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Settling the Score With Linda Cohen

Settling the Score With Linda Cohen (photo)

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[This article is part of our Radiohead Fanatic Fortnight — check out our box set giveaway here.]

The role of a music supervisor on a film can vary, usually depending on how proactive the director is about the music he or she envisions in the film. Some directors make integral music choices from day one, and others have their music supervisor to make those decisions for them. Either way, putting it all together is a job that’s crucial to any film, yet often goes unnoticed. Linda Cohen is a music supervisor whose work has clearly not gone unnoticed. I got to talk with her about the business, sitting in a bathroom with Stephin Merritt and of course, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, who is apparently as professional and nice a lad as he appears.

In the interest of getting a peek at the kinds of things that someone of Cohen’s caliber gets to see and hear, I asked her to tell me about some of the films she’s worked on and to reveal some of her favorite things about them. Here are some of the films and her fond memories:

“Be Kind Rewind”

“Be Kind Rewind” had a really fun soundtrack, obviously very influenced by [jazz pianist] Fats Waller, who’s integral to the storyline. One of the highlights of working on this film was organizing a recording session with Michel Gondry [on drums] and Booker T & the MG’s at the legendary Fantasy Recording Studio in Berkeley [where Booker T & the MG’s recorded in their early days]. We recorded two period songs, “I Ain’t Got Nobody” and “Lulu’s Back In Town,” that Fats Waller himself played back in the day. Michel is a huge Booker T fan, so this was something of a dream come true for him to get to play with them. Booker T & the MG’s also have a small cameo in the film [when Danny Glover’s character goes on the train ride with his friends to mark the 60th anniversary of Fats’ death.]

“There Will Be Blood”

This was an extremely exciting project for me to get to work with Paul Thomas Anderson and Jonny Greenwood. I didn’t know until I worked with Jonny that he had written his own classical works before. His classical pieces have been performed by the BBC orchestra in Britain and broadcast on BBC Radio — and naturally because of this relationship, we used the BBC Concert Orchestra to perform the film’s score. We recorded at Abbey Road Studios. Paul had temp [scored] the film with a lot of modern classical works and Jonny’s music ended up working so well that only two of these classical pieces remained in the film and the rest was all Jonny’s score. Jonny Greenwood is so amazingly talented, and his music is so much a character of the film. He did a great job.

04072009_NickNorahBishopAll.jpg“Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”

This was a dream project for me to work on, given my love of indie music. Here was a film centered around kids going to clubs in New York one night in search of their favorite band’s secret show. We put 36 songs in this film! as music is the backbone of the story. There was on-camera music to coordinate for performance on screen, which is always fun to do. The music that Michael Cera’s on-screen band plays was written by Anna Waronker [the former lead singer of that dog.] and Steven McDonald [the bassist for Redd Kross], and we chose the New York band Bishop Allen [pictured right] to perform in the club after Cera’s band finishes. Another highlight was getting the band Vampire Weekend to record a song for our film. They were on tour at the time, so [they] literally recorded the song in New York, did more work on it at [our composer] Mark Mothersbaugh’s studio in Los Angeles, yet more work at Peter Gabriel’s studio Real World in England, and finally mixed the song in Paris. It was a very well-traveled song! It was also exciting for me to pick the songs for the soundtrack, which includes music by Devendra Barnhart [who has a cameo in the film], The Raveonettes, Band of Horses, Modest Mouse, The Real Tuesday Weld and more. The album was the number one soundtrack on iTunes when it came out.

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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…

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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. 

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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-Craft

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?”

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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).

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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.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.

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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.

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Forget Public Wifi

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

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Inter-not

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.

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Self Defense

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

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