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BEN & JIM: Best of the Year

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Jim: Ben, we’re two days into 2009 and I never got a best-of list from you, what’s going on?

Ben: It really isn’t that much, but I’ll write some of my thoughts about my lists if you want.

Jim: Go for it!

Favorite Albums of 2008
11. Fall Out Boy, Folie à Deux
10. PlayRadioPlay!, Texas
9. The Hush Sound, Goodbye Blues
8. Steel Train, Trampoline
7. Valencia, We All Need a Reason to Believe
6. Fire in the Hole, Love & Malice
5. Jack’s Mannequin, The Glass Passenger
4. The Matches, A Band in Hope
3. Forgive Durden, Razia’s Shadow: A Musical
2. Lydia, Illuminate
1. Underoath, Lost in the Sound of Separation

Nice, no Lil’ Wayne or TV On The Radio. You also went Top-11, way to think out-of-the-box!

First and foremost, I cheated just a little bit. Steel Train’s Trampoline actually came out in 2007, but I found out about the band in the summer, and I got the album in August, so I am counting it. I also decided that bands simply shouldn’t be allowed to release albums in December. That is partially why Fall Out Boy’s album is randomly #11.

Yes, technically, in the list-making world their album came out too late in the year to be considered a Top-10 candidate for 2008. The almighty Dave Powers cuts off his list the first week in December. But back to your commentary please.

I think that Valencia released one of the best pop-punk albums of the last five or so years. It irks me that bands like Metro Station and The Maine are finding the success that bands like Valencia deserve. It also annoys me that a talented band like Fire in the Hole remains unsigned and unheard of when pieces of garbage like Sonny are getting major record deals.

Then there’s Thomas Dutton of Forgive Durden. He decided to do what every musician does when three members quit the band, write a musical. Razia’s Shadow is really a full-on musical that features guest vocals from Greta Salpeter, Max Bemis, Brendon Urie, and several others. The storyline is actually pretty easy to follow, unlike some other concept albums (Coheed and Cambria).

Lydia and Steel Train are two bands that (I think) the ‘indie kids’ would really enjoy. Steel Train play a type of indie-pop with a fair amount of classic rock influences. Unfortunately for them, they are signed to the most well known independent-pop-punk label in the country, Drive-Thru Records. Lydia is a pretty tough band to describe. I’d recommend them if you like Copeland, Death Cab for Cutie, soothing songs, female backup vocals, clean guitars, lots of layers, and relaxing music.

There isn’t much to say about Underoath. You pretty much either like them and their genre of music, or you don’t. I feel kind of bad for people who don’t, because Lost in the Sound of Seperation is one of the most complete albums I heard all year long. Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillespie are an incredible duo.

Favorite EP’s of 2008
5. Automatic Loveletter, Recover EP
4. People in Cars, Uninvent
3. Straylight Run, Un Mas Dos
2. Deas Vail, White Lights EP
1. You, Me, and Everyone We Know, So Young, So Insane

Juliet Sims from Automatic Loveletter has one of the best voices I have ever heard. Same goes for Wes Blaylock from Deas Vail. Straylight Run didn’t lose a step after vocalist and keyboardist Michelle DaRosa left the band. And last but certainly not least, You, Me and Everyone We Know is giving away their album for free. If for some reason you don’t already own it, what are you waiting for?

That’s the second You, Me, and Everyone We Know plug you’ve given them this year. They owe you a gold record (although, they may never get one if they keep giving away their albums for free). How ’bout songs? You have a list for that category as well? (I love asking questions I know the answers to.)

Favorite Songs of 2008
15. Anberlin, “The Resistance”
14. Death Cab for Cutie, “I Will Possess Your Heart”
13. Deas Vail, “Balance”
12. Lydia, “Hospital”
11. PlayRadioPlay!, “Loco Commotion”
10. The Matches, “Point Me Toward The Morning”
9. Valencia, “Holiday”
8. You, Me, and Everyone We Know, “Happy Birthday”
7. Fall Out Boy, “What A Catch, Donnie” (ft. Elvis Costello)
6. The Hush Sound, “Honey”
5. Forgive Durden, “The Spider and The Lamps” (ft. Max Bemis)
4. Jacks Mannequin, “Miss California”
3. Gnarls Barkley, “Run (I’m A Natural Disaster)”
2. Paramore, “Decode”
1. Underoath, “Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear”

Wow, you are lovin’ Underoath! (I can’t say anything though, cause I showered Weezer with the same amount of attention in 2008). I’m glad Gnarls Barkley and Death Cab For Cutie made your list, and I also like the fact that some youngsters are going to get turned onto Elvis Costello via Fall Out Boy. Thanks for the list Ben, I love the different point of view! Now get cracking on your list for 2009.

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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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