shreditors' Pitchfork Picks
Written by the Shreditors
1. Twin Peaks: Twin Peaks never disappoints on home turf. The Chicago natives have been rocking local underground DIYs and house shows with their scruffy garage rock sound for years— scattered with a previous Pitchfork performance in 2014, a few self-promoted tours and a Lollapalooza set in 2015. 2016 proved to be a big year for the group as they released their third album, Down in Heaven, completed their first European tour, and opened for garage rock mongrels Cage the Elephant. Expect crazy head banging, cold brews (check out the band’s special festival lager, “Natural Villain,” a collab with Goose Island), and lots of crowd surfing. See Twin Peaks perform on Friday at 5:30-6:15 on the Red Stage. With these boys, its always a riot. #runitagain
2. Martin Courtney: My inner band nerd and indie soul leapt for joy when I saw Martin Courtney appear on the Pitchfork lineup. Martin Courtney, best known as the lead singer for indie rock band Real Estate, launched his solo album Many Moons in October 2015. As the album’s hit song “Northern Highway” suggests, it is the perfect playlist for a day spent cruising, “blinding by the setting sun.” The album’s title-song “Many Moons” features a cheerful flute and guitar duet, which I unabashedly learned on my flute. Don’t be surprised if I storm the stage, tears flying, flute in hand to accompany the song. Courtney’s set can best be enjoyed lounging under a shady tree in the Union Park grass. Martin Courtney’s set runs from 4:45-5:30 at the Blue Stage on Saturday.
3. Girl Band: Don’t be fooled, there’s no sugar but plenty of spice with Dublin-based post-punk group Girl Band. Girl Band channels 90s angst with pulsating beats, simplistic lyrics and howling vocals. At times the band’s sound verges on bolstering noise-rock, while other songs prove more lyrical and head banging. First songs like “Paul” hit you in the gut, then songs like “Pear for Lunch” hit you over the head. Angry, depressed, loud, and slightly sarcastic, Girl Band unleashes your deepest, darkest feelings for a thrilling, can’t miss show. Catch Girl Band’s performance on Saturday at 1:45-2:25 on the Red Stage.
1. Porches: Picture this — You’re moody, misunderstood, and nostalgic for the late 80s. Oh, that’s everyday? Well then Porches, the brainchild of singer-songwriter Aaron Maine, is the band for you. With shimmery synths and emotive clarity, Pool the band’s 2016 release does more to please the ear than any other album this year. Maine’s funky drawl is the perfect backing for a lonesome night time drive through your lame-ass hometown. Check out Porches on Sunday at the Red Stage from 1:45-2:25.
2. Car Seat Headrest: A perfect picture of DIY success, Will Toledo has been self-recording and releasing albums since most of us were in middle school. Blending confidence and vulnerability with almost frightening accuracy, Car Seat Headrest provides stadium-sized sounds to Macbook toting, ironic tee-shirt wearing listeners. Toledo’s immersive energy will keep you singing along to songs about humanity, depression, and drunkenness all afternoon long; catch them at the Red Stage on Friday from 3:40-4:20.
3. Broken Social Scene: If you are currently or have ever been a victim of heartbreak, please go and see this band. Bring tissues, stand alone, and don’t be freaked out when you begin to smile. Embrace the band’s likeness to indie-movie scores, make friends, think about why the Red Stage is kicking so much ass (Sunday, 7:20-8:20).
1. Whitney: Local Chicago band Whitney has been surfing the scene for quite a while now, playing their way in and out of the train tracks surrounding the city. Now they’ve left their hometown “drinking on the city train, to spend some time on the road,” as they say in their single “No Woman.” That’s just what they’ve done. At a show at Thalia Hall in early May, the six band members remarked on how they haven’t played a lot of shows in their hometown as of late. This is one of the many reasons I’m looking forward to their Pitchfork performance. Whitney plays a set from 4:15-5:00 on Friday. It makes sense for the band to play before the sun sets, as their musical folk twang pairs well with a golden sunlight and a swaying crowd. Their nostalgic and summertime sounds are just perfect for a set in one of Chicago’s largest homegrown music festivals.
2. Brian Wilson Performing Pet Sounds: Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys is back and touring for a 50th anniversary edition of Pet Sounds. Although Pitchfork is no Mamby on the Beach, the opening track “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is a sure #tbt feeling for music festivals all over. The classic dreamy summer sounds of The Beach Boys are back, and now is the chance for all those obscure, oldies-loving music “hipsters” to catch a live performance from a man who was a part of it all in the 60s. Taking one of the later and longer stage shifts from 7:25-8:25 on Saturday, I’m sure this crowd will be ready to sing along.
