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Nerdy Girl and the Technical Thing

words by Rachel Carter
11.12.2009

NERDOne of my new favorite games to play is “that’s my indie band.” It’s kind of like “that’s what she said,” but less dirty. Here’s how you play: anytime anyone says a combination of words that don’t seem to go together you say, “___ is my new indie band.” For example, last week I was standing in Union Square near the now-deceased Virgin Megastore waiting for a friend. When he called looking for me, I was like, “I’m by the Virgin that’s under construction.” And he said, “Virgin Under Construction is my new band name.” Then we laughed for a while. And then we ate some hamburgers.

Anyway, this is a super fun game, I promise. And if you’re really bored, you can even take it a step farther and create whole personas for your bands, with nicknames, albums, and song titles. I’m currently a member of The Snow Ponies, and my alter-ego is Jasmine Sparkleberry. Our first album is called Needles in the Sand. First single: “Seasonal Muffintop.” And no, I have no musical ability. Just a lot of free time, apparently.

I realize that poking fun at indie band names on a site largely devoted to indie music is a tad crass. But come on. The other day I was looking up music from, um,”The Vampire Diaries,” when I stumbled across the band We Were Promised Jet Packs. The music was great: soaring melodies, lovely folksy voices, blah, blah. To be honest, I had a hard time paying attention to anything but the name. Jet Packs? Seriously? As far as I’m concerned, if you name your band after the assurance of futuristic flight equipment you’re pretty much fair game.

What blows my mind is how so many different bands have similarly absurd trains of thought. After listening to both Margo & The Nuclear So and So’s and Florence + The Machine in the same day, my friend declared that Nerdy Girl And The Technical Thing is now her new band name. And look at all the lupine-inspired bands: Wolfmother, Wolf Parade, Sea Wolf. Or for the more arboreally inclined: The Wooden Birds, The Wooden Sky, Woodpigeon. I’m personally a big fan of declarative and imperative band names: Clap You Hands Say Yeah, I’m from Barcelona, and I Would Set Myself on Fire For You. Whoa Emo. Check out this list of the worst band names of ’07 for a total round up (and fair warning, there is a category called “Rape.” Which is about 100 kinds of disturbing). My favorite? Happy Mother’s Day, I can’t read.

Not only do indie band names make a fun game, they also serve some practical functions. Specifically when it comes to indie band name generators. Anytime I need to name a party on Facebook, I just head over to Cool’eh magazine for some inspiration. This is how my last Halloween party got named Satanic Shakedown Explosion. I’ve also generated (and kind of fallen in love with): Cobalt and the Beholder, Wine? and Chinese Slack Water. Which, actually, are all pretty awesome band names. And may already be playing in Brooklyn somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that indie band names become any less ridiculous. I just want to make sure everyone is gaining maximum enjoyment from this indie practice. So next time you’re hanging out and someone says something like, “this room is full of flashlights and underpants.” Just say, “Flashlights And Underpants is my new indie band name.” Because where would the world be without unnecessarily long, mildly offensive, absurdist band names? A sad, sad, place, that’s where.

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Rachel Carter has an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in Girl Zone magazine and The Faster Times. She is currently living in New York and working on a young adult novel about ghosts. Visit her Pop Culture Blog.

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  • heather

    Along the lines of the wolfie bands – I’ve noticed a bunch of bands lately that refer to another animal – the whale. Black Whales…Noah and the Whale….Or, the Whale…Bird and Whale…Modest Mouse have a new video out for their track Whale Song (the video is awesome, btw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BmN4nvMLqs)

    Is everyone getting inspired by twitter’s happy little fail whale? I dunno.

    Oh, and by the way, my indie band is Elemental Pea, and we have an album out called Experimental Kid. Our first song is titled “Your brother is a penguin.” lolz

  • nathan

    no joke, my fake band was called Smart and Compliant. it was an ironic semi-political indie folk rock band with hip-hop flair. we had a logo and everything. if you want i’ll show it to you.

  • heather

    Post the logo NOW!

    p.s. that dudes ‘stache creeps me out.

  • RCarter

    Right after I finished this column, my friend and I came up with Sinister Prime Minister. A personal best! I’m contemplating learning an instrument just so I can make it happen.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/seizedbyforce Chris Aitkens

    My REAL band shares a record label with a band called the B*ll C*sby Anarchist Society of America (the vowels were censored because the band received a letter from Bill Cosby’s lawyers).

    Also, Apocalypstick is my new indie band. Our album is called “Leading Causes of Statistics” and our single is called “Though I’m Sad That You Left, I Respect Your Decision To Do So, And Wish You Luck In The Future (You Stupid Bitch)!” Shit, this game’s fun!

  • http://filmdrunk.uproxx.com/ Vince

    My band name is Frotterous Otter. It’s an Otter that gets sexual gratification from rubbing up against people on the subway.

  • nathan

    i also made up one the other day called Thought Police. the album title is “You Don’t Know What to Make of This”

  • nathan

    check out the Smart and Compliant fake band logo and download it here! http://www.tonjiboy.com/wha?

  • http://www.burstbottles.com Layla Burke

    In high school and college my sister and I used to have an imaginary band called, “The Cartoon Triangle Boys.”
    It was born out of a jest at Archie Comics, Josie and the PussyCats and other animated shows that launched bands that were selling albums.
    It got a little crazy when friends and associates would be playing obscure new music and my sister and I would say, “Wow. This sounds a lot like the Cartoon Triangle Boys….are you familiar with them?
    I am ashamed of how many ‘yeahs’ we coaxed out of people.
    “Bad girls into Changed Bees” is my new band.

  • LG

    “Wolf shaped bullet”! ;-)