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SXSW…One Week Later

SXSW…One Week Later (photo)

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Sadly, my seven-year streak of attending SXSW came to an end this year. No live music for four straight days (sigh), no warm weather for an east coaster looking to escape a winter that doesn’t want to end (sigh), no discovering a handful of promising, up-and-coming indie rock bands (sigh), and no gnawing on a big Texas rib from Iron Works BBQ (sigh). My body does thank me though–I didn’t stay up past 2AM one time last week, and come to think, I don’t think I had to wait in any long lines either.

(left: Bang Bang Eche, said they were 18 years old, but looked even younger.)

Just cause I didn’t attend SXSW this year, doesn’t mean that I didn’t send spies. Oh don’t you worry, I had some eyes down there in Austin peeping the action. Equipped with a love for music and a digital camera, I had blogger/music aficionado, Sarah Pesin, capture the four days of action that I missed. Besides being wowed by sets from The Cheek, The Proclaimers, and Illinois, here are Sarah’s other top picks from SXSW 2009:

Bang Bang Eche, at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop
New Zealand’s incredibly young Bang Bang Eche were my favorite discovery at SXSW. For such a young band they have more stage presence than musicians two, three, and even four times their age. Their sound is a unique blend of pure raw energy, mixed with dance and hints of hardcore–allowing fans of various genres to enjoy their sound. I liked them so much, I saw them three times over the course of the festival!
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The Whip, at Filter Cedar Street Courtyard
I think I have to go so far as to say that The Whip make the best dance/electronic music out of any act in their respective field–they actually make the music themselves, with instruments, instead of solely relying on computers and sound-effect loops. Also, they were able to get the jam-packed courtyard–in outdoor Texas heat–to dance and pogo, which is a feat for any band. If you’re in the New York City area, make sure you catch them live. They’re playing with Late of the Pier at Bowery Ballroom on April 1 and Studio B on April 3. (I can guarantee you a great time!)

Playboy Party, at Safeway
As the second night of SXSW came to a close, I headed over to the 10th Annual Playboy Party. By the time I got there I already missed Kenan Bell and Calvin Harris, and the place was packed. Although the party took place in an old Safeway, it had an industrial elegance to make it perfect for a Playboy party. Having bars on both sides and a huge stage in the center was an ideal setup for California DJ Bassnectar, who brought the right mood to the party by getting everyone to dance. At 1:30am, the newly reunited Jane’s Addiction took the stage to a very eager audience. Having over an hour set (a rarity for SXSW), the reunited foursome played some of their greatest hits. After their incredibly energetic set, A-Trak took the stage, but by this point in time my SXSW-legs had given up the will to stand, and I headed back to my hotel after two very long days in Texas.

(top to bottom: The Whip, Lissie Trullie, The Postellles, and Hockey)

Lissie Trullie, at Fader Fort
On day two, I headed to the Fader Fort to catch one of my favorite female vocalists, Lissy Trullie. Her androgynous sound and live vocals are incredible, and not only is she extremely talented, but she’s also smoking hot with an attitude fitting of a New Yorker!

The Postelles, at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop
Starting off night three were, The Postelles, who are basically the perfect blend of The Kooks and Vampire Weekend. They remind me of the the real version of that band The Oneders (or The Wonders) from the movie That Thing You Do.

Hockey, at Peckerhead’s
Hockey are one of the best American band’s I’ve seen in a while. They remind me of a less pompous version of Razorlight, with the lead singer even looking a little bit like Johnny Borrell. Hockey’s songs are more Vampire Weekend-pop than Razorlight-rock, but they still have a similar feel to both bands’ sound.

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, at Fader Fort
To start off day two of SXSW I decided to see the ridiculously named, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, who were outrageous and not ashamed of it. They’re a dance band looking to have fun, and if that involves making fun of themselves along the way, then so be it. If interested, they’ve got an upcoming US tour with Lily Allen.

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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.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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SO EXCITED!!!

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.”

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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. 

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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.