On the new season of Portlandia, one of Carrie Brownstein's characters is dating a tax attorney; when he takes up the electric bass, she enlists St. Vincent and Duff McKagan to dissuade him. Stay the W4-lovin' square you are, they insist — the world doesn't need more rock'n'roll wannabes. And as goofy as that premise is, there's a ring of truth to it, a sincerity you can find at the core of even the beloved IFC sketch show's most absurd moments.Season four debuts tonight at 10 p.m. EST, the first of ten episodes set to feature guests ranging from Kirsten Dunst to k.d. lang. SPIN caught up with Brownstein and her fellow Portlandia co-creator/co-star Fred Armisen to discuss the show's future as Armisen starts his Late Night With Seth Meyers band-leading gig this week, comedy trends, the Monkees, and their current cultural inspirations.
You can't blame a baby band for making a big commercial grab on their sophomore album, but thank god Swearin' didn't play it like that. Though they showed an impressive ear for pop melodies on their eponymous 2012 debut, Surfing Strange buries its hooks beneath six feet of fuzz, recalling Built to Spill and the Breeders at their least major-label-inclined.What separates the Philly/Brooklyn quartet from fellow '90s revivalists like, say, Yuck, is that Swearin' stay grounded in the rawness of punk, with a commitment to DIY best exemplified by Allison Crutchfield, the strongest of the band's three vocalists. At 24, she's already something of a veteran, having founded and amicably ended two pop-punk bands — the Ackleys and P.S. Eliot — with her twin sister, Katie, a.k.a. singer-songwriter Waxahatchee.