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DID YOU READ

Viral signs: Sony’s obsession with the Internet

Viral signs: Sony’s obsession with the Internet (photo)

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Last week, the hyperpolarizing California hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All–or OFWGKTA, or Odd Future, or those 11 dudes who have become as much of a meme as a musical outfit–confirmed that they’ve signed a deal with RED Distribution/Sony. It’s not a record deal, per se; rather, it is the launch of a new, largely autonomous label beneath Sony’s enormous, multinational umbrella. Odd Future’s members will make the records and all of the decisions about them; if all goes well, RED will simply make sure they’re sold where and how they’re meant to be sold.

Whatever your opinion of Odd Future, it is, at the very least, a victory for a group who’ve gotten this far by saying (sometimes regrettably) exactly what they’ve wanted to say. By the looks of it, they’ll be able to keep doing just that on a much grander and potentially more lucrative scale. The flipside, though, is that it’s another indication that major labels–epitomized here by the ostensibly Internet-interested Sony–are eating whatever the Web serves them and hoping it makes them money. Late last year, Sony (or the imprint Columbia) signed Cults, a retro pop outfit of art-school kids from New England; their charming four songs, all distributed through their Bandcamp website, got a lot of attention, and they got a record deal out of the hubbub. Last month, Sony signed 2Cellos, a subject-says-it-all European duo who quickly clocked 5,000,000 YouTube hits with their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” (It’s bad when a band makes you miss Alien Ant Farm.) In short, labels are looking for salvation in the same network that threatens to kill them; taking the long view, you have to think it’s the customer who’s going to suffer.

Labels, at their best, serve both as filters and fertilizers, selecting worthy bands and sometimes investing time and money to make those bands better. These roles aren’t always concomitant, of course. An excellent little experimental label like Family Vineyard, for instance, can’t really squander resources grooming Paul Flaherty’s beard for a press photo, but they do consistently seek out and release compelling music. It’s a brand you can trust. Major labels aren’t always the best at selecting compelling bands, but they can take a band with loads of potential and prepare their sound and story for the masses. The Avett Brothers are a recent Sony success story (also via Columbia) of just that. Signing viral bands–or acts that amass popularity and buzz via the Internet first–shortchanges that whole process a bit. The intended audience already knows what the product is all about; now, the label’s just have to hope there’s enough product to actually sell something. The consumer is no longer trusting a brand; the consumer is trusting brands that trust in the Internet. Typing that was scary enough.

Signing bands with a built-in fanbase is nothing new. A load of very popular bands that now call independent labels home once got a push from major-label bucks–Spoon, for instance, were on Elektra before finding sanctuary at Merge. And reality-cum-game shows like American Idol find fans by the millions for unknown teenage country boys like Scotty McCreery, who will, no doubt, find a label to call home no matter how the votes soon fall. But both of those models seem more diligent and demanding than simply going for whatever’s got Twitter all aflutter. Hell, Osama bin Laden isn’t even trending today.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

E.coli-class-

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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via GIPHY

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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GIFs via Giphy

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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