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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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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