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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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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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GIFs via Giphy

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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