Pitchfork released a bunch of videos from its Chicago festival performances last weekend. Among my favorite sets of the weekend: Savages, Metz, Woods, Foxygen, Trash Talk, Yo La Tengo and Mac DeMarco. I don’t promote a lot of hip hop but I really liked Chicago’s Tree. More than any other band, Savages lived up to my high expectations.
The biggest draw at Pitchfork Sunday is headliner R. Kelly. But Sunday (a day full of hip hop acts) also presents a chance to catch rising indie stars Foxygen and Waxahatchee. Yo La Tengo also plays in the afternoon.
My festival highlights, so far: Savages, Metz, Woods and Trash Talk. More on this later.
Headliner Belle & Sebastian brings the sound Saturday night at Pitchfork and there’s no shortage of bands to bring the fury. Swans, Savages, Metz, Pissed Jeans and others will offer hard-sound sets.
All of that seems to evaporate by just after 6 p.m. when the night gives way to a much less confrontational group of performances, including Breeders, (Beyonce’s sister) Solange and the Glasgow pop act oddly slotted as headliner. Must see: Savages, Swans.
Friday, the opening day of Pitchfork, may be the strongest lineup even though it features the smallest number of acts. The opening performances creates an immediate conflict. The great Frankie Rose is the first to play at 3:20 p.m. but the intriguing Daughn Gibson’s set is scheduled to start 10 minutes later. Wear your running shoes to sprint between stages.
From there, it’s the hardcore of Trash Talk vs. cool singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco. Angel Olsen and Woods overlap a bit. I’ll try to see both as well as Mikal Cronin. (Lace up those running shoes.) For me the evening could end with the legendary Wire starting at 6:25 p.m. (6:25 p.m.!) but Joanna Newsom and Bjork will follow to close the first night. Must see: Wire and Woods.
The side stage at Pitchfork’s annual music festival in Chicago featured some standout performances in recent years. And this year’s lineup is strong, too. The caveat is that the great bands playing the Blue stage force some difficult choices between the main stage acts. The just-released Pitchfork schedule confirms there will be some conflicts again this year.
On the Friday night of Pitchfork (July 19), Mikal Cronin begins his set on the Blue stage 10 minutes before Wire plays the big field. That’s a real shame. You have to pick between the rising star Cronin (who made one of the best albums of the year) and the legendary Wire. That same night, Woods starts 15 minutes after Angel Olsen’s Blue stage set begins.
On Saturday night, there’s another dilemma. I predict Savages and Swans will play two of the most memorable sets of the festival. But if you want to sneak over to side stage to catch Metz, you’re going to have to cut a set short.
One positive is that Union Park is relatively small and you can get between the main stages and the side stage relatively fast. (This isn’t Lollapalooza).
Here’s the full schedule.
Pitchfork rounded out the lineup for its annual three-day Chicago festival and there’s a lot to like this year. I’ve said that this is one of the most interesting music festivals regardless of headliners. The up-and-coming early acts are often a highlight for me.
The biggest name added to the fest is M.I.A., who will play Sunday night before R. Kelly (at least that’s how the schedule appears now). Also joining the lineup are indie vets Yo La Tengo (Sunday) and the punk legends of Wire (Friday).
What really excites me are the additions of Woods, Frankie Rose and Mikal Cronin Friday; Parquet Courts and Metz Saturday; and Waxahatchee and Glass Candy Sunday. But there are a number of other highlights. See the full schedule here. The festival runs July 19-21.
The Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago this July is getting more interesting with the addition of Swans, Foxygen and Breeders. I’m also looking forward to seeing Angel Olsen and Mac Demarco.
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Our Dead used to play some killer shows. I’ll be eager to see if those guys still have some fire. Trash Talk should be a fun set. More bands are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. I wasn’t blown away by the previously announced headliners: Bjork, Belle & Sebastian and R. Kelly.
Foxygen also plays a sold-out show at Lincoln Hall Thursday.
I predict dark clouds will form around the stage as soon as Swans go on.
My favorite sets at the first day of Pitchfork Music Festival Friday were by Dirty Projectors and Willis Earl Beal. I had a feeling that Dirty Projectors’ new songs would sound really good live. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Beal, who is sort of a soul, blues, gospel, indie kind of guy. He’s not that easy to define — kind of like Tom Waits. But he’s a captivating performer and his songs are powerful.
I liked sets by Lower Dens and Japandroids but I’m also a big fan of both. Japandroids did seem to work people into a frenzy. I picked Purity Ring on the side stage over headlining closer Feist. Purity Ring’s music sounds a lot like the Knife. The duo’s debut album, Shrines, is out Tuesday, though you can buy it at Pitchfork fest this weekend.
The rain delayed the start of the fest but let up only to send everyone running for cover again late day. The main stages were back on schedule by early evening but the third stage acts never seem to get started on time.
Most of the after-parties are listed here. Though the list isn’t complete. It doesn’t include Iceage at Subterranean Monday, for instance. There’s also the three-night Cobrafest at nearby Cobra Lounge.
Click here for full Pitchfork schedule.
Chromatics play Saturday:
Unknown Mortal Orchestra plays Sunday
Clams Casino plays Friday night:
Forget the wimpy, rubbery sounds of headliner Vampire Weekend, the meat of the Sunday program for Pitchfork Music Festival is in the afternoon. That’s when Iceage, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and the Men play. Again, unfortunately, there’s overlap among these sets. It’s maddening but there are after-shows for each band.
