We'd Like to Buy a Vowel: The Seven Best Band Names Made Entirely of Consonants

Music  |  Lists

Okay, the band names on this list don't have to be made entirely of consonants. We let a couple of numerals sneak in because the artists were just too good to ignore, but we punished the artists for their lack of semantic ingenuity. We drew a hard line and excluded bands like CSS, because they rely on acronyms to make their name. We also excluded bands like Styx, because they suck.

Overall, we gave points for artistic excellence and willful exclusion of vowels. It takes a certain creativity to make any good band name. But to make one using only consonants? Well, that suggests a band with tremendous linguistic ambition, or maybe just too much time on its hands.

  1. M83 - Anthony Gonzalez's music comes transmitted with this galaxy-inspired moniker that's not too high in nomenclatural innovation (two numerals?! a real-world referent?!) but for such mesmerizing shoegaze electronics, we'll allow it.

Musical quality: 6

Semantic ingenuity: 3

Total: 9

  1. B52s - The best party band of all time should have been named Planet Claire.

Musical quality: 10

Semantic ingenuity: 1

Total: 11


  1. XTC - Not a particularly ingenious band name. But without XTC, one of our favorite genres—jangle pop—would be seriously diminished.

Musical quality: 9

Semantic ingenuity: 3

Total: 12

4. MGMT - For its willful and constantly defended exclusion of vowels from its official name, we acknowledge this electro-pop duo. For their insistence that listeners pronounce it M-G-M-T, we appreciate these guys. For their hip, tripped-out boogies, we place them on a pedestal.

Musical quality: 6

Semantic ingenuity: 8

Total: 14

3. X - Just the gall necessary to claim a single consonant as a name would be enough to land these Los Angeles punk pioneers on the list, but their folk experiments and famously raucous live show make them worthy of owning 1/26 of our language.

Musical quality: 8

Semantic ingenuity: 7

Total: 15


  1. BLK JKS - According to our Emergent story on the band back in August, the JKS got their name from a wild weed. But the crammed-together letters evoke so much more. And any day now, they'll make a debut record that lives up to the cleverness of their name.

Musical quality: 7

Semantic ingenuity: 9

1.     Lynyrd Skynyrd - On top of inventing Southern rock, they also anticipated—make that instigatedthe entire vowel dropping movement.

Musical quality: 7

Semantic ingenuity: 10

Total: 17

Who did we miss?

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