Take A Stab At Pitchfork This Weekend — 25 Artists Not To Miss

146 Take A Stab At Pitchfork This Weekend    25 Artists Not To Miss
For years, the Pitchfork Festival has been Chicago’s summer music-fest alternative to bigger music celebrations like Lollapolooza, but don’t write the fest off for its lack of big names (we know, neither Gaga nor Eminem is on the bill). This summer’s festival is full of artists that are on the verge of breaking through in a big way. Pitchfork is notorious for getting the best under the radar acts out there and if you haven’t heard their names yet you surely will. Combined with several giants of indie rock, this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival is shaping up to be one of the all time greats. Not sure which acts to check out?

Here are 25 acts at Pitchfork you cannot miss:

1) [lastfm]Neko Case[/lastfm]: Maybe the best known name at this year’s Pitchfork Festival, Neko Case is currently simply one of the best female singer song writers out there. Known for her solo work as well as her work with the Canadian group The New Pornographers, the Virgina-born redhead is a bit folk, a bit, indie, a bit country, and all soul; and her fine-tuned performance skills mean that seeing her live you’ll be able to feel her music even more than you do when its just her voice through her speakers, as if you thought that were even possible.

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2) [lastfm]James Blake[/lastfm]: He’s from London, his compositions are a mixture of electronic, soul, and dubstep, and this year, he was voted runner-up in BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll, O!and did we mention he’s only 22? Blake’s music has a touch of humanity not usually found in electronica, and it is that human touch that makes his music a little unlike anything we’ve ever heard before. See him now, because the kid’s gonna be big.

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3) [lastfm]Animal Collective[/lastfm]: If you are familiar with experimental noise rock at all, you’re an Animal Collective fan. Another of Pitchfork’s bigger names this year, the band consists of four guys who go by the names Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin, and Geologist. And the group truely is a collective, each member is an accomplished musician in his own right andmembers record in various forms of collaboration. Animal Collective can be classified as neo-psychedelia, and might be described as truly bizarre, it’s an accurate description, and just what we love about them.

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4) [lastfm]Gang Gang Dance[/lastfm]: Mix a frenzy of synthesized electronics, some percariously placed percussion, and the versatile vocal stylings of Lizzi Bougatsos, and you’ve got Gang Gang Dance. The group, hailing from Manhattan, can be described as electro-clash or worldbeat, but the uniqueness of their sound is infintely better experienced than described.

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5) [lastfm]Destroyer[/lastfm]: Destroyer is the other indie project of Canadian singer song-writer Dan Bejar, also of The New Pornographers.With a sound that has been compared to David Bowie’s, Destroyer’s influences include Guided By Voices and Pavement, and Bejar would describe their sound as “European Blues.” But the real strength of this band’s music lies behind the pure poetry that makes up Bejar’s lyrics, poetry that is at once cryptic and beautiful, and that will surely stay with you long after the concert is over.

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6) [lastfm]Dismemberment Plan[/lastfm]: They’ve played tours with both Death Cab for Cutie and Pearl Jam, but D-Plan (as they’re sometimes called) isn’t just another opening act or co-headliner, in fact, the band has been referred to as the founding fathers of the 1990s dance-punk movement. Dismemberment Plan’s influences include art punk acts such as Fugazi, but what makes them special is that they were truely the first group to add R&B and hip hop influences to that sound, many have done it since then, but D-Plan did it first, and it can be argued that they did it best.

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7) [lastfm]Radio Dept.[/lastfm]: Representing Sweden, the dream pop threesome that is Radio Dept. can be compared to the likes of The Pet Shop Boys or My Bloody Valentine, and they cite influences as wide as the difference between Frank Sintra and Joy Division. But it is their low-fi, synth laden music combined with that je ne sais quoi that Swedish bands tend to have by the truckload, that sets them apart from their contemporaries.

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8) [lastfm]Guided By Voices[/lastfm]: You don’t think of great indie rock coming out of Dayton Ohio, but Guided By Voices (another of the well-known names at this year’s fest) launched their career from that very city, led by songwriter Robert Pollard. Of course, by now, GBV’s list of past members is almost as long as their prolific list of albums (they have put out 16 since 1987), but although the lineup hasn’t remained constant, Pollard’s incredible songwriting ability has, inspired by such wide influences as British Invasion garage rock, punk rock, and prog rock.

