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DID YOU READ

“Sound It Out,” Reviewed

“Sound It Out,” Reviewed (photo)

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There’s going to come a time — and it’s not that far away — when record stores won’t exist. That’s why the documentary “Sound It Out” isn’t just good, it’s important, as a chronicle of everything we lose when the music industry decamps to the Internet. The digital world can still deliver the songs but it can never replace what record stores mean to their loyal customers: a sanctuary from a harsh world, a museum of and monument to our pop culture past, and, above all, a community.

The film is named after Sound It Out Records, the last record store in Teeside, North East England and 50 kilometers in any direction. It’s run by Tom, a music nerd with an encyclopedic memory not just for records but for where those records are in his tiny, cramped 115 square foot store (director Jeannie Finlay gives him an on-camera test to see if he can find things on command; he passes). Sound It Out attracts a similarly obsessive clientele and Finlay follows them to their homes to interview them about their collections. The customers are equally eccentric and eclectic: one hoards memorabilia for the English boggle rock band Status Quo; another comes in fresh from the pub asking for whatever he’s just heard on the jukebox.

“Sound It Out”‘s official synopsis calls it “‘High Fidelity’ with a Northern accent,” but that’s not quite right. Championship Vinyl was home to elitist clerks who looked down on their customers and their shitty taste, but everyone is welcome at Sound It Out. The tastes at the shop run the gamut from metal to indie rock to makina, a local kind of dance music, and everyone seems to get along regardless of their listening preferences, maybe because they realize Sound It Out is the one place in Teeside where outsiders feel like part of the in crowd.

It’s that sense of brotherhood — and it is a brotherhood, moldy record stores that cater to obsessive collectors don’t draw a lot of female shoppers — along with Tom’s super-low rent, that explains the shop’s longevity. Championship Vinyl would be long gone in today’s brutal economic climate for the same reason Sound It Out endures. Finlay captures that brotherhood warmly and without a hint of condescension.

In a funny way, vinyl has become a perfect metaphor for itself, these archaic relics that in some way reflect their own obsolescence. Records age and decay the same way people do, and when you listen to vinyl, you hear that age: every pop and hiss is a living history of a journey between the past and the present. As records and record stores disappear, so does that history. When all the record stores are gone, when we’ve become our grandparents and we’re complaining about teenagers and their newfangled iPiddles and their albums loaded into aurally resonant saline drops, we’ll have “Sound It Out” to help explain why we’re so nostalgic for these places they’ve never heard of.

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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 IFC.com

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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

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…