Click here for the full schedule.
Also see Japandroids, Dirty Projectors, Purity Ring kick off Pitchfork fest Friday, Ty Segall brings it on new album, plans another and plays Pitchfork and Grimes, Sleigh Bells, Wild Flag, Atlas Sound highlight Pitchfork Saturday
Grimes is playing the side stage Saturday night of Pitchfork Music Festival, while Godspeed You! Black Emperor headlines the main-stage area. I’ll likely opt for Grimes. The day is short of rock acts but includes a number of interesting options. I intend to get to the fest early enough to see Cloud Nothings, which I’ll (unfortunately) have to cut short to catch Lotus Plaza, a side project of Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. Oddly, Lotus Plaza overlaps with another Deerhunter side project, Bradford Cox’s Atlas Sound. I’m determined to see a bit of all three shows.
It’s not like Ty Segall has been recording yacht rock for the past few years but, man, does he bring it on his latest album, Slaughterhouse. The songs are harder, faster and all-around more intense. Officially, it’s a release by the Ty Segall Band (he recorded it with the guys he takes on tour). I’ve lost track of how many records he’s made, but the prolific one just announced another solo album, Twins, to be released in October. That would be the third album by Segall this year. He also released Hair, a (recommended) collaboration with White Fence.
If you like Segall’s manic garage rock, Chicago is the place to be over the next few days. He and Japandroids will be at Lincoln Hall for the WBEZ show Sound Opinions on Thursday. Segall headlines a sold-out show at Empty Bottle Saturday night and he plays Pitchfork Music Festival Sunday afternoon. If you’re going to Pitchfork Sunday, don’t miss this one. Segall is unbelievable live.
From last year’s Goodbye Bread:
Also see New music: Ty Segall and White Fence
Admittedly, it’s not easy to catch the opening acts and stay all the way through the closers over three days, but I try my best to see the short early sets, which sometimes prove to be highlights. Friday is a good example. One of Chicago’s most fascinating new artists, Willis Earl Beal, also plays an early set that day — one that I wouldn’t miss. The Olivia Tremor Control, one of the Elephant 6 bands, gets an early slot as well.
Of course, I’m excited about the later shows, particularly Japandroids, now touring the full-throttle release Celebration Rock, and Dirty Projectors (see album review). I’m also intrigued by Purity Ring, which goes up against headliner Feist.
See the full schedule here.
Here’s just the thing for the dog days of summer: A pair of very cool, highly original releases out (today) Tuesday from Dirty Projectors and Dusted. The albums feel like they fall at the opposite ends of some musical spectrum. Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan is full of complicated musical arrangements borrowing from many genres, while Dusted’s Total Dust is best described as super lo-fi. Both are highly recommended.
Fans of Dirty Projectors know the very distinct sound of this band but there are some twists and turns on Magellan that we didn’t hear on the 2009 breakthrough Bitte Orca. Maybe it’s the beats? In an interview with the New York Times, frontman David Longstreth said he was influenced by a number of artists during the making of Magellan, including Lil Wayne. ”I love the beats,” Longstreth said, referring to Weezy’s music. Other artists inspiring Magellan: Neil Young, Guided By Voices, Rod Stewart and blues legend Blind Willie Johnson, he told the Times. All in all, Magellan is a strong album and may even best the remarkable Bitte Orca.
Dusted is the vehicle for Brian Borcherdt, best known for his bass, drums and electronica outfit Holy Fuck. Total Dust is a big departure from the boisterous sounds of that band. Musically, Total Dust sounds like what I imagine a collaboration between Woods and Mount Eerie would sound like. As for production, it’s Lou Barlow circa early ’90s. But what a great album Borcherdt put together with the help of collaborator Leon Taheny. Dusted is slow, deliberate and often haunting.
Stream all of Total Dust here.
You can catch Dirty Projectors at Pitchfork fest Friday.
Pitchfork released a schedule for its three-day July festival in Union Park. The big-stage headliners are Feist Friday night, Godspeed You Black Emperor Saturday and Vampire Weekend Sunday.
Putting Grimes on a side stage Saturday may be a mistake. I wouldn’t be surprised if the area is overwhelmed Saturday night because she is going to draw a huge crowd.
Unfortunately, there’s also too much overlap for the best rock acts of the weekend. Fans who want to catch Iceage, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and the Men will have to do some running back and forth Sunday afternoon, missing parts of sets. Despite my bitches, it should be a great festival. Take a look here for the full schedule:
Here’s a new video from Sleigh Bells for the song Demons, off the album Reign of Terror. I admit I didn’t like Sleigh Bells following the band’s debut a couple of years ago, but I’m a fan of Reign of Terror. I’m also looking forward to seeing these guys at Pitchfork.
And here’s remix of Demons by Diplo:
Japandroids and Chromatics were added to the Pitchfork Music Festival lineup in July. The three-day fest has gotten stronger with each new band announcement. Japandroids play Friday of the festival and Chromatics play Saturday.
The rest of the lineup additions: The Fresh and Onlys, Twin Sister, Health, the Radio Dept., Baths, Shabazz Palaces, Gang Gang Dance, G-Side, How to Dress Well and Chrissy Murderbot.
GBV and Neko Case play Friday. No Age plays Saturday and Kurt Vile performs Sunday. You can see the full lineup (so far) here.