Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy got rained out of the Taste of Chicago earlier this month, but that doesn't mean you don't get a sample of his forthcoming album, Sukierae (due Sept. 23). He'll be releasing this one as the band Tweedy, along with his son, Spencer. Check out "Fake Fur Coat" streaming online as of this morning:
Gapers Block's writers and photographers were all over Pitchfork Music Festival last weekend, tweeting and Instagramming and Facebooking. Here's a Storify collection of what we posted, including photos from Joshua Mellin, Jim Vondruska, Andrew Huff, Jasmine Davila and Sarah Brooks.
By day three at Pitchfork Fest, we had seen a wide range of musical and non-musical spectacles. From sets that packed the park to its capacity, showing no boundaries to where the audience ends, to an array of eccentric place-holding signs (the Kevin Spacey sign will always, always win), to wildly zany outfits turning Pitchfork into a fashion show, the three days kept us entertained in ways we did not anticipate. Day three brought about standout musical acts and allowed the festival to close out in an absolutely grandiose way.
Shortly after Speedy Ortiz gracefully shredded apart the Blue Stage to greet the last day of the festival (and where Sadie Dupuis not-so-sincerely apologized for making out with all your friends), Meredith Graves and Perfect Pussy appeared to obliterate anything that remained. Playing their longest set in the city to date, clocking in just over a cool half hour, the band attacked their instruments with true disregard, playing material from their new LP so furiously that you could barely hear Graves screams above the din. Which was unfortunate, as much of Perfect Pussy's appeal lies is in Graves's gender-politicking lyrics and confrontational come-ons. Graves is a visceral and aggressive performer, and her I-dare-you-to-call-me-cute-to-my-face brand of gleeful intimidation is at the heart of her charm: In the throes of any given Perfect Pussy song she'll be screaming until her face turns blue, but somehow she'll manage to smile bashfully between songs and take the obligatory Polaroid of the adoring crowd at the set's end. Who said hardcore couldn't be endearing? - Mike Bellis
Hundred Waters is a group to watch; their dynamic opening set at Pitchfork Music Festival this past Friday was unreal and other-worldly, as it contributed ethereal sounds to Union Park's dense landscape. I was lucky to get a chance to chat with the group, who are as humble as they are a master of their musical craft, as we discussed their distinct sound, their growth as a band, and more. Catch the interview with the full sound clip below, and tune into their music for a sound unlike anything you've heard before.
Interview with Hundred Waters at Pitchfork Music Festival 2014
Late during Friday's Pitchfork aftershow, Wild Beasts conceded that all of their music falls into one of two categories: the kind you fuck to and the kind you fight to. The only thing about the comment that should have surprised fans was that it didn't end with "or both." Over four albums, Wild Beasts have never shied away from discussing sensuality and brutality. On this year's Present Tense, the music is a little lighter than the two previous albums, but the subject matter leans darker. Or is there nothing too off about smearing lipstick on someone and wiping away their drool?
Singers Hayden Thorpe and Tom Flemming don't quite give away which side of fuck-or-fight each song is on, but they do punctuate key lyrics live. ("Wanderlust"'s spiteful "Don't confuse me for someone who gives a fuck" and "Bed of Nails"'s "I would lie anywhere with you / Any old bed of nails would do" spring to mind.) Vocal interplay between Thorpe and Flemming, thumping bass lines and poppy synths dominated an hour-plus set that drew heavily from Present Tense but didn't ignore any of their albums, much to the audience's delight.
The juxtaposition of nearly ethereal music and haunting lyrics is nothing new. Wild Beasts just happen to be delivering it better than many others these days. And whether it's in near darkness at a club at 1:30 a.m. or in the sun at a festival at 2:30 p.m., they're getting their points across.
Day two of Pitchfork Music Festival brought the heat (literally, and figuratively) with stacked acts of tour-de-force musical performances one after the other, all day long. With a diverse array of artists present, Saturday's festival journey indulged any wishes to dance, see your favorite singer from a packed crowd, and bask in the sunlight amongst a colorfully dressed crowd.
Twin Peaks drew a massive, eager-to-listen musical crowd for the day's first set under the sweltering sun. I interviewed the group earlier this month, and my favorite quality of their style right off the bat was the playful answers to my questions. The youthfulness of their sound was evident merely through these words that they spoke, and I looked forward to seeing how that manifested during their set. To the joy of the audience, their Peter Pan syndrome shone through in their sound in the absolute best way. Their forthcoming sophomore album, Wild Onion, will be released on August 5, available for pre-order on their Soundcloud. Their set featured these energized rock riffs and raspy, wailing vocals in songs such as "I Found A New Way," and "Flavor," while complementing these new sounds with old material from their 2013 release, Sunken.
Their commitment to their niche rock sound was evident, as one of their members sat from a chair onstage and rocked out even while his leg was braced with a large cast, though he didn't look like he was feeling any pain as he jammed out throughout the duration of the set. Their set created a party with their summery garage rock, which engaged the crowd to surf during their second song and beyond, create a mosh pit atmosphere in the front, as concertgoers waved flowers in the air and tattered towels with inscriptions. Their end song featured the band throwing out a guitar (yes, you heard me right) into the crowd in two pieces. However, no one seemed alarmed at the fact that this guitar had been destroyed, and the atmosphere was as chill as ever. Frontman Cadien James ended the set by crowdsurfing himself, a euphoric look across his face as fans moved him throughout the crowd, never wanting the rock 'n' roll to end. -Sarah Brooks
Pitchfork Music Festival 2014's day one acts encompassed varied examples of musical greatness. With a range of talents and genres represented, there was a stellar act for each attendee to enjoy. Pitchfork is an odd festival in that the people watching in Union Park's annual soiree is almost more entertaining than the festival acts themselves. Thankfully, that's not always the case. Here are some of the acts from Friday that truly warranted a head-turn or two from the swaths of questionable/avant fashion choices and that Kevin Spacey sign camped out in the front of the Green Stage.
