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Nicole Atkins And The Black Sea At Anton’s “Review”

Nicole Atkins And The Black Sea At Anton’s “Review” (photo)

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Nicole Atkins has just had her heart broken, but you would never know it. Her waters turned from clear to dark, only recently. Formerly releasing solo records as “Nicole Atkins and the Sea,” Atkins’ the latest incarnation of her solo act was born during a year in which she has her heart broken, her record contract with Columbia was severed, and she was forced, at the last minute before laying down her latest record, to take on an entirely new backup band. Atkins and her new troupe of polished, black-clad musicians (The Black Sea), are now touring to promote “Mondo Amore,” Atkins’s third solo LP, a bluesy, psychedelic heartbreak album brimming over with the spoils of hard-earned growth. Listening to the ensemble play live at Anton’s last night, it is hard to imagine Atkins playing with anyone else. With the electric fluency of Irina Yalkowsky’s guitar, the precise and brooding bass of Jeremy Kay, and Ezra’s Atkins’ power drums, Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea combine to create a particularly hypnotic potion – a potent, bubbling concoction of seventies psychedelic rock, soulful blues, and a peppering of pure, unmitigated heartache.

“Mondo Amore,” is a breakup album, but it is also an experiment in the layering of new influences on Atkins’ usual 70’s psychedelic rock leanings. The albums is stacked with surfy noir ballads about heartache and country/blues-tinged foot-stompers. “Cry, Cry, Cry,” the first single off “Mondo Amore,” is a blues romp so spirited, horn accompaniment would not be totally out of place. Set finale, “The Tower,” which started out slow and spare, built to a proggy jam, Yalkowsky’s precise fingerwork and Atkins’ Joplineqsue howl alternately cutting through the sonic lushness.

Atkins herself is a more than a presence. She is vocal tornado. She has wind in those pipes, and if you cross her, she is not bluffing – she will blow your house down. Live, there are few who can compare to her deep, brazen alto (only Neko Case comes to mind). Combine that with her long hair, massive gemstone jewelry and, goth gypsy attire, and lyrics like, “All the hungry virgin eyes, with the scorpions in their smiles, when their greedy fingers rise, they are no match for me,” and she gives off the air of a soothsayer. Though may not know where the future is taking her, towards the Black Sea seems to be the right direction.

Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea will make two more appearances at SXSW on Friday, Mar 18 (5pm) at Clive Bar, and Saturday, March 19 (7pm) at the Cedar St. Courtyard.

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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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