Critic and writer Kyle Ryan started doing this in 2005, when he was a listings editor for The A.V. Club in Chicago. At the end of that year, he published his first list of funny band names with his ballot for the year’s best albums. (Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods took top honors, and rightly so.) The Year in Band Names soon became an annual staple of The A.V. Club until he left the publication in 2018. Now he continues what is apparently his life’s calling (?) via newsletter.
Each edition of the monthly newsletter features write-ups on new bands Kyle has encountered. There’s also a paid option for $5/month (the minimum subscription amount allowed by Substack) that includes a bonus newsletter every month featuring updates on list alumni, quick chats with bands or experts, write-ups about historical bands with noteworthy names, and other surprises. If $5/month feels like a lot for such frivolity, tips are welcome via PayPal and Venmo.
Kyle is a veteran writer, editor, producer, and member of many bands with questionable names. That began with his first band, 12 Inch Breath Mint. (As a friend’s mom put it, “Oh, it’s 12 inches and you put it in your mouth?” The thought had never occurred to the adolescents in the band.) He was also in bands called Schooled Stupid, Casper, Sequence Six, Pollock, Iola Electric, Hirudin, and Snd On Snd, and probably some others he’s forgotten.