By Casey Lewis
These days, roughly 97 percent of music on the radio is about sex (“Sugar”? “Talking Body”? “Truffle Butter”?!). That’s not an *official* calculation, but it’s certainly a conservative one. Hooking up inspires more than just musical hooks, though. Suddenly, it’s permeating band names too. In the last year or so, there’s been an onslaught of up-and-comers with monikers that wink at doing the dirty -- or, in the case of bands like Purity Ring and Chastity Belt, choosing not to.
Below, we’ve compiled a list (or a syllabus, if you will) of band names that could be ripped from the pages of your required reading in Sex Ed ... unless you didn’t have Sex Ed like those poor students at the West Texas high school that just experienced a massive chlamydia outbreak, in which case, I’m sorry. Just buy a textbook to study while listening to these extra credit tunes.
It’s ironic that this futuristic-pop duo is named after a symbolic piece of jewelry embraced by chaste ‘90s Disney stars like the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. Much of their new album, Another Eternity, as well as their outstanding debut, Shrines, is deeply rooted in desire and could be considered baby-making music. But while the 4AD-signed band isn’t exactly preaching abstinence, vocalist Megan James does have a voice that drips with more innocence and childlike wonder than those tween queens ever had.
The Seattle-based lo-fi punk band is named after one of the world’s most antiquated forms of birth control, but that’s the only thing old fashioned about them. The four perm-rocking, scrunchie-wearing babes are probably best known for their anti-slut-shaming anthem, “Cool Slut,” or maybe for calling their electrifying and critically acclaimed debut, No Regerts. It’s a pretty bold motto, especially since we’re talking about contraceptive techniques. But Chastity Belt aren’t afraid to be bold.
Ew, I know. But this electro-pop band is so good that it’s necessary to look past the gross connotations of the word (as your junior high teacher would say, get your mind out of the gutter). The Brooklyn trio’s full-length isn’t coming out until fall, but the first single off Don’t You -- a poetic synth-meets-R&B gem called “Deadwater” that they premiered last month -- is good enough to listen to until their anticipated LP finally drops. Besides, at least they didn’t name their band “moist.”
While you probably didn’t learn this particular word for female genitalia in Sex Ed, your feminist teacher would certainly approve of the message behind the provocative name. This punk rock band, fronted by Meredith Graves, tackles body image and societal pressures in a raw, angry, honest way that’s way more educational than some high school curriculum. Their blistering debut, Say Yes to Love, came out last year and left a lasting impression.
Hand Job Academy
You won’t get schooled on manual stimulation, but you can learn a lot from Hand Job Academy. The Brooklyn-based rap trio is known for songs like “Lena Dunham” and “Pop (Tumblr B*tches),” and their bonkers hip-hop lyrics name-drop everything from Midol to Kraft Mac & Cheese to Kotex (their track, “Shark Week,” is entirely about periods). Their rhymes are weird and wacky -- and they’re actually really good at rapping.
At first listen, this North Carolina trio could pass for a shiny, sugary circa-‘60s girl group -- until you realize they’re singing about boners and feminism. Despite their slightly bummer band name that you probably learned the meaning of in 9th-grade psych class, there’s absolutely nothing bummed out about their surf-punk EP, Double Loser. Screaming along to cleverly named tracks like "Sex on the Beach" and "Let’s Go to the Mall” might even help you work through your parental hang-ups.