WSUM's Guide to Pitchfork Music Festival

  • Post Author
    by Web manager
  • Post Date
    Thu Jul 17 2014


Pitchfork Music Festival is taking over Chicago's Union Park this weekend. With 46 acts to see, WSUM decided to narrow down our favorites to help your planning. Note that the color of the artists' names represents the color of the stage they're playing.

Sun Kil Moon | 6:25 p.m. on Friday

I'm not sure what to expect from Mark Kozelek's set—I can't really imagine that the setting he had in mind while writing his latest album, Benji, was a sunny outdoor music festival with thousands of happy, excited people. Regardless of setting, I anticipate Kozelek's trademark melancholy to translate into an excellent, if not particularly joyous, live experience. – EK

Giorgio Moroder | 7:20 p.m. on Friday

When Brian Eno heard “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer, produced by Giorgio Moroder, he said that he “heard the sound of the future.” This was in 1977, and Moroder's sound, filtered through almost 40 years of electronic music, is still the sound of the future. Inspired by Kraftwerk, he was one of the first artists to only employ the human voice and electronic machines in creating songs. His influence, particularly on disco and club music, is still around, from Chromatics' moody Kill for Love to La Roux's top 40 hit “Bulletproof” to Daft Punk's massive Random Access Memories, where the “Giorgio by Moroder” samples Moroder describing his process of creating “I Feel Love.” At 74 years old, Moroder is by far the oldest artist at the festival, but he's bound to put on the most danceable, futuristic set of the weekend. – NA

Kelela | 5:45 p.m. on Saturday

Fade To Mind's Kelela is one of my favorite acts to come out of the increasingly popular phenomenon wherein R&B vocals and their catchy melodies are married with forward-thinking, wonky beats. Kelela's debut, Cut 4 Me, came out late in 2013 and definitely still deserves loads of listens. This should be a super chill act to catch before the thrill of Neutral Milk Hotel later. – EK

FKA twigs | 7:45 p.m. on Saturday

Recently signed to XL imprint Young Turks, FKA twigs makes tripped-out, chopped-and-screwed pop music for your nightmares. Her songs are a streamy blend of dark trip hop and '90s R&B. Think if Aaliyah and Tricky collaborated, and as a classically trained ballet dancer with a pent for fashion, her show is bound to be a spectacle. – NA

Neutral Milk Hotel | 8:30 on Saturday

Neutral Milk Hotel is by far the act I'm most excited to see this year. Given the band's history, Pitchfork's decision to ask them to headline is a culmination of a process years in the making. For those not familiar, NMH were a local Athens, GA favorite as part of the now-famous Elephant 6 collective, and then faded into obscurity before their 1998 album In An Aeroplane Over The Sea slowly became a massive cult favorite and a genre-shaping indie rock album. Their music has grown in popularity for over a decade, and just last year the band emerged from the shadows for a bit of a reunion tour. I have been listening to them since middle school, as I'm sure many attendees to this year's festival have as well- I'm expecting a night of super emotional, cathartic sing-alongs. – EK

Deafheaven | 2:30 p.m. on Sunday

As a metal fan, it's been interesting to see a band like Deafheaven rise above the rest of the black metal scene and gain the recognition they have after releasing their most recent album, Sunbather. The album, which showcases their approach to a usually staunchly traditional genre has been polarizing, but one thing is for sure—these dudes tear it up live. They gave one of the best performances I've seen all year at the High Noon last month, and regardless of your stance on these guys or on metal in general, I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to see this band perform. – EK

Slowdive | 6:15 p.m. on Sunday

I can't think of a better way to wind down the weekend than a set from Slowdive. One of the pioneering shoegaze bands of the '90s, Slowdive's Pitchfork set is one of their first in 20 years, and it's not to be missed. They're on the spacey end of shoegaze, with their definitive album Souvlaki, produced by Brian Eno, full of psychedelic, textured layers of guitar and soft vocals. As they say in Souvlaki opener “Alison,” “Listen close and don't be stoned.” Or maybe be stoned. It's going to be the dreamiest set of the weekend. – NA

DJ Spinn | 6:45 p.m. on Sunday

Chicago's own DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad were slated to play this slot together this year, until DJ Rashad's tragic and unexpected death in April. The death of Rashad, perhaps the leading musical figure of Chicago's unique footwork movement, was a tragic loss to the local music community. DJ Spinn, one of Rashad's closest musical companions in both relation and talent, is still scheduled to deliver what will be a hell of a set. It will no doubt be filled with glorious bangers from the late Rashad and the rest of Rashad's crew Teklife, a fitting homage to his friend and to Chicago's explosively creative music scene. – EK

Grimes | 7:25 p.m. on Sunday

Grimes played Pitchfork two years ago. Since then, she's signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation management, collaborated with Yves Saint Laurent and written a song for Rihanna. What hasn't changed is her ability to make skillful and supernatural pop music inspired by influences from Mariah Carey to K-pop to Swans. Expect her set to be a mix of hits from 2012's Visions and songs from her next album, which, if her latest song “Go” is any evidence, show her experimenting with more traditional pop structures through her spacey, effervescent lens. – NA

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Natalie Amend & Erik Kramer