Pitchfork Preview: Who We’re Excited to See

The Pitchfork Music Festival was our first alternative to Lollapalooza. It’s smaller, less expensive, and the lineups pretty much reflect the publication’s “Best New Albums” list with the addition of one or two indie rock juggernauts. Basically, it's the festival for music critics and music nerds.

But while the headliners make much of the festival’s collective experience, the indie haven also helps sprout up-and-coming bands, band reunions, and, well, Carly Rae Jepsen. So while it may be tempting to roll in during the late afternoon or evening for Beach House, Sufjan Stevens, FKA Twigs, this year’s Pitchfork offers an especially robust lineup that might keep you there all day for all three days.

Whitney: When you get the Smith Westerns guitarist and place the drummer from Unknown Mortal Orchestra at the front of the stage, you get something like Neil Young meets All Things Must Pass.

Twin Peaks: Chicago’s favorite garage-rock band went from power-pop to full-on Mick Jagger swagger in their third album Down in Heaven.

Kevin Morby: He played bass in the freak folk band Woods, then co-wrote in the bona fide indie rock band The Babies with Vivian Girls’s Cassie Ramone, and now fronts his own band. He bridges indie rock with the train travels and cemetery tales of Americana music.

Savages: The British post-punk seemed to refuse love songs with the noise that shrouded their debut album Silence Yourself. But on their recently released sophomore album, they dive into the subject to show how dark and messy it can be.

Brian Wilson: Commemorate the 50th year anniversary of Pet Sounds by singing along with the creative visionary himself.

Jenny Hval: The Norwegian experimental songwriter embarked on an odyssey to traverse self-doubt, rebirth, and gender in last year’s Apocalypse, girl.

Blood Orange: Dev Hynes released Freetown Sound a few weeks ago, which is his third album under his moniker Blood Orange. It’s a capital “B” Black record that engages in the same social narratives as D’Angelo in 2014’s Black Messiah and Kendrick Lamar in 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly.

But of course Pitchfork's more than a few bands. Get to the festival early, drink some Goose Island, and reap the most of what this special weekend has to offer.

The Pitchfork Music Festival runs today through Sunday at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St. The music starts on three stages about 3:30pm today and 1:30pm Saturday and Sunday. Three-day passes are $165 and individual day tickets are $65. Buy them online or call 877-987-6487.

Image courtesy of Pitchfork Music Festival. 

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Colin Smith

Colin Smith thinks that Chicago right now is the place to be for music. He works for Illinois Humanities, is a freelance writer, and plays psychedelic-pop songs with his band.