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.
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.
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.
It was a strong year for new releases, especially indie (which comprises the vast majority of my list). I could easily do a Top 80, but, alas, we have to make difficult decisions. Here’s the first part of the All the Young Punks Top 40 for 2012. Nos. 11 through 40 are presented here in dramatic countdown fashion.
40. Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes. Great story telling by the Hold Steady frontman.
39. Eternal Summers – Correct Behavior. Instantly likable new wave pop music.
38. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy. A little more rocking than past BMSR offerings.
37. Willis Earl Beal – Acousmatic Sorcery. On his debut album, this Chicagoan entertains and confounds. He was a highlight of Pitchfork fest for me.
36. Crystal Castles – III. Crystal Castles and Purity Ring essentially made the same album in 2012. I liked Crystal Castles just a little bit better.
35. Guided By Voices – Let’s Go Eat the Factory. “Classic” GBV’s comeback resulted in three albums in 2012. This was the first.
34. The Babies – Our House on the Hill. Side projects should be fun and this one from members of Woods and Vivian Girls is a blast.
33. Chuck Prophet – Temple Beautiful. Indie vet turns in a great album.
32. Dan Deacon – America. An epic journey as Deacon reflects on the “frustration, fear and anger” he feels about his country.
31. King Tuff – self titled. Great quirky garage rock.
30. 2:54 – self titled. A very cool debut from U.K. sisters Colette and Hannah Thurslow.
DO YOU WANT TO CUT TO THE CHASE? ALSO CHECK OUT: All the Young Punks top 10 albums of 2012 here.
29. The Fresh & Onlys – Long Slow Dance. A great collection of pop, pysch and garage songs.
28. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory. Steve Albini helps toughen up Dylan Baldi’s musical project (now a band).
27. DIIV – Oshin. A blend of Real Estate and New Order, Zachary Cole’s side project was pretty neat.
26. Grass Widow – Internal Logic. Nothing groundbreaking about this girls group — just a solid output.
25. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light. I didn’t get this band in the past. This album changed my mind. Hey Jane is a standout.
24. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold. I almost overlooked this punk / post-punk treasure.
23. Japanadroids – Celebration Rock. Good rockin’ and a Gun Club cover!
22. Wild Nothing – Nocturne. Dreamy pop that recalls ’80s grandeur.
21. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse. Everything Segall put out in 2012 was great. This was the hardest of the bunch.
20. Metz – self titled. If you prefer your rock ‘n’ roll to be of the maximum variety, you have to check out this skull crusher.
19. Grimes – Vision. One of the most irresistible albums of the year, this young Canadian, Claire Boucher, put out a unique and original electronic album.
18. Peaking Lights – Lucifer. By the time you get to the second song, Beautiful Son, you realize you have a pretty intriguing album — electronic that draws on reggae, psychedelic and more.
17. Dusted – Total Dust. Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt took an alternative path on the lo-fi offering from his band Dusted. Parts of it are stunning.
16. Santigold – Master of My Make-Believe. Not a token major label pick. This is a thoroughly enjoyable second album from the artist fka Santogold.
15. Beach House – Bloom. Beach House makes magic on Bloom, continuing where it left off with Teen Dream.
14. Suckers – Candy Salad. Big pop, synth, folk all in one album, and Suckers actually pull it off.
13. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp. A career album from the artist I used to consider a folkie. Very edgy — and great.
12. Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers III. I’ve never met an album by Thee Oh Sees I didn’t like and this one I love for its great garage rock.
11 . Lotus Plaza – Spooky Action at a Distance. The best thing next to a new Deerhunter album, this is guitarist Lockett Pundt’s impressive side project.
NEXT UP: All the Young Punks Top 10 of 2012.