Happy Belated Robbie Burns Day! Ach! I canna believe I missed it by exactly one week! So to make up for it, I present to you, the reader, one the most Scottish of bands out there, Biffy Clyro. And although their name is nae Scottish in origin, it's an impressively eccentric story nonetheless.
The Biffy boys come from Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, and grew up on a steady diet of Metallica, Rush, Pixies and Fugazi.
The band name could only perceivably come from a small-town Scottish upbringing (which may or may not have included haggis). Courtesy of an interview with lead singer Simon Neil in Digital Spy...
"There's a famous British musician called Cliff Richard, and when me and [drummer] Ben [Johnston] were 13 and bored in our little Scottish town of Ayr, we'd think up imaginary Cliff Richard merch products.
"We thought of things like Cliff Richard coat hangers and Cliff Richard Jesus dolls - he's a big Christian singer. In the UK there's a cheap kind of pen called a Biro pen and we thought about making Cliff Richard Biro pens.
"We'd call them Cliffy Biros. Somehow that turned into Biffy Clyro. Bizarrely, we weren't high at the time. There's just not a lot to do in Ayr. The weather is terrible."
But even with that amazingly strange-yet-fascinating name, the band has become one of Europe's biggest, due in large part to their incendiary live act.
They haven't hit it big in North America yet, but with the new - and very very good - album, Ellipsis, and their love of touring, it'd be no surprise if if by the end of the year "Mon The Biff!" is reverberating in arenas and stadiums worldwide.
Warpaint. What comes to your mind when you hear that word? If you can't pin one particular idea down, you're in the same boat as the band Warpaint. Heck, when I first of the group, I thought they'd be a massive-sounding metal band or a intense hardcore punk outift. Wrongo.
Here's the band's multi-layered explanation of the name (courtesy of Don't Panic)...
Theresa: Yeah, it means all of that to us. Native Americans or indigenous tribes might put on warpaint for dance, for theatre, for battle and women do it today. You can have warpaint on and it's not even actual paint, it's an expression that guards you or expresses something.
Emily: I think we settled on that name ultimately because it's so open. It has double meanings or triple meanings.
Theresa: Yeah, it’s everything from being completely defensive to being completely open and expressing yourself. And we all liked it, we actually all agreed on something.
Here's some other things to like about the band:
1) Their debut EP was produced by ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Fruisciante (solid pedigree right out of the gate - nice).
2) They have a theme song (or at least an eponymous song):
3) They have an immeasurable respect for pachyderms (sorta)...
4)... and they wear their DIY/punk-ethos hearts on their sleeves.
Sooooo... taking all of this into consideration, Warpaint is a great name for any band, especially for this one. Kudos, ladies.
Channeling the Eighties while name dropping the Roaring Twenties. Normally a band doing this would need some serious therapy. But Oxford, England's A Silent Film are doing alright, thank you very much.
The name came from a song by the same name the band wrote using a piano melody from Charlie Chaplin's The Kid.
You'd be thinking they'd have at least one ragtime ditty that someone could evade the coppers with, but no dice. Nope, these affable blokes have been possessed by the spirits of Unforgettable Fire-era U2, Tears For Fears, a-ha and Born to Run-vintage Bruuuce.
The driving beats, the hooky synths, the anthemic choruses... this band is anything but silent. The fact that two of their modern-day influences are The Killers and Coldplay are evidence enough of this.
It's a bit of a shocker, however, given all of the mashups out there, that there isn't a Chaplin clip spliced with one of the band's tunes. This hit would give Modern Times a driving urgency not considered before.
Siblings and rock n' roll. When combined they can become awesome, destructive, or both (awesomely destructive or destructively awesome - take your pick). With the Lemon Twigs, we're sending out good vibes.
In what seems to have been initially a placeholder handle , the Lemon Twigs name quickly became what the two eccentrically brilliant D'Addario brothers would go by in the music world.
They're one of those groups that almost defy defining. Or is it that they dare listeners to define them. Okay, Twigs - challenge accepted. The Lemon Twigs sound as though they travelled through time and assembled members of Wings, Big Star, T-Rex and The Beach Boys in their prime, kidnapping and bringing them back to present day to form a rock/pop supergroup. Kinda like what Bill and Ted did with the Wylde Stallions, only with less telephone booths, George Carlin and nary an utterance of of the word 'heinous'.
There we have it. My official first music review. Thank you, Lemon Twigs for your inspiration. And Rolling Stone... Pitchfork... I'm waiting for your call (or tweet, or DM, or smoke signal - whatever you'd like).
Just like the Key & Peele sketches about the names of football players, creative spelling can get you anywhere.
Take Seattle, Washington experimental noise/drone metal band SUNN O))), for example. Pronounced simply as 'Sun', the band name is a graphical representation of the logo of the famous SUNN amplifiers, which consists of the name SUNN, followed by a circle and three 'sun rays' fanning out to the right.
Stephen O'Malley (guitarist, composer and producer) has stated in several interviews that the SUNN O))) also is also related to drone music pioneers Earth. Stephen is also to have joked that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Ha-ha.
Another fun fact: SUNN O))) formerly went through life under the name Mars. This, plus their music does not prove that there's life on Mars, but merely that the band members probably indulge in some form of recreational-and-somewhat-herbal drug use.
