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DID YOU READ

LIVE: 2008 CMJ Showdown Lowdown

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It’s the Wednesday after CMJ has ended, and if the lack of emails in my inbox is any indication, all the music industry folk have still not recovered from those five crazy days. This year I ended up going to a show every night and boy was it tiring.

(left: Late Of The Pier performed on Friday night. Sarah was feelin’ them, Rachel, not so much.)

Here’s the lowdown:

Tuesday, October 21
We (my sister Sarah and I) headed over to The Delancey to catch Magnum PR’s showcase. My friend informed me that The Delancey never runs on time–she wasn’t kidding! They were about two hours behind, and since the first band didn’t go on until 10:45PM, I knew we were in for a long night.

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First up were The Ettes. They’re a female-fronted group with a garage-y, lo-fi sound. They’re the kind of band high school kids could fall in love with (I mean this in the best way possible).

(right: The kids went nuts for The Ettes.)

The second (and last) band we saw was Gringo Star. They’ve got a killer name and killer tunes. I’d never even heard of them until a few weeks ago, but I’m so glad I’ve discovered them! To me, they’re a mix of Vampire Weekend and Black Lips. They’ve got upbeat, bouncy songs but their sound also showcases their Atlanta, GA roots with a southern twang occasionally infused with some psychedelia, reminding me slightly of The Coral. I think they are definitely a band on the rise. On a side note, I really wish they’d tour with Ringo Deathstarr.

I really wanted to stay for the next two bands, but when Gringo Star left the stage it was already 1:15 AM and we had a long trek back to Brooklyn. Unfortunately, we had to miss The High Wire, who I love and highly recommend. They make gorgeous, warm shoegaze music–when I think of them, I just picture the sun shining on me. They’re opening for Coldplay on their December UK tour, so they’ll probably be huge by the time they come back to the States.

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Wednesday, October 22
The last band on the night before was my new favorite band, Radio Luxembourg. I think they probably went on at 3 am, and that was just too late for me. So instead of sticking around for that, I saw them the next day at a more human time of 9 PM at The Annex. Simply put, they’re a Welsh band that makes the best pop music this side of Super Furry Animals. They were so fun and endearing live, I really wish the set had never ended.

(above: Why stay up late to watch Radio Luxembourg, when you can just see them at an earlier time the day after?)

Thursday, October 23
We headed over to my favorite venue, Bowery Ballroom. The first band I saw was England’s Scouting For Girls. They write saccharine-sweet love songs about girls. (Their name isn’t Scouting For Girls for no reason.) Some people might think they’re too cool to enjoy them, but if they just let loose they would see how fun this band is!
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(right: Scouting For Girls, not just a clever band name.)

The last band of the night was Delays. My friends and I (and the rest of the audience) waited four years for them to return to the States. It had been a “Long Time Coming” (that’s the name of one of their songs, so, pun intended) but the wait was worth it. They sounded amazing–strong, powerful, and energetic. They played a bunch of new songs from their third album and they were pretty dance-tastic, which was a welcomed surprise. Maybe they only like returning to the States during the year of the Summer Olympics, but let’s just hope they come back again before 2012.

Friday, October 24
We headed over to Irving Plaza for a night of dancing. The first band on was The Whip. I don’t know what to say other than that every time I see them there’s a dance par-tay. Although it seems that whenever I see them in the States they have a terrible time slot and therefore don’t get to play to the most receptive crowd, they always bring the same high level of enthusiasm that gets the crowd dancing. Plus, they’re all really nice and I’m in love with the ginger bassist. What more could I ask for in a band?

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(left: The Whip: Bands that take press photos with disco balls can usually bring the par-tay!)

Like most nights at CMJ, this one went on way too long for me, so I left before I could catch Soulwax, but I did get to see Late of the Pier, the latest big-hype band from England. I don’t really get what all the fuss is about, but my sister and friend really liked them, so maybe I’m missing something? To me, they’re more of a head-banging band than a dance band, but the audience as a whole was really digging it, so maybe I need to expand my horizons.

Saturday, October 25
Finally, the show I was most excited for arrived. We headed over to Fat Baby to see Fanfarlo, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a packed room waiting for them to come on. I go through phases where I only listen to one band for months at a time, and for the past seven months, it’s been Fanfarlo. I even listened to them while I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed, but that’s a story for another time.

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(right: Fanfarlo’s fans go home happy!)

I love this band and have been waiting to see them live since I discovered them in March at SXSW, and they did not disappoint. They manage to translate the warmth and fullness of their recorded music into the live setting, and the addition of instruments like the xylophone, clarinet, trumpet, mandolin, violin, and tambourine add to the richness of their music. It was a great show and the perfect end to CMJ 2008.

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Final Countdown

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 IFC.com

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Rev Up

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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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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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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…