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TALK: My Morning Jacket

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Experimental-deep-fried-southern rockers, My Morning Jacket, are on the verge of one of their most important years as a band. Following up their critically acclaimed album, Z, the band will be releasing their brand new album, Evil Urges, on June 10. Besides gracing the recent cover of SPIN Magazine, My Morning Jacket can also be found playing Saturday Night Live this weekend, May 10, as well as playing a sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall and a marquee spot at this year’s Bonnaroo Festival next month.

(above: My Morning Jacket at this year’s SXSW in Austin, TX. Look at this live show, you can’t tell me they shouldn’t be playing arenas).

I sat down with My Morning Jacket’s resident drum pummeler, Patrick Hallahan, to discuss the band’s big year and the possibility of becoming rock’s next arena-worthy act:

Jim Shearer: I saw you guys at the IFC/Crossroads party at SXSW. Good show!

Patrick Hallahan: That might have been one of my favorite shows in a very, very long time, just because we have such a history with that room [The Parish]. We played a lot of shows there. My friend Will Johnson claims that that’s the best sounding room in Austin, TX. When we go there it’s like family. Chris, the sound engineer, knew my name the minute I walked in the door, and we hadn’t seen each other in four-and-a-half years. That just means the world to bands that play so many rooms throughout the year, for someone to know–it’s like a sense of family. It was a fantastic show, it really was.

Jim: Yo La Tengo opened up the show. Did you get to hang out with them at all?

Patrick: Absolutely. That was certainly one of the highlights of my week. I’ve been a fan of Yo La Tengo for so long. I felt so bad, because Yo La Tengo shouldn’t be opening for us, we should be opening for Yo La Tengo. It was just cool to befriend them, they’re really sweet. It was really good to know that a band I respect so highly are such a nice group of people

Jim: I notice when you’re playing the drums that you don’t close your mouth the entire show.

Patrick: (laughs) I’m just trying to catch flies. I guess it’s like the Michael Jordan tongue thing. I don’t know? When I’m not thinking, and in my euphoric state, I guess my mouth’s open.

Jim: My Morning Jacket has a big year coming up. You guys have a lot of stuff going on.

Patrick: What in particular are you talking about?

Jim: Well, you’ve got your new album, Evil Urges, you’ve got the show at Radio City Music Hall, which I think amazingly sold-out in 20 minutes?

Patrick: Twenty-two minutes.

Jim: Wow.

Patrick: I swear to God I never thought that I’d be able to say that we sold out a show in an hour at a 300-capactiy club. To sell out Radio City Music Hall in 22 minutes–I don’t even feel that it’s real, honestly. The year ahead of us is definitely chock full of action–lots of touring, lots of seeing the world again. It’s been nice having a dormant period, but we’re certainly ready and willing to take this to anybody who wants to listen to it.

Jim: Can you walk us through the album?

Patrick: It sounds like a thousand things at once. It’s a very weird, schizophrenic album, and I’ll certainly take this one to the grave as being, probably, one of the proudest projects I have ever been a part of. I love it so much, I really do.

Jim: I know you guys are ready for it–I think you need to start playing arenas. At your SXSW show, I thought, “Wow, they’re ready to launch off.”

Patrick: We’ll play wherever people want us to play. We like playing regardless. That was the nice thing about playing at The Parish [SXSW]. It was just back to playing a small club again, and the intimacy of that. We love doing [small venues] and we love the big stage too. Just tell us where to go and we’ll put on a show.

Jim: If you did start touring arenas, are there any stage props that you’d like?

Patrick: Those are in the making. Those are still in the ethos, we’re trying to grab them from the sky right now. I don’t know what’s happened yet.

Jim: (laughs) Then you’ve got Bonnaroo coming up, which you’ve played a handful of times.

Patrick: This will be our fifth time, and they’re giving us the midnight slot on the first night. Bonnaroo is everything that SXSW isn’t–it’s very calm, it’s very compact. It’s still a huge festival, but you’re not running around an entire city. It’s very therapeutic, the Bonnaroo experience. To get the first night [Friday], is really something special, because everybody gets there on Thursday and they’re ready to go see music. When you get a midnight slot, everyone’s been listening to music all day, really getting into the mood of everything, and by midnight they really want to have a great time. We’re really looking forward to providing a fun Friday night at Bonnaroo.

Jim: Finally, how is it that you’re a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan?

Patrick: I guess I always tried to avoid football, cause I never wanted to seem like a jock, but I have always secretly adored sports. Now that I know that I’m not a jock, and I’m comfortable in my own skin (laughs), I just let it happen–it just waterfalled. I had to pick a team, cause there’s no pro teams in Louisville, or Kentucky for that matter. A lot of my friends were Pittsburgh Steelers fans and I started to go watch the games, and I just got caught up in the spirit of it. My second year of following them they won the Super Bowl, and it was just a beautiful, beautiful thing.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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