Square Pig in a Round Hole-January 30, 2021

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #46

In which I continue the celebration of classic X and the Y band-naming structure. I find it interesting that this durable format is also popular in other media, such as middle-grade fiction and adventure films. I nearly titled my first novel Invisible Girl and the Magic Hat before deciding it might seem aimed at a younger demographic than I wanted to reach. The Gospel According to St. Rage probably doesn’t appeal to teens any better, but I’m not changing it. And for the sequel, I went with Barbara and the Rage Brigade, so what do I know? As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.

Brianna Skye & the Dark Clouds
(March 3, 2018) I’m a perennial fan of classic X and the Y structure, especially when there’s clever or poetic connection between the name of the band leader and the name of the band. By happy coincidence, my garage-rock fairy tale The Gospel According to St Rage includes an important character named Storm Skye. I wonder if they’re related.

Catfish and the Bottlemen
(February 14, 2015) Classic X and the Y structure, but the frontperson is a (possibly fictional) character. I also can’t help thinking the Bottlemen might want to hang out in the Alestorm [featured February 14, 2015].

Charlie and the Foxtrots
(March 22, 2014) I keep trying to learn the NATO phonetic alphabet; Charlie and Foxtrot are the only letters I consistently remember. That, plus the classic X and the Y structure, makes this a winner.

Connie & the Precious Moments
(December 13, 2014) I’m a perennial fan of the classic X and the Y structure, especially when there’s some clever twist to one or both parts. Nothing could be further from rock and roll than sentimental figurines. I have my own fraught relationship with Precious Moments, having received a set of four PM mugs as a wedding gift. We were not particularly sorry when some of them broke, but after 28 years, one remains and may outlive us all. [Update: it did not survive.]

Daddy Treetops and the Howlin’ Tomcats
(June 9, 2012) A good old “X and the Y” construction taken over the top. It’s not just tomcats, it’s howlin’ tomcats; it’s not just some guy, it’s a guy with a wonderful nickname. And I always like a good cat reference.

Two last things before you go:

  1. My new thing in the new year is The Rage Brigade, a Facebook group for conversation about fantasy, science fiction, superheroes, and music (and the intersections thereof). If that sounds like fun, come join us here.
  2. I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first nine issues and subscribe here for future issues. (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Square Pig in a Round Hole-January 23, 2021

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #45

Time for a new theme! In writing this blog for more than a decade, it has become clear that there are a few band name formats that will never go out of style. One of the most durable is the classic X and the Y structure. A search of the vault provided enough material for weeks! As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.

Angelo Delsenno and the Empty Sky
(August 18, 2012) The usual “frontperson and the band” formulation, but it could as easily be a solo act with a tongue-in-cheek name. Either way, Empty Sky is a grand and poignant name.

Baby and the Nobodies
(April 5, 2014) Two of my favorite things: the classic X and the Y structure, with our characteristic Northwest loser pride.

The Bard and the Liar
(August 18, 2012) As if they were not different names for the same thing. Storytellers and poets tell the truth by making stuff up. And I love me an unreliable narrator!

Bones and the Falderalls
(May 3, 2014) I’m a big fan of the classic X and the Y structure anyway, but this goes that extra couple of steps over the top, where X=a colorful nickname and Y=an old-timey term of the sort we don’t see enough of these days. You know these folks are having all the fun and will share generously.

Brian Lee and the Orbiters
(November 24, 2018) Music gives us the power to achieve escape velocity and view the world from a higher perspective.

Two last things before you go:

  1. My new thing in the new year is The Rage Brigade, a Facebook group for conversation about fantasy, science fiction, superheroes, and music (and the intersections thereof). If that sounds like fun, come join us here.
  2. I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first nine issues and subscribe here for future issues. (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Square Pig in a Round Hole-January 16, 2021

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #44

It helps me in these uneasy, transitional times to recall that my politics were shaped by Walt Kelly’s Pogo comic strip, which made equal-opportunity fun of all parties but came down particularly hard on authoritarians and bullies. The swamp critters (a community of anthropomorphized alligators, bears, beavers, groundhogs, opossums, owls, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, turtles, and more) came together every four years to throw Pogo Possum’s hat into the ring (against his will, sometimes with him still in it). If asked, I Go Pogo, and offer here a Pogo-themed assortment of band names. As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.

