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Exclusive premiere: Blaudzun “Elephants” live

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Dutch singer-songwriter Johannes Sigmond’s obscurely named Blaudzun (after a Danish cyclist from the 1970’s), began as soundtrack for a midnight drive. Now three albums in, the Holland-based artist is breaking out of the Netherlands with wide acclaim.

This song is the first single off his latest effort, “Heavy Flowers,” originally recorded in Utrecht. “We recorded this one on a cold night in an empty building in the east of The Netherlands,” Sigmond said, who assembled a handsome crew of players for the live jam. “I tried a more simpler acoustic approach instead of using electric guitars and synths like on the album version. Hope you’ll enjoy.”

“Heavy Flowers” will be released stateside, January 29th, on Krian Music Group.

 

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As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Exclusive Premiere: Mean Creek “Come On, Before It’s Gone”

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There’s something about Mean Creek’s seductively unapologetic pop punk that makes you nostalgic for the rock and roll you listened to as a kid, the songs that made up the soundtrack to warm summer days spent with friends listening to tunes on the back porch or the front stoop of your childhood home. Their gritty sound harks back to bands of decades past, filled with chord progressions and guitar riffs that would be at home on albums by Sugar, Big Star, Bruce Springsteen or even, on occasion, Nick Cave. On “Youth Companion,” Mean Creek’s third full-length album their simple straight-forward rock rhythms are paired with sentimental lyrics about growing up and letting go. The album, which is the Boston group’s best to date, “feels like the album we always wanted to make from when we were kids all the way up to where we are now in our lives,” according to Chris Keene, the band’s front man.

That sense of youthful nostalgia and end-of-summer longing runs throughout the new video for the band’s latest single “Come On, Before It’s Gone,” directed by James Lindsay & Richard TK Hawke and produced by Eponymous Films. In the video, the song’s gritty guitar chords, relentless drumming and soaring vocals and evocative lyrics, are paired with a frenzied friend fest. “The video was shot on one of the last great nights of summer,” explained Mikey Holland, the bands drummer. “The idea was pretty simple, really: Get all of our best friends in my apartment, enjoy the company and kill many beers. The video is really just a document of that night. For days after I was reeling in all the moments and conversations I had. I guess in a way it was a perfect goodbye to the summer and also a goodbye to friends whom have since moved all over the country.”

Watch the exclusive premiere of Mean Creek “Come On, Before It’s Gone” now:

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Catch Mean Creek on the road:

January 24 – Boston, MA – RadioBDC at The Black Rose
January 28 – New York, NY – Cake Shop (w/ Thick Wild)
February 1 – Providence, RI – Fete Lounge
March 1 – Brooklyn, NY – Shea Stadium

Want the latest news from IFC? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @ifctv.

Exclusive premiere: The Milk Carton Kids “Snake Eyes”

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The Milk Carton Kids‘ folk lullabies harken back to a simpler time, a time before men stopped wearing suits when they harmonized together, a time before fracking. This is at least partly why Gus Van Sant picked them to feature prominently on the soundtrack to “Promised Land,” where their gentle ballads invoke days when lighting your water on fire wasn’t all the rage in big energy circles.

This song “Snake Eyes,” hand picked by Van Sant, plays during a central part of the film starring Matt Damon as a gas company man who arrives in a small town looking to tap its resources. The seemingly easy sale — economy dried up, lots of land to drill on, poor farmers fallen on hard times — gets complicated as Damon gets embroiled in grassroots environmental opposition. And “hold your tears, where they’ve hung all these years,” The Milk Carton Kids sing.

You may recall another Van Sant/Damon film in which an introspective artist was prominently featured by the director. And though they strum a different tune, The Milk Carton Kids seem to share something in common with Elliot Smith in their softly sung balladry. The duo, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, who display a talent for dry, deadpan humor during their live sets, did not want to color your viewing of the video by director Julian Pinder with a comment. So let it speak for itself and read in it what you will.

 

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The Milk Carton Kids Anti- debut, “The Ash & Clay” is out March 26. “Promised Land” is playing in theaters now. Let us know how you fracking feel in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook!

 

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