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9) [lastfm]Fleet Foxes[/lastfm]: Every good indie fest needs a healthy dose of brilliantly simple folk rock, and the Portland Oregon-based Fleet Foxes provide that dose and so much more to Pitchfork this year. Known for their distilled and refined lyrics and well-rehearsed vocal harmonies, the Fleet Foxes have recieved much critical acclaim since their second EP, Sun Giant, was released in 2008, leaving folk fans poised and waiting to see what they would do next; and Fleet Foxes’ recent release, Helplessness Blues, left absolutely no one disappointed.

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10) [lastfm]Yuck[/lastfm]: Remniscent of Dinosaur Jr. or Sonic Youth, Yuck, formed by Londoners Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom, is an indie nise rock band that just released their first album this year. Despite the (self-titled) album being a first release for the band, it managed to peak at 62 on the UK charts. And at Pitchfork, despite being in their infancy as a band, they are sure to make quite a splash in America as well.

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11) [lastfm]Kurt Vile[/lastfm]: Able to play the guitar, trumpet, banjo, and keyboard, Kurt Vile is a Philidelphian singer songwriter who’s got quite some pipes on him as well. Unlike many of the other bands at Pitchfork, who are best compared to other indie or punk bands, Vile is best likened to Rock N’ Roll greats such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Bob Seger. His music can be called heartland rock, roots rock, or just rock, but whatever you want to call it, don’t miss it because in addition to being darn good rock music, it’ll also be a welcome change of pace from the other bands you’ll hear at the fest.

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12) [lastfm]Deerhunter[/lastfm]: There will be blood, well fake blood, if you catch Deerhunter’s show at Pitchfork this year, because it has become a bit of a habit for the “ambient punk” group’s frontman Bradford Cox to perform with a face full of Halloween cosmetics, he’s also been known to wear sundresses. Bizzare? Yes. Awesome? We think so. And it’s that intensity and off-the-wall utter surrealism that characterizes Deerhunter’s live shows and sets them apart from the scores of other indie bands out there.

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13) [lastfm]TV On The Radio[/lastfm]: Versality is the word of the day for New York art-rock band TV On The Radio, with music that spans genres from post-punk to electro to soul to funk and back again. With TV on the Radio, you never quite know what’s you’re going to get, and that’s half the fun. The other half of course, is that what they do, they do incredibly, and don’t take themselves too seriously in the process. Refreshing, unexpected, and containing sounds and instruments that both don’t and somehow do go together, TV On The Radio is one of those bands that you just don’t miss, you just don’t.

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14) [lastfm]How To Dress Well[/lastfm]: Solo man Tom Krell uses lo-fi effects to create an interesting R&B sound. You wouldn’t expect that genre label from someone with such a high voice and distorted vocals. Singing along to backing tracks that range from orchestral to lo-fi distortion, his performances are unpredictable and innovative every time. His live show at the festival this year will definitely be something to remember.

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15) [lastfm]Shabazz Palaces[/lastfm]: Adorned in masks and elaborate costumes in their live performances, this Seattle group sounds certainly well-traveled in their music. They employ jazz, funk, dubstep, hip hop, and African mbira sounds into their unique innovative performances. The slightly bizarre conglomeration of styles landed them the first ever Music Genius award, and it was readily deserved for their ingenuity and constant flow of creative energy, through their lyrics or their echoes of worldly music knowledge and taste.

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16) [lastfm]Chrissy Murderbot[/lastfm]: A local talent, Chrissy Murderbot is a DJ with it all. He incorporates any and all genres in his unique mixes. In a phrase, it’s a conglomerate of club disco, garage rage, dubstep intensity, disco fever, gangsta flow, and all-around danceable sound that is sure to get the crowd at Pitchfork on their feet, even if they’re not sure what they’re listening to.

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17) [lastfm]Kylesa[/lastfm]: Labels don’t mean a thing to this Savannah, Georgia group. Formed in 2001, they are a heavy band and proud of it. They genre-bend and innovate their own music style until the cows come home, but they don’t feel bound by the “heavy” tag that’s applied to a lot of their music. They push the envelope and break the imaginary rules that are set by their listeners. All that is important to them is their music, not how to please crowds or keep from losing listeners. Whether they are in the mainstream or in the furthest of the underground at the time, they play what they want when they want and there’s no changing it.

