One set of names I tend to avoid is bands that begin with 'The' and end in 's', ie: The Somethings. Now there are exceptions but that's not what this is about. Generally, these names conjure up connotations of Indie/hipster/pop bands which isn't my kind of music. However, I realised today, that if I transformed my favourite artists names by changing it into "The [band names]s" I could completely change my opinion on the name and on what I think they'd sound like. So what I figured I'd do, is take some of my top 20 (and one or two choice selections) and see how different they would seem with the change in title.
The Jonathan Coultons:
I'm not sure this one works too well. I think if he were really famous or a cult icon it could easily be a really infuriating indie band. I think "The Susan Boyles" would be a band that's name turned me off instantly. Feel free to take that name.
The Dream Theaters:
This sounds more like a concept album than a band. I think I would actually buy it if it were an album. If it were a band? Probably not. Sounds like they wouldn't really know english.
I'm too connected to Parliament, plus I know this was their name in there earliest incarnation, but I reckon this could have been a London based pop-punk band from the late 80s, early 90s. Would have fans that really should try different music.
This would definetely be a really obscure indie band that would be brought up at the end of a game of 'No way, I like way less famous bands than you' (probably as the killing blow). It would be described with words like "Comtemporary revival soul pop" or "Smooth anti punk indie folk" leaving no-one with any clue what they sound like. Would never have more than 13 fans due to them being 'too mainstream' when they hit 14, so they lose one. Would have 4 albums out before anyone knows who they are.
The Pain of Salvations:
While the name doesn't make a lot of sense, this would either be a hopeless emo "what's the point?" band or infact, exactly the same band as it is now, but with worse grammar and pronounciation.
The The Lonely Islands:
This partly works, but I wouldn't listen to it. Would probably be some californian folk group or a bunch of surprisingly old bald americans in an R.E.M. style band. Would be popular, but nobodies favourite band.
The Black Mages
This is one of the exceptions. Due to the instant link to videogames/fantasy/nerdy things, this band could never be an indie band, no matter how 'ironic' they're trying to be.
The Pagan Minds (Pagan's Mind):
Edited this a bit, because I think "The Pagan Minds" could easily be a 70s progressive rock group from some quiet english county. Or an anti-anti-anti-folk supergroup.
The Seventh Wonders:
This would absolutely be a 70s English Progressive Rock group.
The Shadow Galleries (Shadow Gallery:)
This would probably sound just like one of the bands listed above, but the name sounds great, so I'd make myself like it. That seems like a flaw of mine, revealing a rather shallow personality, but I'll ignore that for now. Probably a side-project turned main project by someone who has already done that so many times, you'll struggle to remember why you know them in the first place.
The Strapping Young Lads:
This one is what made me think of this whole blog idea. That band is so quickly transformed into a run-of-the-mill "Why are these guys 'groundbreaking'? They sound like everyone else..." artist with just 4 characters. It's rather ridiculous. With a name like this, this band could last an indie music generation (about 2 years in some version of the public eye). Would continue to make music for 15 years after everyone has forgotten them. I'm actually shocked this is not already a band's name.
That's as far as I'll go. If you got this far, you've probably tried it with your own most played lists. Post if you have any as mindblowing as The Strapping Young Lads.
So what have you learned? Firstly, names are important (remind me why I listened to Fairyland in the first place). Secondly if you can't think of a band name, slightly edit a current one. Love Starsailor? Here comes The Starsailors! No-one will notice.
I may think about trying this in reverse. The more I think about it, the more I like Libertine as a name.
(also: wow, what a journal drought...)