My Top Ten: Animal Bands

My Top Ten

Without question, band names come in trends: “The” bands, Number bands. Animal bands, however, seems to have survived the test of time, spanning back as far as I can remember. Below, I have listed what I believe to be My Top Ten bands with an animal in the title.

Again, the rules are simple: Pick a subject and make a top ten list out of it. This week, for instance, I am planning to feature my top ten bands with an animal in their name. Note that the list is MY top ten. In no way am I attempting to convey these songs as the best ten songs. I’m simply pointing out that they are my favorite on the subject.

To make this feature more fun, I would love for each person reading to play along, commenting their top ten on the subject as well. I’d love for this feature to become a weekly community of discussion. For now however, I’ll get to the point.

10. Spacehog: Yeah, I know. This band is a one hit wonder. I’m sure it pisses some of you off that they’re on my list above Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear and Wolf Parade. Well, fuck you. I lost my virginity to “In the Meantime” and since this list is about the bands that mean the most to me, my deflowering is making the cut. I never said everything on my lists would be good. Which ironically, is a lot like how I was at sex for the first time.

Spotify Link: Spacehog – In The Meantime

9. Republic Tigers: I can’t help but put Kansas City’s hometown heroes on my list here. Having landed spots in Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl and on tour with Travis, this band has managed to earn a fair amount of national respect. I however, love them because they are honestly beyond catchy. With grooves that will catch you with their white knuckle grip, staking claim and sticking in your head for days, they are anything but forgettable.

Spotify Link: The Republic Tigers – Buildings & Mountains

8. Frightened Rabbit: Hailing from Scotland, Frightened Rabbit busts down my walls and punches in the nose my belief that I dislike any band from across the pond. This simply proves one thing to me: this band is impossible to hate. Seriously.

Spotify Link: Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can’t See Land

7. The Mountain Goats: Regardless of the plural, The Mountain Goats is really one brilliantly bitter man, John Darnielle. Known for producing beautiful lo-fi style home recordings, few bands allow the storytelling to take the front of the stage the way The Mountain Goats do. Backed by fantastic musicianship, there are no holes in which to pick at this band. They honestly border on perfection.

Spotify Link: The Mountain Goats – Damn These Vampires

6. Grant Lee Buffalo: I don’t care that Grant Lee Buffalo never really managed to break through to the mainstream 90’s scene. In my humble opinion, that is a reflection of their peers, not their talent. I mean honestly, if you can listen to “Fuzzy” without being moved, chances are that you don’t really understand what the 90’s were about. Yet, if that is not enough, take some time and check out Grant Lee Phillip’s fantastic character as the town troubadour on Gilmore Girls. The man simply steals scenes. Also, don’t judge me.

Spotify Link: Grant Lee Buffalo – Fuzzy

5. Sparklehorse: It broke my heart when I found out that Sparklehorse’s lead singer Mark Linkous had committed suicide. Honestly, I imagine this to be very similar to the way fans of Eliot Smith and Kurt Cobain felt when the news of their deaths broke. Linkous had connected with me through his music. We had exchanged emails multiple times regarding reviews and other journalism items. His music had connected with my heart. I had related to it on a very personal level. Watching a man I felt I could compare myself to go out in such a violent and sudden manner honestly scared the hell out of me. It also made me love his music that much more.

Spotify Link: Sparklehorse – Don’t Take My Sunshine Away

4. Bloodhound Gang: In my humble opinion, there is no band that I find to be more witty than Bloodhound Gang. Sure, they’re childish. They’re also crude. Yet, I challenge you to come up with a convincing argument proving them to be untalented. It can’t be done. I’ll give you room to argue that you dislike them. I might even be able to understand your position on the subject (moments before I unfriend you on facebook). However, there is no stable ground to debate that the words flowing out of Jimmie Pop’s mouth are not funny as hell. Fact: This band does not give a fuck what you think. That is punk rock.

Spotify Link: Bloodhound Gang – Kids In America

3. Ass Ponys: Sure, Chuck Clevers (now with Wussy) has a bit of a rough voice at times. Honestly though, that is what makes it so fantastic. With a backwoods twang and home cooking feel to it, Ass Ponys tend to seem like the band most likely to play your front porch. The band manages to paint pictures in the most beautifully unique manner, catching the finest elements of Americana along the way. Though not for everybody, I honestly think you’re missing out if you don’t have the band’s last album Lohio on your shelves.

Spotify Link: Ass Ponys – Last Night it Snowed

2. Counting Crows: Combining the ability to write flawless pop songs and improv live, Counting Crows are a band that in my opinion never really got the credit they deserved. Sure, everyone loves them. But honestly, this band should have been on a 1990s level with Pearl Jam, Nirvana among others. They deserve to be legends. To me, they always will be.

I can honestly remember exactly where I was in my life with the release of each of the band’s albums.  I can also clearly recall exactly how they managed to relate to my life in way that would make it seem like Adam Duritz was writing them directly for me. Later in my life, when given the chance to interview Duritz, I was moved with a feeling I had never experienced before in my musical career. For the first time, I had the realization that from nothing, I had managed to create a forum in which I was allowed to speak with my biggest influence. Nothing had ever made me feel more powerful.

That is something I will always thank this band for. I honestly think that without them, I wouldn’t be reading my emotional rants today. I mean seriously, is there anyone in the world more qualified to teach emotional sentence structure than Adam Duritz?

Spotify Link: Counting Crows – Chelsea – Live Version (VH1-Storytellers)

1. Eels: I got into Eels a little late in the game. By the time I found them, Beautiful Freak, Souljacker, Daisies of The Galaxy and Electro-Shock Blues were all already on the shelves of your local Best Buy. Yet, the second I discovered them, my life changed. E, the band’s tormented and reclusive lead singer has managed to structure and place my depression on a stage like few bands (books, movies, people, therapists) can. There is something absolutely breathtaking about the way the band manages to take a life of solitude and heartache and approach it in a way that is absolutely inspiring.

Spotify Link: Eels – Wooden Nickles


My Top Ten was written by Joshua Hammond

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