February 15, 2005

Hand in unlovable hand

Filed under: Music — tomemos @ 1:01 am

Joe and Pat and I saw The Mountain Goats last week. The thing about them is that it’s really just one guy, John Darnielle. Sure, he’s got a band with him, but he’s the only fixture of the band; those other guys are rootless, not important to the band’s longterm future. They even borrowed a drummer from one of the opening acts. This got us thinking: what are some other bands that are really just one person, but have a name like a full band? I don’t mean something like The Cure, where Robert Smith is the only member of the original lineup left; I mean something where the band has always been just about the one musician. A few we came up with:

Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor)
Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst)
Badly Drawn Boy* (Damon Gough)
Aphex Twin (Richard D. James)
The Streets (Mike Skinner)
White Town (Jyoti Mishra)

*sort of questionable since BDB is just his stage name, but three words sounds like a band to me.

Of course, from here it was just an associative hop to the opposite category: full bands that sound like one person. Some of these include:

Moby Grape
Veruca Salt
Steely Dan

Then there’s Belle & Sebastian, who sound like two people but are actually many more. Anyone have any contributions to either list?

Anyway, the Mountain Goats. Yeah, they’re great. The singer is just such a nice guy, great at bantering with the audience. They closed with my favorite song. It put me into a big getting into music thing, just in time for Coachella and for my bank account being empty because of Coachella.

Oh yeah, one more music thing: Beck has a new video out (there’s a link here, but you can watch a higher-quality version via iTunes). I like the song, and I like the video pretty well too, but does it strike anyone else that the video looks like it was directed by The Cheat? Compare it with the Homestar video for the They Might Be Giants song “Experimental Film” and you may get the impression, as I did, that the Brothers Chaps are more on point than you’d expect an internet cartoon show to be. How do you keep your finger on the pulse of American culture with boxing gloves on your hands?



  1. Talking Heads

    Comment by locks — February 15, 2005 @ 11:25 am

  2. VAST, which is one guy and many, many synthesizers who manage to sound like lots of people.

    Well, possibly he borrowed a choir for a few songs.

    Comment by Fae — February 15, 2005 @ 1:38 pm

  3. I don’t know if I’d put the Talking Heads on there. They’re more in the vein of the Kinks or the Beach Boys–bands led by a single genius, but bands nonetheless. Of course, all you have to do is compare David Byrne’s success with that of the Tom-Tom Club to figure out whether Byrne needed the Heads more than they needed him.

    Comment by Tom — February 15, 2005 @ 5:28 pm

  4. the Thompson Twins were 3 people. .. thats all I got. πŸ™‚

    Comment by ariela — February 16, 2005 @ 4:57 am

  5. Relevant information regarding Raptor:


    Comment by Matt — February 18, 2005 @ 8:21 am

  6. The big Latin pop star Juanes sometimes confuses people into thinking he is a band. I’ve seen his illegally downloaded mp3s labeled as “Los Juanes.” But in fact it is just a nickname for his two first names, Juan Esteban. (Not uncommon in Latin America; I know a Juan Pablo who goes by Juanpa. Ugly, isn’t it?)

    Comment by viajes — March 16, 2005 @ 3:51 pm

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