We are neither the first nor the last to notice that indie rockers of the early 21st century have a fondness for fauna — you have Le Tigre, Wolfmother, and Grizzly Bear, and Tiger Bear Wolf for those who can’t make up their minds. Of course, from the Turtles to the Flys, bands have always favored animal names, but recent trends in indie rock have led some to suggest that a new fascination for the rural, pastoral, earthy, natural and animalistic has taken hold. (Generally speaking, punk and grunge as genres seemed to eschew the animal band name — Dictators, Voidoids, Sex Pistols, Nuns, Buzzcocks on one hand; Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam, Melvins on the other. No frolic in the countryside for these groups.)
To get a better understanding of today’s zeitgeist, we put together this taxonomy of “horse rock,” sorting out your Deer Tracks and Antlers from your Deerhunters and Blitzen Trappers. As Pavement once said, “Mussle rock is a horse in transition.” Hopefully, Rick Santorum is not paying attention.