It's time for The Soup Peddler's annual SXSW Band Name Analysis And Award Ceremony. Our previous winners Crapulence, Phil And The Osophers, and We Were Promised Jetpacks served as advisory board members to help me cull through the thousands of entries.
Simple analysis reveals the biggest trend in this year's band naming: the exclamation mark. It has been used to some good effect. For example, The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt seems somehow incomplete, flat, without the addition of the mark: The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! It makes all the difference. You Say Party, We Say Die becomes You Say Party! We Say Die! and suddenly there is a suggestion of jubilance in the murderous intention. Attack Attack seems like something a robot gone bad might say, whereas Attack Attack! seems more like a fun way to announce an imminent bludgeoning.
We've seen this trend before also. In times of economic strain, bands turn to familiar, heartwarming, cuddly things to inject with irony. Rabbits are a common motif. This year, we have Bad Rabbit, Frightened Rabbit, Dirty Little Rabbits, and Roxy Cottontail. There was a smattering of other fauna, such as Butterfly Explosion, Nervous Turkey, and Kittens Ablaze. I feel like the latter could have gone the extra mile and added the exclamation mark. Check this out: Kittens Ablaze! It jumps off the page.
We discovered an interesting correlation between the Chinese calendar and SXSW band names... indeed it is the Year Of The Tiger. We have Papier Tigre, Spring Tigers, 60 Tigres, Tigersapien, and Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger! (you'll excuse the latter, they're Italian. Europeans employ such cutely awkward use of American curse words). Other great cat-inspired bands are Jaguar Love and Japanther (not to be confused with Japandroids).
In a hopeful note, only a few bands joined my Bad Grammar/I Weep For The Future Because The English Language Is Dying List this year: She And Him is probably the most glaring example, but The Bewitched Hands On Top Of Our Heads is arguably more embarrassing because it doesn't seem like it was done on purpose. I assume She And Him is purposeful and ironic in some way.
I felt that this year there was a marked decline in band names that were selected purposefully to embarrass the parents of the band members. Certainly, we still have our Middle Finger Salutes, etc., but we definitely have a much more subdued crop. Gone are the Die! Die! Die!s of years past. However, I am concerned still for the marketing approach of some bands. Particularly The Gates Of Slumber. Sounds like a real pick-me-up! I think I'll go to that show! Or BFS & The Crappy All-Stars Karaoke? Or The Spit Brothers? Or We Are Country Mice? I don't see these as big marquee names. Perhaps a little self-sabotaging. Maybe ironically self-sabotaging?
Several bands seem to have used the Free Online Random Band Name Generator to no good effect: Mammoth Grinder, Spleen United, Codeine Velvet Club, Yourself And The Air, and Peanut Butter Wolf were just a few.
Well, let's move on to the final round of judging. In no particular order, these are the band names that floated my boat: Hammer No More Fingers, John Dear Mowing Club, Hyperpotamus, Bass Drum Of Death, Banjo Or Freakout, Flosstradamus, Plastician. I'll have to say that my runner-up for this year's prize is a self-styled "Thrash/Classical/Glam" band whose music sounds as though it was beamed digitally to Earth from Alpha Centauri and then decoded incorrectly: Computer Jesus Refrigerator! Come on down to claim your prize!
And this year's winner, a combination of sheer timelessness, genre-crossing brilliance, and great Scrabble point value all rolled into one: Foxy Shazam! You are the 2010 Soup Peddler SXSW Band Name Analysis And Award Ceremony Award Winner! Huzzah!