Pitchfork picks 2017
Written by the Shreditors
1. RIDE: It's raining. It's probably fall, and the sky is a hazy grey mixing with city smog and dirty skyscrapers. You're probably wearing black, walking deserted city streets as people seem to slow-motion shuffle by. It feels heavy, vacant, almost unreal but too moody to not be feeling something. That's shoegaze, and that's RIDE. With new releases by Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and now British band RIDE, 2017 was a shoegaze revival. Releasing their first album in over 20 years, Weather Diaries, the British are back to put shoegaze on the map. Featuring techno-influenced sounds on "All I Want" mixed with etherial slides like title track "Weather Diaries," the new album is as promising as its previous. Their debut-album Nowhere is a genre-defining masterpiece, with hits such as "Dreams Burn Down" or "Unfamiliar" (totally underrated and a great song to rock on the bass). RIDE is coming back from nowhere, and you'll want to watch the pedals fly at the Red Stage from 5:15-6:10 p.m.
2. Priests: Maybe I am just nostalgic for a time that I don’t know, but Washington D.C.-based Priests pack a punch that sings 90s angst. With the grit and ferocity of riot grrrl Bikini Kill and grunge band 7 Year Bitch, Priests is ready to fight. The group has been labeled as "protest punks," playing at D.C.'s No Thanks: A Night of Anti-Fascist Sounds sold-out event on Inauguration Day. Not afraid to tell you to fuck off and shove off, Priests is guts, glory and rebellion. Enjoy bravado in old hits such as "Leave Me Alone" off their debut album Tape Two or head-banging hits such as "Jj." My favorites include "Appropriate," if you feel like throwing a fit. Start Friday off right by moshing at the Green Stage from 1:45-2:25 p.m. – I might be the one to start the pit.
3. Mitski: You want to fall in love, cry, drunkenly walk home, cry, then do it all over again? Need music to match the mood? Singer-songwriter Mitski's got you covered. With the release of her third album, Puberty 2, Mitski has grown to grace spreads in Vogue, BLANK and BLANK. Her single “Best American Girl” is the perfect pining-for-unrequited-love tune, while scroll a few songs and smash some glass with “My Bodies Made of Crushed Little Stars.” Make sure to listen to her previous albums Bury Me at Makeout Creek to find cathartic masterpieces such as "Carry Me Out" or chilling, soul-searching depth like "Last Words of a Shooting Star" (seeing her perform this live may have given my life new meaning). Mitski is the perfect mix of defiance and romance, longing and lust. Catch her at the Blue Stage from 4:00-4:45 p.m. for a mid-afternoon emotional outpour.
1. LCD Soundsystem: After spending a few month’s worth of food on a one day Lolla pass to see LCD last year when I thought I’d never have a chance, I can say that I’m way too excited to actually see them again – you’re not gonna get a better deal than this, if that’s what you’re looking for. Two years ago I was still bumpin’ to “Dance Yrself Clean” alone in my living room, never imagining I’d have the chance to dance to it in a large pit surrounded by other fans. Having that dream come true was the happiest I’d felt in ages. Full release, comfort, and feeling at ease in my life. Like many others, LCD’s jams are packed with memories, good and bad and scary and wistful. Now that they’re back, I get to attach new memories to old tunes. Whether it’s an emotional track like “All My Friends” blasting out the car window down the highway driving home alone at night, or an upbeat “Time to Get Away” bouncing on the concrete basement floor, I’m well familiar with all the possibilities in LCD’s music. For a headliner as big as them, there’s only so much to be said other than going to check out the “american dream.” LCD Soundsystem will headline Friday’s lineup with a closing performance at the Green Stage from 8:10-9:50 p.m.
2. Jamila Woods: There’s probably a million reasons you already know and love Jamila Woods but maybe just don’t know it yet. She’s been active in Chicago’s hip-hop and R&B scene for years now. You might know her from Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment’s video “Sunday Candy” where she has a verse, or from her song “LSD” on the album HEAVN which also features Chance. These pairings aside, Jamila’s solo music finds its way into your heart, where it sits with pleasure.
Not only a talented vocalist, Jamila’s poetry is worth noting as well. As someone very interested in local poets and their work in entirety, I love seeing the crossover to other creative fields, and the soul in both areas of work. Jamila’s voice shines just as bright in her songs as does her poetry, and the personality is clear. She explores blackness, womanhood and Chicago in most of her work. Local to her core, Jamila is also Associate Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, where she helps organize Louder Than a Bomb, the largest poetry festival in the world according to her website. If local talent, soul and passion isn’t worth celebrating, then I don’t know what is. Catch her at the Blue Stage from 6:30-7:15 p.m.
3. The Avalanches: If you’ve ever taken a hot, humid and packed Red Line car in the summer, then you know what it’s like to listen to the song “Subways” by The Avalanches. Their discography is the perfect soundtrack for a stroll around Union Park or down a crowded sidewalk. With a fusion of unique electronic and hip-hop elements, their 2016 album Wildflower came after a 16-year silence. Featuring artists like Danny Brown (also playing Pitchfork), MF DOOM and Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi, The Avalanches blend a mix of samples from others and input their own voice and style into the tracks, which can’t be missed. If “Frankie Sinatra” doesn’t make you want to dance circles in a field with your friends or have a sweltering summer hangout, then you’re probably missing something – wait for the end to hear them artfully combine The Sound of Music tracks with modern vocal sounds and lyrics for today’s youth from Danny Brown. As usual, Pitchfork has done a great job of curating the summer sounds of Chicago. Keep an eye on this band as they rise back up, a pleasant and unusual surprise in the vast field that is today’s electronic music genre. Live from the Green Stage from 6:15-7:15 p.m.
1. Dirty Projectors: I found Dirty Projectors when diving deep into Vampire Weekend (my favorite band if you’ve read my bio) and finding ties to Angel Deradoorian (former Dirty Projector's member). I hit gold when I found their 2006 album Swing Lo Magellan. I really did not deserve that masterpiece... Now Dirty Projectors is back with a great pop-esque album. Different, but good. Make sure to stop by the Red Stage on Friday from 7:00-8:00 p.m.
2. Vince Staples: I saw Vince Staples in March at the Metro, but I’d totally see him again. His singles “Norf Norf” and “BagBag” are such jams, and his most recent album Prima Donna was done really well. Besides his music, I strongly encourage you to watch the interview of him and Eric Andre. Also, really into his Twitter photo. Catch Vince Staples’ set on Friday at the Green Stage from 4:00-4:50 p.m.
3. Joey Purp: I’ve only been trying to see this guy perform for FOREVER. iiiDrops has become one of my favorite albums. Goal: take photo booth pictures with Joey. You’ll get my joke when you catch him on Sunday at the Blue Stage from 4:00-4:45 p.m.
Pitchfork Music Festival will be held at Union Park from Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 16. Three day passes and day passes are still available.