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Welcome to Lost Treasures, a brand new section here on the Indie Ear Blog, where every so often, I’ll go up in the attic, pull out some old boxes, and blow the dust off of some forgotten gems. These items, for whatever reason, have slipped through the cracks of music and pop-culture, yet managed to make an indelible impression on me.

There’s a well-known saying: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Hopefully my treasures don’t leave you running for the nearest garbage bin.

LOST TREASURE: XL & DBD, Sodom and America

It’s kind of hard to believe now, but when I was a child I was only allowed to listen to Christian music (no MTV, no radio, no secular music whatsoever). Eventually, with the help of my sister, I slowly broke my parents down. By the 10th grade, I was listening to secular radio and watching MTV on a daily basis. My Dad, not wanting me to lose my Christian-edge, would frequently buy me contemporary music from religious recording artists. I would always give my Dad the courtesy of listening to these albums, but in all honesty, most of the music was horrendous.

During my senior year of high school in 1993, my Dad brought home an album from a group called XL & DBD, titled Sodom and America. Like I did with all the cassettes he got me I gave it my one courtesy listen, but after I got through the album, I thought, “Hmm, that wasn’t half bad.” I actually starting listening to it more and more, and before long it was resting in heavy rotation alongside my Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and Helmet tapes.


Considering it was released off a Christian record label (BAI), the music was actually a bit before it’s time. Back then it seemed like certain Christian labels would jump on a musical trend, assemble a group together, and have them sing an album’s worth of material about the awesomeness of Jesus (don’t get me wrong, I believe that Jesus is awesome too, however, soulless songs about him are not). XL & DBD was different though.

So you might be wondering what they sounded like, right?

Okay, I’ll tell you, but I’m going to say a bad word right now (gulp), “rap-rock”. There, I said it. Keep in mind this was years before the whole genre got completely out-of-hand. Some rap-rock was done to perfection (a la Rage Against the Machine). From my understanding back then, XL was actually a legitimate emcee, and DBD (aka, Death Before Dishonor) was a metal band. When they combined forces, they became–XL & DBD (duh). Sodom and America came out only a few months after the first Rage Against the Machine album, so it’s not like rap-rock was the new craze sweeping the nation. Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain were still ruling the airwaves.

XL & DBD definitely expressed their Christian beliefs, but they did it in a very creative and thoughtful way, applying it to themes of racism, self-image, drug abuse, and capitalism. XL even boasted about using firearms in a clever manner, putting him on par with early 90’s tough-guy-talking rappers, “In 1993 racism trudges on and on, it seems it can’t be tamed/And if racism was a man and I had a 12-gauge I’d shoot him in the head in the Lord God’s name.” Years later this rhyme might scare a few non-Christians (and Christians for that matter), considering a certain world leader likes to do a lot of things in the “Lord God’s name”, but back then I thought it was pretty neat to hear a rhyme like this from a “Christian” artist.

For years I had trouble tracking down Sodom and America on CD. Only recently has it popped up on ebay. Sadly, one of the only informational pieces available on the band is their outdated webpage, which looks like an AV high school project from the early 90’s–which it very well could be.

If you ever come across XL & DBD at a used CD store or a yard sale at Pastor Ron’s house, definitely slap down the $1.50 for it–you won’t regret it at all.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.