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LIVE: 2008 CMJ Showdown Lowdown

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Late of the pier1.jpg

It’s the Wednesday after CMJ has ended, and if the lack of emails in my inbox is any indication, all the music industry folk have still not recovered from those five crazy days. This year I ended up going to a show every night and boy was it tiring.

(left: Late Of The Pier performed on Friday night. Sarah was feelin’ them, Rachel, not so much.)

Here’s the lowdown:

Tuesday, October 21
We (my sister Sarah and I) headed over to The Delancey to catch Magnum PR’s showcase. My friend informed me that The Delancey never runs on time–she wasn’t kidding! They were about two hours behind, and since the first band didn’t go on until 10:45PM, I knew we were in for a long night.


First up were The Ettes. They’re a female-fronted group with a garage-y, lo-fi sound. They’re the kind of band high school kids could fall in love with (I mean this in the best way possible).

(right: The kids went nuts for The Ettes.)

The second (and last) band we saw was Gringo Star. They’ve got a killer name and killer tunes. I’d never even heard of them until a few weeks ago, but I’m so glad I’ve discovered them! To me, they’re a mix of Vampire Weekend and Black Lips. They’ve got upbeat, bouncy songs but their sound also showcases their Atlanta, GA roots with a southern twang occasionally infused with some psychedelia, reminding me slightly of The Coral. I think they are definitely a band on the rise. On a side note, I really wish they’d tour with Ringo Deathstarr.

I really wanted to stay for the next two bands, but when Gringo Star left the stage it was already 1:15 AM and we had a long trek back to Brooklyn. Unfortunately, we had to miss The High Wire, who I love and highly recommend. They make gorgeous, warm shoegaze music–when I think of them, I just picture the sun shining on me. They’re opening for Coldplay on their December UK tour, so they’ll probably be huge by the time they come back to the States.

radio lux.jpg

Wednesday, October 22
The last band on the night before was my new favorite band, Radio Luxembourg. I think they probably went on at 3 am, and that was just too late for me. So instead of sticking around for that, I saw them the next day at a more human time of 9 PM at The Annex. Simply put, they’re a Welsh band that makes the best pop music this side of Super Furry Animals. They were so fun and endearing live, I really wish the set had never ended.

(above: Why stay up late to watch Radio Luxembourg, when you can just see them at an earlier time the day after?)

Thursday, October 23
We headed over to my favorite venue, Bowery Ballroom. The first band I saw was England’s Scouting For Girls. They write saccharine-sweet love songs about girls. (Their name isn’t Scouting For Girls for no reason.) Some people might think they’re too cool to enjoy them, but if they just let loose they would see how fun this band is!
Scouting For Girls.jpg

(right: Scouting For Girls, not just a clever band name.)

The last band of the night was Delays. My friends and I (and the rest of the audience) waited four years for them to return to the States. It had been a “Long Time Coming” (that’s the name of one of their songs, so, pun intended) but the wait was worth it. They sounded amazing–strong, powerful, and energetic. They played a bunch of new songs from their third album and they were pretty dance-tastic, which was a welcomed surprise. Maybe they only like returning to the States during the year of the Summer Olympics, but let’s just hope they come back again before 2012.

Friday, October 24
We headed over to Irving Plaza for a night of dancing. The first band on was The Whip. I don’t know what to say other than that every time I see them there’s a dance par-tay. Although it seems that whenever I see them in the States they have a terrible time slot and therefore don’t get to play to the most receptive crowd, they always bring the same high level of enthusiasm that gets the crowd dancing. Plus, they’re all really nice and I’m in love with the ginger bassist. What more could I ask for in a band?


(left: The Whip: Bands that take press photos with disco balls can usually bring the par-tay!)

Like most nights at CMJ, this one went on way too long for me, so I left before I could catch Soulwax, but I did get to see Late of the Pier, the latest big-hype band from England. I don’t really get what all the fuss is about, but my sister and friend really liked them, so maybe I’m missing something? To me, they’re more of a head-banging band than a dance band, but the audience as a whole was really digging it, so maybe I need to expand my horizons.

Saturday, October 25
Finally, the show I was most excited for arrived. We headed over to Fat Baby to see Fanfarlo, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a packed room waiting for them to come on. I go through phases where I only listen to one band for months at a time, and for the past seven months, it’s been Fanfarlo. I even listened to them while I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed, but that’s a story for another time.


(right: Fanfarlo’s fans go home happy!)

I love this band and have been waiting to see them live since I discovered them in March at SXSW, and they did not disappoint. They manage to translate the warmth and fullness of their recorded music into the live setting, and the addition of instruments like the xylophone, clarinet, trumpet, mandolin, violin, and tambourine add to the richness of their music. It was a great show and the perfect end to CMJ 2008.

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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

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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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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

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Colin the Chicken

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Dream Of The ’90s

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

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

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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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