The O'Jays

One of the all-time great soul groups – if you doubt it, listen to Back Stabbers or I Love Music (and, in a moment, a certain song about a train). Formed at school in 1958 as The Triumphs, then The Mascots, they renamed themselves in 1963 after the pioneering DJ Eddie O’Jay. Their relationship with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International in the 1970s was a match made in heaven, exemplified by the work of pure disco genius that is Love Train – in this November 2016 interview, they explain why they took action to stop Donald Trump using it in his election campaign. Now here are Chloë Sevigny and Matt Keeslar in the life-enhancing end credits of The Last Days of Disco. People all over the world, join hands …

Observer Effect

Likable indie folk rockers from Brisbane, Australia, who explain: “Observer Effect is a quantum physics theory that literally suggests that the human watching the experiment changes the state of the matter in the experiment. We’re extending that idea to music and stories. The fans who listen to our music and watch us perform change us, just as we change them.” You can participate in that process by visiting their website. Not to be confused with …

The Observer Effect

Less likable death metal outfit from Cornwall, Ontario. You can listen to them here. Warning: not for those of a gentle disposition. In addition to bands, there are various films named The Observer Effect, as well as this 2011 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Old 97's

Texas alt-country pioneers named after Johnny Cash’s Wreck of the Old 97. They have an excellent website. Author Stephen King is a fan – he chose one of their songs, Barrier Reef, to be cast away with (along with a water hammock) when he appeared on the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs.



On A Friday

When Radiohead were pupils at a posh private school in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, this is what they called themselves, because they generally rehearsed on Fridays in the school music department. Here’s a sample of their first demo in 1986. Once signed to EMI they were asked by the label to change the awful name. For more about On A Friday, this is a finely detailed blogpost from Stereogum.

One Trick Pony

Cartoon de Salvo, a theatre company who sometimes moonlight as the pub band One Trick Pony, appeared as a pub band called One Trick Pony in a play called Pub Rock, performed in the Hop Poles pub, opposite the Lyric theatre, Hammersmith, west London, in 2010. Time Out called it “warm, funny and brave”.

The Ones

Formed in Germany in 1965 by Edgar Froese, The Ones were a sort of Velvet Underground to Salvador Dalî’s Warhol, playing at his parties in Spain. They broke up after releasing one single. Froese went on to greater things with Tangerine Dream.

Otoboke Beaver

Stylish feminist punks named after a love hotel in Kyoto, where they formed at college in 2009: “Our guitarist Yoyoyoshie and ex-bassist Nishikawachi went to high school near one of the love hotel districts. When we were deciding on the name, they picked up a list of love hotels, and we chose Otoboke Beaver because the name sounded good.” They record for the Damnably label; here’s their 2017 single Love is Short. Not to be confused with Gogol Bordello.