The Reptile House 
This one stood out for personal, nostalgic reasons. Years ago, I took my preschooler to the zoo every Wednesday morning. On winter visits, we spent a lot of time in the old Day and Night exhibit because it was sheltered and warm, and midweek in January, also quiet. The animals were mostly small and easy to see, but weird and exotic -- appealing to a three-year-old. Not so the large sculpture opposite the darkened Gila monster exhibit (they were hibernating). Reflected in the glass, it looked like a giant Gila monster inside the exhibit! The little guy was scared to look at it. I wasn't sure this was going to have anything to do with music, but sometimes it's like that: appealing but with terrifying illusions.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

After a weekend away, I'm catching up because band names never sleep!

Animals in Cars
There were almost enough bands with "animal" in the name to do a themed blog this week: this one plus Animals, Lazy Animals, and Service Animal. Animals in Cars makes it in because I can take it so many ways: exuberantly fun -- the dog I saw with his head out the window, ears flapping in the breeze; comic and fantastical -- cartoon animals driving cars; or poignant and sad -- a dog left alone in a hot or freezing car (please don't).

How to Win at Battleship
I like band names that sound like self-help titles, especially for things that can't be guaranteed. I've played enough Battleship to know that the surest way to win is to play someone who is worse at the game, but then that feels kind of mean. Oh, wait! It's war! So the only way to win is not to play.

Mimicking Birds
Are we mimicking the birds, or do they mimic us? I like how the meaning is equally plausible either way without more context. (Last night I asked my resident illustrator to draw the Least Plausible, the Greater Plausible, and the Short-Billed Plausible. Possibly mimicking birds and certainly good band names. Alas, he declined).

Risky Liver
More fun with language, where the noun form of a verb might have an unfortunate resemblance to an internal organ that suffers from a risky life.

Terman Shanks
And yet more fun, this time with a simple swap that turns an armored vehicle into a plausible hillbilly name.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

July 12, 2014

I make a point of not complaining about the weather, but I will admit that I don't sleep (or think) well when it's hot. If this blog post makes even less sense than usual, I blame the weather. If you can't sleep, either, this is a good excuse to stay up late and embrace the sweaty club vibe.

The Aquabats
This made-up word is taking me in so many directions, which I love. Synchronised swimmers doing gymnastic tricks? Marine mammals using sonar to hunt their prey? (Wait, that's dolphins). But I can't help thinking this is somehow baseball related.

A Cryptic Ending
That moment when you close the book or leave the theater or turn off the record, and you don't know what just happened . . . but you want to go back to the beginning and do it all again.

Friends Like Enemies
Here we have fun with a word that can be a verb or a comparative, which allows very different meanings out of three common words. Do they like them, or are they like them -- and which is better/worse?

Grace Love and the Haters
I'm a perennial fan of the classic X and the Y naming structure. This takes it further by building a name out of virtues and pairing it with their opposite, setting up an interesting tension. Will hate overcome grace and love, or will grace and love redeem hate?
Omnia Mutantor
Wikipedia tells me omnia mutantur is Latin for "everything changes." Google Translate somehow came up with "everything tastes." I'm not sure what this variation is meant to mean, but I like my first uneducated guess: "All the mutants."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 5, 2014

Now that the annual shelling has stopped, maybe it's safe to go out and hear music. Once again, the club listings yield a plenteous harvest:

Dismal Tide
Now that for-real summer is here, we might be inclined to put away one of the Northwest's most evocative adjectives, but don't fool yourself. Winter will be back in all its gray and rainy splendor. As for "tide," this could be a marine usage, but maybe not. In the Church, we have Christmastide and Eastertide; I'm going to say Dismaltide is January 2 - the end of Lent.

Lost Dogma
I imagine this sign tacked up all over the None Zone, land of the unchurched, dechurched,  postchurched, spiritual-but-not-religious -- all who check "none" when asked for their religious affiliation. Guess where?

I like how the spelling conceals the meaning until you read it aloud, but gives you the correct pronunciation.

More fun with spelling -- that gap between the snide speaker and the naive literalist who doesn't get it.

The first one this week to really make me laugh. Regular Joe tries to get a punk haircut but it doesn't really help.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28, 2014

Gray and rainy -- that's the Seattle June we know and love. But if it's getting you down, these band names will pick you right up:

Dirty Neon
I'm not sure you could get more perfect for an opening act at the Blue Moon. Classic and grimy all in one.

