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Portlandia Rock City: The Music Behind ‘Portlandia’

Portlandia Rock City: The Music Behind ‘Portlandia’ (photo)

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The Portland, Ore., music scene has come a long way from the days of Nu Shooz playing Tuesday nights at the Copper Penny. (Trust me, native Portlanders understand that sentence.) Even on school nights Pine Street was packed for The Wipers show, the X-Ray Cafe was filled to capacity for Heatmiser gigs, and underage kids were sneaking into Satyricon to see Dead Moon play for the grownups. Then came Elliott Smith, the Dandy Warhols, Gossip, and Sleater Kinney, and now M. Ward, YACHT and The Decemberists. Bands as varied as Woody Guthrie, The Helio Sequence, The Replacements and Jack White and Loretta Lynn have penned odes to the rainy Rose City.

Portland and music go hand in hand, which is why music and musicians are heavily featured in IFC’s new show Portlandia. The sketch comedy show stars Carrie Brownstein, from Sleater Kinney, and Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen and produced by Lorne Michaels and lovingly skewers the city of Portland. The show starts January 21, 2011 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, but you can start banging your head to the fine tunes within in now.

Here are some of the musicians and bands featured in Portlandia:

Colin Meloy, lead singer of The Decemberists, can be spotted in an episode of Portlandia. Here is The Decemberists song “16 Military Wives”:

While Sleater Kinney isn’t getting back together any time soon, Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein does rock the mic and guitar with her new band Wild Flag, which also features former Sleater Kinney drummer Janet Weiss, Helium’s Mary Timony and Rebecca Cole of The Minders. Here’s a live performance of their song “Future Crimes” from a show last month in Portland.

Lead singer of The Shins, James Mercer, pops up to lend a helping hand during an episode. Here’s The Shins video for their song New Slang. You probably recognize it from being wildly popular and being featured in the Zach Braff/Natalie Portman film Garden State.

And, while she’s not a Portlander, singer songwriter Aimee Mann guest stars in an episode. Also, she’s just great and you should be listening to her music anyway. Here’s her song “Freeway”:

Portlandia premieres January 21, 2011 at 10:30 p.m. ET

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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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