Annie Sachs, better known as Tickley Feather, makes beautiful, haunting esoteric freak folk songs. Her low-fi form of noise rock is absolutely enchanting, if not completely easy to listen to. It only makes sense that the story of how she came up with the name Tickley Feather is as quietly endearing as the music she makes. “I thought of the name Tickley Feather when I first made a copy of a few of my songs to give to a friend. I wanted a title that demonstrated my modesty in the sense that it lacked seriousness. I was happy with it also because it sounded feminine and even a little tarty. If I’d had any foresight, I might have chosen something different. But I have heard and been comforted by the idea that the sound of a name matters less and less as the vitality of what it represents grows larger.”
Another set of noise-rockers and Paw Tracks label-mates with Tickley Feather, Excepter have an equally haunting quality to their music. Droning, drums, and errant electronic sounds characterize Excepter’s unique style. Right along with their extremely intelligent music is their very thoughtful band name. For every way their intricate music can be interpreted, so can their name. John Fell Ryan explains. “Excepter was originally called Scepter, but once I found out there was already another Scepter in music, I dubbed the band Excepter. Turns out an ‘excepter’ is the thing in a vending machine the accepts your money. Excepter is also an archaic term for a court scribe. In my mind an excepter is one who makes exception rather than takes exception, if you know what I mean- the X factor of lore.”
These United States are an altogether different breed of band. Their jangly guitars, clever lyrics, and country-influenced twang are a pleasure to hear. It’s probably best to let them to describe their own sound, from a bio posted on their website. Their clever, twisted way of writing words definitely finds its way into their music. “These United States is the songs of Jesse Elliott, flipped, forged, phased, and fermented; stolen, re-taken, elongated and elevated, beaten and bruised, occasionally imbued, by an ever-battling band of music-mad robber-barons, enthused aesthetic thieves of the long and winding subway tunnels and underground railroads of our cacophonous nation.”
How did they get their difficult-to-google name (These United States is the name of a pro-America website, as well as the title of several political conferences over the years). It seems like it was a late night of fun that brought about this concisely appropriate name, considering many of their songs seem to be sweeping tales of the American west. These United States say, “Some friends and I were staring at a strange, mystical, twisted painting of a Deformed Being of Some Kind holding a red-white-n-blue massive melting ice cream cone. It was very late, and it just made sense.” And there you have it. It just made sense.