Removing a body part from context imbues it with equal parts comedy and horror.

If Penguins Could Fly
. . . orcas would have to invent surface-to-air missiles. 

Scars on 45
Does anyone younger than me even get the pun? This cleverly subverts and darkens the sunny disco-ized medley of '60s pop hits.

Vienna Bass Choir
One word makes all the difference. Whether low strings or fish, you couldn't get much further from little boys singing sacred choral music.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, 2014

School's out and summer's here, looking like summer already, for a change. Just for that, I think I will actually go to the Solstice Festival in Fremont. Break out the sunglasses and SPF 50! But if you feel like hiding from the 10 p.m. sun in a dingy bar somewhere, here are some names to look for:

The next logical step in trendy, herb-infused booze. We call it Weedka.

The Aqua-Nets
Before I even check, I really hope this is an '80s-themed girl group because that would be perfect. One word that sums up an era. (OK, '80s cover band is pretty good, too).

Captain Algebra
A hero for those unfortunate students striving in summer school to make up a math credit.

It's OK!
I can't speak for anyone else, but I feel better. The punctuation really helps.

Puget Power
I love it when an existing name for something mundane takes on new significance when applied unchanged to a musical endeavor. Loud music draws a lot of power and has a lot of power, so this is a great fit. Extra points for local flavor.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14, 2014

Last week I predicted that the nice weather would last until the kids were out of school. Although grades K-11 still have a few more days, our senior graduated Thursday, and the rain showed up soon after the ceremony. That's Junuary for you; I just hope we don't have to turn the heat back on!

On with the band names:

Gnarlene and the Frisky Pigs
I'm always on the lookout for creative use of the classic X and the Y structure. This combines an over-the-top front person's name with an active and comical backing band name. These people are having all the fun.

Grand Theft Zombie
Great pop-culture mashup. The video game reference also perfectly suits the style of music.

Tropical Popsicle
I never noticed that these two words rhyme, and now it seems so obvious. Plus, I see frozen treats in bright summery colors.

A Very Tall Pony
At what point do we cross over from tall pony to short horse? I'll bet there's a rule.

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die
It's been awhile since I got to celebrate a really long name, so I was happy to find one so absurdly extravagant as this heroic and positive assertion. I love the two independent clauses, joined by an ampersand, as if after all that they needed to save two characters.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 7, 2014

"I thought it was supposed to be June," I said. "What's with all the sunshine?" Then I remembered -- kids are still in school. Junuary will probably arrive just in time for summer break. (My resident Seattle schools student graduates next week -- the end of an era going back to 1996! He prefers not to go outside, anyway, so he might not even notice when the gloom descends.) If you're out on one of these long, beautiful evenings, be sure to come in off the patio to give the band some love.

This week's picks:

This would be a good name even if it had nothing to do with guitars. This collection of phonemes is fun to say, and "buck" provides a rootsy, rural vibe.
Rain Light Fade
And while we're on the subject of typical Seattle June weather, along comes this little poem. I'm thinking of that moment when an evening summer shower ends and the sun comes out just in time to set.

The phonetic spelling shams a lack of sophistication and cleverly renders the word nearly unrecognizable until you sound it out.

Sun Tunnels
They belong on a bill with Subways on the Sun! I like this because I usually think of tunnels as dark, or anyway, cut off from natural light. This sounds like a bright trail through a deep forest.

tomorrows tulips
Planting tulip bulbs in the dark and damp of October is an act of faith that spring will come again, and the next spring, and the next.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 31, 2014

SHAMELESS PLUG: Your Mother Should Know (for which I play drums and do some singin') is part of a stellar lineup that also includes Ancient Warlocks, Tom Price Desert Classic, On the Ground, and Ian Grunfeld (of The Good Luck Number), TONIGHT at the High Dive, $5, doors at 8:30 p.m. This show is a benefit for and opportunity to learn about Seattle IWW, so if you care about labor and/or punk rock, you should check it out. In case you didn't catch that: only $5!

That was a substantial list of band names already, but here are this week's picks:

Absent Tiger
It's the tiger you don't see that you have to worry about. (Always happy to support another two-piece band, especially one with a female drummer!)