This theory can be solidified by reviewing the names of the SUNN O))) album catalogue: Monoliths & Dimensions, The Iron Soul Of Nothing, Candlewolf Of The Golden Chalice, La Mort Noir dans Esch/Alzett, Flight of the Behemoth, ØØ Void...
But they're not all deep and dark all the time! No siree! They have a romantic side too (I would love to find out if any, ANY couple has made this their first dance):
While many folks are simply in awe of those who are geniuses in one area of expertise - the Hendrixes, the Mozarts... but I've always been more drawn to the Renaissance men, and Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, would easily fall under that category (Standup comedian! Sitcom star on Community! Mastermind of one of the more innovative shows on television, Atlanta! Playing a young Lando! Combining ancient Egypt with VR and computer coding!). He's had an intriguing rap career also, but some have just considered the Gambino side as a side project/hobby or perhaps even an extension of his comedic talents. The name and how it came to be even lends itself to that notion.
Childish Gambino was the name given to him when he used an online Wu Tang Clan name generator.
He's had an eccentric genius style to his music and videos over the course of his first few albums...
...but that has all changed with his latest, which he tapped into a completely unexpected and mind-blowing vein of low-down 70's-style soul/R&B. Childish Gambino is now a Mannish Gambino.
In fact, I've become so inspired, I'm beginning a Childish cover band by the name of Scratchin' Dreamer. My name origin? Take a wild guess...
This week's entry combines my honouring Canada's 150th birthday in 2017 via Canuck bands, creative uses of grammar in band names, and perhaps the best band name origin ever. Montreal noise rock/post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor takes its name from God Speed You! Black Emperor, a 1976 Japanese black-and-white documentary by director Mitsuo Yanagimachi, which follows the exploits of a Japanese biker gang, the Black Emperors.
But the band doesn't stop at bending the rules of grammar? whilst, referencing Japanese biker docs and composing instrumentals that average 15+min. in length. Nay, they go for broke and make every song and album title completely original. "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven", "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls", "F# A# ∞", " 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!", "Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable" and on... It's a good thing of their ditties are sprawling epics - that gives the listener time to try and figure out what the hell the band is thinking. And the fun is not figuring things out with the band. It's the theorizing what could be happening with them.
Now turn on that old cerebellum of yours, tune in or out... whatever works better. They say laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes unabashed contemplation is just what the doctor ordered. That, and any other enchancement you may partake whilst listening to the Godspeed folks.
I've come a little late to game in regards to Car Seat Headrest, but I'm glad I've found them nonetheless. Even if the origin of their name isn't actually true, I'm hooked. To paraphrase Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire: "You had me at Killer Whales..."
Legend has it that Car Seat-founder/mastermind Will Toledo (err... best rock name ever?!?) came up with the band moniker from the countless hours spent during his teenage years in his parents' car writing and recording demos. If there were a indie rock equivalent of Mozart-as-adolescent-prodigy, Will is it. Need proof?
Japan in many ways is like another planet reinterpreting Earth's customs then regurgitating them into something completely different. Melt Banana is just that: a Japanese noise rock band known for playing extremely fast grindcore and noise music mixed with experimental, electronica and pop-based song structures. *phew*
In a 2014 interview, Yasuko Onuki explained that the banana comes from The Velvet Underground & Nico album cover and Andy Warhol’s pop art. As for melt? “The word ‘melt’ was in my brain, so I named the band Melt-Banana. Actually, it was when I was thinking about song titles and we used it for a band name later.”
Many times, rock duos are not the most magnetic of performers. It's not their fault - there's only so much stage presence you can have while trying to replicate 3-4 other instruments at the same time. The Bananas, however, are one of the exceptions...
If nothing else, they'll make you rethink everything about The Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A.", and maybe life in general.
N.W.A. may have been threatened by the U.S. government, but Public Enemy can safely lay claim to rap's most dangerous group.
"The United States Constitution once considered black people to be three-fifths of a human being," Chuck D says. "If this is a public document, obviously we must be the enemy, so that's where the name Public Enemy came from."
Yes, they were part of the wave of rap's mainstream invasion along with RUN DMC, NWA and LL Cool J. And yes, they were part of rap's social conscience trinity along with NWA and Boogie Down Productions. But what made Public Enemy stand out from everyone else is their melding of political commentary with classic showmanship, best demonstrated by their leads:
Chuck D is the angry intellectual poet, inspiring his listeners to come together and fight for whatever cause he believed in. Flavor Flav is the crazed, mercurial clown prince who reels you in with his wacked-out charisma and keeps you with the profound lyrics he spits out. They are the classic push-and pull combination that makes every legendary group exactly that - legendary. They are rap's Jagger/Richards, Cash/Carter, or even early Axl/Slash.
That, combined with their stage show complete with Black Panther-esque shock troops and earworm beats supplied by Tha Bomb Squad, album titles like Fear Of A Black Planet and their provocative target logo, Public Enemy is the true rap conscience.
And it doesn't hurt that they have an affinity for metal either...
The officially unofficial blog of Faux Rawk. Everything you read is true, although some of what you read is 100% false. Whoa... trippy, man.