Off to Pitchfork!

  • Post Author
    by Web manager
  • Post Date
    Thu Jul 14 2016


Q:  What will half of WSUM staff be doing on July 15 – 17th

A:  Running frantically.  (Between Red, Green, & Blue stages at Chicago's Union Park)

Ahh… Pitchfork Music Festival… one of our favorite (yet hectic) times of the year.  It's an annual treat for summer hipsters, but a challenging endeavor for music fanatics.  With only 3 stages compared to Lollapalooza's mighty 8, one may think that Pitchfork goers should have no reason to sweat.   Yet, almost every year, Pitchfork seems out-do itself by arranging a line up overflowing with new talent and unique performers.   Of course, this is not a problem… despite the fact that we want to see & hear it all.

WSUM will be running, full throttle, to Chicago this weekend.  We are sending a most fervent and enthusiastic team to provide you with interesting observational & introspective coverage between those Red, Green, & Blue stages.

Q: Can we cover it all?

A:  HA.  Of course… (hence the running).

Take a look to see which artists & bands we will be running for!

EMILI: Jlin – Saturday 6:45 – Blue Stage

The energetic, dance-oriented, electronic genre known as Footwork has had a somewhat strict association with Chicago music since its emergence out of previous local genres such as House and Juke. That said, Chicago better brace itself for one utterly brutal out-of-towner. Hailing from Gary, Indiana, Jlin combines original, complex, instrumental arrangements with a darker spin on the usual high energy Footwork vibe. Jlin stands out from her fellow Footwork artists, twisting the traditional notions of house music into a manic, industrial-tinged mutant. Steering away from sample-oriented production, her music seems to have emerged out of nowhere, or perhaps some disturbed space where no Footwork artist has ventured. Following her 2015 banger, Dark Energy, Jlin has toured in the US and Europe, putting on downright thrilling performances, perfect for a hot and sticky Saturday evening at the Blue Stage. I can only imagine a Jlin set leaving me pleasantly disturbed, just in time for some Pet Sounds on the other side of the park.


KAROLINA: Whitney – Friday 4:15 – Blue Stage

Whitney was conceived in 2015 by Max Kakacek (Smith Westerns) and drummer Julian Ehrlich (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Smith Westerns). In just a few months, Whitney has grown into a full ensemble of seven talented lads. Their debut album Light Upon the Lake, released a month ago on Secretly Canadian, has received phenomenal praise and labeled as Pitchforks “Best New Music”. One can't help but feel summer nostalgia listening to their easygoing folky-rock & warm brass sound.  Whitney could not have picked a better time to drop their debuting work. Although I have seen Whitney play at the Majestic last May, many say that it is an entirely different and surreal experience hearing them perform outside.  Extremely excited to hear them again. It's not a “Whitney” experience unless you get some sort of sunburn and who knows when I'd be able to see them perform again.


LAURA: Girl Band- Saturday 1:45 – Red Stage

One of the bands that I was most excited to see on this year's lineup is the Dublin quartet Girl Band. Girl Band is an abrasive and innovative band that fuses brooding industrial elements into their take on punk music. Despite the youthfulness of the band and its members, Girl Band has found impressive success. Their 2015 EP, The Early Years, was released on London based powerhouse Rough Trade Records. The Early Years was met by widespread praise, especially in regards to standout tracks “Lawman” and “Why They Hide Their Bodies under My Garage” (a brilliantly bizarre Blawan cover). 2016 has graced us with a full length Girl Band album, titled “Holding Hands with Jamie”. Clocking in under 45 minutes, what Girl Band lacks in length they make up for with relentlessly noisey rock. A favorite on the album for me is “In Plastic”, an aggressive dystopian waltz.


EVAN:  Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds- Saturday 7:25 – Red Stage

Wouldn't it be nice? I jumped up when I first saw that he was playing at Pitchfork. This year is the 50-year anniversary of Pet Sounds, one of the greatest albums of the 1960s that influenced more artists than you can imagine (including James Hetfield from Metallica). When you look at the rest of the lineup, it is filled with new artists, especially ones that could go very far in the near future. I like that they added a classic in Brian Wilson, and it will be filled with a crowd that grew up on this album. I know perfectly well I know where I should be.