Creature of the Deep
This one has a nice B-movie vibe.  I particularly like that it's a singular creature, perhaps alluding to the unitary nature of a functioning band.

Crossbows and Catapults
The medieval theme points to rock band as adventuring party, battling monsters and wielding magic in search of great treasure.

Forever Came Calling
Three-word poem about a moment of transcendance.

Transcribing the Necronomicon
I've read just enough H. P. Lovecraft to know this is probably a bad idea.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

May 24, 2014

It isn't (yet) raining on Folklife! Having ventured out to the Tractor last night for The Minus 5, Mikey and Matty, and Stag (great show!), we're skipping the festival in favor of yardwork and donating blood. Here are some well named bands who as far as I know are also not at Folklife:

Assuming We Survive
An ominous beginning -- or optimistic, depending on context. Either way, this group must be hard-core.

Demons Carry Symphonies
I suspect Berlioz knew this.

Hair and Space Museum
I love how the addition of a single letter transforms an inspiring institution into something laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Now I'm thinking of that video where an astronaut washes her hair in microgravity.

Organik Time Machine
Each of us has one, a meat sack carrying our consciousness inexorably into the future.

Onomatopoeia names are always welcome! I'd like to see them on a bill with The Low Hums.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 17, 2014

After a productive week of recording, I'm back! My own anecdotal experience indicates that playing rock & roll keeps us young -- on the last day of recording, I got carded at the grocery story where I've been shopping weekly since 1989. And the entertaining band names just keep coming:

Fall Saves Grace
Sin boldly that grace may abound. 

Indigenous Robot
Artificial intelligence arising spontaneously in Silicon Valley. (Or, apparently, Broadsterdam, CO).

Make Do and Mend
This is how I was raised and how I run my household. In rock band terms, "use more duct tape."

Sit Kitty Sit
Yeah, like that'll get you anywhere with a cat.

Surgical Chaos
An operation that has gone horribly wrong in all possible ways; or carefully orchestrated disorder.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 11, 2014

Thanks for stopping by! Square Pig is taking a hiatus this week while Your Mother Should Know records a 12-track album. We had a productive first day yesterday and hope to finish the backing tracks today. I'll be back next week with a new list of band names.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3, 2014

Now that the teaser for summer is over, we can get on with spring already in progress. This is actually perfect rock club weather: not too nasty to leave the house, not too hot to hang out indoors, not so cold that you need to wrangle a big coat all evening. Here's a brief list of band names to inspire you:

Bones and the Falderalls
I'm a big fan of the classic X and the Y structure anyway, but this goes that extra couple of steps over the top, where X=a colorful nickname and Y=an old-timey term of the sort we don't see enough of these days. You know these folks are having all the fun and will share generously.

Moon Honey
I've been sweet on the moon since 1969, so it's no surprise that seven past honorees have "moon" somewhere in the name. Two have "honey," but this is the first time they've been featured together. A sweet reversal that's no less romantic.

Silverware Wolf
I try not to play favorites, but this one is getting into Acapulco Lips territory. It's that quick turn from the quotidian to the paranormal -- someone is really listening to the sounds of words and playing them like vintage Ludwigs.

The Space Monkeys
At first I was thinking primates in spacesuits, but then I pictured an ad on the back of a comic book -- order alien brine shrimp to keep as pets!

We Are Scientists
Line from a B movie: "We'll save you from those space monkeys; trust us, we are scientists!"

Saturday, April 26, 2014

April 26, 2014

I love the idea of the Seattle Rock Lottery: 25 musicians, randomly assigned this morning to 5 bands, spend the day writing and rehearsing songs to be performed tonight (past my bedtime, so I'll have to hear about it tomorrow). Aside from the good cause of raising funds for music education, I think my favorite part is that, of course, these bands need names and because of the ad hoc nature of the project, the names don't have to be good enough to sell records -- the nuttier, the better!

Meanwhile, these:

Major Miner
Nice -- a music joke disguised by spelling as a VIP (Very Important Prospector).

Mammoth Salmon
A regional icon! I love it when words that share phonemes can be put together and actually make sense. Even better if the same sound is spelled two different ways.

Man made moons.
That's not a moon. It's a space station.

The Raven and the Writing Desk
Classic X and the Y structure meets literary reference! The English majors go wild.

