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LIVE: 2008 CMJ Showdown Lowdown

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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.

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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!
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(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.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



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.”


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.