DID YOU READ

Lovett: The Busiest Band You Haven’t Heard Of (Yet)

Lovett: The Busiest Band You Haven’t Heard Of (Yet) (photo)

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Ben Lovett doesn’t make things easy for himself. The frontman, namesake, and driving force behind Lovett has never found himself in need of the services of a record label. So when he finished his first self-published album, Highway Collection, last month, he had a few listening parties. Having worked as a film score composer (for Sundance darling “The Signal” among other movies) he knew a lot of people in the movie industry. As happens at Hollywood parties, soon after he was approached by five different directors about making videos for five separate songs. So he said yes to all of them. And then he thought, there are only nine songs on the album, why not do videos for all of them? After all, just because something is hard is no reason not to do it.

Thus began a collaborative project between Lovett and directors who were willing to work on his budget (none) and could convince him that their treatment worked with his song. Three videos have been made so far, including “The Fear,” that premiered yesterday, and “Eye of the Storm” that has garnered over 125,000 views on YouTube. (Both videos are posted below). Lovett produces all the videos. Not alone, but collaboratively as the way most things in the Lovett world are made. He has the final word on everything, but as he also stars in all the videos, he acknowledges that he can’t be in the mini-film and behind the camera at the same time.

The videos thus far are very much separate entities, each made with a different director, with different crew members, and shot in different cities. Lovett, the person, not the band, was the only constant. His band evolves as much as everything else. Swelling to 30 members during some shows and down to a svelte dozen during SXSW. During our talk yesterday, he compared the video project to a Dali painting, where you can study the individual elements in the work, but only when you step back — say to 30,000 feet — can you see how the pieces work together. Based on the videos created so far, it is an exciting prospect as the videos are wildly different stylistically. “The Fear” is a heart swelling joyous affair, while “Eye of the Storm” is a lush steampunk slow jam.

The video project is a labor of love for everyone involved. Lovett has paid for everything out of pocket, but not a dime has changed hands to the directors or crew, not even for “Eye of the Storm,” a stunning video with eye-popping effects. Lovett explains the extraordinary contributions of the directors and crew as simply that “people underestimate how much people want to make stuff.” The videos are created during the crew’s free time, which obviously can slow production. As the project gains momentum other people join in because they saw that things were actually getting finished. Now, after three completed videos and with several more underway, the only way to share what they have been working on is to finish it. Lovett just has to come up with the money. He’s used to this though. While crafting his album, he had to stop playing to go make money to continue. During the recording, he scored three movies and produced two other albums just to pay the bills. Speaking of which, perhaps you should head to iTunes and purchase Highway Collection now?

Yesterday Lovett premiered their latest work, “The Fear”, which is billed as a collaboration between Lovett and the City of Atlanta due to the contributions of the citizens of the city. Director David Bruckner’s vision for the video involved a lot of people. Like, 400 people. Since they had no money to pay extras, they reached out to every arts community in Atlanta (via social media and old school fliers) with a request that people show up in costumes that represented all aspects of society. What resulted was the biggest Come As You Are Party in Atlanta with volunteers ranging from members of the Atlanta ballet, a stunt team, a barber, an improv group, to a hair salon that brought all the shop girls to the film shoot. The process was total mayhem, according to Lovett, but mayhem doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. Especially with family, friends, and a healthy dose of chaos in the mix and the ability to massage the whole thing post-production. In a few short takes, the video was made. With no further ado, here’s “The Fear”:

THE FEAR from Lovett on Vimeo.

Here’s the densely atmospheric “Eye of the Storm,” directed by Christopher Alender, which you can’t help but notice is wildly different from “The Fear”:

Finally, here’s “Heartattack”:

You can download Lovett’s track “The Fear” for free here, but wouldn’t you rather buy the album, and let the hardest working man in music, take a breather?:

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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.