Teepee Creeper 
Like Mammoth Salmon, the two words have the same sounds and make a silly kind of sense. The only thing better than the repeated long e sound is the repeated "eep" sound. Bonus: they're on the same bill as Mammoth Salmon.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 19, 2014

We've been fasting from alcohol for Lent, and I don't really drink pop anymore, so when we went out to the Victory Lounge on Good Friday, I ended up standing around with a water glass in my hand most of the night. It was an intoxicating evening, anyway, thanks to Kleine, Hoax Foot, Lion Pincher, and Pouch!

This week's picks:

AKA three-fourths of March - June in Seattle. Turn up the music. (I also appreciate the Joyce reference.)

Lion Pincher
It takes a lot of nerve (or stupidity) to pinch a lion. As I understand it, one member of this duo is a Leo and the other is a Cancer. Given the opportunity, a crab probably would pinch a lion -- that's what crabs do. Lion Pincher is also the band at the intersection of past honorees Hoax Foot and Pouch. These three bands would make for a very compact show to take on the road.

Moon Hooch
The repeated oo sound is fun. Is this another name for moonshine, or is this another level of illegal:  bootleg moonshine?

Couldn't be more perfect for a show on Good Friday.

A Yawn Worth Yelling
The repeated y sound is not only fun to say, but conducive to yawning. This is secretly an effective vocal exercise.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12, 2014

I wish I could have been there on that historic evening (last week) when Neerdowells met Dead Bars. I wish even more that I could see these two bands on the same bill. I wish most of all to be part of that show myself (not outside the realm of possibility). Here's to generation-spanning shows at The VERA Project!

Because who doesn't love bumblebees, at least as something to say if not encounter? (I don't mind meeting them. They're generally pretty chill, just bumbling about their business). I love that the genus name is nearly the same as the common name, but sounds much more hardcore.

Infected Mushroom
Does it get more fungal than this?

Oi Polloi
Greek for "Hey! People!" I like that I can appreciate a pun in a language I studied for one semester over 30 years ago.

Spear & Magic Helmet
Classic X and Y naming structure, and a Wagner reference (how Seattle!) by way of Looney Toons? It's like they know me.

How have I not already done this one? Wonderful play on words that sound similar but mean very different things (super, stupor) and also similar things (stupor, stupid) to transform a stereotypically competent character type into a lame bumbler who, I hope, keeps getting up and eventually wins the day, with a little help from the rest of the band.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5, 2014

If last night's Music Night Out @Nova is any indication, the future of Seattle music is in good hands. Classical guitar, baroque recorder trio, singer-songwriters, punk rock, jazz, hip-hop -- we had a little of everything from the engaged and talented students (and some parents and staff) of our amazing public alternative school. Go Dead Rats!

And the band names just keep coming:

Baby and the Nobodies
Two of my favorite things: the classic X and the Y structure, with our characteristic Northwest loser pride.

Emergency Volcano Evacuation Route
For readers elsewhere, we see these signs along certain roads near Mt. Rainier, one of our local volcanoes. Although I'm a big fan of wordplay, I also love it when existing text from out in the world can be lifted unchanged into a band name.

Largemouth Bastards
One syllable, a surprising twist, and it still makes sense!

This is one of the Nova bands from last night. Rock will never be dead as long as young teens have the opportunity to plug in a guitar and turn it up. And, no small thing, the opportunity to name the project! Again with the Seattle loser pride. I also like the way it's all run together, even though that risks being read as Near Dowells (what we call the Oneder Effect.)

The Phenomenauts
They sail the strange and unusual, and live to sing the tale.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 29, 2014

SHAMELESS PLUG: Your Mother Should Know (the band for which I am drummer, backup vocalist, and calm center of sanity and order) is playing next Friday, April 4, at a benefit show for NOVA High School, the coolest public school ever. We'll present 5 songs from our planned full-length album, to be recorded later this spring. More details here:

Nova HS mascot, the Dead Rat
On with the band names:

Bear Hands
What I want to know is, does the Constitution give us the right to arm these bare-handed bears?

Earth Eater
I put these together because they're on the same bill and seem related. My first (admittedly nerdy) thought was of Galactus, the Fantastic Four villain who roams the universe devouring planets -- laying waste to space. It was hard to believe I hadn't written about Spacewaster before, because I like the assonance and the lack of space between the words, as well as the loser-grunge mentality. I'm happy to include it with another band that gives a whole different slant on "waste."

