Though it has perhaps been outshined by Lollapalooza, the massive festival which also calls Chicago home, Pitchfork Music Festival has carved out an immensely relevant and important niche in the summer festival market. Though I have never been before, if Pitchfork is anything like I expect, this weekend will certainly be a crazy ride. PGU will be in Union Park for all three days, bringing you coverage and reviews! Until then, check out our preview below.
Sun Kil Moon
Sun Kil Moon’s debut album, Ghosts of the Great Highway, is one of my favorite albums of all time, so based on that alone I would be extremely hyped to see Mark Kozelek on stage for the first time this Friday. But after listening to Benji, Sun Kil Moon’s emotionally devastating new record which came out this year, my excitement has only intensified. It would be great to hear some songs from his back catalog (maybe even some Red House Painters?) but regardless of what gets played, I’m sure that this will be a great show.
Beck is a titan in the music industry with a discography full of hits, critically acclaimed albums and a wild assortment of musical styles. His newest album, Morning Phase, was a worthy sequel to the powerful Sea Change, but I do hope that some of Beck’s more exciting music makes the set list. This one is definitely one to look forward to.
The Cloud Nothings are bursting with energy with every note they play which makes their live show a blast. After listening to their new album, Here and Nowhere Else, and seeing them two years ago at the Pygmalion music festival, this show is one that I am highly anticipating.
Though I’m not an avid follower of the electronic music scene, I did catch last year’s Nonfiction, The Range’s debut album. It’s a fun album and I’m excited to see how it makes the transition to the stage.
I only started listening to St. Vincent this year thanks to her excellent self titled album. My only experience with the eccentric art pop act prior to that was sleepily watching her perform with David Byrne at Bonnaroo last year. I really enjoyed the parts that I managed to not sleep through and look forward to her solo set this Saturday.
Neutral Milk Hotel
Neutral Milk Hotel’s titular album, In The Aeroplane over the Sea, is my favorite album of all time. I saw Jeff Mangum on his solo tour and then saw the whole band at the Canopy Club. Both experiences were incredible, due in part to sing-a-longs involving the entire crowd as well as the amazing songs written by the band. This show is not one to miss.
I have a lot of mixed feelings towards Speedy Ortiz. I love the obvious Pavement influences which get harped on every time the band is brought up, but aside from that there isn’t much from their debut album, Major Arcana, that I enjoy. However, I did like this year’s Real Hair EP and I’ve heard good things about their live show so I’m looking forward to this one.
I saw DIIV last year at the Bonnaroo music festival and found their show to be a ton of fun. The mellow songs from their album take on new life in a live setting as they get pumped with energy from the band. I’m excited to see them again and to hopefully hear some new material.
Real Estate’s new album, Atlas, is one of the best albums of the year so far. Their distinctive brand of guitar driven rock should make for a fun show.
I’m definitely more excited for Slowdive’s show than any other show at Pitchfork this year. This year marks the band’s first round of shows since 1994, so the hype could not be any bigger. The shoegaze veterans continue to have an enormous influence on music even today, so seeing them live will be amazing. This one should definitely not be missed.
Written by Eric Holmes
SZA is the first of 4 performers in Pitchfork’s lineup that are currently signed to Kendrick Lamar’s TDE record label, and while the female signee isn’t the most exciting of the 4, it certainly piques the interest of any hip-hop fan, myself included. Her contributions to Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo were few and far between, but enough to make the average listener excited to see more. It’ll be especially interesting to see if SZA flourishes or looks frightened at her newfound fame, but I’ve got a feeling I’ll walk away from this set more impressed than anything else.
Though their newest effort wasn’t received nearly as broadly as their last, Tune-Yards still thrives on their own version of mixed eletcronic-funk sounds and exciting live shows. If this weekend’s set is anything about their last Lollapalooza set, the crowd is sure to have a good time, which is why T-Y is one of my top sets to see at Pitchfork this year.
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Danny Brown live in London (He also played Canopy Club in April, for those with short memories). Not only was his show insane (from the 4th row) due to the sheer attitude that Danny Brown inspires in his fans, but he was also one of the most energetic performers I have ever seen in a live setting. This coupled with the hot Chicago afternoon make for an immense expanse of possibilities.
Zay is perhaps my favorite of all TDE rappers, and to get to see him live is something I thought I’d never get to experience. Though he is constantly overshadowed my more popular or emotive rising rappers like Chance The Rapper, Isaiah quietly put out one of the best projects of 2014 so far with Cilvia Demo.
Easily the brainiest member of LA collective Odd Future, Earl Sweatshirt’s lyrics are poignant and provoking, but I’ve heard his performance is rather lackluster. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if his intellectual style of rap transitions well to a festival environment.
Because he’s arguably the best rapper of the past 5 years. I need say no more.
Written by Boswell Hutson