Before we even get started, we should admit that a list of the Best Band Names of the Year is not an original idea. The A.V. Club at the Onion first did it years ago, and continues to do it, much to our enjoyment. Our list started fairly organically. We approve hundreds of event listings each week, while also scouring club sites all over the region in order to make sure our NowPlayingNashville.com music listings are comprehensive. We often come across band names and bios that give us great joy. Some are creative. Some are ridiculous. Some are flat out bizarre. So we started keeping a list. Below are some of our favorites from 2015, whether they were local or national bands passing though. Some are brand new, some have been around awhile and only recently landed on our radar.
If you’re in a band out there with a great name (or not), make sure you’re submitting your shows to us. We’ll do our small part to make sure Middle Tennessee, and the world, hears about it.
Cast Your Vote: At the bottom of our list, tell us which “best band name” is your favorite by voting in our poll. We’ll crown a winner on New Year’s Eve at 4 p.m.
Best Band Names of the Year | 2015
32 Pints – This band out of Long Island, a frequent visitor to Music City, was originally called 32 Pints of Apple Juice. We have no idea what that’s in reference to, which is exactly why we like it.
4 Door Theatre – Young, Nashville-based pop rock band 4 Door Theatre was formerly known as Who We Are.
Animal People – According to the band’s Facebook bio: “Jonathan used to grow peppers in the back yard. Jalapenos, habaneros. Then that’s what he would eat – rice and beans and lots of peppers. You couldn’t use the knife or the cutting board after he’d used it – and just walking through the kitchen, the air would make your face hurt.”
Astrochimps – From the band’s Facebook page bio: Astrochimps are “quirky artistic good-looking intellectual types who like to party.”
Bring Me Solo – When it comes to timely names, Murfreesboro-based Bring Me Solo hit the jackpot this year.
Caligulove – Roman Emperor Caligula (37-41 AD), known for his sadism and sexual perversity, was immortalized in a 1979 x-rated movie directed by Tinto Brass, Giancarlo Lui and Penthouse founder Bob Guccione and written by Gore Vidal. Caligulove, which takes its name from the emperor, the film about the Emperor, or the Them Crooked Vultures’ song, like to get jammy and hail from the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama. They now call Nashville home.
Call Me Bronco – This Louisville-based band’s 2013 7-song EP is titled Depressed Songs for the Depressed.
Don Coyote – Don Coyote is Wigwam Sam Jaco, James Double S Dubberley, Lieutenant Dan Lewis, Spooky Heather Moulder and Zach Pizza Roll Hampton. Its motto is “Ask not what country music can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’s music.”
Drunk & Sailor – From this Louisville, Kentucky band’s bio: “Phillip is usually the drunk, and Capt Amos is usually the sailor. Sometimes they’re both drunk, and sometimes they’re both sailors. Every once in a great while they are both drunk and both sailors.” At the band’s high-energy shows, “(Un)lucky audience members often find themselves dragged onstage to participate.”
Hip Jelly – Hip Jelly uses the time-honored band-naming tradition of combining two disparate objects into one cool-sounding thing. Unless it takes its name from rose hip jelly, that is. It also uses what is now a Nashville tradition of combining all the best musicians you know into an awesome cover band. In this case, it’s Stax-era soul music.
Fistikuffs – From the Nashville band’s bio: The Kuffs followed the success of their 2010 album Rock, Paper, Sizurp with numerous viral videos, including the hilarious full-length mockumentary, Quest for Crunk. In 2011, a full backing band known as the “Thrift Store Mafia” was added to the mix and the resulting performances have further solidified the group’s status as a certified crowd-pleaser.” On the band’s Facebook page, a perusal of the band’s “12 Days of Kuffsmas” photos is highly recommended.
Free Cookies – Because who doesn’t like Free Cookies? And this comment on the band’s Facebook page.
I Am An Island – No man is an island, except for J. Gardner.
Kitten Forever – Kitten Forever is a Minneapolis-based punk band that swung through Nashville this year. They’ve been putting out EPs and LPS, on a variety of formats since 2006.
Montezuma Fire Machine – MFM are a Nashville-based progressive rock band that throw violin and horns into the mix. From the band’s Facebook page bio: “You haven’t seen live music till you’ve seen a violinist scream into his own f-holes.”
Save/Quit – We couldn’t find out much about Nashville band Save/Quit online, but they have a song on Soundcloud called “in tights.”
Spoken Nerd – Spoken Nerd is Nashville based Hip Hop/Indie Pop project of Nathan Conrad and his associates.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home – It’s a great name for a novel (Carol Rifka Brunt’s 2012 debut) and a band. In case you thought Music City was built on country music, from the latter’s Bandcamp page bio: “Straight from the heart of Music City comes TTWIH with bone crunching grooves and soaring choruses. We’re here to bring Nashville back to its metal roots!”
The Goddam Gallows – According to its official bio, “The Goddamn Gallows came from the heart of America’s Rust Belt, arising from a night of flophouse violence” and have been putting out records since at least 2007. They have an accordion, washboard and drum player named
TigermanWHOA – Winners of “Best Live Band” at this year’s Boston Music Awards, TigermanWHOA stopped in Music City this year and brought with them their own unique take on Americana-Meets-Punk-and-Hip-Hop.
Tin Fist Pony – Tin Fist Pony are an alternative and heavy rock rock trio out of Nashville.
We Are the Finale – If a good rock band name, like a good rock song title (see ‘We Are the Champions”), should be audacious, WATF wins big time.
Whiskey Shivers – NPR music critic Ann Powers says Americana band Whiskey Shivers have “been killing it in Austin for a few years now. They have that spirit of busking, that punk spirit of ‘let’s lay it on the line, let’s play our instruments hard.”
Yankee Blood – The members of Yankee blood don’t look anything like you’d think they would. Once you realize they’re not out for Yankee Blood, but HAVE Yankee blood in them, it all makes sense. They’re from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, and are now doing their thing in Nashville.
Spruce Beersteen (Beer) – This was not a band name, but a Jackalope beer name. We love it so much we had to include it. They hosted a show in October called Brewed in the U.S.A. that we also loved.