Acapulco Lips
(February 2, 2013) On the page, it looks like silly nonsense, but has to be read aloud to really sink in. On top of the wordplay (for me, at least), it brings to mind Walt Kelly’s Pogo strip, in which “Octawocktapockers done got Albert!”

Alabaster
(October 5, 2013) I don’t know what they were intending, but as a Pogo fan of long standing, I can’t help thinking of Albert Alligator’s adorable little nephew Alabaster, and his pal Rackety Coon Chile. And so I smile.

Lumphead
(January 21, 2017) A truly Pogoesque insult or endearment.

Puddle City Opossums
(December 28, 2013) This has both downhome folksiness and good poetic/syllabic structure. As an old Pogo fan, I’m happy to honor these possums. Puddle City is an excellent Seattle nickname, too.

Trampled By Turtles
(September 8, 2012) I love this image, because of the slow speed. Anything heavy enough to do any damage, you could just roll out of the way. I picture some poor dude, passed out and engulfed by turtles.

Two last things before you go:

  1. My new thing in the new year is The Rage Brigade, a Facebook group for conversation about fantasy, science fiction, superheroes, and music (and the intersections thereof). If that sounds like fun, come join us here.
  2. I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first nine issues and subscribe here for future issues. (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Square Pig in a Round Hole-January 9, 2021

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #43

Well, that was a week. Had a kind of 2020 vibe to it, didn’t it? I scrapped my originally planned theme and went with something maybe a little more suitable. As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, try not to start a civil war, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.

The Almost Faithful
(August 22, 2015) This implies that fidelity is on a scale, with “only cheated a little bit” and “almost faithful” on the line from unfaithful to faithful. Or perhaps this is the congregation that makes it as far as the church door but not quite all the way inside.

Expired Logic
(June 13, 2015) Ways of thinking that used to work are no longer valid. It’s time for fresh ideas! (I also like their expressed genre, sci-fi punk!)

Head for the Hills
(November 12, 2016) There’s a temptation to run and hide, but where would we go? This is our circus; those are our monkeys.

Shot on Site
(June 13, 2015) Here we have a tidy little pun that alludes to knee-jerk violence and location camera work in three short words.

somesurprises
(August 22, 2015) It showed up in the paper as two words, but I like it even better run together, all lowercase. Unusual enough to be some surprise without overwhelming the senses. It creeps up.

Two last things before you go:

  1. My new thing in the new year is The Rage Brigade, a Facebook group for conversation about fantasy, science fiction, superheroes, and music (and the intersections thereof). If that sounds like fun, come join us here.

  2. I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first nine issues and subscribe here for future issues. (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Review: Brief Black Candles

Brief Black Candles (Not A Pipe Publishing 2020) by Lydia K. Valentine

In her debut collection, Lydia K. Valentine wields precise language and classic poetic forms to lay down hard truths about race and racism in America. Many of the poems (“Brief Black Candles,” “Shot after Shot,” “Ferguson, Missouri USA,” “Speaking in Tongues”) deal directly with the many recent police killings of Black people. Other poems about the joys and sorrows of family and love and ordinary life are touched by the extra burden of living while Black.

Valentine has forged art from her experiences. These poems were challenging for this white reader, but the art illuminated the hard truths so I could see them without flinching away. Recommended for readers willing to look.

Square Pig in a Round Hole-January 2, 2021

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #42

New Year Greetings! I’m leery of wishing a “happy” new year after 2020, but I will offer a hope that this year is better than the last one. It’s also the Ninth Day of Christmas, and the celebration continues with more festive holiday-themed band names. As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.

Glacier Veins
(December 12, 2015) Not exactly festive, but ice and cold are seasonal (some years). You’d have to have glacier veins not to be moved by the tale of the gentle bender, or perhaps by a sentimental old carol.

