The name game in Avon |

The name game in Avon

Caramie Schnell
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyRobotic Pirate Monkey

As the days go by, the band names just seem to get stranger. Take a look at the Snow Ball music fest lineup and that much is apparent. Scorpion Breath; Robotic Pirate Monkey; Lazerdisk Party Sex; the list goes on.

“I think artists are striving these days to come up with unique names, mainly due to the fact that it’s difficult to find a name that hasn’t been used already,” said Chip Herter, one half of Denver electro-pop duo Oliver Vanity and part of the public relations team for the festival. “At the same time, I see trends come and go where a particular genre of acts will carry names that sound similar in origin.”

Take for example the rush of animal-oriented band names seen among indie bands who hit in 2010.

“Bear in Heaven, Deerhunter, Bear Hands, Panda Bear, the list could go on,” Herter continued. “This year, as a sub-culture of indie bands begins branching into music that is almost psychedelic in sound (reminiscent of early ’60s indie rock), their names seem to follow suit, being more abstract: Tame Impala, Gauntlet Hair. The question is, does the music make the name, or does the name make the music?”

You tell us. While looking over the Snow Ball schedule, we were so intrigued by some of the band names that we had to find out the backstory. We were overjoyed to find out this is the first time each of these bands will rock Eagle County. Welcome to town, kids.

Gauntlet Hair, Denver

How they came up with it: “We heard a man describe Johnny Winters hair-cut as ‘Gauntlet Hair’ and decided that phrase fit our music perfectly,” said Craig Nice who along with childhood friend Andy R. make up the experimental duo.

Expect: “Our sound is hard to describe because it’s always changing,” Nice said. “All of our tracks our pretty much soaked with reverb. Delayed guitars, huge processed beats and layered vocals make for a very full sound. There are definitely pop elements but we are not a pop band.”

See them: 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. today in the Main Stage.

Robotic Pirate Monkey, Boulder and Summit County

How they came up with it: “The name originated from a game that is a knock off of rock, paper, scissors called monkey, ninja, pirate, robot, zombie … or something like that,” said Matt Berryhill, one of three music producers/performers who make up the up-and-coming electro project Robotic Pirate Monkey. “But we thought that name was too long and created Robotic Pirate Monkey, which kind of describes our nature of nerding out on computers, taking music and monkeying around with it all.”

Expect: “Bass-heavy music intertwined with samples of songs from the past,” Berryhill said.

See them: 2:10 to 2:50 p.m. today in the Groove Tent.

Lord Huron, Los Angeles, Calif.

How they came up with it: “Lord Huron got its name from Lake Huron, where the first EP (‘Into the Sun’) was recorded,” said Ben Schneider, the band’s lead singer/songwriter who said that while the band is based in L.A., all the members hail from Michigan.

Expect: Lord Huron is a folk/pop band. “The sound is based in folk storytelling, but incorporates influences from around the world,” Schneider said.

See them: From 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. today on the Main Stage.

Scorpion Breath, Venice Beach, Calif.

How they came up with it: “It all stemmed from our love of heavy metal. Bands like Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crüe, Great White, The Scorpions, Skid Row … But the actual name birthed from a debaucherous night involving Scorpion Mescal and our good friend Charlie Goodvibes,” said band members Peter Nussbaum and Clay Anthony.

Expect: A party-rocking DJ duo that drops everything from disco house to booty bass with some ’80s diva tracks sprinkled in between. “When we DJ, our sound is all over the map,” Nussbaum said. “Think the Space Jam theme song blending harmoniously with a wailing guitar solo.”

See them: 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Heat Hut.

Twin Shadow, New York

How he came up with it: “I am a twin; in my family there is an infamous photo of my twin sister and myself,” said George Lewis Jr. who records and performs solo as Twin Shadow. “We are both in the same crib and my twin is trying to get out, with her eyes wide open and her hands on the bars of the crib she is trying desperately to pull them apart. Meanwhile I am in the back corner, looking down, my eyes half closed, sleepy, content … the shadow.”

Expect: “Pop music, dominated mostly by synthesizers, deep vocals and loud guitars,” Lewis said.

See him: 3 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the Main Stage.

Miami Horror, Melbourne, Australia

How they came up with it: “Originally I had a list of words that I thought were visually strong and I started pairing them off,” said Ben Plant, the founder of this four-piece band that’s dubbed themselves a “psychedelic indie-electronic adventure.” “Miami and horror just seems to contrast really well and both words have their own visual theme. Miami is quite colorful; horror quite dark.”

Expect: “A modern-sounding reproduction of our favorite styles, including disco, house, ’70s and ’80s pop, prog and more recently, psych,” Plant said.

See them: 3:15 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the Main Stage.

Oliver Vanity, Denver and Boulder

How they came up with it: “I have a slight obsession with the idea of a post-apocalyptic world,” said Herter, who along with his friend Chuck Lepley make up this Front Range duo. “I love imagining what it would be like, and while pondering the subject one night I determined that if we do indeed ever wind up in the throes of a post-apocalypse, it will more than likely be due to a war caused by ‘all-of-our-vanity.’ Religion and vanity – these are how wars start. At the same time, the name allows us to avoid the pitfall of taking ourselves too seriously. As Oliver Vanity, we can be cynical one minute, then sing about love the next, and somehow it works.”

Expect: “Gratuitous electro-pop,” Herter said. “No plans for world domination. We just want to be the soundtrack for the dance party.”

See them: 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Sunday in The Heat Hut.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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