Where Popular Indie Bands Got Their Names

Where Popular Indie Bands Got Their Names

It is a little known fact that Thom Yorke was actually the equally-attractive half brother of David Beckham before a freak recording studio accident during which some sound equipment exploded and a giant electronic fireball burned his face. Confronted with his newly undesirable looks, he sunk into a depression and began writing angsty alternative rock songs under the band name I Took a Radio To The Face as an homage to this life-altering experience, though his label ultimately suggested shortening it to simply Radiohead. This new project would turn out to be much more successful than his previous boy band/dance troupe, Thom Yorke and the Sexy Blokes. Trivia tidbit: the song ‘Creep’ was originally entitled ‘Babe.’

When French nationals Phoenix were conceptualizing names for their new indie band, they agreed that they wanted to call themselves something that expressed the majesty and sophistication of the Côte d’Azur. Knowing that their ultimate goal was to achieve international fame and wanting to tip their hats to America as a way to say, “Hey Pitchfork, we’re relevant! Pay attention to us!” they did a Google search for “United States, resort, warm weather.” The first result was Phoenix, and without firsthand knowledge of just how dissimilar the armpit of Arizona and the French Riviera are, they went with it. Which is fine, because Laguna Beach was kind of taken anyway.

Animal Collective
The members of Animal Collective actually met in high school while all holding part-time jobs at the Baltimore City Zoo, and it was these experiences that ultimately generated their band name. In fact, Deakin is short for deakinolonioidea, the scientific name for sea turtles, Avey Tare took his name from an artistic reimagining of the word Aviary, which is where he assisted the falcon handlers, and Geologist, never really an animal lover, helped design the Styrofoam rock formations in the penguin exhibit. Trivia tidbit: The song ‘My Girls’ was actually inspired by Trixie and Gloria, the orphaned spider monkeys that Panda Bear spent six months nursing to health, and the ensuing political battle to ensure that they had proper habitat. Though the Baltimore City Council lobbied hard for a less-expensive wood and metal enclosure, they ultimately relented to Panda Bear’s plea and used adobe instead.

Passion Pit
Passion Pit’s Michael Angelako was just a stoned high school student wandering aimlessly through life eating fast food and watching reruns of That 70’s Show when, after seeing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, his friends talked him into sneaking into another theater without paying for it (teenage rebels). As fate would have it, this theater just so happened to be playing The Passion of the Christ. Raised in a non-religious household by two hippies who met in a traveling psychedelic band in the 1970s, Michael knew a lot about music and nothing about Christianity. Not only was he deeply moved by this immersion into the world of spirituality, but he was also confronted with the purposelessness of his life. This experience threw him into a pit of depression—a Passion Pit, if you will—during which he vowed to make something of his life. The resulting effort was a full-length contemporary Christian LP entitled Manna. Unfortunately, Christian labels found his music to be too inaccessible for the mainstream conservative market, so he made some slight alterations (ex: lead single ‘The Redeeming’ became ‘The Reeling’; ‘Angel’s Wings’ became ‘Moth’s Wings’) and descended upon the indie market.

Crystal Castles
Have you ever listened to their music? This one is obvious. Alice Glass and Ethan Kath write all their music while smoking meth and playing videogames in their parents’ basements, aka their ‘castles.’ Duh. (They thought Meth Caves was a bit too evocative of southern rock.)

Sarah Heuer is sure Thom Yorke is beautiful on the inside.