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INDIE EAR MADNESS ’09:  Sweet-16 (photo)

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The battle for Garden State supremacy, two of Brooklyn’s favorites go at it, The Black Keys attempt to take out U2, and the most anticipated tournament pairing ever: Morrissey vs. The Cure:


1 Kanye West vs. 4 A.C. Newman
What if Kanye had the indie-pop songwriting chops of A.C. Newman? What if A.C. Newman had the attitude and over-the-top sass of Kanye West? That’d be one dangerous performer, huh? Unfortunately someone had to lose tonight. In the end, the total package of Kanye West was too much for the soft-spoken A.C. Newman to overcome.

3 TV On The Radio vs. 10 Matt & Kim
TV On The Radio’s second “Battle of Brooklyn” (they defeated Bishop Allen in the first round). TV On The Radio thought they would breeze past the duo of Matt and Kim, especially since they outmatched them in just about every category, except for one–having fun. Just when it looked like Matt & Kim were going to pull the big upset, TV On The Radio took a page out of their book and busted out a cover version of Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” with all members of the band baring smiles as wide as the Brooklyn Bridge.

(above: It took a cover song for TV On The Radio to narrowly escape Matt & Kim).


1 Bruce Springsteen vs. 12 The Bouncing Souls
The Battle of the Garden State–featuring venerable Jersey rock legend vs. venerable Jersey D.I.Y. punks. You’d think the #1-seed Bruce Springsteen would make quick work of The Bouncing Souls, but when you roll with a crew as large as the E Street Band, it’s not always easy to stay focussed. Before the match-up, guitarist, Little Steven was running around backstage looking for his free Dunkin’ Donuts (a former sponsor of his radio show), while drummer, Max Weinberg, barely made the gig after flying back from Los Angeles rehearsing for his new bandleader position on the Tonight Show. The Bouncing Souls played a very tight set and managed to topple Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, who seemed to have other things on their mind tonight.

2 Depeche Mode vs. 3 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
In rock terms, both groups started out as unconventional music acts. Depeche Mode had a bunch of keyboards on stage and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had no bass player. Depeche Mode eventually became larger than life and sold over 75 million albums worldwide, while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs slowly built a name for themselves, got a major label record deal and graced the cover of a few magazines. Despite being seeded just one spot lower than Depeche Mode, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were considerable underdogs in this Sweet-16 match-up. It didn’t matter though, because before the contest even began, Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore and Dave Gahan got into one of their legendary disagreements and never ended up performing.


1 The Killers vs. 4 Franz Ferdinand
At this point in time both acts are well known around the world, but imagine if this match-up would have happened a few years ago; when both bands were just starting to blow-up, riding the success of their blistering debut albums, and performing each night like it was their last set on earth (whew!). This Sweet-16 regional semifinal brought back some old fire, and while both acts are definitely rock-star worthy, Franz Ferdinand was sexier and got the crowd to bounce more than The Killers, who seemed awkward, especially when it came time for them to banter with the crowd.
The Cure_IEM.jpg

3 Morrissey vs. 2 The Cure
The marquee match-up of the Sweet-16! How many years have we waited to see this? Bitter foes Morrissey and Robert Smith going head-to-head–if only 120 Minutes were still around to cover this historic battle. Both acts are still capable of outplaying artists half their age, as they proved in the opening rounds of Indie Ear Madness, but Robert Smith’s versatility was the deciding factor for The Cure’s victory. Smith was able to go toe-to-toe with Morrissey’s beautifully melancholic stage-show, then one-upped him by digging deep into The Cure’s back catalog and performing a handful their biggest, feel-good pop hits.

(right: Robert Smith vs. Morrissey, we won’t forget about this one anytime soon.)


1 U2 vs. 5 The Black Keys
Despite their age, U2 looked fresh against the younger Black Keys. Not only were The Keys outnumbered four-to-two, but after touring all of last year supporting their album Attack & Release–not to mention going to the Final Four in this very tournament one year ago–Dan and Patrick looked sluggish and couldn’t outlast the rock power of U2. No shame for the Akron-based duo, cause c’mon, they lost to U2–a band that’s been churning out hits for three decades now.

11 New Found Glory vs. 10 The Thermals
No one expected either New Found Glory or The Thermals to advance this far into the tournament. Since both bands could be considered Cinderella teams, it meant that the clock was going to strike midnight for one of them. The Thermals’ three-prong, indie-punk-rock attack outlasted New Found Glory’s road tested poppy, power-punk in a double overtime thriller.



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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GIFs via Giphy

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.