pop etc, the band formerly known as the morning benders

I meant to write about this a while ago, but May got crazy... Not too long after I became a fan of The Morning Benders, the band announced that they were The Morning Benders no more. Not to worry, the band isn't going anywhere -- they've been reborn as POP ETC. New name, new sound, new album...

Check out this video for "Keep It For Your Own," from POP ETC's upcoming self-titled third album, due out next week. I think it sounds rather fantastic:

The story behind the name change is interesting. Soon after embarking on their first international tour -- having already called themselves The Morning Benders for five years -- they discovered that "bender" is used as a derogatory term for "homosexual" in certain English-speaking parts of the world. And that was a problem.

But with their third album on the horizon, the band was presented with an opportunity for a fresh start, and seized the moment to shed their old, now-problematic name. They explain:

At the time we didn't really have many options; we had already booked several tours as The Morning Benders and had just released our new album. We couldn't very well change the name right then and there. We had unwittingly gotten ourselves into a problem with no immediate solution, it was extremely disappointing. But that's all said and done. Now it's 2012. We are at the tail end of making our third album, and we have been given the opportunity to change our band name. We've decided to seize that opportunity, and here's why--

1. We simply cannot go on using a name that is demeaning to the gay community. The reason we are making music is to reach and unite as many different kinds of people as possible, and the idea that our name may be hateful towards anyone makes us sick.

2. In the UK and many parts of Europe the name has simply become too distracting. The MUSIC has always been our number one focus, and we want to present that to people in as pure a way as possible

I know that many people around the world have grown to love the name "The Morning Benders," and understandably have memories and experiences associated with it. Obviously we can understand this, we've lived and breathed this band for 7 years. However, for those of you that know and follow us, you also know that we are committed to change. We've always promised our fans that we will never settle into a place that feels safe and easy, because that leads to boring art. It is true that we didn't anticipate this specific twist in the road when we set out on this musical journey, but we still like to think of this as merely a further embodiment of our commitment to change. We believe that it will only lead to new growth and excitement.
You have to give them some props. On the one hand, sure, it's about image control, but it's also about respect. That's more than I can say about the ridiculous behavior of certain other bands with potentially offensive names (ahem, Ching Chong Song).

The new album will be available on June 12 from Rough Trade. You can preview the entire album right now, and read an interview with the band, over on MTV Hive: POP ETC Do Not Believe in Guilty Pleasures.

Can't wait to load up this album on my iPod. For more information on POP ETC, their music, and upcoming tour dates, check out the band's official website here, and follow them on Facebook here.

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