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Salem’s “Sick”: Perfectly, perpetually aggressive

Salem’s “Sick”: Perfectly, perpetually aggressive (photo)

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Salem – “Sick” from Paul Tao on Vimeo.

Salem is a trio of dirty-looking, skin-blemished Michigan kids who appear about as lazy in photographs as they do in pull quotes. Talking to British website The Quietus last year, Salem anchor Jack Donoghue explained his role in the group like so: “I make the beats and rap. Sometimes I get the samples and work on stuff with John [Holland].” Thanks for the insight, bro.

But King Night, the group’s colossal proper debut last year, was probably the 2010 record that drove folks into the most polarized tizzies: Some, including myself, praised its massive walls of sound and its obliterative meld of shoegaze rock and Dirty South hip-hop. Others blasted its sonic laziness (“Hey, I can do that,” ad infinitum) or decried the racially dubious appropriation of these black sounds by three Midwesterners that sounded like simpletons. If you were on the fence about Salem, the bass would probably knock you off soon enough.

And the darkness keeps coming: “Sick,” the just-released second music video from King Night, is a perfect continuation of the same Salem aesthetic that drives the laptop literati berserk in the best and worst ways. As with the band’s previous video for “Asia,” found footage of fistfights, gang signs and gun totes gets blown out, bent and pieced together. Its ass-beatings and booty shakes put the music’s hot buttons–the ugliest three white people this side of Yo La Tengo, bastardizing customarily black music into bassy slurs with traces of violence and misogyny–into visual form. But Salem smartly blurs the lines here, using ballerinas, fashion models, motorcycle daredevils and unfocused footage from their (sometimes, eh, unfocused) live shows to make a broader point: It’s easy to criticize the things people do for their own existence and entertainment–whether that’s a pirouette, a pistol whip or pulverizing hip-hop into oblivion–from an armchair. But that’s necessarily a limited perspective, isn’t it?

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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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