Thursday, June 27, 2013

Festival Coverage: Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 Preview


Pitchfork Music Festival is back in 2013 for it's seventh year in Union Park in Chicago and like previous years, it packs a heavy-hitting lineup. The festival runs from July 19-21 and FPT will be there providing you with coverage of all three days.

The three-day festival is put together by Pitchfork Media, the most popular indie music website on the internet, collecting over 4 million hits per month, so you can be sure that the lineup will feature some names you're destined to see in the future. To put it into perspective, some undercard lineup spots were held by Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, and Youth Lagoon in 2012; Cut Copy, Twin Shadow, Toro Y Moi, and Deerhunter in 2011; and in 2010 featured Robyn, Smith Westerns, Real Estate, and Local Natives all as "supporting" daytime acts.

This preview piece, along with our Spotify Playlists arranged by day, will help make sure you don't miss 2014's next big thing.

Day One: Friday, July 19


Headliner: Björk

The famed Icelandic singer-songwriter brings her soprano voice to Chicago, and even though she hasn't released an album since 2011's Biophilia, the crowd will be sure to turn out in high numbers for the elusive singer.

Her live shows have always been a spectacle, fully equipped with wild outfits, backup dancers, and an awe-inspiring light show/visual system. It'll be interesting to see what she can do with a festival setting, which can often feature toned-down set pieces and shortened sets.

Can't Miss: Friday's sets start a little later than the other days, presumedly to ensure people can get off work and commute to the festival, so this means the lineup is a little thinner in names, but not on notoriety. Here are some second-tier headliners worth checking out:

  • Joanna Newsom - The crooning harpist always gives out a performance that is sure to give you goosebumps and make your knees buckle a little (or I don't know, that's the rumor). Her sound is a stark contrast to a lot of what Pitchfork Friday has to offer, which is a very heavily punk-influenced sounding lineup of artists. Nevertheless, her show will be one which no attendee will want to miss, if nothing else to watch Ms. Newsome's (and future Mrs. Andy Samberg) multi-instrumental talent. 
                                                 

  • Mikal Cronin - A name that has eluded me for far too long, I'd not know of Mikal Cronin had it not been for his latest release MCII. Cronin at times blends a wondrous amount of guitar tones and styles behind a beautifully done layering of harmonizing vocals, and at the next turn you can be taken back to some pure 70s lo-fidelity punk. Be sure to check out this set, you'll be hearing of Mikal Cronin throughout the rest of this year and into next.


Sleepers: There's a good amount of hidden gems in Friday's schedule, from punk to metal to surf rock, there's something for everyone to enjoy throughout the day.


  • Trash Talk - Odd Future's resident metal act are known for an in-your-fucking-face live show, but what else would you expect from an OFWGKTA punk group? I've been dying to see this band for far too long, and missed them at this year's SXSW, so I'm welcoming the opportunity to see what the Trash Talk moshpit looks like.
  • Mac DeMarco - Another name you've undoubtedly heard of recently, opening for acts like Phoenix and Japandroids, Mac DeMarco is actually one of the artists I'm most excited to see. His live sets are as sleazy as they are silly, often incorporating a cameo of covers intertwined into his own music. DeMarco's music will be a perfect fit for a hot summer day in Chicago, and will undoubtedly get the drunk kids in neon vibing just right.

Also Performing: Frankie Rose, Daughn Gibson, Angel Olsen, Wire, Woods

Check out our Pitchfork Fest Friday Spotify Playlist, complete with one song from each artist (with the exception of Joanna Newsom, who cannot be found on the Spotify Database)

Day Two: Saturday, July 20



Headliner: Belle & Sebastian

Like many people, Belle & Sebastian hold a special place in my heart. The original indie pop group (at least, personally), I've been dying to see the Scottish seven-member group for as long as I've loved indie music. I've had an opportunity here and there, but never been able to follow through. 