3. BJ The Chicago Kid: Another Chicago local act, BJ The Chicago Kid will take the Pitchfork stage on Saturday from 5:45-6:30. His fusion of gospel, R&B, and rap music feels like the perfect mix for a city that can’t stop listening to Chance the Rapper. While Kanye and Chance release new Gospel Rap albums, BJ The Chicago Kid has been doing it since the start, one step ahead of the game. His honest lyrics and fervent beats are sure to make the hearts in this year’s Pitchfork crowd swell up with emotion for this whole genre of music, all while keeping them dancing and on their feet.
1. Sufjan Stevens: If it’s between us, I read John Wayne Gacy’s Wikipedia page with Sufjan’s eerily beautiful voice harping in the background for hours when I was first falling down my Criminal Mind’s rabbit hole. No shame here, though. If your reality sounds a bit like mine (you prefer your festival experience to be a less-lit and more low-key), zoning out to Sufjan Stevens from 8:30-9:50 on the Green Stage will be the perfect Saturday reset.
2. The Hotelier: Tumblr-famous cover art and all, The Hotelier gives you “that feeling” that you experience after you finish belting out an entire album on your way home from having a heart to heart with a secret lover. Think Brand New, Modern Baseball, Tigers Jaw— remember that feeling now? The band was ranked number seven on Alternative Press's list of the "12 Biggest Moments of The #EmoRevival in 2014,” and with their newest album Goodness spinning on every alt radio station, the trio from Worcester, Massachusetts is sure to rock their 5:30-6:45 Blue Stage set on Sunday. My best advice? Bring someone who you want to spill your guts to but haven't yet. All of the feels, man!
3. FKA Twigs: Why wouldn’t you be excited to see a goddess in the flesh? FKA Twigs notoriously gifts viewers with goose-bump-inducing performances, so I'm sure 8:30-9:50 Green Stage slot on Sunday won’t be any different. What a better way to close Pitchfork than taking in some ethereal dancing, falsetto for the Gods and a lot of angry Twilight fans (hopefully that stays a bad joke and doesn't actually come true).
1. Beach House: Look, odds are if you already have tickets for Pitchfork Music Festival 2016 at Union Park in Chicago you have had, “Beach House, 8:30—9:50, Green Stage” tattooed to the back of your eyelids since the lineup was announced because no 20 something existentialist who ever had a breakup has never listened to Beach House.
2. Circuit Des Yeux: I honestly had no idea what to expect from a band with a name like this but Circuit Des Yeux is a transfixing one woman act by Haley Fohr. If you typically start your day with two eggs over-medium, hash-browns, fruit bowl, and wiccan seance because you have an affinity for the art house film The Witch then Haley Fohr with her deeply mystical and otherworldly vocal register will be performing on the Green stage, Saturday July 16th, 1 to 1:40 just for you.
3. Empress Of: Of all the bands at Pitchfork this year I legitimately wish I had tickets so I could see Empress Of. Lorely Rodriguez’ 2012 7” single, Champagne, features one hell of a richly toned love letter called “Don’t Tell Me” that I have had on numerous mix CD’s. In the time since that release she has produced a series of singles and finally in 2015 released Me, her first full length LP. The album is stacked with electrifying and emotionally charged tracks. Her latest single, Woman Is a Word, is a killer track that comes free of charge with an exceptional commentary on gender, identity, and (if I can make a personal assessment) relationship roles set by the previous topics. Go see Empress Of on the Blue stage, Sunday July 17th at 4:45—5:30.
1. Blood Orange: The first time I had listened to Blood Orange was actually during their 2014 Lollapalooza set, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Blood Orange plays Saturday on the Red Stage from 5:15-6:10. You’ll find me there, crying tears of joy, but just ignore me and jam out to their set. Their new album is amazing (no surprise).
2. Neon Indian: Alan Palomo’s electronic pop beats are 300% dance-friendly, so no excuses when Neon Indian takes the Red Stage on Sunday from 5:15-6:10. “Annie” is SUCH a jam.
3. Homme: Homme is a cool girl duo from Chicago. The galz describe their sound as "combining their love for lush vocals and songwriting with their love of experimentation and sound." Homme is super talented and super catchy. I got into them as soon as I listened to their track "Woman" off their self-titled album Homme. The pair kicks off Sunday's star-studded, girl-power packed lineup at 2:50-3:30 on the Blue Stage.
Pitchfork Music Festival will be held at Union Park from Friday, July 15 through Sunday, July 17. Three day passes and day passes are still available.
Thumbnail photo courtesy of Matt Lief Anderson.