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IT’S LIKE THAT: Pressin’ the F_ck Button

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Not that it matters so much anymore, but I remember in the booming days of the compact disc, when certain musical acts would tweak artwork, album titles, and song titles just to get their album onto the shelves of a retail store. Record labels wanted their artists’ discs to be sold in monster retail locations like Wal-Mart, because (sadly) most people buy their music at monster retail locations–that’s why many of today’s kids may not even know what a record store is.

Artists would usually agree with their labels, giving the all too safe answer, “Well, we want our record to be heard by as many people as possible.” Rarely would you read a story about a group refusing to alter their art for the sake of mass consumption. Even Nirvana, who spat in the face of music conventions, allowed their In Utereo track, “Rape Me,” to be changed to “Waif Me” on the CD’s track-listing.

(above: A name like The Fuck Buttons may not be as harmful to a band’s career as it used to be.)

Before digital downloads, a band’s survival depended greatly on moving discs at Wal-Mart–whether it seemed to be the punk rock thing to do or not. However, I couldn’t tell you how many times I wanted just one band to stand their ground, knowing that they would lose a good chunk of their income in the process–that’s punk rock.

Switching gears for a second, a year or so ago I became familiar with a group called The Fuck Buttons, which then brought to mind another group who wasn’t afraid to drop the “F” bomb: Holy Fuck. Speaking of (credible) indie acts with explicit band names, let’s not forget about Shit Disco. Maybe because I’m nearing my mid-30’s, my first reaction was, “C’mon, what kind of band name is that?” My brain–thinking like a 90’s record label exec–began listing all the reasons why it would be detrimental for a group to have an expletive in their name:

 Say bye-bye to Wal-Mart.

 Television hosts and VJ’s would have to alter the pronunciation of the band-name, meaning the mass public would get to know the group under a different moniker.

 The band-name would be hacked up by hyphens and asterisks when appearing in publications that don’t print expletives.

 No matter how good or popular the band gets, they’re pretty much writing themselves off the list of greatest acts ever. When was the last time you saw a band with the word “fuck” in its name, appear next to U2 or The Rolling Stones?

In my mind, having a “fuck” or a “shit” in your band name just seemed like a headache not worth having. Some mainstream music critics may argue that The Fuck Buttons’ style of noisy music would never appeal to the mainstream anyway, but in music–as in life–I’ve learned that never doesn’t necessarily mean never (just ask Brett Favre). There have been countless groups in the annals of music that went from sloppy, underground club-dwellers to mainstream, even-your-grandma-knows-about-them superstars.

Though I don’t think The Fuck Buttons or Shit Disco are particularly clever band-names, I realized that these acts have done what I always wanted a band to do–utter a big “F-you” to conventional music norms and practices. By including a swear word in your band’s name, you pretty much give yourself complete autonomy. You never have to worry about shipping edited versions of CD’s to Wal-Mart, you never have to worry about playing corporately sponsored cocktail parties, and you don’t have to worry about catering to the mainstream–if they like you enough, they’ll go out of their way to cater to you.

And speaking in terms of the mainstream, not every band necessarily wants to be a darling for the masses. Maybe by calling your band The Fuck Buttons you only want your music to be heard by a certain few–but, in the age where musical acts are creating their own internet fan bases, maybe that certain few isn’t so few at all.

Every explicitly named band that never made it into Wal-Mart are standing up and cheering right now.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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