• 101119-bring-me-the-horizon.jpg

    Why They're Called... Bring Me The Horizon

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band"! inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: British metal upstarts Bring Me The Horizon, whose There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret, released on venerable indie label Epitaph, debuted at No. 17 on Billboard's Top 200 album chart in October. Why Bring Me the Horizon: "It's a slight change of a line from Pirates of the Caribbean," explains lead singer Oliver Sykes. "Right at the end of the film -- it might even be the very last line -- Johnny Depp says, 'Bring me that horizon.' That was really inspiring. I was still living with my parents in Sheffield, England, when the movie came out [in 2003].

  • 101108-two-door-cinema-club.jpg

    Breaking Out: Two Door Cinema Club

    Before their set at the Glastonbury festival in June, the members of wide-eyed guitar-and-synth trio Two Door Cinema Club were summoned for an unusual meet and greet. "Prince Charles was there and apparently had asked to meet a 'cool new band,'?" says bassist Kevin Baird with a chuckle. "The organizers decided that was us. Charles had no idea who we were, though he did give his security guards a very nervous look when he found out we were from Northern Ireland!" Being introduced to people as strangers is sure to become an increasingly rare experience for Baird, singer-guitarist Alex Trimble, and guitarist-keyboardist Sam Halliday, all 21, who have been bandmates since overcoming some initial hallway wariness as students at the same high school in 2004.

  • 101108-reggie-watts.jpg

    Reggie Watts: 2010's Best New Comedian

    He's an improv-loving singer-rapper-beatboxer. Confused? You should be. On a sunny October morning on Manhattan's far west side, a hundred or so trim new-media mavens sit in the curved glass and steel lobby of the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building. They've come for the opening of a festival organized by online video site Vimeo. After some bland corporate hellos, the MC calls on Dr. Reginald Watts, who will deliver a State of the Internet address. A bearish man with a bushy beard and massive messy afro assumes the podium. "Vimeo is the essence of life from Mesopotamian culture,"says Watts, 38, adopting the snooty accent of an Oxbridge intellectual.

  • 101105-dawes.jpg

    Why They're Called... Dawes

    Welcome to the new weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band" inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: L.A. pop-rockers Dawes, currently touring in support of their debut, North Hills. Why Dawes: "My friend Blake Mills and I were in a band called Simon Dawes before I was ever in Dawes," says singer-guitarist Taylor Goldsmith. "It was called Simon Dawes because Simon is Blake's middle name and Dawes is my middle name. Dawes is also my grandfather's first name. But after Simon Dawes broke up -- I think that was in like 2007 or 2008 -- I pretty quickly started playing shows again, but I never had a fixed name for my new band.

  • Alain Johannes, 'Spark' (Rekords Rekords/Ipecac)

    Alain Johannes, 'Spark' (Rekords Rekords/Ipecac)

    You've likely heard Alain Johannes before, whether he was playing guitar with Queens of the Stone Age or Them Crooked Vultures, writing for Adam Lambert, or engineering Arctic Monkeys. Unfortunately, it took tragedy to inspire his solo debut. Spark was written after Johannes' wife, musician Natasha Shneider, died in 2008, and it's a beautiful tribute. Droning elegies sent askew by exotic instrumentation and tricky time signatures, these eight songs offer redemptive emotion and intense formal pleasure, with the spidery "Endless Eyes" a bittersweet standout.

  • 101011-zola-jesus.jpg

    Breaking Out: Zola Jesus

    From an early age, Nika Danilova wasn't interested in making things easy. "Right before my freshman year of high school," recalls the Wisconsin-raised singer, who performs her disturbingly catchy midnight gloom tunes under the name Zola Jesus, "I was in a meeting with people who wanted to be on the school newspaper. When it came time for everyone to introduce themselves, I said I wanted to be called Zola Jesus. I don't know why. I've always been really quick to alienate myself." Quick, maybe, but not always effective.

  • 101026-land-of-talk.jpg

    Why They're Called... Land of Talk

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band" inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists.( See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: Elizabeth Powell of Montreal's Land of Talk, currently touring behind their breakthrough Cloak and Cipher. Why Land of Talk: "I feel like a douche telling this story," laments singer-guitarist Elizabeth Powell. "I was in my apartment in Montreal talking to a friend of mine who's a writer. This was in the summer of 2005. He kept talking about the great novel he was going to write. Then he would switch and say he was going to write short stories instead. He was so inspired but also paralyzed.

  • 101021-phoenix-9.jpg

    Phoenix & Daft Punk Wow Madison Square Garden

    In the last 18 months, Phoenix has released a breakthrough hit album, 2009's Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, won its first Grammy, had its music featured in commercials and films, earned the rare honor of playing three songs during a visit to Saturday Night Live, and drawn massive crowds at music festivals all over the world. After more than a decade together, it's clear things are going well for the Versailles quartet. But at Wednesday's Madison Square Garden show -- the band's first headlining gig at the storied venue -- the big question was whether things are going too fast. Were messieurs Mars, d'Arcy, Brancowitz, and Mazzalai, so adept at crafting sleekly propulsive songs perfect for dancefloors and top-down driving, ready (and able) to transform, even if just for a night, into arena rockers? It didn't take long to find out.

  • 101015-monster-magnet.jpg

    Why They're Called... Monster Magnet + Song!

    Welcome to the new weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band" inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet, whose Mastermind is out October 26. Plus: hear a song from the record below. Why Monster Magnet: "The name Monster Magnet was suggested by my ex-wife," explains singer-guitarist Dave Wyndorf. "We were riding in the car on the way to a gig opening for Jane's Addiction in New Jersey in 1989. I was giving the band a different name every week in those days. But we were talking about old toys in the car - I love old toys - and my wife mentioned Monster Magnet. I was like, 'That's it!' A Monster Magnet was a real toy made by Wham-O. It's this big, stupid thing that was in the shape of a horseshoe.

  • 101006-broken-social-scene.jpg

    Why They're Called... Broken Social Scene

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band!" in which we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some of our favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, currently touring behind the new Forgiveness Rock Record. Why Broken Social Scene: "I went on tour, like, ten years ago playing keyboards for a friend's band," recalls singer-guitarist Kevin Drew, "and I had this really elaborate set-up with lots of different keyboards. I was a keyboard freak back then. When the tour was over, I came back to Toronto and played a Sunday night show under the name John Tesh Jr. and the Broken Social Scene. The John Tesh Jr. part was because of the keyboards. The Broken Social Scene part just sort of popped into my head, I think.

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