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SXSW Music: The Best Of The Rest

SXSW Music: The Best Of The Rest (photo)

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We tried to cover as much ground as possible in the four jam-packed days of the SXSW music fest, but let’s face it – you need twelve ears, six arms and zero hours of sleep to even break the surface of all that was worth reporting on in this marathon of musical mayhem. Here are some of the shows we saw that we didn’t have time to cover in-depth – all artists worth checking out on record, or if you’re lucky enough, in person.

Eddie Spaghetti @ The Red Eyed Fly: If you haven’t ever experienced the badassedness of the Supersuckers’ silly brand of 90’s American rock and garage punk, you probably would have passed right over this show by the band’s bassist and longtime front man, Eddie Spaghetti. With a full pit of beer-guzzling fans to cheer them on, Spaghetti and his band picked out songs from his new record “Sundowner,” including spirited covers of Dean Martin songs, obscure AC/DC tunes, and even the Dwarves hit, “Everybody’s Girl.” Spaghetti is beyond charismatic – in a cowboy hat with a handlebar mustache, he crooned his cow punk tunes, imploring the audience to throw up the devils horns after every song, to the cue of a spirited, “Cha Cha Cha!” Who were we to disobey?

Noah And The Whale at Stubb’s: The well-mannered chaps from London played twice at SXSW, and we caught them at Stubb’s, in a showcase with Portugal. The Man and TV on the Radio. The quintet, named after a not-so-subtle combination of film, “The Squid and the Whale,” and its director, is on tour to promote “Last Night On Earth,” their latest album of gushingly cinematic indie pop numbers. The band pulls off their folky compositions with a delightful energy, the band providing a lively backdrop for bandleader Charlie Fink’s stoic, Tom Petty-style narration and deadpan delivery. Extra credit for having two band members rocking the best curly pompadours since Lyle Lovett.

Andreya Triana @ The British Embassy (Latitude 30): We caught the tail end of Andreys Triana’s soulful set at The British Embassy (Latitude 30) “British Music Launch Event,” and just three songs was enough to win us over. With a silky voice and calming aura that called up India Arie, Triana belted and bluesed out tracks from her debut album, “Lost Where I Belong,” released this past September. To end her night onstage, Triana hopped down into the audience, microphone and all, to deliver an intimate cover of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” her glorious voice and a single electric guitar leading the chorus to a song so infectious, mimes must sing along. Down on the floor with the people, all of us singing and clapping, the club felt like a house party – an organic setting befitting the earthy singer who we’re sure to hear more from in the future.

Sharon Van Etten @ The IFC Crossroads House: Sharon Van Etten played in our own IFC backyard, and was another one of the quiet surprises of the festival. A little lady, with a big red guitar and a bigger attitude, Van Etten dug into songs from her sophomore LP, “Epic,” full of heartwrenching tunes like the pleading “Don’t Do It,” in which she begrudgingly acquiesces, “If you want to do it, you are going to do it.” Her husky voice lost its whisper and gained strength as her set plunged forward, the effects of an earlier Merge showcase receding as her pipes began to warm up. Van Etten’s stage demeanor is shy, her sense of humor, coy and endearing. “One day I’ll have a spinning bow tie and I’ll be a lot more entertaining,” she said before launching into a song called “One Day.” Forget the squirting flower, Miss Van Etten, we’ll take you as you are.

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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.

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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.