webcomics
print
inventions
presentations
consulting

They’re from Where??

Okay, this has nothing to do with comics, but it’s on my mind, so…

Sky and I have noticed a difference between bands of my generation, and more recent bands we like.

Whereas old bands like Boston, Chicago, and Kansas all formed in the city or state they’re named for, check out these geographically baffling examples from recent years…

Of Montreal: From Athens, Georgia.

Architecture in Helsinki: From Australia.

The Middle East: Also from Australia!

Beirut: From Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I’m From Barcelona: From Sweden.

So what’s up, global music scene? Why are you messing with our heads??


Discussion (59)¬

  1. AKMA says:

    Add to that A Sunny Day In Glasgow… from Philadelphia.

  2. santiago says:

    A few more :)

    Aston Villa : France
    Saint-Etienne : England
    Texas : Scotland
    Idaho : LA, California
    Uncommonmenfrommars : France

  3. One counterfactual: Portishead, the UK trip hop duo, are named after the town they are from. But the only others I can think of, Boards of Canada (Scottish) and Venetian Snares (Canadian) are also named after far away places.

  4. SeeSome says:

    The band ‘Eddie From Ohio’ is from Virginia.

  5. Mike Leung says:

    When cultural commodities had to fight for attention on retail shelves, the fight for an association with a location was no less an epic struggle to occupy a bottle-necked field of vision. With cultural portals more crowded due to the more open access of the internet, association with a location only made you one of another crowded field. There’s more individuality to be picked-up from how we present lies than from the crowded inventory of our lives.

  6. Liz says:

    Ah, someone has already covered Eddie From Ohio!

    Let’s see, hmm… Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet were from Toronto. ;)

  7. There’s “Dover”. They’re from Spain. =)

  8. Brice says:

    The Wombats- Liverpool

  9. Tim says:

    Not as modern a phenomenon as one might think.

    Berlin – from LA
    Japan – from England

  10. TheEggplant says:

    I Come from Shanghai is in Atlanta, Ga.

  11. Now now, its not wise to lay down blanket statements like “more recent bands.”
    How can you forget Asia?

  12. Dennis Breen says:

    Boards of Canada – from Scotland

  13. Hannah Montana is from Tennessee.

  14. Chris says:

    Manchester Orchestra is from Athens, GA

  15. David says:

    The Bay City Rollers (Edinburgh).

  16. Dan Wickline says:

    Alabama 3 (also called A3) are from London. They did the Theme song for the Sopranos.

  17. Ben Rankel says:

    Forward, Russia! are from Leeds, England.

  18. Tom Racine says:

    I’m fairly sure Toto aren’t from Kansas…or Oz.

    Asia…not from Asia.

  19. Adam says:

    From the 80s: Hanoi Rocks was from Helsinki.

    Thirty Seconds to Mars is from 36 million miles from Mars at best.

  20. BozoDel says:

    Angra, from São Paulo; Baiano, from Ceará (he can be forgiven, though, cause he’s doing a parody of Novos Baianos); Engenheiros do Hawaii, from porto Alegre; and Jupiter Apple, from Earth.

  21. Roy Swan says:

    Texas is the Reason – from New York

  22. Ivan says:

    The Afghan Whigs from Cincinnati, Ohio

  23. MorosePoet says:

    Frankie Goes To Hollywood are from Liverpool

  24. Roy Swan says:

    Also the Afghan Whigs are from Cincinnati…and probably aren’t Whigs either

  25. Here are a few more:

    Rammstein is from Berlin.
    The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is from New York City.
    Narnia is not from Narnia.
    The Bay City Rollers are from Scotland.
    Barcelona is from Virginia.
    Alabama 3 is from the UK.
    Berlin is from Los Angeles.
    Cairo is from San Francisco.
    The Dresden Dolls are from Boston.
    Cuba is from the UK.
    Nantucket is from North Carolina.
    The Nashville Teens are from the UK.
    The Utah Saints are from the UK.
    Delaware is from Norway.
    Hiroshima is California.
    Portishead is from Bristol, although it’s near Portishead.
    Halifax is from California.
    Joy Division was originally called Warsaw and were from Manchester.
    Portugal The Man is from Wasilla, Alaska.
    Mannheim Steamroller is from Omaha.
    Asia is from the UK.

