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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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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.