Their live sets are comprised of many of the old hits, and I can only hope the group will divulge into some story telling and tales of yore. This will be a show to remember, and one that I will hope never ends.

Can't Miss: Saturday brings more punk, but sprinkles in some extra indie folk and pop goodness ...oh and Solange.

Phosphorescent
  • Phosphorescent - Supporting one of 2013's best albums, Muchacho, Phosphorescent is going to go down as my most viewed group of the year, this being the fourth time I've seen them. Each show has proven to be different, a new experience with common motifs: graceful guitars, crooning vocals, majestic harmonies, and a keyboardist that words can't quite describe.
  • Savages - England's best post punk band puts on one the best live sets around, so I've been told, reminiscent of Joy Division. Their brand of gritty guitars, spiteful lyrics, and intricate, abrasive song structure have gained them a lot of hype in 2013. I can only imagine their live set to be just as in-your-face, and I'm beyond excited to see.
  • Solange - It's almost a shame that Solange is forever standing in her sister's shadow, because her songwriting is actually incredibly good. Her influences stretch far beyond the pop world (I spotted her sidestage at a SXSW Toro Y Moi show) and this is another one of those Perfect Summer Night shows, guaranteed to lighten the mood and get some feet moving.
  • The Breeders - Formerly a staple of the 90s grunge scene, Kim Deal's former side project to the Pixies is back in action. The group, now featuring a lineup of Kim & Kelley Deal, Jim Macpherson, and Josephine Wiggs, will be performing their most successful album, Last Splash in full, continuing the Pitchfork Fest tradition of having reunited acts performing full albums. If nothing else, this show is worth checking out for a little trip down memory lane.

Sleepers: 

Metz @ SXSW 2013
  • Metz - I was lucky enough to catch a Metz set at SXSW, and my knees were shot the rest of that week. The stage, which was knee-height, was being consistently shifted not only by me but by those around me, as a respectable mosh pit opened up behind me. That didn't distract me, however, from one of the best punk trios I've seen in a long time.
  • Merchandise - A band that's been on the radar for the past year, Merchandise is primed to take off. Taking advantage of the rise of popularity of post-punk and new wave, this band could be one that ends up near the top of the bill in years to come.
  • Parquet Courts - Drone-and-stoned punk at its best right here. "Stoned and Starving" might be one of my favorite songs of 2013, and their live set fully delivers what their studio sessions incapsulate.


Also Performing: Rustie, Andy Stott, Low, Swans, Ryan Hemsworth, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Julia Holter, Pissed Jeans, Ken MODE, White Lung

Check out our Pitchfork Fest Saturday Spotify Playlist, complete with one song from each artist.

Day Three: Sunday, July 21


Headliner: R. Kelly

One of R&B's most famous and notarized performers, R. Kelly returns home to Chicago to put an endcap to Pitchfork's weekend in the sun. And what an endcap it will be. I can only imagine what the crowd will be like for this show, but needless to say, it's gonna be a fucking S H O W.


Can't Miss: Probably the most stacked day of the festival, Sunday is literally full of great acts from top to bottom. And if R. Kelly isn't your bag of tea as the headliner, you'll be plenty busy throughout the day, and you even have a notable production duo to check out if "The R. in R&B" ain't your style.

