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Luaka Bop

Luaka Bop (photo)

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Luaka Bop is an indie label and labor of love begun by Davd Byrne two decades and one year ago. Amped about the Brazilian records in his collection, he began to make mix tapes for his friends and eventually hired Yale Evelev from Icon to run the label with him. The two went forth and signed obscure artists from places like Brazil and Cuba, pressing pop no one had ever heard before.

Byrne comments on Luaka Bop’s website, “I became the mogul of the label you can’t pronounce. I was pictured in a cartoon at the time in a pith helmet stalking the jungle for new sounds and running into fellow ethno-musicologist Paul Simon.”

At the time, Byrne was signed with Warner Brothers which also served as Luaka Bop’s corporate master. The relationship, though convenient, was tenuous. Byrne and Evelev were interested in a kind of large scale distribution of obscure music they thought was cool, an evolution of Byrne’s mix tape offerings. But the big label wanted more than that. A gaping insatiable mouth, a Sarlacc pit, it digested them slowly (but in less than a thousand years).

A series of mergers and collapses in the record industry (Warner/AOL/Virgin/V2) ensued and now the label stands alone, independently run, still serving up a focus on badass “world music.” I’m not sure if there’s still a stigma attached to that or not, but if there is Luaka Bop is chipping away at it.

To celebrate, they’ve released an anniversary compilation, 21st Century, 21st Year
. It kicks off with what was also the first off their first album all those years ago, a little number by the incomparable Jorge Ben called “Umbabarauma.” Os Mutantes, Shuggie Otis, Tom Ze and David Byrne also included.

For the comp and a lot more from this awesome label, dig this… let me know how you fare.

Hit play on that Keleya track by Moussa Doumbia to light you up just in time for Friday night.

I talked about David Byrne’s film scoring here. I really like him.

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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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