    • Scott says:

      Can’t believe we missed the Dresden Dolls!

      I wonder if there are sister bands out there, e.g., if Halifax is from California, should a Halifax band name themselves California?

  26. Ben says:

    Can I just say that I’m kind of impressed at your list of bands? They’re not the most obscure, I suppose (not being snobby, I’m just not sure I’m qualified to judge obscurity), but most of the lists I read on big-time blogs like this seem to count the Arcade Fire as some sort of weird fringe music, and are totally ignorant of anything more obscure than that.

    Also, not quite the name of a place, but El Perro Del Mar is a Swedish woman who sings in English. I think José González has a similar deal (but he is half-Argentinian).

    And Harlem Shakes are (were?! Oh no!) from Brooklyn, I think.

    • Scott says:

      In the spirit of full disclosure, I couldn’t name you a song by the Middle East. Sky offered that one.

      Of Montreal and Architecture in Helsinki are the two I know best. The whole family adores OM.

      • Ben says:

        The Middle East is really fantastic, you take that recommendation seriously. Plus, I think they’re probably gonna get bigger because they were just in the soundtrack in Crazy, Stupid, Love (unfortunate for indie cred, very fortunate for a deserving band).

  27. Ben says:

    Ooh wait! Phoenix! They’re French! From Versailles.

  28. Ooh! Ooh! I got one!

    “Tokio Hotel”, from Germany.

  29. Tom says:

    The Dead Sea – from Preston UK

  30. Ben says:

    Phoenix is from Versaille, France.

  31. Jape says:

    Alberta seems popular these days — with bands not from Alberta:

    Alberta Cross (from NYC)
    Rural Alberta Advantage (from Toronto)

  32. Don’t forget Kamelot! They’re from Tampa, Florida.

  33. natsch says:

    Nashville P****y is from Atlanta

  34. Michelle says:

    Abney Park – from Seattle

  35. Buffalo Springfield – not from either. (Named for a Steamroller company, which was presumably named for the cities.)

  36. Sally says:

    I was going to suggest Europe, but it turns out they’re Swedish, which counts as being part of Europe, so nevermind.

    Nirvana are from Earth.

  37. Ray Radlein says:

    Tokyo Police Club are from Ontario, not Tokyo, but at least Calexico are from Tucson, Arizona, which is fairly near to Calexico, California.

  38. Ray Radlein says:

    And keeping in line with you old bands/new bands distinction, The Ohio Players were, in fact, from Ohio.

  39. NeonLanterns says:

    How about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…From Japan.

  40. The Witch From Next Door says:

    Defunct (but excellently named) post-rock band Meanwhile, Back In Communist Russia were from Oxford (UK).

    Presumably I’m From Barcelona are fans of Fawlty Towers…?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kqyev46qyI

  41. Emma says:

    Here’s one of my favorites–the band Alaska in Winter is currently based out of New Mexico.

  42. Karen says:

    Birds of Tokyo are another misleadingly named Australian band

  43. Karen says:

    …as are Trout Fishing in Quebec.

  44. Kyle says:

    Defiance, Ohio are from Bloomington, Indiana.

  45. Jim says:

    I guess these bands are just thinking outside of the box, or the city, or state, country, region, continent, hemisphere, etc.

  46. aleks says:

    Brazilian Girls are not Brazilian, and at least some of them are not even girls. The outrage!

  47. Pam says:

    Don’t forget Danzig (actually from New Jersey)!

  48. Daniel says:

    There is a Brazilian band called Fresno.