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INDIE EAR MADNESS: Final Four Preview

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This weekend, the Final Four of Indie Ear Madness will take the stage. After some fierce tournament competition, The Raconteurs, Vampire Weekend, The Black Keys, and Band of Horses are the only indie/indie-minded bands in the country left standing.

To help prepare you for this weekend’s Final Four, we have brought in some top-notch music analyts to breakdown each band’s playbook:

Michael Azerrad
Renowned author, journalist, and musician (and blogger). Wrote critically acclaimed Come As You Are and Our Band Could Be Your Life. Also co-produced Kurt Cobain documentary, About a Son, and recently penned the R.E.M. cover story for the latest issue of SPIN.

Dave Powers
Former producer of MTV Networks’ 120 Minutes and Subterranean. Editor and senior writer for New Music Nation. Supervising Producer of Sprint Exclusive Entertainment Music on Sprint TV.

Steven Smith
On-air host of Steven’s Untitled Rock Show (Fuse) and co-host of The Sauce (Fuse). Contributing columnist for Alternative Press Magazine.

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Michael Azerrad
I’m going to pick Vampire Weekend cause they went to my college–they’re my hometown favorite, I’ve got to root for them. If this is like NCAA, you’ve got to root for your team, right? So I’m going to root for Columbia. Vampire Weekend

Dave Powers
The Raconteurs have the veteran experience and they just put out an impressive sophomore album that was better than their debut, Broken Boy Soldiers. Plus, they put out the album immediately after they recorded it, so they’re hungry and playing with a great sense of urgency. But Vampire Weekend are the hottest new band with the best album of the year so far. This is one hell of a fight, but the younger, inexperienced newcomers will prevail. Vampire Weekend

Steven Smith
The Raconteurs will dominate the college-global-rock-prowess of Vampire Weekend. Super groups always win, much like super heroes always win. When you’ve got a White Stripe, two Green Hornes, and Brendan Benson, there is no defense. The Raconteurs

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Michael Azerrad
Band of Horses appears in About a Son, so I’m going to root for the hometown team again and go with Band of Horses. Band of Horses

Dave Powers
The Black Keys have expanded their sound by working with Danger Mouse on their latest album and if this was a comedy competition, there would be no contest. But I say this competition ultimately comes down to the music, and Band of Horses are still riding the momentum from having the #1 Album of 2007 (according to my blog New Music Nation). Band of Horses can’t be stopped. Band of Horses

Steven Smith
The Black Keys have no choice but to face defeat in their battle against Band of Horses. Despite sharing similar letters in their names, Band of Horses’ beards will scare the pee out of the Black Keys. Beards=tough. Band of Horses


Michael Azerrad
Band of Horses vs. Vampire Weekend–I think the Ivy League, old-boy network wins and Vampire Weekend triumphs, cause I’m pulling for my boys. A college education’s gotta get you something. All Columbia graduates belong to a secret club, I don’t know if you know that? This is not for publication, but we all have a meeting in the Houston Astrodome once a year–it’s totally secret. We help each other out. Hitmen are going to come and get me for this, but the story’s got to be told. Vampire Weekend

Dave Powers
A Vampire Weekend/Band of Horses final pits my #1 Album of 2007 against my #1 Album of 2008 so far. Very tight match-up, but I have to give it to Band of Horses. The song “No One’s Gonna Love You” pushes them over the top. Band of Horses

Steven Smith
This means it will be The Raconteurs vs. Band of Horses, and this is a tale as aged as the oldest western pulp novel. Without their horses the Raconteurs cannot ride, which makes Band of Horses wild stallions. But as Jack White has proven, he’s a fearless matador. There is no doubt in my mind of the Raconteurs victory. The Raconteurs


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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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