When it comes to musical acts, there is no shortage of darkness – specifically, black. There are countless “Black” named groups. They are the original cool kids on the music scene. The groups who are still together are now the elder statesmen of rock & roll. Back in the ’70s and ’80s the trend in band names was “The” names: The Who, The Police, The Smiths, The Clash, The Cure – and even The The. Eventually that trend was eclipsed by something darker: a lot of black.
Black Francis. Black Sabbath. Black Flag. The Black Keys. The Black Angels. Black Mountain. The Black Crowes. Black Lips. Blackstreet. Black Eyed Peas. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. And the list goes on and on and on.
“Black” named bands became the bad boys of music. If you wanted to project a fierce image, just add some black to your band’s name (and/or black eyeliner to your lids) and voilà! Black reigned supreme for a long while, but a new era has dawned. Welcome to the age of the WOLF.
“Wolf” bands are the black leather jackets of musical groups: they stand out because they’ve got swagger. They’re trendy. They’re cool. The problem with “wolf” bands is when the pack is so numerous you lose track of who’s who!
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Recently someone mentioned a new band they had just discovered, but could not recall their name. “You know the group – they have a great sound and a new album. I think they’re called “Wolf” something.” Ten years ago, you could guess Wolf Parade and have a 93% chance of being right. But nowadays? The list is much longer; a dozen guesses later, we realize they meant Wolf Alice.
So what’s with all these wolf bands that have emerged in the last decade or so? We named nearly a dozen in as many seconds. Some still want to strike fear in your hearts, such as Finnish hardcore band Wolfheart. Then there’s the guttural metal rock of Wolf Eyes.
Most of the “wolf” pack, however, are a bit more subdued in their mannerisms. Wolfmother, who was at the forefront of the trend, is probably the most popular member of the group, and who helped ignite the psychedelic rock revival over a decade ago. A year after Wolfmother was born, Wolf Parade was formed and for their 5+ years they established a niche following, including many of us. Wolf Alice has continued the trend of A-type, mind-blowing rock of these two bands while adding punk and pop twists. Wolf People – not to be confused with Wolf Parade – has taken post-rock to new levels, not to mention dabbling in DJing from time to time.
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Wolf Pack, on the other hand, want to blow your mind out with their buzzing EDM. Mt. Wolf and producer Jai Wolf go in the opposite direction, creating lush, ambient electronic. YelaWolf gyrates through the paces with his combination of hip hop and electronic while Wolf Gang is creating radio-friendly pop music.
There there is Sea Wolf, who has an indie-rock and folk-rock feel. He’s taken the “wolf” renaissance to a completely new level with his song, you guessed it, “You’re A Wolf” (which is pretty great actually).
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But we’re not done! Ireland has gotten into the act with Go Wolf, a synth-pop band that we’ve gotten to know a bit. There’s also Lunatic Wolf, who we featured in the past, from Johannesburg, South Africa. There are wolves everywhere!!!
And you know this had to be coming… just to tie everything back together, there’s a hard-rock band named BlackWolf!!!
What kind of survival odds do wolf bands have, anyway? If the average lifespan of a wolf is less than 10 years, will bands who name themselves after a wolf outlives their spirit animal? First “The” bands basked in the spotlight, then “black” bands, now “wolf” bands. What’s next? Who will wear the new crown of coolest band name? And who will be the next Wolfmother?
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