Starting today, roughly 1,300 music artists will descend upon New York City in hopes of Living the Dream. Wild acts with names like (these are all real) Bear Hands, Bear Trap, Bear Crossing, SUNBEARS!, Bearstronaut, Stone Cold Fox, Foxes in Fiction, and Foxygen will play in peace alongside their domesticated brethren in (these too) Dog Bite, DJ Dog Dick, FISHDOCTOR, So Cow and Felix Da Housecat at the CMJ Music Marathon, the 32-year-old festival that introduces music fans to the bands they’ll be forgetting about by this time next year.
Chances are you’ve never heard of most of the bands playing the festival. But you have no doubt heard of Ben Gibbard, the sensitive, marathon-running Death Cab for Cutie frontman who was once married to the teacher from Bridge To Terabithia. His solo debut, Former Lives, is out this week, and he’s playing CMJ to promote it. Here, the crack design staff at SOTCHQ have Photoshopped Ben Gibbard’s luxurious hair — known by stylists the world round as “The OG Bieber” — on five other bands playing this year’s festival in hopes it will make them more memorable. The (admittedly flawed) logic works like this: Indie electro-pop songstress Queen of Hearts? Totally forgettable. Queen of Hearts with Ben Gibbard’s hair (pictured above)? A tad less forgettable.
Right? Right. Totally. So let’s meet these less-forgettable bands we’ve Photoshopped Ben Gibbard’s hair on . . .
Wishes & Thieves. The name might hold a world of meaning to the female-fronted pop rock act, but to the layperson, it’s just two completely different words separated by an ampersand. Completely impossible to remember. You’ve already forgotten their name. What was it? Witches & Leaves? Wolves & Seeds? Give them Ben Gibbard’s hair, though, and all the sudden, for reasons you can’t even comprehend, you’ve got it: Wishes & Every Band Had Ben Gibbard’s Hair.
You don’t want to give Ben Gibbard’s hair to just anyone. You want to give it to someone you trust will treat the responsibility with the respect and honor his follicles are due. Ohio river folk duo Umbrella Men won’t let Ben Gibbard’s hair be exposed to too much sun or rain. They are the perfect candidates to receive the Gift. Remember them. Cold Blood Club
Thursday, Oct. 18. 4 to 4:45 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1.
Cold Blood Club: “Come check us out Thursday at Rockwood Music Hall, 4 p.m. We’re called Cold Blood Club. You’ll find tags for ‘alternative dark disco dubstep’ on our bandcamp.”
Big Label Exec: “You know who I am? I’m a Big Label Exec. I have no time! What else ya got?”
Cold Blood Club: “We all have Ben Gibbard’s hair. Each of us. It looks great when we pose in open windows.”
Big Label Exec: “Here’s One Million Dollars. See you at the gig.”
Watch this shaky video of the perfectly pleasant summery folk trio Plume Giant covering the Beatles “Strawberry Fields.” How much did you get through? About a minute? They have Ben Gibbard’s hair, you’re watching the whole thing. It’s a fact.
You have to admire the strength of someone who, in the Age of Google, calls their act something that already has strong associations with something else. As such, before she ever recorded a note, Queen of Hearts was working at a deficit in the ever present arms race to occupy space in your mind. Put Ben Gibbard’s hair on her, though, and, yeah, see you at Santos Party House tonight.