People send me demos and I talk about them! It sounds easy, but it's fucking NOT, okay? Ninety percent of the songs I get are so boring that all I'd be able to say is "that was pretty lame." Ever wonder why only really good people and really bad people show up on the audition episodes of American Idol? It's because mediocrity is boring!

Have you ever noticed how all the bands who send me demos have really stupid names? Well, this week, The Demo Roundup has a BONUS FEATURE! I'm going to give all the bands with bad names new names of my own choosing. I'm not saying these new names will be any better, just more fitting (and most importantly, chosen by ME, a genius). These bands will then be legally required to change their names, as per the nonexistent fine print of the Demo Roundup contract. And so we begin again:

Caldera - What You Call Life
Click here for an mp3 sample.
Click here for an mp3 sample of the old version.

Why won't you die!?If this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because these guys won the "Just Give Up" award in the first Demo Roundup, mostly due to the single worst guitar solo in the history of acne-scarred nerds playing $150 Ibanezes. Back then, they were called "Psyatika," a hip nu-metal misspelling of "sciatica," which according to, "is usually caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve from a herniated disc." And we all know nothing says "rock and roll" like a herniated disc. I have two pieces of good news: first of all, they've changed their name to Caldera. It's a pretty dopey name, but at least your dad doesn't bellow "aargh, my Caldera is acting up" when he wobbles out of his Barcalounger. Secondly, and more importantly, they fired the guitarist. The new version of the song sounds much, much better.

You know what? This song is boring. Fuck you guys, you've lost your edge. You used to have something special. You used to be unintentionally hilarious. You'd better get on your knees and beg the old guitarist to come back, because he's the only reason anyone remembers your band.
New Name: Your new name is Psyatika, chumps.

Razorwing - Chaos and Beauty
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Well, they've got the first part down.
New Name: Hogwind

White Room - Great Big Picture
Click here for an mp3 sample.

White Room writes: "Hi, I'm a big fan of your column and here's my band's first demo - it has no vocals because we haven’t found a good enough singer yet, but our music is pretty solid." You know, after listening to the track these guys sent, I'm pretty confused about the definition of "solid." If they mean "solid" as in "decent and workmanlike," that's pretty depressing. They think they're adequate, but they're wrong. They shoot for the middle and hit the bottom. If they mean "solid" the way a black hepcat might say "solid," however, the conceit is delightfully absurd. I can just picture Isaac Hayes putting on a pair of gigantic seventies headphones and snapping his fingers along to this mess, maybe singing along a little: "durp durp dee daw bonk bonk bonk," and then going "yeaaaah... solid." Okay, so I'm being a little hard on these poor kids, let me say something in their favor: at least they had the good taste not to put vocals on it. Imagine what poor singers they must be if this noise was "solid" but their singing just couldn't make the cut.
New Name: Poopwillow

Hoss Wranglers - Shotgun
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Jesus, this sucks. Will you forgive me if I pretend it's good just to cheer myself up? Boy, this song sure is great. I sure would willingly listen to this again even if I weren't being paid! Hoss Wranglers, you guys are going places!
New Name: Help is on the Way, Larry

Believe the Hype - Go
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Please e-mail me tips on how to make microphones look less phallic.This song started out sounding fairly clean and well-recorded, which always puts my nerves on edge. You see, I've heard a million fairly clean and well-recorded tracks through the course of the Demo Roundup endeavor, and the same thing always happens: the vocals start in and it's the same bland, emotionless, off-key dork. I don't think I've heard one singer in this whole never-ending Demo fiasco who sounds like he's half-crazy and driven to belt it out by some maniacal inner demon. I never get that "I must express the anguish of my soul or I will perish" feeling, I get that "hey guys, we're all white, we'd better start a morose rock band" feeling. This sad outfit is no exception. Come on, singer, sound like you want to be there. Would you want to listen to yourself singing if you were a consumer of music? Of course not, because you're unbearably dull. Next time you record, make the rest of the band leave the room and just belt it out with no shame like your head is on fire. I'd rather hear someone who's a shitty singer because he's a little insane and can't control his emotions than someone who's a shitty singer because he can't muster the balls to sing it like he means it.
New Name: The International Meat Academy

The Taking Tree - Stephen Hawking
Click here for an mp3 sample.

The central joke of the song (making fun of Stephen Hawking for being disabled) may be a pretty tired one, but to its credit, it's in extremely poor taste. Good work!
New Name: The Warlock's Thumb, YEAH!

Greatfox - Boys
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Rock on, furry!The last thing I expected was to hear was gay electronic funk made by a furry. Actually, the last thing I expected was that gay electronic funk made by a furry would be better than most of the other demos. I know, this is Something Awful and we're supposed to despise furries and all their worldly works, but come on, this material is pretty strong. Don't let your prejudices stand in the way of enjoying lyrics like "I gotta find a male / gonna hit up that tail / and trace my tongue up your happy trail / motherfucker yeah." If it's any consolation, I contacted Greatfox to determine just how much of a furry he is: "Not hardcore. Fringe. It's only a performance persona, music-wise." That seems like an odd choice of performance personas, Greatfox, but I suppose it does have a built-in fan base. I'm sure there are plenty of furries out there who have been waiting ages for decent furry music, just like there are probably plenty of pedophiles out there who've been waiting for the ultimate concept album about touching kids (Iron Maiden's "Powerslave" is the closest they have). Despite my better judgment, I'm afraid I'm going to have to award you the "Keep Rockin'" award, because music this awesome will surely do a lot to bridge the gulf of hatred and intolerance between furries and people who aren't insane perverts.
New Name: The Buck Rutherford Trio