Pink Octopus
What's not to like about an intelligent eight-armed mollusc that's both a shy loner and fierce ambush predator? When they're red, they're angry. Pink seems more friendly, but I could be wrong. Approach with care.

In Seattle, we don't iron, so they should fit right in.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22, 2014

A local musician posted this on Facebook yesterday:
"If you aren't in your favorite band, you are in the wrong band." 
Yes! The most important music is the music you are doing yourself. Next most important is the music your friends are doing. And so on. Just make sure you have a great name so I can write about it!

Bring Me the Horizon
Epic. Romantic. Futile.

Charlie and the Foxtrots
I keep trying to learn the NATO phonetic alphabet; Charlie and Foxtrot are the only letters I consistently remember. That, plus the classic X and the Y structure, makes this a winner.

Dead Cat Hat
This is awful and funny at the same time, with an obvious but irresistible rhyme. Not the cat in the hat; the cat is the hat.

The Tentacles
I'm picturing a one-octopus four-piece band.

Eggs and bakey! An ironic act in a late-night show, but perfect for the hangover breakfast.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 15, 2014

Wow, I might actually get out to a show today -- not one but two favorite bands, Acapulco Lips and Red Ribbon, are playing an in-store at Everyday Music! 6:00 p.m. is my kind of start time. As names go, it's hard to beat Acapulco Lips, but here are some close seconds:

Endorphins Lost
What goes up must come down, alas.

Raptor Tractor
I had a tractor phobia when I was a small child (and it has already been pointed out that Tractorphobia would be a good band name). Now I'm picturing fierce dinosaurs on John Deeres. Extra credit for being on a bill with past honorees Power Skeleton and Skunk Rider.

Silent Land Time Machine
Anything with "time machine" in the name is almost guaranteed to catch my eye. What I like about this, aside from the length, is that it can be read as three modifiers with one noun; one modifier with three nouns; or two nouns with one modifier each. Mix and match!

Space Cretins
There's no stopping the cretins from launching . . .

Stranger on Mars
I imagine it will be a long time before this is not true, by definition, of anyone who gets there. But it can also be read as a comparative: "This music is strange enough on Earth, but it's ever stranger on Mars." 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 8, 2014

I'm observing a dry Lent, but at least the weather is soaking wet! Neither of those things prevents me from celebrating bands and band names. There's never a shortage -- here is this week's fine collection:

When your dreams look tired and out of date, you make an appointment. They'll shampoo your psyche and give you a whole new dream style. What are the magazines you read while you wait?

I'm always a sucker for wordplay. This steed picks up hoofprints as it passes, leaving untrodden snow.

Indie and a Jones
Wordplay and pop culture and the classic X and the Y structure? It's like they know me. And I'm a big fan of Dr. Jones.

Pat the Bunny
Here's another kind of wordplay I enjoy, where a verb can also be a name. So the classic baby book title in another light becomes a gangster name. And there's also a little nostalgia factor, for any parent who wore out a copy of the book.

The Sun Thieves
Our neighbors, the clouds, raised to mythic heights.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 1, 2014

The last day of February wanted to be spring. The first day of March isn't so sure. At this unsettled time of year, it's reassuring that we can still rely on the music scene for a boundless supply of entertaining band names.

Sometimes it's best to be short and to the point. This single word is a noun and a verb, both of them kind of disturbing -- a lot of heavy lifting for one syllable, two actual letters, three characters.

Pigpen Theatre Co.
I love how the British spelling classes up the sty.

This is awfully close to the unspellable, nigh unpronounceable nonsense name I was wishing for last week, so thanks, guys! My guess is "red gold green" but just looking at it in print, it's not obvious and I respect that.

Tugboat Country
Hey, that's where we live! I can relate to tugboats -- they're small but mighty, and the big, flashy ships can't get along without them.

We Butter the Bread with Butter
Out at the opposite end from Gag, here we have six words -- eight syllables -- that form a complete sentence. That alone is amusing. But behold! Once again, there's one word acting as both noun and verb, which lends an absurd poetry to the enterprise.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

February 22, 2014

I'm starting a movement: Keep Snow in the Mountains Where It Belongs! After a brief, rebellious flurry this morning, the weather seems to be listening. Because we don't want people stuck indoors when they could go out to hear:

Aufblasbar Frau
Translate silly things into German and they sound serious . . . or silly in a whole different way. (I had to look it up. It means "Inflatable Woman.")

