“What’s in a name? Would ‘Kiss By A Rose’ by any other name sound so sweet?”

So asks Milwaukee post-rock/power-pop outfit Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends in the linear notes to a new split EP, Dangerous Nomenclature. And while the many mysteries of “Kiss By A Rose” (actually “Kiss From A Rose”) are never solved, the EP does answer this: What happens when two bands write three new songs based on the same three song titles?

So here’s the deal: Conan Neutron & The Secret Friends and moody Chicago noise duo The Erratic Retaliator Strategy each started with three song titles: “The Commuter,” “Competitive Grief,” and “The Misplaced Optimism Of The Doomed.” Good titles! From there, each group wrote its own songs based on those titles, “without hearing or knowing anything about the other band’s work.” Pretty neat!

For example, here’s Neutron’s peppy take on “The Commuter”:

And here’s The Erratic Retaliator Strategy’s decidedly un-peppy take on “The Commuter”:

Again, pretty neat! It kind of reminds us of when The Monkees released a song called “Me & Magdalena” in 2016 (written by Ben Gibbard), and The Hold Steady released a completely unrelated song by the same name five years later. Weird. Okay, so maybe this project isn’t a lot like that, but it’s close. Sort of. Maybe? Listen to the whole thing below:

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Weird music by weirdos, for weirdos: Chatting with Milwaukee-via-Oakland musician Conan Neutron

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.