ROLANDS:  The Hotelier – Sunday 5:45 – Blue Stage

Emo has undergrone a wild trajectory within the past 26 years. Once a splinter off of Hardcore, Emo became a cash machine for major labels during the early and mid '00s but eventually the highs of Bleed American died off and the genre became a dirty word. The Hotelier are a part of a new breed of bands that seek to revive the old glory days of specifically mid to late 90s emo, drawing influence from groups like Braid and the Get Up Kids. Their latest release, Goodness, received widespread critical acclaim, racking up the expectations for their set on Saturday at Pitchfork.


KAROLINA:   Julia Holter – Friday 4:35 – Green Stage

To be honest, this talented being was not on my radar until last year when she released her 4th studio album Have You In My Wilderness. Her previous work is often compared that of Julianna Barwick, Joanna Newsom and even Kate Bush. I was drawn to Julia for a multitude of reasons.  Her voice, both ambient and clear, is used instrumentally and for storytelling.  Have You In My Wilderness is a compilation of mysterious stories crafted by Julia. There is no overarching theme, a principle also delivered in her sound.  Julia Holter expresses such depth and sincerity with in her baroque pop, light jazzy post-rock & harpsichord signature. Her work is haunting and whimsical.  I imagine it to be such a serene scene among the Pitchfork madness.


LAURA:  Carly Rae Jepsen- Friday 6:25 – Green Stage

I will defend Carly Rae Jepsen with my life until the end of time. Yes, this is the same artist behind 2012's infamous summer anthem “Call Me Maybe”, BUT, Carly Rae is so much more than a cog in the monstrous machine that is commercial pop music. Jepsen's 2015 release, Emotion, is a nearly immaculate pop album. It may have similar sensibilities and characteristics of top 40 pop, but the music is more layered, more dynamic, and more authentic. Emotion bravely deviates from traditional pop formulas in all the right ways as Jepsen invests her brilliant song writing capabilities into this kitsch genre that is so often written off as profit motivated trash.  Carly Rae is bringing value and fine art back into the discourse of pop music. For that, and because of how outrageously fun her songs are, Carly Rae Jepsen is probably the artist that I am most excited to see at Pitchfork.


EMILI: Sun Ra Arkestra – Sunday 1:55 – Blue Stage

Led by 92 year old, free-jazzer, alto-sax ripper, Marshall Allen, THE ARKESTRA is scheduled to touch down on the Blue Stage early Sunday afternoon for only the most cosmic experience––those Pitchfork indie kids won't know what hit them. And he'll see it all. Sun Ra will be there––in the crowd, in the band, in Craig Holiday Hayne's bass drum, at the Red Stage with Porches, also on Saturn. He'll be there, carried by some of the original Arkestra space agers, decked in ancient Egyptian future garb, channelling something so unearthly yet so grounding––something so, so special.

The late Sun Ra's legacy is one of musical influence, empowerment, creative inspiration, one of the past, present, and future––something transcendental. And the Arkestra is not simply a vessel channelling this legacy. The Arkestra is not just “what's left”. The Arkestra is not the “closest to the real thing”. The Arkestra is IT because Sun Ra is RIGHT THERE. He lives on in space and apparently at Pitchfork. Be there, don't sleep on this.


EVAN:  Mick Jenkins – Friday 6:15 – Blue Stage

Last year, WSUM had the chance to interview Mick Jenkins, and I've had the chance to see him twice. He is a tall, three times my size, and is starting to become one of the next big rappers. Hailing from Chicago, he has had the chance to work with other rappers Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, which led him to a tour with Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry. His project The Water[s] is what I am most familiar with, which is filled with Jenkins throwing symbolic references about water all over the place. He will soon drop his debut album [T]he [H]ealing [C]omponent, and I would not be surprised if he debuts a few songs at Pitchfork.

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