  • M.I.A. - The outrageously outspoken hip hop artist never really seems to be out of the spotlight, and even more so, she seems perfectly comfortable there. She has a new album coming out this fall, called Matangi - the title serves both as a reference to M.I.A. herself (whose birth name is Mathangi) and a deity in Hinduism (the Tantric depiction of Sarasvati - the goddess of music and learning). All of this leads one to believe that M.I.A.'s show will be one to remember, previewing both new material and revisiting some of her older goods as well.
Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi at SXSW 2013
  • Toro Y Moi - Easily one of the top sets I saw at SXSW, and one of my favorite albums this year, Chaz Bundick has done nothing but deliver in 2013. A blend of R&B, funk, and electronic music that does nothing but induce smiles and shoulder shakes, and the best part: he does it all with a live band behind him.
  • TNGHT - The duo of Hudson Mohawke and Lunice have a daunting task ahead of them: match R. Kelly on Sunday night. But if there's anyone in the lineup that could play the same time slot as R., TNGHT is the act to book there. With songs like "Higher Ground" and the unreleased "R U Ready" (featured on Kanye West's Yeezus track, "Blood on the Leaves"), the duo have been sweeping the US since last spring. It'll definitely be worth checking out during some possible downtime in R. Kelly's set.
  • Foxygen - Another fabled SXSW set, their performance at Red 7 during the fest was probably over analyzed and equally as overly scrutinized. I've seen what these guys have to offer, however, and their sporadically daring live shows are something to behold. Foxygen's latest album, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic has so much indie folk/pop/psychedlia goodness on it, the band has quickly become a household name, and the band is destined to make 2013 their year.
  • Sky Ferreira - Another one of SXSW's "When Good Artists Go Meltdown" sets, Sky actually found a special place in my heart during the festival. The 20-year-old model-turned-singer can actually sing, and although her stage presence can be a little calm, her voice and pouty eyes are enough to get a rise out of any crowd. I gave her another shot during an Easter Sunday show in Madison this year, and can attest to the fact that this girl's set is one you won't want to miss.
  • Yo La Tengo - Destined to be a great set, it's hard to picture a better setting for a YLT show than a hot, summer, Chicago day. Basically as old as I am, the group has continued to hold true to their independent roots, releasing Fade this year via indie label Matador Records. Their shows are always entertaining, and the group always seems to have a trick (or cover) up their sleeves.

Sleepers: 

  • Autre Ne Veut - I know very little about the man behind the name Autre Ne Veut, but I've heard nothing but good things, and the music is pretty stellar to boot. Not just another production whiz, his shows are supposed to be stellar as he sings his self-produced tracks. What more could you expect from a former jingle writer?
  • Blood Orange - One of my favorite artists out right now, this will be one of the shows you can brag about seeing in the future; y'know, one of those "I saw him before he was big" moments. Because trust me, Blood Orange's Dev Hynes will be a name you'll see in the future. His music channels the best of The Weeknd and How To Dress Well, mixed with a dash of Prince. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT sleep on Blood Orange.
  • Lil' B - One of my favorite internet personalities, Lil' B, puts out some decent rap tracks as well. No one loves Lil' B as much as Lil' B, and his twitter feed borders on meme-status, but nevertheless, this show should be entertaining. Who knows, maybe we'll even be lucky enough to witness a Lil' B-patented "Girl Time" session.
  • Chairlift - Indie dream pop's next big thing, the Brooklyn duo Chairlift have released songs you've heard... and probably even tapped your feet or nodded your head along to. "Bruises" was featured in an iPod commercial a few years back and "I Belong In Your Arms" is just plain good.
  • Tree - If you're really into seeing an artist before your peers, check out Tree, Chicago's next big MC, whom you probably know nothing about. His grainy voice brings an edge to his smooth delivery, and his beats and hooks provide the ever-crucial term, "accessibility." 

Also Performing: Glass Candy, Evian Christ, Waxahatchee, El-P, Killer Mike, DJ Rashad


Check out our Pitchfork Fest Sunday Spotify Playlist, complete with one song from each artist (with the exception of Tree, DJ Rashad and Evian Christ).

We're extremely excited to deliver our own brand of Pitchfork Music Fest coverage, complete with photography and daily coverage.

Although 3-Day Passes are sold out, you can still buy single day tickets for $50. Visit http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com and http://facebook.com/pitchforkmusicfestival for more information on tickets, scheduling, stage information, as well as other things Pitchfork Fest has to offer (there's a vinyl trade in program!). Follow @pitchforkfest for the latest news, announcements and exclusive content.

Follow our editor/photographer Kellen for FPT's live coverage @KellenYouSoftly

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