Top Ten Bands For Fall

Top Ten Bands For Fall (photo)

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For some, Fall is a time of great beauty and nostalgia, a boon for the sartorialist who can finally break out favorite jackets and scarves. Others are less thrilled, perhaps victims of some primal human apprehension about the coming of winter. One thing is certain, it’s a season of greater introspection after the wanton abuses of summer. It’s also a great time for music as all the vapid pop hits of the sweltering months fade out and people give more airplay to music with a bit more depth.

Digging through my records for Halloween weekend, I decided it was time for the ultimate Fall playlist — and the following list is a distillation of that. I dispensed with most of werewolf tunes and tried to focus in on that hazy Autumnal groove, with a touch of foreboding. Consider it a list of costume ideas as well, I’ve already seen one kid rolling around as Michael Jackson though.

Disclaimer: I limited this to only vinyl, CD’s, or mp3’s that I own, and you can add The Clientele as runner up to any of the following:

10. Michael Jackson

“Thriller” from the album, “Thriller”

The King of Pop is not all about Fall, and Fall’s not only about Halloween, but it punctuates the season, a last hurrah before the long grey chill. And Halloween weekend without “Thriller” is like Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. Really, who does that? Here’s to zombie dancing in loafers.

9. Grinderman

“Kitchenette” from the album, “Grinderman2”

I keep hanging around your kitchenette and I’m gonna get a pot to cook you in. I stick my fingers in your biscuit jar and crush all your gingerbread men. Thank the spirits for Nick Cave.

8. The Cure

“Lullaby” from the album, Disintegration

The Cure is a marvelous combination of Autumnal blues and black fingernail polish. I know it’s unfair, but it always seems like goth kids are stuck in some twilight hour, celebrating Halloween, every day of the year.

7. Elliot Smith

“2:45 AM” from the album, “Either/Or”

Sometimes you come to associate a musician with a season simply because that’s when you first heard him. You bought “Either/Or” as the colors were changing and you felt like you were changing too, then that album was forever linked to that time. Every October after that you find yourself reaching for the record after having not played it for a year. This seems to be what happened with a great many people and at least one album by Mr. Elliott Smith.

6. The Fall

“Frightened” from the album, “Live At the Witch Trials”

Like a punk James Brown on a huge quantity of downers, Mark E. Smith grabs a dope hook and just clings to it until the stage collapses beneath him. It’s just not just the name of the band, these guys capture some kind of primal foreboding feeling about Fall and amplify it, repeatedly.

5. Tricky

“Hell Is Around The Corner” from the album, “Maxinquaye”

As Fall bridges Summer and Winter, so Tricky manages to bridge pop with hip hop. He also does it with immense style. You could start shouting about Portishead here but this is better, sexier. It’s apples, crisper.

4. Tubeway Army

“My Shadow In Vain” from the album “Tubeway Army”

Most people think of the moog pop hit, “Cars,” when they think of Gary Numan, but I think of the terrorizing bass, drums and full blown guitars of his earlier incarnation. Few men look as good in white face paint with blue lipstick as late 70’s Numan.

3. Dead Man’s Bones

“Lose Your Soul” from the album, “Dead Man’s Bones”

Actor Ryan Gosling wrote this record with his friend Zach Shields after exploring a shared fascination with ghosts and Disneyland’s “Haunted Mansion.” What began as a theatrical project using instruments that they’d never played before and liberal use of the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, turned into a band with magnificent results.

2. Simon & Garfunkel

“The Sound of Silence” from the album, “Sounds of Silence”

If Fall is a time of introspection and melancholy contemplation, I can think of few more appropriate groups than Simon & Garfunkel to provide it’s soundtrack. Because a vision softly creeping, Left its seeds while I was sleeping, And the vision that was planted in my brain; Still remains.

1. Tom Waits

“Frank’s Wild Years” from the album, “Swordfishtrombones”

One night Frank was on his way home from work, stopped at the liquor store, picked up a couple of Mickey’s Big Mouth’s. Drank ’em in the car on his way to the Shell station; he got a gallon of gas in a can. Drove home, doused everything in the house, torched it….
Parked across the street laughing, watching it burn, all Halloween orange and chimney red.

Waits just puts me in a jolly mood to drink bourbon and scare children.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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