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The Ultimate Higher Ed Band List

Higher Ed Bands We’ve all heard about the bands which formed at college or university: Roxy Music, Editors, Pink Floyd, Everything But The Girl, REM, The Pixies, Talking Heads, Coldplay, London Grammar, Snow Patrol to name but a few. But now it’s time for a comprehensive listing of the top Higher Education bands who have … Continued
This article is more than 10 years old

Higher Ed Bands

We’ve all heard about the bands which formed at college or university: Roxy Music, Editors, Pink Floyd, Everything But The Girl, REM, The Pixies, Talking Heads, Coldplay, London Grammar, Snow Patrol to name but a few.

But now it’s time for a comprehensive listing of the top Higher Education bands who have hitherto escaped recognition. The following bands might possibly have been formed by choosing a name from the wonderful world of Higher Ed. Or possibly not. #HigherEdBands

The Russell Group – swaggering, over-confident ageing southern sextet,strong musical pedigree, extraordinary chart success over many, many years
MOOCs – ultra hip techno duo. yet to benefit from all the free downloads they’ve given away.
Wu Tang UCLan – legendary Preston-based hip hop collective
Million+ – chippy northern upstarts and indie darlings. rarely troubling the charts
Convocation – North-Western Joy Division-lite misery droners
Prospectus – drippy Essex-based shoegazer quintet
Tenure Track – veteran US East coast art-school rockers

Guy Garvey's shameless attempt to make the #HigherEdBands list
Guy Garvey’s shameless attempt to make the #HigherEdBands list

The Registrars – impossibly cool, utterly essential indie quartet. Hugely under-rated
Charter and Statutes – influential British electronic music production duo
Presidents of UUK – Classic soul four piece, now getting on a bit but still able to fill a big venue. Notably disloyal and capricious following
Richard III – challenging midlands/York combo with extraordinary capacity for self-promotion despite limited output in recent years.
The Thelmas – Alternative indie-pop all female group – won more awards than you can shake a stick at
Borderline First – Not as good as they think they are
Search Committee – Welsh guitar-led group struggling for recognition
Ranking Phil B – legendary toaster and founding member of North East reggae collective, League Tables, has continued to enjoy solo success and many international tour dates
Bloc Grant – sprawling large, chaotic and well-funded dance band. Have been forced to downscale in recent years. Often late
Robbins Report – much-lauded and respected 60s revolutionary rockers – launched many imitators down the years (see The Dearing Enquiry and rather flash-in-the-pan Browne Review)
Cable and Willetts – improbably successful DJ and producer duo who,despite rarely appearing live together have enjoyed some modest critical if not popular success
Extenuating Circumstances – moaning Morrissey clone
Erasmus-Mundus – highly travelled multi-lingual trio – huge in continental Europe but have struggled to break through in the UK
Harper Adams – rural agri-folk duo with small but loyal following
RAB Charge – cockney hardcore thrash metal merchants – their stock keeps rising
Brasenose – posh fey indie groovesters
The Adjuncts – grumpy US grunge merchants
Masters – earlier and cooler incarnation of chart-topping PhD with Jim (no relation to Ian) Diamond and some other bloke on synths
Ab Initio – along with their peers, Early Career, it is a bit soon to tell if they are going to take off
Electives – group of moonlighting Status Quo channelling medics who should really stick to the day job (in all our interests)
Humboldt Model – legendary and hugely influential Kraut rock combo

Those are the ones we are able to catalogue. Sadly no details remain of the following bands:

OFT EnquiryWonkhe Efficiency Exchange
Year Abroad
Adult Learners
Administrative Bloat
Efficiency Exchange
Comprehensive Internationalisation
Science park
Solid 2:1
Open Access
Senate Agenda
Any Other Business
Hefsea/Hefkey (not to be confused with Hefcoo)
Cap & Gown
London Met
Anglia Ruskin
4* journal
Learning ResourcesAverage tariff
2* paper
REF return
Trac return
Value added
Partial Performance
Tech transfer
Summa cum laude
Academic Freedom
shared services
China campus
Knowledge Exchange
Grant letter
First Destinations
Campus life

Do let us know if you know of any more #HigherEdBands we failed to mention.

(Inspired by a blog post by Hopi Sen on fictional political bands)

10 responses to “The Ultimate Higher Ed Band List

  1. Trouble with LaTeX is always getting mentioned where I am. Amongst the undergrads Student Union Politics used to be popular but these days they only talk about Employability Enhancement.

  2. Some helpful updates from Anon, Leeds:

    First Destinations. Made a big splash after just six months, but this gave no indication of where they would end up. Not to be confused with Goth/Emo outfit Final Destinations.

    Senate Agenda. Reliable producers of interminable triple concept albums. Throwback to seventies prog-rock.

    SHEFC. Proclaimers sound-alikes. Biggest/only hit “Letter from the Funding Council” gets reissued every year.

    Blended Learning. Once hugely popular live act, but since their global hit “lecture capture” have retired to the studio as no one comes to the live shows any more.

  3. The 94 Group. Always used the “The” (but not The The) in their name. Sounded a little like the Russell Group but felt mortally offended if you suggested that, claiming theirs was a purer sound. Some members left and actually joined the Russell Group saying they’d have preferred to have been there all along.

  4. Some good ones on Twitter:

    Scottish indie pop – Bis
    BA Robertson
    Cash Cows – an international ensemble with ever decreasing numbers
    Professor Hook (the Dr was promoted at last)
    Status QAA – biggest hit ‘regulating all over the world’
    The Regulators – straight laced , in suits, mostly concept double albums
    TNE – DJ known for collaboration with world music collective, Global Citizens
    The Student Experience, known not just for their music but also for their live shows, fan club, and online presence
    Let us not forget The THE, Matt Johnson’s post-punk new wave educational supplement
    can’t believe you ignored Contextual Data, pioneers of electropop
    I imagine ‘De Montfort’ would sing beautifully haunting ballads about yearning and loss. And no-one knowing where (s)he is.


  5. More from Twitter:
    The Flaming LEPs. Looking to breaking into the local pub circuit
    The Ivy #League, did not make the Table #apprentices Tracks incl. Graduation Day, Tossing & Turning
    First Destination: lesser known 70s prog rockers, ex Gentle Giant and King Crimson
    Partial Performance: late 80s experimental troupe bridging New Romantics and Acid Jazz
    The PVCs – utterly uncool but seminal punk band.
    BUCS – early 80’s pop group who enjoyed some success in Europe but lacked fizz
    The Followers of The Apocalypse (obv)
    The MOOCs: uber-hip californian retro-futurists -a lot of influential people claim to be fans but few have sat through a gig
    The EdgeHill Gang, old school rappers & fathers of Ormskirk hip-hop?
    The Free Degrees: a global online collaboration, heavily promoted but not yet fully tested
    Quinquennial Review – new age hippies, much lamented
    What about The QAA and their breakthrough hip hop angst debut album ‘Limited Confidence’? Gritty follow up ‘Code of Practice’.
    R.E.F. – 4 piece College rock band whose global impact diminished following the loss of their drummer
    Designated Course – 1970’s and on rockers, had a few hits but struggled post 2012
    HEW and Cry, Welsh sophisti-pop outfit which struggled to find meaning in the latter stages of their career
    Hesa and Heidi- a dour electronic duo, with small but committed following

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