LIVE: Illinois, The Heavy

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“Remember, remember the 5th of November.” Who said that? V for Vendetta? No, no, that was just the movie based on Guy Fawkes! For those of you who don’t know, every 5th of November, those across the pond in Britain celebrate bonfire night with fireworks and a great party. Because I aspire to be British and I’m always looking for a great party, I decided to celebrate Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night in my own special way–by seeing a show!

(left: If you’re a girl and you’re nearby, The Heavy’s Kelvin Swaby will serenade you!)

I got there late (not by choice) and missed the first opener Kenan Bell, who everyone was whispering about prior to the show and even throughout the other bands’ sets. He must’ve been amazing to stand out amongst a bill this good; I’m sorry to have missed him.

Up next, and surprisingly on time, were the fantastic Illinois, who I’m not going to say where they’re from, cause that joke’s getting old. Last night’s show at Mercury Lounge was Illinois’s “Chapter 1” release party. You’re asking yourself, what does that mean, “chapter release?” Well, Illinois, the kooky little band that they are, wrote over a hundred songs and decided they were going to sit back and release them all–but you can’t just give out a hundred plus songs all at once! So, what they’ve done is divide up their catalogue into six different releases which are accompanied with a chapter of the movie that lead singer Arch starred in – which, when all put together, will be “The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe.” Phew, all caught up now? As the chapters continually get released, Illinois will play a show for us, which really just means your concert calendar is kind of booked right now!

(right: The band, Illinois.)
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Anyway, back to the show. Illinois do not disappoint. I’m not entirely sure how long they played for, as the adage “time flies when you’re having fun” really is true because before I knew it, their set was finished! Illinois’s (that’s the one time you can pronounce the “s” on Illinois!) songs are fun, catchy, and just plain enjoyable. Arch and the crowd enjoyed some baseball/world’s series banter and the relaxed vibe just carried on throughout the night. Banjos were played, legs were stomped and it was just like a good ole hootenanny, but more indie! While their set just flew by it won’t be long ’til they return, as Chapter 2 is set to be released on December 2nd!

Now, to carry on with my Guy Fawkes inspired evening I made sure there was a British band on the bill, and that slot was filled by The Heavy. The Heavy are like heroin, once you have it you can never live without it (I’m assuming). They’re kind of like hip-hop for white indie kids but more of a dance party.

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(left: Hey indie kids, get ready to dance, here comes The Heavy!)

Lead singer Kelvin Swaby is a born entertainer. Seeing him run around the stage is very reminiscent of the late James Brown–which is a type of showmanship that is hard to find these days. When they play their song “Girl” there is a very high likelihood that Swaby will serenade you if you happen to be a girl anywhere near the front of the stage–not too shabby for a night out if you ask me. Probably their most well known song, “That Kind of Man” is literally a show stopper. Swaby, in his infinite frontman capabilities, actually got the packed Mercury Lounge to properly pogo during this song! They ended their set with one of their more rock-y tunes, with a very sweaty Swaby running through the audience. The only way this Guy Fawkes celebration could have been better was if there were fireworks involved, but to be fair, the night was explosive enough!


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.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.