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SIGN OF THE TIMES?

The names of contemporary bands have come a long way since the days of the relatively placid monikers that entertainers hung on themselves.

We used to have the Beatles, Bee Gees, Big Bopper, Cars, Eagles, Four Seasons, Jefferson Airplane, Monkees, Rascals, Supremes and Turtles. The names carried a connotation that the vinyl might contain a little wildness but nothing that would make you think twice about giving the album a spin.

Ah, but times have changed.

Browse through the racks of compact discs these days and you can pick up -- eeeek -- Henrietta Rollins and the Wife-Beating Childhaters, the House of Freaks, the Violent Femmes, Corrosion of Conformity, Pailhead, Nowhere Blossoms, the Spongetones, Bad Brains, Nurse With Wound, They Might Be Giants, Electric Love Muffin, My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult, the Marshmallow Overcoat, the Raging Slab and the Flaming Lips, to name just a few.

As Tipper Gore might ask: Is this a sign of the times?