Sidetracked - Torn
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Whoops, you seem to have recorded this song about eight years too late. Back in 1996-1997 or so, you would have had a record deal instantly. You would have shared the airwaves with Superdrag and Marcy Playground. You would have chilled out backstage with Nada Surf and opened for Weezer. Pavement might have even made fun of you in an interview or two. But now, of course, you're unmarketable and culturally irrelevant, reduced to sending your tracks to a disreputable internet hack so he can make fun of you alongside gay furry funk.
New Name: Helch

Wash Me - Marlon
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Remember that Sonic Youth album "Washing Machine"? Well, this is what Sonic Youth would sound like if they were actually trapped inside a washing machine. I'm not going to say it's a bad thing.
New Name: Helch UK

The Ways Away - Expect the Usual
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Oh god, the first couplet of the song rhmyes "ass" with "grass." My "THIS BODES ILL" light is flashing. Well, despite the fact that the song goes on to have consistently god-awful lyrics, at least this maintains some standard of musical quality, propelling it to the lofty status true of thoroughbred mediocrity. When they say "Expect the Usual," they mean it. There is absolutely nothing unusual about this song whatsoever. This song could commit all manner of heinous crimes and justice would never be served, because it is too nondescript to be identified by the authorities. You'd never pick it out of a lineup and you'd never recognize its portrait on a wanted poster. Even if it lived right next door to you while it butchered and devoured a busload of schoolchildren, you'd still just think it was a quiet, solitary, polite song who would never hurt a fly. But really, I shouldn't be complaining. All I can ask for after hearing so much crap is something that doesn't sound like mental patients banging on trash cans or high school kids writing HILAAAAARIOUS songs about boobies and "dirty sanchezes."
New Name: Tanglepants

Antiba - At Breaking Point
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Actual photo of the actual lead singer of INKONTINENZI wish people would stop listening to whatever music it is that inspires them to make crap like this. I swear, I get this song twenty times every time I do a Demo Roundup. This exact same one. The lyrics are always so incredibly po-faced that even when they spout nonsense like "I want to be colonically irrigated so I know how it feels not to be full of shit" it feels like they're going for intense and striking metaphors. Can't you retards imitate Tiny Tim or Liberace or something and make music that sounds like anything but watered-down versions of the nu-metal bullshit I hear on the radio? You know what, I don't care. This is the LAST one of these songs I'll ever put in my column. If you've got some really fuckin' intense melodic hard rock band and you love to sing about your stupid tortured relationship that you probably don't even have, send your demos elsewhere from now on. If you want to knock Hoobastank and Chevelle off their fucking thrones and take over the Clear Channel radio pop-metal-alternative-BLARGH airwaves, be my guest, but leave my inbox out of it. This is my new editorial fucking policy.

Black Pearl - Out of Time
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Oh man, you guys have to hear the intro to this. I think it's supposed to be some sort of chugging heavy metal rhythm, but it sounds like they keep trying to start a song and fucking it up. Is there going to come a time when I've heard so much terrible metal in the Demo Roundup that I'll start appreciating real metal? As it is, I think metal is pretty much for nerds and criminals.
New Name: The Little Mincing Fairies

Homeroom - Looks like Billy Joel
Click here for an mp3 sample.

Homeroom described themselves as "power-pop" in their e-mail to me. So, the first thing we must understand about Homeroom is that they're either stupid or they're liars. Matthew Sweet and Cheap Trick are power-pop. This is just regular "clever" Bowling For Soup pop-punk pap. Wouldn't you know it, the chorus is a hilarious little punch line! She left you for a guy who looks like Billy Joel? Well, guess what, you deserve it. You deserve it because your band is shit. In fact, your band is such shit that you have no place disparaging Billy Joel's name. Even though Billy Joel is a pathetic old tit, he could still rock circles around your weak little gang with one hand tied behind his back. Think about this, Homeroom: you're never going to pose any threat to Billy Joel. Billy Joel, no matter how much he sucks, is going to rock harder than you, sing better than you, and screw better-looking girls than you. And he won't be screwing better looking girls than you because he's rich, either. It'll be because he's cooler than you.
New Name: Nah, "Homeroom" is perfect for you guys. Your music really is like something you grudgingly endure in high school, and then you look back on it and think "I'm an idiot, why didn't I skip that?"

Once again, here are the submission guidelines, so keep those demos rolling in:

Please mail your demos to with the subject “DEMO ROUNDUP.” Give me the name of your band, where you’re from, and what the song is called, as well as a link to an mp3. You have no idea how many people just sent a link to an mp3 file and expected me to magically guess the name of their band using nothing but my internet fame. The rule is: if it takes me more than ten seconds to determine the basic fundamental information, I’m not going to bother. If you tell me that your song sucks, I won’t listen to it. Do not attach files, because I won’t open them. It is highly unlikely that I’ll bother with things on,, or whatever. Direct links are much more likely to be followed. Also, if at all possible, LEAVE THEM UP A FEW MONTHS. I don't always download them as soon as they come in.

– Dr. David Thorpe (@Arr)

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