Who We’re Excited to See at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017!

On its face, the lineup at Pitchfork Music Festival doesn’t look cohesive. On just the Saturday alone of the three-day festival, to name a handful, you have power pop rocker Jeff Rosenstock, ‘70s folk-influenced songwriter Weyes Blood, original funk pioneers George Clinton, master producer Madlib, and the synth group S U R V I V E made famous by the Netflix show Stranger Things. Clearly, there’s a lot to catch. While each day gives you a mixed bag of artists both old and new as well as ones popularly known and underground, Pitchfork grants a boutique festival for indiscriminate music listeners. Pitchfork stacked their mid-bill lineup this year and, regrettably, we’ll have to make tough decisions this weekend. In addition to headliners LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, and Solange, here are several out of the many early and mid-day acts we’re excited to see. Vince Staples Friday - Green Stage - 4:00PM Vince Staples is likely one of the most versatile rappers on the lineup this year and that’s saying a lot considering the long and impressive list of hip-hop acts. He can throw down the instant classics that simultaneously admonish and deliver gangsta rap like “Norf Norf”, make you feel your inner rap-goth with the love epic “Summertime”, and get you dancing with “Big Fish” or any of the bangers off his latest album Big Fish Theory. Staples talent and charisma knows no bounds (just check out he dry yet lovable persona in a Sprite ad of all things), making for an ideal candidate to deliver one of the best performances at Pitchfork. - Julian Ramirez Photo by Matthew James Wilson Frankie Cosmos Friday - Blue Stage - 5:15PM Greta Kline, performing under the wonderful pseudonym of Frankie Cosmos, has been delivering beautiful indie pop for a few years now. Her and her band’s two albums Zentropy and Next Thing keep things simple, focusing on dreamy melodies and Kline’s gently alluring vocals. It’s the perfect combination for a late afternoon set, fun pop that will have you swaying and dancing along. - Julian Ramirez Dirty Projectors Friday - Blue Stage - 7:00PM Dirty Projectors helped shape a decade’s sound. A decade later, songwriter David Longstreth confronts a breakup and emerges with a poignant and colorful new album. The masterfully produced album is self-titled, which feels like Longstreth has shed his old skin and has since donned a new identity. While much of Dirty Projectors’ most respected work hinged on the collaboration between Longstreth and Amber Coffman, he’s reinventing a sound and an identity without her. - Colin Smith Photo by Ebru Yildiz Vagabon Saturday - Green Stage - 1:00PM There is no better person to start Saturday than Lætitia Tamko’s musical project Vagabon. Despite the short track list on both of her albums, Vagabon seems to excel greatly with the less is more aesthetic. Her vocals have interesting dueling qualities, shifting between the tender and the visceral with ease. I dare you to listen to the opening moments of “The Embers” and not be completely entranced by her unique cadence and impressive multi-instrumental skills. - Julian Ramirez Cherry Glazerr Saturday - Blue Stage - 2:45PM The Los Angeles noise-pop band Cherry Glazerr places one foot in the world of the ‘90s indie music they grew up on and the other in making straight-forward garage tunes more off-kilter. They’ve tweaked the lineup since 2014’s Haxel Princess, and they released Apocalipstick earlier this year, which feels much larger and polished sound. They write fun songs about grilled cheese and Cheetos that usually don’t exceed 3 minutes but they’re also not afraid of veering off into noise. - Colin Smith Photo by Julian Ramirez Angel Olsen Saturday - Green Stage - 6:15PM Not too soon after Angel Olsen released My Woman in late 2016, she found herself on many “best of” lists at the end of the year. And for good reason: her latest album features a poppier sound, as she pulls from country, clear Fleetwood Mac influences, synth sounds on “Intern”, jangle pop, and even the Spanish guitars-meets-Roy Orbison on “Never Be Mine”. She’s a songwriter who can be electric. - Colin Smith NE-HI Sunday - Green Stage - 2:30PM With a music community that has recently helped birthed bands from Whitney to The Orwells, Chicago’s own NE-HI is one of the next bands from the city destined for greatness. They’re at once surfy, garage-rock, and often sound reminiscent of ‘80s college rock. In short, they’re beer-battered basement music.They’re a band who seem to physically wrestle and fight their instruments on stage. 2017’s Offers might come close to capturing their visceral energy, but they’re a band meant to see live. - Colin Smith Photo by Lauren Dukoff Hamilton Leithauser Sunday - Green Stage - 4:15PM The Walkmen never blew up like The Strokes or Interpol or The Killers; they slowly burned for nearly 15 years releasing a solid album after another. After declaring a hiatus three years ago, lead singer Hamilton Leithauser hasn’t stopped writing prolifically. He released his joint-effort with Rostam Batmanglij, the former multi-instrumentalist and producer of Vampire Weekend, last year with the record I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. Rostam’s handiwork features textural and colorful production alongside Rostam — from plenty of “doo-wops,” a twinkling piano on “The Bride’s Dad,” flavorful Spanish guitars, pedal steel guitar, and sultry horns. Leithauser is a crooner and a performer who blends classic songwriting, like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, with energy. - Colin Smith The Avalanches Sunday - Green Stage - 6:15PM How do you not take every effort to see The Avalanches perform? There may have sixteen years between their two albums Since I Left You and Wildflower, but the quality of their production has not faltered. Although their original members have dwindled down to just Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blas, The Avalanches sound is still full of all the danceable grooves you’d expect. They will have a stacked touring band with them to live up the crowd and you can maybe hold out hope for an appearance from Danny Brown for “Frankie Sinatra”. - Julian Ramirez Hopefully our picks help you get your schedule nice and tight for this weekend! If you still haven’t gotten your tickets, you still have time. Regular three-day passes for the fest have unfortunately sold out, but you can pick up Pitchfork Plus ($395) or single day tickets ($75).
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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.