Hundred Waters is a group I've grown to admire over the past couple of years. They're very new to the scene, yet their sound is so organic and pristine, as if they've spent years and years refining it to bring it to this very point. The group created their sound after living together, immersed within a communal environment and given that space needed to experiment and grow their sound into what it is today. I first saw them open for Freelance Whales in January of 2013, where I was pleasantly intrigued by what I heard. I can't say I had ever heard a sound like that before, and was immediately entranced.
Seeing them a year and a half later, I have been able to visualize how much their sound has grown, and the progress they have made as they've shaped their identity further. Opening with "Show Me Love," a layered a capella ballad off of their recently released sophomore album, The Moon Rang Like A Bell, Nicole Miglis's voice was pristine and pure. They then continued with material off of their newest release by playing crowd-pleasers "Murmurs" and the tumultuously rhythmic "Cavity." The sound, amplified for the crowd, was on-point and direct, drawing you in naturally and allowing you to crave more. Their sound is completely other-worldly, and makes you feel like you're lost in a dream and literally have to pull yourself back to reality.
Sunday night at the Burlington was already a big deal for fans of experimental sound. Jason Lescalleet, a Maine-based tape loop manipulator and sound artist who had rattled the Burlington's bunker-like back room the year before, had been added to the schedule at the last minute. The 30 or so people that came out on that least rock night of the week got an unannounced and unexpected collaboration for the ages.
Ben Watt, the "everything but" part of Everything But the Girl, as well as a DJ, producer and author, is on a solo tour right now in support of his new album, Hendra -- his first since 1983's North Marine Drive. He's playing at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., this Friday, July 18, at 8pm. Bernard Butler, formerly of Suede, joins him. Tickets are $30, or $28 for Old Town School members.
We've got a pair of tickets to give away, along with a signed lithograph of the cover art for Watt's new memoir, Romany & Tom. To enter, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Ben Watt" and include your name and phone number. We'll draw a winner at 4pm. UPDATE: We have our winner! Congratulations to Yolanda!
Where does a year go? It seems that we were just getting over sunburns and rubbing the baseball diamond dust from our eyes as we stumbled to work on a misty Monday morn in late July. But no, it has come around again: the last days before the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Thankfully, it seems that Mother Nature got all the rain out of her system last weekend, and we're settling in for a lovely few days in Chicago. Come on and see what we're most excited to hear with our staff's picks for Pitchfork sets you won't want to miss.
Yoshimi Yokota is no stranger to the creative Japanese music scene having been a pivotal member of Boredoms with Yamatsuka Eye. Fans and critics alike have experienced a challenge in terms of describing OOIOO. Their sound varies from the tribal to the psychedelic. With six band members, they create compositions that are complex and would be chaotic if they weren't incredibly tight.
The lineup for the two day fest being held on September 5 and 6 has been announced as well, and follows below. Along with fantastic sounds emanating from the festival grounds, visitors can as always treat themselves to the elements the festival prides itself upon, from Lagunitas brews to delectable Jeni's ice cream selections, to classic Tim Tuten band introductions, and more. Tickets are available for $65 for two days, or $39 for single day passes, with a portion of proceeds donated towards Chicago charities, such as Foundations of Music (formerly known as Rock For Kids).
Bad Luck Jonathan ft. Jon Langford
The Handsome Family
Death Cab For Cutie
The Dismemberment Plan
The War on Drugs
To round out the weekend at the Taste of Chicago (after a sad cancellation Saturday due to weather, which included performances by Jeff Tweedy and Lucinda Williams) we needed something mellow and sweet. Thankfully, Aloe Blacc and The Wailers were there to provide just the right send-off. Our photographer Amanda Koellner was there to capture the action.
Just days to go to the Pitchfork Music Festival and the forecast is pointing towards awesome. We're busy writing previews for the artists playing and picking out comfortable shoes. But while we're ramping up for 3 days in the fields of Union Park we don't want to do it alone — we want to take you along! (Well, 2 of you, at least.) For those of you who wait till the last minute, we have 2 3-day passes to give away, and we're doing it today, so get your fingers ready.
To enter, leave a comment (with a valid email address) below, with a quick description of your ideal Pitchfork day. What sets do you want to see? What else do you want to eat/wear/do? What are you most looking forward to experiencing if you're picked as the winner? Enter by 5pm today, Monday, July 14 and we'll comb through and pick 2 winners tonight. [Update: We've emailed our 2 winners! Thanks to everyone who entered!]
Downtown Sound Mondays are among my favorite Chicago summer music events. Each week brings about a new crop of bands, singer-songwriters, electronic artists, and more for complimentary enjoyment in spacious Millennium Park. Chicagoans band together as they sit amongst each other, sprawled out on the lawn enjoying drinks, snacks, and various other delectables of their choosing. It's community entertainment at its finest in Chicago's most renewing season.
This week's Downtown Sound series installment featured fledgling group Hurray For The Riff Raff, and veteran folk singer Joe Pug. The combination of the two artists together was absolute perfection in such a tranquil and sunlit setting, as each act illuminated Millennium Park with pure joy as we sat in reverence of their exquisite and effortless talent.