Breaks and Swells
In our maritime region, how many words are there for waves? These are also musical terms, or they could refer to the kind of injuries you might sustain in a mosh pit. Then again, swells might be hipsters catching a break. Well played, friends.

Last week I asked for more punctuation, and look what I get! Gee, I wish there was more money in blogging about band names . . .

Wynne C. Blue and Her Troublefakers
The fun you can have by changing one letter! Is this anything like crying wolf?

Yes Bear
And then sometimes a name comes along that gets in for reasons of pure personal nostalgia. An extremely long time ago, when I was a child, we lived out in the sticks, and we took our bulky, unburnable trash to the dump. The dump was a place where you could poke around and sometimes find treasures. When I was about 5, my older sister adopted a stuffed panda from the dump. She named it Yes Bear and it could say only one word: Yes. It was unbelievably annoying, even (or especially) to a little sister, and it hung around for years. (As a side note, at this time I had a much more dump-worthy stuffed animal that I had inherited from our older brother. It had neither ears nor eyes nor tail, but they told me it was a rabbit. Its multisyllabic unspellable nonsense name would have made a great band name, if only I could remember it.) Thanks for the memories, Yes Bear.
The rabbit, on right, before it was dump-worthy

Me and the Yes Bear

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 15, 2014

It's that weird time of year when we've just had snow but it's starting to look and feel like spring; when Seattle high schoolers, two weeks into a new semester, take a week off to recover; when the year no longer feels new but I still have to think before writing the date. On the upside, a Monday holiday offers the rare opportunity to go out on a Sunday night! Make the most of it.

This technological marvel brought to you by Ziggy Stardust. Always in style.

(he thinks he's people)
Why do I assume this is aimed at the drummer? (I also like the parentheses. There's generally not enough punctuation in band names.)

Hoax Foot
I read this as a translation of pseudopod, a favorite term from high school biology. (In what I understand is their first outing, this duo is playing on the aforementioned Sunday night on a bill with former Square Pig honorees Pouch and Canals of Venice. Enjoyed a solo set by one of the members last summer, so I'm looking forward to it!)

Excellent name pun! Politically slanted promotion of non-violent resistance -- what's not to like?

So appropriate that they played on Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February 8, 2014

I've been thinking this week about Seattle's relationship to noise. We are famously polite, self-effacing, and law-abiding. Yet we're also famous for jets, rock bands, and seismic sports fans. Hmm. Perhaps because we are so polite and self-effacing . . .

Here are some noisemakers whose names caught my eye:

The Anti-Job
The pay stinks, but at least the hours are bad.

Brother Inferior
And now to St. Grunge's Monastery for a clever example of our famous loser mentality.
Can of Beans
A can of worms is what you don't want to open up; a hill of beans is what it doesn't amount to. If you open up a can of beans, you just get dinner. I don't even want to think about a hill of worms, though that would amount to a good band name.

Colonels of Truth
. . . and their nemeses, the Lieutenants of Lies! As noted previously, I'm fond of homophones that are spelled so differently that you have to read them aloud to get the pun.
Stars at Your Feet
A startling and striking image. On a personal note, I used this very phrasing in a science fiction story, in which a filmmaker on EVA is allowed to float away from the spaceship in order to get his shot.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

February 1, 2014

Funny -- the Times lists no rock shows on Sunday. Must be something else going on . . . The rest of the week makes up for it, and these bands rose to the top:

Basic Vacation
Like garage rock -- no frills, maybe even in your own home, but refreshing and restoring.

Although I am a drummer myself, I'm willing to allow this to mean a loud electric guitar.

Clear Plastic Masks
I like the idea of masks that don't obscure anything, somehow hiding behind transparency.

Dawn of Midi
It seems like a long time ago now, but at the time, it felt like the present.

The Wild Snohomians
The surprise here is that in 4+ years of blogging, I haven't included this outfit. I'm sure they've made the short list at least once, so here they are at last. This would seem to be a marriage of wild and mild. However, the trip to Snohomish is always enough longer than we think it should be to qualify the place as wilderness.

(Oh, all right. Go Hawks!)