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INDIE EAR MADNESS: Key First Round Match-Ups

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Tomorrow afternoon the 64-band Indie Ear Madness tournament will begin. Only one independent/indie-minded music act will be left standing following the fierce competition. Don’t forget to print out your brackets and follow the action daily. Competing this year, we have a handful of veteran acts as well as many up-and-coming new talents. Radiohead come into the tourney as this year’s favorites, but upstarts, Vampire Weekend, Gnarls Barkley, and Tapes ‘N Tapes are looking to bring home their first National Title. Here’s a look at some intriguing first round match-ups:

NORTH REGION

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8 Cat Power vs. 9 Anti-Flag (left)
These two acts bring entirely different styles to the stage. Cat Power is known for her soft-spoken, country-tinged guitar and piano ballads, while Anti-Flag is known for their fierce politically charged punk rock music. Cat Power is sometimes reluctant to perform live, while Anti-Flag has never been afraid to get behind a microphone, whether that be at a concert or protest rally. Cat Power’s last proper studio album was titled, The Greatest. Is she? We will find out tomorrow.

7 Liam Finn vs. 10 Billy Bragg
The young, talented multi-instrumentalist takes on the folk/punk inspired Billy Bragg. No doubt, Bragg’s been in the game a lot longer, but keep in mind Finn is the son of Crowded House lead singer, Neil Finn. Liam got some much-needed big-game experience last year, when he performed with his father’s legendary band at Coachella.
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EAST REGION

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8 Thurston Moore vs. 9 Liars (right)
The King of New York City experimental noise goes head-to-head against another NYC act that knows a thing or two about making experimental, noise music (some of which has been called un-listenable by several critics). During this tournament, Moore will be supporting his solo effort Trees Outside the Academy. Though he has Steve Shelley on drums, he will not be taking the stage with the rest of his Sonic Youth backcourt. This may be the break the Liars need, as they are riding the momentum of their latest groove- oriented self-titled release.

6 MSTRKRFT vs. 11 Tim Fite
This is a very intriguing first round match-up. Both acts are comprised of duos that boast a seasoned rockstar presence. Jesse from MSTRKRFT was in the buzz-worthy duo Death From Above 1979 (you may recognize their work from the Human Giant theme song), while Tim Fite–well–he’s Tim Fite. The multi-talented emcee/country blues crooner is known to put on a fierce live show, spitting politics behind his Sesame Street-like posturing. MSTRKRFT definitely has the edge when it comes to “maximal” beats, but Tim Fite with shooting guard Dr. Leisure have them beaten in wordplay. Too close to call.

WEST REGION

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5 Rilo Kiley vs. 12 Yeasayer (left)
With college radio pin-up, Jenny Lewis running the point, Rilo Kiley is a near-perfect indie-minded band, mixing pop, country and folk in a way that seems to please all of its fans and critics. Yeasayer, the experimental Brooklyn group, will have to bring out their best African and Middle Eastern rhythms to contend with this tournament favorite.

8 Bauhaus vs. 9 The Presidents of the U.S.A.
The Godfathers of Goth against the Post-Grunge Party Starters. What a contest this will be. Both groups are seasoned stage veterans, but obviously Bauhaus has been around a bit longer than the Presidents. Many people don’t realize that The Presidents have been consistently putting out albums for years. The same can’t be said about Bauhaus, but they have recently released what is claimed to be “their new and final album,” Go Away White. Maybe Peter Murphy and Bauhaus have one more good fight left in them?

SOUTH REGION

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3 Spoon vs.
14 Cool Kids

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Spoon, one of the most beloved and respected acts in all of indie music take on the much blogged about Cool Kids–a throwback Chicago-based hip-hop act who like to wear bright colors and rhyme about their sneakers. Cool Kids wowed audiences at this year’s SXSW in Austin, TX, which also happens to be the hometown of Spoon, who also played the festival. Word on the street is that both groups had representatives scouting the competition. Many bracketologists are predicting a Cool Kids upset over the heavily favored Spoon.

7 The Black Keys vs. 10 Tegan & Sara
Two-man blues-rock powerhouse takes on two-girl alt-pop attack. On their latest efforts, both groups had a little help from some respected producers in the indie-minded world. Danger Mouse was behind the boards for The Black Keys’ latest effort, Attack and Release, while Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) produced Tegan & Sara’s last album, The Con. Both groups give witty sound bites during interviews, are beloved in their respective circles, and are expected to go far in this tournament, despite their low seeds. However, only one band can advance in this much talked about first round match-up.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.