Top 10 Indie Animal Bands

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to notice that there are quite a few indie bands with animals in their name. Here are Matt Nielson‘s top 10 favourites, with a roughly-applied criteria of relevance to animal issues, appropriateness of animal choice, and how good the bands are.


Animal Collective

Rather than picking just one species, Animal Collective decided to cover all of them with a communal moniker (although one of the group is known as Panda Bear so maybe there’s some favouritism). But if you thought they were just lazy bandwagon jumpers, you’re wrong (idiot)—check out this video they made for PETA to stop seal clubbing.


Swans (the animals) are beautiful, best pictured floating elegantly on a moon-splashed lake. Swans (the band) made loud ugly industrial noise that used to induce audiences into shivering vomiting wrecks. Go figure.

Grizzly Bear

The grizzly bear might be the king of the land mammals, but I always thought the band was more like a teddy bear—cuddly, reliable, adept at lulling you into a pleasant dream world. A bit more like this grizzly bear, then.

Wolf Parade

There must have been an abnormal amount of full moons about a decade ago, if the spate of wolf-related band names from the time is anything to go by. Wolf Parade gets the nod over AIDS Wolf and Wolfmother because they’re actually a good band.


The Deer Hunter is a film set during the Vietnam War, in which Christopher Walken is held captive in a POW camp and eventually goes crazy and plays Russian roulette. Deerhunter are a band with a frontman named Bradford Cox who goes crazy and plays ‘My Sharona’ for an hour. Also, deer are animals.

Modest Mouse

There’s no mice in this ‘Stiff Animal Fantasy’ video for ‘The World At Large’, but a veritable zoo’s worth of foxes, badgers, boar and beetles.


This Real Estate side project is chilled out in a way Donald Duck never managed. They even had a Panda Bear feature on their last album. Animal friends!

Bat for Lashes

Now that I think about it, a bat is the perfect animal totem for the nocturnal slow jams of Natasha Khan. Except they can’t really hear at all, which is a shame because she’s quite good.

Black Moth Super Rainbow

Moths are pretty boring, really. They’re grey and fly very predictably towards any source of light. What that has to do with psychedelic technicolour acid trip electropop is beyond me.

Dinosaur Jr.

Are dinosaurs animals? I don’t care, I just wanted to show you this video. Raaaaaaaaawrrrrr!!!


Waka Flocka Flame doesn’t have an animal in his name, but he still takes time out from bragging about Ferraris and threatening to kill people to speak out about responsible dog ownership. Bless.

Words by Matt Nielson.


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