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INDIE EAR MADNESS: Final Four Preview

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This weekend, the Final Four of Indie Ear Madness will take the stage. After some fierce tournament competition, The Raconteurs, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, and Band of Horses are the only indie/indie-minded bands in the country left standing.

To help prepare you for this weekend’s Final Four, we have brought in some top-notch music analyts to breakdown each band’s playbook:

Michael Azerrad
Renowned author, journalist, and musician (and blogger). Wrote critically acclaimed Come As You Are and Our Band Could Be Your Life. Also co-produced Kurt Cobain documentary, About a Son, and recently penned the R.E.M. cover story for the latest issue of SPIN.

Dave Powers
Former producer of MTV Networks’ 120 Minutes and Subterranean. Editor and senior writer for New Music Nation. Supervising Producer of Sprint Exclusive Entertainment Music on Sprint TV.

Steven Smith
On-air host of Steven’s Untitled Rock Show (Fuse) and co-host of The Sauce (Fuse). Contributing columnist for Alternative Press Magazine.

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Michael Azerrad
I’m going to pick Vampire Weekend cause they went to my college–they’re my hometown favorite, I’ve got to root for them. If this is like NCAA, you’ve got to root for your team, right? So I’m going to root for Columbia. Vampire Weekend

Dave Powers
The Raconteurs have the veteran experience and they just put out an impressive sophomore album that was better than their debut, Broken Boy Soldiers. Plus, they put out the album immediately after they recorded it, so they’re hungry and playing with a great sense of urgency. But Vampire Weekend are the hottest new band with the best album of the year so far. This is one hell of a fight, but the younger, inexperienced newcomers will prevail. Vampire Weekend

Steven Smith
The Raconteurs will dominate the college-global-rock-prowess of Vampire Weekend. Super groups always win, much like super heroes always win. When you’ve got a White Stripe, two Green Hornes, and Brendan Benson, there is no defense. The Raconteurs

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Michael Azerrad
Band of Horses appears in About a Son, so I’m going to root for the hometown team again and go with Band of Horses. Band of Horses

Dave Powers
The Black Keys have expanded their sound by working with Danger Mouse on their latest album and if this was a comedy competition, there would be no contest. But I say this competition ultimately comes down to the music, and Band of Horses are still riding the momentum from having the #1 Album of 2007 (according to my blog New Music Nation). Band of Horses can’t be stopped. Band of Horses

Steven Smith
The Black Keys have no choice but to face defeat in their battle against Band of Horses. Despite sharing similar letters in their names, Band of Horses’ beards will scare the pee out of the Black Keys. Beards=tough. Band of Horses


Michael Azerrad
Band of Horses vs. Vampire Weekend–I think the Ivy League, old-boy network wins and Vampire Weekend triumphs, cause I’m pulling for my boys. A college education’s gotta get you something. All Columbia graduates belong to a secret club, I don’t know if you know that? This is not for publication, but we all have a meeting in the Houston Astrodome once a year–it’s totally secret. We help each other out. Hitmen are going to come and get me for this, but the story’s got to be told. Vampire Weekend

Dave Powers
A Vampire Weekend/Band of Horses final pits my #1 Album of 2007 against my #1 Album of 2008 so far. Very tight match-up, but I have to give it to Band of Horses. The song “No One’s Gonna Love You” pushes them over the top. Band of Horses

Steven Smith
This means it will be The Raconteurs vs. Band of Horses, and this is a tale as aged as the oldest western pulp novel. Without their horses the Raconteurs cannot ride, which makes Band of Horses wild stallions. But as Jack White has proven, he’s a fearless matador. There is no doubt in my mind of the Raconteurs victory. The Raconteurs




Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


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.