I’m working out of the country, so I’ll miss Pitchfork’s Music Festival in Chicago from July 19th through July 21st. But if I could go, here are the top 10 acts I’d be most excited for… and some thoughts on those bands.
Evan Minsker, writing for Pitchfork, ended his review of Mikal Cronin’s most recent album, MCII, with, “He’s an excellent pop craftsman who knows how to turn the power up for maximum effect.”
And though I’ve yet to be able to download the album – nearly buying it at Princeton Record Exchange – I was a fan of his album artwork. Hopefully, I’d be a fan of his live sound as well.
My first introduction to Belle & Sebastian, like most kids my age, was through the movie Juno.
The unofficial website for the band summarizes this group perfectly: “Before Mumford and Sons were the favourite band of white people, before Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver were the coffee shop music of choice…there were Belle and Sebastian.” I am more or less, as a white person and coffee lover, behooved to see them whenever they are in concert.
What is it like to live in Beyonce’s shadow? Is it the same as Pitchfork living in the shadow of Lollapalooza? I’d have to go to Solange’s concert just from a psychological perspective.
But really, judging from ”Losing You,” this woman has style – of course, she works with Pharrell Williams – and packs a musical punch. I sense that she doesn’t try to tread on Beyonce’s toes, and as such her sound is more of a coffeehouse lull than her sister’s soulful powerhouse. Unfortunately, it also means she doesn’t have her sister’s dance moves (those hip thrusts, am I right?). Still, that’s no reason to skip seeing a strong singer.
I don’t actually have any Toro y Moi on my itunes – besides a Hood Internet Cali Swag District and Toro y Moi mash-up – though I’ve often been told I need to. Seeing them live would’ve been the perfect way to make a download decision about this band. From what I’ve heard on Youtube, and read, Toro y Moi makes relatable, soundtrack-to-young-adulthood music.
If Pitchfork’s conclusion about their latest album is correct, – that the band “evokes the feeling of being young with options and in no hurry to figure it all out” – I’d be more than ready for that mood at the festival.
R. Kelly. What can be said? Would I have gone for him and his music or for the gaggles of kids my age wanting to listen to him? All I can say: it’s the freakin’ weekend baby I’m about to have me some fun.
Phosphorescents newest album, Muchacho, has been getting many accolades this summer, beyond my own adoration. His sound is Americana dreamed over again, often filled with allegory and mumbled direction.
In one of my favorite tracks, Song for Zula, Houck intones: “see honey I saw love / you see it came to me / it put its face up to my face so I could see / yeah then I saw love disfigure me.” As fond as Houck is of allegory, I can’t help but think how wonderful these lines, and this song, would sound on a warm Chicago day, swaying with the crowd to the ukulele and his drifting and yearning vocals.
The Icelandic singer who blesses the world with her eccentricities in music and manner is perhaps best represented in my mind by Kristen Wiig’s various impressions on SNL (notably, her “response” to the Icelandic bank default and presence on “Being Quirky with Zooey Deschanel”.
But beyond this personality, I have been missing Bjork’s ambience and sound for a couple of years – I’m pretty sure the last time she came to Chicago was for her Volta Tour in 2007. But whatever she’s been doing since the last time she showed up in Chicago – for example, making bjorkian macrocosmic volcanic music videos– I’d be excited to see her back.
Guess M.I.A. is done raising her child and back on the circuit, not like the child has actually stopped her ever. I’ve been especially a fan of her anti-anthem Bad Girls as of late (“live fast / die young / bad girls do it well”), and I would be in bliss to watch the performance that would be Paper Planes or XXOO. And out of this list, I’d probably expect the best gig from M.I.A. Especially if she keeps up her notoriously controversial antics, or brings any gingers.
I’d trust this cute duo with just about anything, especially a good performance live. Their 2012 album Something was my soundtrack to freshman year, and I may or may not have almost choreographed a diSiac workshop my favorite song of theirs, “I Belong in Your Arms” (instead, I opted for Andrew Bird). For their fun side, check the Japanese version of this hit. They’re fun, they’re upbeat, and they’re summer.
In a recent Nassau Weekly article, Jameson Creagar wrote an earnest letter to Joanna Newsom, and for good reason. Her music, simultaneously airy and impish, moves you.
Creagar writes of her song “Go Long,” “Yet in your motherly scolding lied a motherly compassion. Your message unfolded much like the song’s harp part.” Her album is certainly a journey, and as one who’s listened to it many times through, I appreciate it more every time.
Two of her shorter songs, “On a Good Day” and “’81,” are notable highlights for me. “On a Good Day,” especially, is one where I always yearn for the usual 8 minute stroll Newsom takes with her others – she strives, perhaps, for a bit of the eternal. In a concert, I’d love to hear her lilting voice sing “On a good day / you can see the end from here / but I won’t turn back, now.” And I can’t help to mention that for such a seraphic sound, she clearly has a human good-natured side, judging from her adorable engagement to Andy Samberg.