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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:


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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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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.


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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?


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3 Spoon vs.
14 Cool Kids


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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

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

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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