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DID YOU READ

LOST TREASURES: XL & DBD

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Welcome to Lost Treasures, a brand new section here on the Indie Ear Blog, where every so often, I’ll go up in the attic, pull out some old boxes, and blow the dust off of some forgotten gems. These items, for whatever reason, have slipped through the cracks of music and pop-culture, yet managed to make an indelible impression on me.

There’s a well-known saying: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Hopefully my treasures don’t leave you running for the nearest garbage bin.

LOST TREASURE: XL & DBD, Sodom and America

It’s kind of hard to believe now, but when I was a child I was only allowed to listen to Christian music (no MTV, no radio, no secular music whatsoever). Eventually, with the help of my sister, I slowly broke my parents down. By the 10th grade, I was listening to secular radio and watching MTV on a daily basis. My Dad, not wanting me to lose my Christian-edge, would frequently buy me contemporary music from religious recording artists. I would always give my Dad the courtesy of listening to these albums, but in all honesty, most of the music was horrendous.

During my senior year of high school in 1993, my Dad brought home an album from a group called XL & DBD, titled Sodom and America. Like I did with all the cassettes he got me I gave it my one courtesy listen, but after I got through the album, I thought, “Hmm, that wasn’t half bad.” I actually starting listening to it more and more, and before long it was resting in heavy rotation alongside my Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and Helmet tapes.

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Considering it was released off a Christian record label (BAI), the music was actually a bit before it’s time. Back then it seemed like certain Christian labels would jump on a musical trend, assemble a group together, and have them sing an album’s worth of material about the awesomeness of Jesus (don’t get me wrong, I believe that Jesus is awesome too, however, soulless songs about him are not). XL & DBD was different though.

So you might be wondering what they sounded like, right?

Okay, I’ll tell you, but I’m going to say a bad word right now (gulp), “rap-rock”. There, I said it. Keep in mind this was years before the whole genre got completely out-of-hand. Some rap-rock was done to perfection (a la Rage Against the Machine). From my understanding back then, XL was actually a legitimate emcee, and DBD (aka, Death Before Dishonor) was a metal band. When they combined forces, they became–XL & DBD (duh). Sodom and America came out only a few months after the first Rage Against the Machine album, so it’s not like rap-rock was the new craze sweeping the nation. Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain were still ruling the airwaves.

XL & DBD definitely expressed their Christian beliefs, but they did it in a very creative and thoughtful way, applying it to themes of racism, self-image, drug abuse, and capitalism. XL even boasted about using firearms in a clever manner, putting him on par with early 90’s tough-guy-talking rappers, “In 1993 racism trudges on and on, it seems it can’t be tamed/And if racism was a man and I had a 12-gauge I’d shoot him in the head in the Lord God’s name.” Years later this rhyme might scare a few non-Christians (and Christians for that matter), considering a certain world leader likes to do a lot of things in the “Lord God’s name”, but back then I thought it was pretty neat to hear a rhyme like this from a “Christian” artist.

For years I had trouble tracking down Sodom and America on CD. Only recently has it popped up on ebay. Sadly, one of the only informational pieces available on the band is their outdated webpage, which looks like an AV high school project from the early 90’s–which it very well could be.

If you ever come across XL & DBD at a used CD store or a yard sale at Pastor Ron’s house, definitely slap down the $1.50 for it–you won’t regret it at all.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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