Hans Gruber and the Die Hards
(January 18, 2020) Gotta respect a band that uses classic X and the Y structure to refer to a pop culture icon in a different medium. Yippee ki yay and Merry Christmas.

Sacred Signs
(December 19, 2015) The carol “Love Came Down at Christmas” includes this puzzling line: “Worship we our Jesus: But wherewith for sacred sign?” I’ve never really understood what Christina Rossetti meant by that, but it’s always a line I look forward to singing because when else do I get to say “wherewith”?

season of strangers 
(December 12, 2015) My husband was sure the sentimental old carol “Dear Little Stranger” was a favorite beloved of all. So far, we haven’t found anyone else who knows it, including me. But this is the season to welcome strangers who can’t find room at the inn.

Several Other Ghosts
(January 11, 2020) Too late to visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve, they find themselves at loose ends, available for hauntings, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and children’s parties.

 

One last thing before you go: I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first eight issues and subscribe here for future issues–the next one comes out next week! (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Review: My Tropey Life: How Pop Culture Stereotypes Make Disabled Lives Harder

My Tropey Life: How Pop Culture Stereotypes Make Disabled Lives Harder by Annie Carl (Microcosm Publishing, 2020)

This eye-opening essay in zine form is a must-read for creatives thinking about diversity and representation in their chosen medium. In well researched and lively prose, writer and bookseller Annie Carl lays out what it’s like to be disabled in America today: better than in the past but still frustratingly far from full inclusion.

Carl focuses most of the essay on common harmful pop culture tropes: “Cure,” in which inspiring disabled characters overcome against all odds and return to able-bodied form; “Kill,” in which disabled characters sacrifice themselves either for the good of an able-bodied character or because going on disabled is unbearable; and “Horror,” in which disabled characters are presented as monsters and freaks.

She shares many examples from popular books and movies to illustrate each trope, then ties it all back to fear of aging and death. In a culture that worships youth and beauty, anything that threatens those is terrifying: aging and the associated loss of function; disability due to whatever cause; and inevitable mortality. The essay includes some interesting developments in this moment of COVID-19, such as work-from-home arrangements, and ongoing issues with accessibility, health care, and insurance. It wraps up on a happier note, celebrating recent instances of positive representation in popular culture and a call for more of that.

This is a short read and well worth the time for anyone who enjoys and/or creates popular culture. It has given me a lot to think about as I consider the abilities—and disabilities—of my fictional characters and how to present them as fully human beings.

Annie Carl is the proprietor of The Neverending Bookshop, located in Perrinville, WA. She has been bookselling since her wee teen years, is a high functioning disabled woman and a cancer survivor, and is still waiting for that science fiction novel with a starship captain that looks like her.

Square Pig in a Round Hole-December 26, 2020

Images shows a square cartoon pig in a round hole.

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #41

It’s the Second Day of Christmas, and the gift I have for you is better than turtledoves or partridges in pear trees. It’s a stocking full of festive holiday-themed band names, with a bonus sixth name because we all deserve a treat. As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.

Chris Mess
(November 17, 2012) Funny how you don’t see anyone starting a movement to put the mess back in Christmas.

Common Holly
(December 14, 2019) Pretty, Christmas-y, invasive, functionally immortal. (Not a seasonal act, either, but well timed.)

Deer Leader
(December 12, 2015) It looks like a cute play on what they call North Korea’s supreme leader. It’s actually about Rudolph.

The Donner Vixens
(December 24, 2011) Christmas-y, yet of questionable taste in so many ways! (Insert your own cannibal joke here.) I heard this week that if Santa’s reindeer are as usually portrayed, with full antlers in mid-winter, they’re all female. So I really hope this is a girl group.

Electric NoNo
(December 12, 2015) A warning to pet owners: be sure to keep your cats, dogs, hamsters, wombats, etc. from chewing on the tree lights!

Gentle Bender
(December 12, 2015) This one makes a neat turn from beloved animal star to a lonely Christmas Eve, listening to Darlene Love and drinking toasts to absent friends until you quietly pass out under the tree.

