Finding a perfect band name can be a daunting prospect. Does the name give listeners a rough idea of what they’re in for? Does it evoke a desired feeling or mood? Is it (and/or its corresponding Twitter handle) already taken? Hell, does a name even matter any more? Well, yeah, it kind of does. Take Nashville punk band Diarrhea Planet, who returns to the Cactus Club Thursday, June 19. Diarrhea Planet is a terrific band—a really, really terrific band—but you wouldn’t be blamed for staying away based on the group’s, ahem, shitty name alone.
Inspired by Diarrhea Planet (file under: four words we never thought we’d write), Milwaukee Record compiled a list of great Milwaukee bands that are great in spite of their iffy names. Strange spellings, naughty words, and a whole lot of randomness all make appearances. Nit-picky name issues aside, we love these bands anyway.
There’s plenty of sex, noise, and grit flowing through the veins of psych wonders Catacombz—too bad that “Z” at the end of their name summons up images of exxxtreme sports dudes with Mountain Dew flowing through their veins. Yes, there was (is?) a death metal band from Arizona called “Catacombs,” and yes, that “Z” makes things much more Google-friendly for the Milwaukee group. But it also reminds us of that kinda-crummy movie service Starz—while the band’s music is definitely HBO Go caliber. (Crashes during Game Of Thrones notwithstanding.)
2. Crappy Dracula
There’s nothing—we repeat, nothing—serious about Crappy Dracula. After all, this is a gleefully dopey punk band that writes songs about the mythic ghost from Three Men And A Baby, and opens one of its albums with an extended (and hilarious) sound check. It goes without saying that CrapDrac is the finest “joke” band in Milwaukee (sorry, Blue Mooners), which is why we’re concerned that its horror- and poop-conjuring name might keep it from getting booked at various sock hops and senior center cookouts. Frank’s Power Plant shouldn’t be the only place where people can enjoy songs like “Diagnosis: Karate.”
3. Dogs In Ecstasy
Is there something heartwarming and downright sublime about a canine in the throes of happiness via a game of fetch and/or a belly rub? Of course there is. Is the image of a blissed-out dog a good idea for a band name? Probably not. Happily, Dogs In Ecstasy transcend their goofy name with buzzy, pop- and synth-indebted guitar rock that wouldn’t feel out of place on a misplaced mix tape from 1995. Give them credit for sticking to their guns, though: The Dogs’ Facebook page is almost nothing but—you guessed it—pictures of dogs in various states of doggy ecstasy.
4. Drugs Dragons
With a name like Drugs Dragons, the dingy punkers don’t pull any punches in warning listeners of the aural experience that awaits them. It’s not like the band lost out on any youth center or church function gigs on name alone. However, it’s the dual pluralization of these two attention-grabbing nouns that strikes us a bit funny. Is it just us, or would “Drug Dragons” or “Drug Dragon” sound more natural?
5. Holy Shit!
When starting out, most bands realize they probably aren’t ever going to be a mainstream success. Some take the extra step to make sure that never happens by putting a curse word in their name. Like semi-notable—but limited—sister acts in swears like The Fucking Champs, Starfucker, and (especially) Holy Fuck, local hardcore vets Holy Shit! said “fuck it” to a conventional band name and focused on churning out enjoyable sub-minute songs beloved in everywhere from Milwaukee to Tokyo.
Jaill is just another in an endless parade of contemporary bands whose name is essentially a misspelled word. Unlike the majority of its brethren, the spelling the band (formerly just called Jail) uses was an eleventh hour spelling change when dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on its Sub Pop record deal, since a 1970s UK band claimed the monosyllabic gem first. No matter, it’s the same great Jail, now with more of the “L” kids crave.
Earlier this year, tireless Milwaukee rapper/energy-drink-purveyor Juiceboxxx faced terabytes of Internet criticism over his glitch-ridden performance on TMJ4. “The worst on-air rap in TV history!” cried the easily irked Internet. “Is this guy a joke?” Well, as anyone who has seen Juice live can attest, he’s not a joke—though naming himself after a children’s drink and dropping a triple-X at the end certainly doesn’t help the credibility issue. The “Juiceboxxx” moniker may have made sense when the rapper was a scrappy teenager, but it’s a bit silly for a grown-ass man. Oh well, an increasingly ill-fitting name never hurt one of Juice’s clearest influences, the Beastie Boys.
8. Like Like The The The Death
Much like Call Me Lightning deriving its name from the title of a song by The Who, abrasive post-punk outfit Like Like The The The Death took its name from a four-minute Silver Jews cut. Those who are unfamiliar with the song may see the band’s name on flyers and suspect a typo, and the repetitive nomenclature dares to be written and said incorrectly. Even with its clunky name, we’ll like Like Like The The The Death to the death.
9. Sat. Nite Duets
There are some bands and artists that use annoying punctuation in their names (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, P!nk) and others that use annoying misspellings (Phish, those Beatles guys). Then there are those that use both. The members of one of Milwaukee’s best bands, Sat. Nite Duets, are guilty of this double-threat, gleefully abbreviating “Saturday” and misspelling “night.” Except when they don’t: In past interviews, the band seems ambivalent about the proper form of its name—Sat.? Saturday? Whatever works for you! (Oh, and “Sat. Nite Duets” is also an anagram for “United States,” in case you were wondering.)
10. Vic And Gab
We tease talented and eternally up-tempo sister act Vic And Gab for their frequent shows. It’s just good-natured ribbing, really, but we can’t look past the lack of thought Victoriah and Hannah Gabriela Banuelos put into their project’s name. It’s akin to Maritime being called “Davey And Dan And Dan And Justin.” Admittedly, the flowery, innocent name is indicative of the indie-pop the band bestows to audiences on a thrice-daily basis. And why isn’t the drummer part of the name?