What’s In a Name? Adjective + Animal = What to Call Your Band

Veteran indie rockers Modest Mouse announcing a new album The Golden Casket (out June 25) and an American tour that includes a stop in Nashville (at Ascend Amphitheater, with Future Islands opening, on October 4) gave me the perfect excuse to riff on the laziest but quite possibly most fool-proof formula for naming your burgeoning crew of musical collaborators.

When in doubt, you take an animal, and you describe it with an adjective. That’s it! The possibilities are virtually endless.

In fact, when prompted over on Instagram and Twitter, WNXP listeners reminded us of loads of bands and artists that fit this category for #ThematicStatic this week, with variations on the formula like:

Describing physical attributes, i.e. color, temperature, size and shape

  • Black Pumas
  • Glass Animals
  • Pink Spiders
  • Little Dragon
  • Miniature Tigers
  • Hot Snakes
  • Jade Bird (never mind that’s her real name, handily!)
  • Young Buck
  • Black Crowes
  • Palehound or Whitesnake (create a compound word for bonus point indie cred!)
  • Def Leppard or Deadmau5 (creative [mis]spellings, we’ll take it!)

Describing behavior, including whereabouts and what (er, who) is consumed

  • Tame Impala
  • Stray Cats
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Beach Bunny
  • Crazy Horse
  • Frightened Rabbit
  • The High Llamas
  • Cannibal Ox (yikes)

Honestly, just pick a type of animal, the key is the specificity:

  • Pandabear
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Blowfish (as in Hootie & The)
  • Arctic Monkeys

Or, choose to charmingly anthropomorphize by assigning a profession to — or at least boasting the highest educational attainment of — your animal, i.e.:

  • Dr. Dog

Because this is community radio and we call the shots, we also tucked in some songs that fit the formula. Selections from B-52s (“Rock Lobster”), Jack White (“That Black Bat Licorice”), Kacey Musgraves (“High Horse”) and Beastie Boys (“Brass Monkey”) rounded out four days of the nerdiest theme yet. What did we miss?

Stream a 20-song #ThematicStatic playlist below for your band name generation inspiration.