One last thing before you go: I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first eight issues and subscribe here for future issues. (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Square Pig in a Round Hole-December 19, 2020

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #40

This afternoon, I’m taking part in Jolabokaflod 2020 (Christmas Book Flood), on a panel titled “Writing YA in a World of Identity, Sexuality, and Violence: How Much Is Too Much?” Watch the livestream at 1:30 p.m. Pacific here (or watch it later at your leisure). There is a whole playlist at the link of other panels and presentations happening today and tomorrow. I hope you’ll check it out!

Meanwhile, I have a few Rocky and Bullwinkle themed band names left, plus a few that comment on the weather we’re expecting this weekend.  As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.


Buckets of Rain
Downpour
(April 9, 2011) Considering our recent weather, Downpour and Buckets of Rain obviously go together as well as fulfilling the local flavor criterion.

Dies Drear
(January 21, 2012) This is perfect for Seattle in winter: not Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), but Dies Drear (Day of Low Clouds with Chance of Rain or Rain/Snow Mix and Dark by 5:00 P.M.). The aural pun secures it a place on the list.

Moose Almighty
(January 20, 2019) Evokes Bullwinkle, and is also a better clean swear than the movie title it’s based on.

Moose Light Kingdom
(April 16, 2016) I doubt I have ever passed up a band name with “moose” in it. In this case, I imagine the Man in the Moon has been replaced by Bullwinkle.

Moose Portrait
(September 23, 2012) I think I saw this on Facebook last week. I wondered, “Where is squirrel?”

One last thing before you go: I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first eight issues and subscribe here for future issues. (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)

Square Pig in a Round Hole-December 12, 2020

Naming a band is an act of concentrated creative expression. Square Pig in a Round Hole exists to reward five favorite band names each week. Winners are (usually) listed alphabetically.

Selection is wholly unscientific and subject to whim, with a bias toward wordplay, humor, and local flavor. In most cases, I won’t know anything about the bands at the time of selection. Thanks to the Seattle Times nightlife listings for abundant source material!

(Until live music returns, I am curating retrospective posts from past material. Dates indicate when the band was originally featured.)

SQUARE PIG IN A ROUND HOLE PANDEMIC EDITION #39

“A thunder of jets, an open sky, a streak of gray and a cheerful ‘Hi!’
A loop, a whirl, a vertical climb, and once again you’ll know it’s time for …”

Here at Square Pig HQ, our weekend movie nights almost always begin with an episode of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, of which we own three seasons. Moose and squirrel are a big part of our family culture, so it seems appropriate to choose a Rocky and Bullwinkle theme for the blog. There aren’t quite as many fitting band names as there were for the October moon and November literary themes, but still more than enough. As ever, wash your hands, wear your mask, and if you are able, please buy these bands’ music and merch while we wait for a better day.

Boy & Bear
(October 25, 2014) My first thought is of Christopher Robin and Pooh. My second thought is of Moose and Squirrel. I like the simplicity of the monosyllables related by alliteration, and the innocence of the image.

Chin Up Rocky
(December 22, 2012) Hokey-smoke! A Bullwinkle reference!

DJ Doo Right
(June 11, 2011) I’m picturing a square-jawed DJ in a Mountie uniform . . .

Elk and Boar
(January 15, 2011) I suppose this has something to do with wild animals or game meat, but the construction evokes “Moose and Squirrel.” Anything that makes me think of Rocky and Bullwinkle is OK by me.

Fearless Lieder
(September 15, 2012) Any band that can combine references to German art song and Rocky and Bullwinkle gets my vote. I see this and I hear Boris Badenov saying it. “That voice! Where have I heard that voice?”

One last thing before you go: I share highlights from this blog in my quarterly author newsletter, The Storypunk Report, as well as news of what I’m writing and reading, upcoming events, and other goodies, including “Wizard in the Mosh Pit,” an exclusive short story just for subscribers. Click the link to check out the first eight issues and subscribe here for future issues. (Or just follow the blog for your weekly dose of band names.)