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18) [lastfm]Sun Airway[/lastfm]: With a recent first release, Sun Airway has nowhere to go but up. Even the title of the album, “Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier”, gives fans of Pitchfork something to perk their ears up and listen to. A project based in Philadelphia, Patrick Marsceill and Jon Bathmus will bring even more unique talent and creativity to Pitchfork audiences and acts that are already busting with the stuff.

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19) [lastfm]OFWGKTA[/lastfm]: Short for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, this LA based hip hop conglomerate will surely bring a storm over Chicago come time for Pitchfork. Their unique aliases, such as The Jet Age of Tomorrow, Left Brain, Jasper the Dolphin, and Tyler, the Creator, give listeners a clue that if they’re not familiar with their music now, by the end of their performance, they’ll remember them, and remember them well.

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20) [lastfm]Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti[/lastfm]: Years of secluded recording and participation in Animal Collective brought this LA boy to his appreciation by experimental music fans everywhere. He brings lo-fi recording, 8-tracks and mouth-created drum sounds to his ingenious and creative sound, and Pitchfork-goers are sure to enjoy his unpredictable live show.

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21) [lastfm]No Age[/lastfm]: This LA based indie duo incorporate poppy-sounding indie rock with punk filters, loop tracks and abstract creativity that sets them apart from other California indie bands. Their sound uses sparing instrumentation; Randy Randall on guitar and Dean Spunt on vocal and drums. People who don’t already know of this duo will be captivated and interested by their genre-bending sound that you wouldn’t expect from a two-man project.

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22) [lastfm]The Fresh & Onlys[/lastfm]: These San Francisco implanted their garage band sound into a psychedelic and progressive age. They’ve even spanned the vast universe of record labels; Castleface, Dirty Knobby Records, and more recently on Woodsist. Their rock sound sits shotgun while their strong chord progressions, drums and keyboards lace it with the garage band pop sound they’ve created for themselves.

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23) [lastfm]HEALTH[/lastfm]: The LA golden boys that make up HEALTH are obsessed with all types of sound “from the guitar solo in ‘All Along The Watchtower’ to a yak’s yelp,” in their own words. Maybe that accounts for the unique “noise rock” sound this band is sure to bring to this year’s Pitchfork, complete with ghostly monotone vocals, drum skills that just shouldn’t be possible for a human being, and the unusual sound of the Zoothorn (a permutation of microphone and guitar pedal). But whereever th influences for this band’s bizzare sound originate from, be it Gregorian chant or 1960s Summer of Love rock and roll, you won’t hear anything else like them this year at Pitchfork or anywhere else for that matter.

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24) [lastfm]Cut Copy[/lastfm]: Reppin’ the Austrailian techno pop scene at Pitchfork 2011 is Cut Copy, who have toured with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, and Daft Punk. Their most recent album Zonoscope, peaked at #2 on the U.S. Electronic/Dance charts. Catch their show and wear comfortable shoes, you won’t be able to help but dance the whole time.

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25) [lastfm]Twin Sister[/lastfm]: The average age of Long Island dream pop band Twin Sister is only 22, but with two EPs and a full album under their belt, the fresh faced five-some are already rising stars. The band was recently voted #3 in Pitchfork’s “Best Hope For 2011” readers poll and have recieved rave reviews both in America and abroad. This is sure to be one of those “I Saw Them When” shows.

View The Full PMF 2011 Lineup

146 Take A Stab At Pitchfork This Weekend    25 Artists Not To Miss
Full PMF 2011 Lineup
July 15: Animal Collective, Neko Case, Guided By Voices, James Blake, Das Racist, Curren$y.

July 16: Fleet Foxes, The Dismemberment Plan, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, No Age, Gang Gang Dance, G-Side, Woods, Sun Airway, Kylesa, Chrissy Murderbot.

July 17: TV on the Radio, Cut Copy, Deerhunter, Destroyer, OFWGKTA, HEALTH, Kurt Vile, Yuck, The Fresh & Onlys, Radio Dept., Baths, Shabazz Palaces, Twin Sister, How To Dress Well.


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