#21.2: What we learned in 2021
A Year in Band Name Bureau review
What have we learned this year? Before you answer, let me say I’m only talking about band names, not the world at large. That would be too dispiriting, and no one’s opening Band Name Bureau to dwell on how much things continue to suck.
This year being Band Name Bureau’s first full year of operation, why not take a look back at the lessons of 2021?
1. Hoobastank could’ve changed their name after their first album.
The group released their debut, They Sure Don’t Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To, under the name Hoobustank. But they didn’t like how people kept mispronouncing it “hoo-boo-stank,” so they decided the only sensible solution was to change it to Hoobastank. Sound logic!
2. A band cannot overcome having “whispering” in its name.
Seeing the name Whispering Sons in BNB #17, I posited that “whispering” in a moniker automatically digs a hole from which no one band escape, no matter how great their music. A quick scan of Bandcamp confirmed my suspicions, and also turned up some groups with even worse names: Whispering Leaves, Whispering Tears, Whispering Mirrors, etc.
3. “American Queen” is not just the name of a song by the Next Great American Novelist, but a smutty book.
Some googling of their songs titles for literary allusions turned up book one of something called the “New Camelot Trilogy,” which American Queen kicks off. It’s about a woman engaged in a throuple with the president and vice president. Raves one fan on Goodreads: “Strap on your vibrators, girls. Strap them on RIGHT NOW because you need to be prepared. The hot headboard rocking in this book will cause you to go INSANE with need for release.”
4. Succession’s Brian Cox starred in a ’60s “TV play” called The Year of the Sex Olympics.
That’s where the “band” the Year of the Sex Olympics got its name.
5. Atheist Alien has too much going on here.
Decipher this subject line: “Laser Yoga Records Releases Atheist Alien, the World’s First Doom Metal Spoken Word Poetry Album and World’s First 12” USB-LP,” it went. As BNB pal Josh Modell put it, “Lot to unpack in that subject.” No kidding.
6. Guitarist Evan Bird had to tell his parents he was dropping out of college to play in Diarrhea Planet full-time.
“This is maybe the worst idea I’ve ever had,” he told Buzzfeed.
7. Meet Me @ the Altar has a name that sounds like this…
…but they actually look like this.
8. Chakra Fucker is out there, but where?
The only evidence of their existence is a show flyer. I will find them!
Brian Cox lived in the same high rise as I did in Brooklyn. He’d work out on the elliptical in our gym while singing along to music on his iPad.
My favorite albums of the year, in no order. Check out my Spotify playlist of these & other 2021 favorites.
The War on Drugs, I Don’t Live Here Anymore. This band never did much for me, but this album is great, and I’m obsessed with the 1986-ness of the title track.
CHVRCHES, Screen Violence. No shock here, as each of their albums has made my best-of. “Good Girls” is a great one.
Beach Bunny, Blame Game. Speaking of, Beach Bunny’s title track mines similar territory as “Good Girls.”
Turnstile, Glow On. Quicksand meets At the Drive-in? Why yes, think I will.
Torres, Thirstier. Each album keeps getting better.
Lil Nas X, Montero. Is it weird that this is the only hip-hop album I liked front to back this year?
Public Service Broadcasting, Bright Magic. “Blue Heaven” sounds like an unreleased Joy Formidable song. I’m into it (and the rest of the album too).
Julien Baker, Little Oblivions. Not as emotionally devastating as her other work, which in this case is a positive.
Lucy Dacus, Home Video. Oh but this album is plenty devastating.
We Are Scientists, Huffy. I haven’t thought about these guys in years until this new one popped up on Spotify. Shocker: It’s great!
Slothrust, Parallel Timeline. A sleeper for me, but I’ve kept coming back to it.
Lots in the works for Band Name Bureau in 2022, so stay tuned. And thank you for reading!