Arts Desk

Clip Job: Five Bands with at Least as Many Members as Songs

spelling for bees

Spelling for Bees refers to itself as both a collective—in that it's an umbrella for music by its 40 members—and a supergroup, meaning that its participants, drawn from indie-rock bands the District over, occasionally create songs together. The two cuts on the project's MySpace page, "Love at First Sight" and "Giboullee (Bella)," are delicate and slow-building with an orchestral flair, and the group's leader, Mittenfields member Dave Mann, says he eventually hopes to incorporate every player, Polyphonic Spree-style, into the live set. Mann formed Spelling for Bees this March with members of Mittenfields and another of his projects, Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie, as well as Dangerosa, We Were Pirates, the Mean Ideas, Sun Committee, and others (one member, Austen Brown, used to be a singer in the Spree). The group has a residency at the Velvet Lounge, and each month's performance resembles an open mic centered on a theme; at the show this Tuesday, every member will cover a Radiohead song. The Charlottesville, Va., band Invisible Hands opens, and doors are at 7 p.m. $5.

More overstaffed bands after the jump: cute orchestral indie, a Canadian choir, and Thin Lizzy and the Sex Pistols getting festive!

Emanuel and the Fear (2007-present): This Brooklyn outfit has 11 members and, to date, a five-song EP. Although the band cites Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and Philip Glass as inspirations, mostly it concocts cutesy, heart-on-its-sleeve indie pop that places the onus for emotional gravitas entirely on its orchestral component.

I'm From Barcelona (2005-present): If Karen O had demurred, this 29-member Swedish band—whose songs revel in an almost fetishistically adorable vision of childhood—could have easily soundtracked Where The Wild Things Are. In the small world of raucous campfire pop, I'm From Barcelona is the tight, twee ying to Animal Collective's messy, abstract yang.

The Choir Practice (2006-present): This Vancouver group has one 11-song album and a roster that fluctuates between 11 and 15 members, and it sports what has to be the most spot-on name since The Band. Its members have ties to the, erm, brightest stars of British Columbia—like the New Pornographers, Destroyer, and P:ano—but the Choir Practice's reference points aren't eccentric indie bands. Rather, with its many voices and sparse instrumentation, the group comes off as a stripped-down update of harmony-happy late-'60s groups like the Free Design and the Mamas & the Papas.

The Greedies (1978-1979): When the big-riff Irish band Thin Lizzy discovered punk rock, all it came away with was ... Christmas? The Greedies featured half of Thiny Lizzy, the quiet half of the Sex Pistols, and recorded only two songs, the single "A Christmas Jingle" and its B-side—you guessed it—"A Christmas Jangle." Words cannot do it justice:

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