Pitchfork Music Festival. With the sun on our heads, we'll carry on like kids (well, some of you are kids) scampering between the music stages (now named with the colors Red, Blue, Green), food and beer stalls, porta-potties, Flatstock music posters, the CHIRP Record Fair (where you'll find our Gapers Block table), tons of non-profits, and the Coterie arts and crafts fair. In between all that, you might even catch a set of music or two while relaxing on a blanket. (We'll have live reviews and artist interviews you can catch up with later.) So smear on some zinc oxide, grab a bottle of water and your hula hoop and see what Transmission staff have to say about every single act this weekend. " />

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Thursday, December 7

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Pitchfork Music Festival Thu Jul 14 2011

Hot Fun in the Summertime: Pitchfork 2011, A Preview

Read all our Pitchfork Music Festival coverage here!

There's truly one festival in Chicago which has consistently worked to cram as much as possible into the confines of one block-long city park. Sure you could stumble for a mile or more around that other big festival later on in August, but it wouldn't nearly be the same as the cozy confines of Union Park with the Pitchfork Music Festival. With the sun on our heads, we'll carry on like kids (well, some of you are kids) scampering between the music stages (now named with the colors Red, Blue, Green), food and beer stalls, porta-potties, Flatstock music posters, the CHIRP Record Fair (where you'll find our Gapers Block table), tons of non-profits, and the Coterie arts and crafts fair. In between all that, you might even catch a set of music or two while relaxing on a blanket. (We'll have live reviews and artist interviews you can catch up with later.)

So smear on some zinc oxide, grab a bottle of water and your hula hoop and see what Transmission staff have to say about every single act this weekend.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gatekeeper (BLUE) 3:20pm
If you think Gatekeeper's music is a bit dark, then you'd be falling right in line with this Brooklyn- and Chicago-based duo's school of thought. Samples of screams, chants and fantasy arcade sounds aren't out of place in the slightest in these electronic creations. Get ready to do some serious head bobbing while Gatekeeper take their techno swells and lurid beats from their usual dark, club setting to a new outdoor, afternoon venue at Pitchfork.
-Katie Karpowicz

EMA (RED) 3:30pm
EMA, aka Erika M Anderson, grew up in dive bars and grave yards of the Midwest; which seems to make sense after listening to debut album Past Life Martyred Saints. EMA resides somewhere in a gloom of goth paired with grungy guitar chords and distorted folk. It's pretty dark, but wretchedly good. You can expect her Pitchfork set to pendulate from soft, breathy distorted vocals to course growls, supported by ominous guitar riffs. And she's been likened to Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon.
-Bonnie Page

tUnE-yArDs (BLUE) 4:30pm
The wildly experimental and amazingly transfixing tUnE-yArDs (with a name I never fail at typing correctly the first time around) have taken mainstream music by the hair as of late with this year's release W H O K I L L. If you're not into sonic interplay, looped beats, and a cheeky woman lead singer who pushes the boundaries of electronic music, then maybe go find a corndog and eat that for an hour. The band's shows at Lincoln Hall were sold out in a hot second and I don't doubt that their afternoon set on Friday will be a reason many people leave work a tad early to head to Union Park.
-Anne Holub

Battles (GREEN) 4:35pm
Neither snow nor sleet nor three-year delay nor departure of avant-garde legacy pledge Tyondai Braxton would keep Battles' sophomore release from kicking what's left of your teeth in. 2010's Gloss Drop is every bit as intricate, proggy, hilarious, giddy, and danceable as their debut, 2007's Mirrored, with a rotating cast of vocalists and center-stagers stirring several more exotic flavors into the pot. It's a rare band that can play complex but still give you the feel of four-on-the-floor, the mind/ass dichotomy breaking down in favor of the dancer. Yes, it's a rare band, indeed.
-Chris Sienko

Thurston Moore (RED) 5:30pm
Thurston Moore as a musician and his history and innovation with Sonic Youth really doesn't need an introduction. What you need know as you map out your weekend at Pitchfork Music Festival and try to figure out where you want to be and when, is what is Thurston Moore doing today and what might I expect from his set. Back in May, Moore released his fourth solo album, Demolished Thoughts through Matador records. The album was produced by Beck and is filled with lush orchestration and masterfully played six- and 12-string acoustic guitars, harps, and violins. It is a different sound than what you might expect if you are listening back to classic sonic youth albums like Goo or Dirty or even the sounds you heard the 2009 Sonic Youth album The Eternal. The 53-year-old Moore is much more introspective these days, but is still crafting beautiful and puzzling lyrics. The first single from Demolished Thoughts is the track "Benediction" and Moore has opened several shows on his current tour with it and it contains a line that might sum up his new record and current approach perfectly. "Simple pleasures strike like lightning."
-Jason Behrends

Curren$y (BLUE) 5:30pm
No Limit isn't exactly rolling around in gold tanks with Shaq waving the banner these days, but they're far from over. Case in point is Shante Scott Franklin, better known as Curren$y: a mixtape buzz-builder who's finally getting into the big leagues. With his latest album Weekend at Burnies appearing on Warner Bros., Curren$y is working the same mixtape-to-major magic that mentor Lil' Wayne did. Unlike Wayne, Franklin's rhymes and style are as laid back and calm as possible. Tracks like "JetsGo" and "She Don't Want A Man" are chilled out raps more appropriate for a day of Xbox and the bong than a festival, but the stoners need something to do there. And at least there's another hip-hop presence to speak of than Odd Future White People Conversation Gang?
-Dan Morgridge

Guided By Voices (GREEN) 6:25pm
You know the drill by now: Robert Pollard storms his way through a set of beers punctuated by brief songs, and is basically shitfaced by the time he stumbles off stage. Well, fine. Except supposedly this time will be different. Pollard's allegedly not drinking quite as much during sets (though he coyly denies it), and he's touring with the "classic '93-'96 lineup" that reunited last year for Matador's 21st birthday party. If you miss (or missed) the perfection of Pollard, Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos, Kevin Fennell and Tobin Sprout, here's one last chance to live out the glory days.
-Andrew Huff

Das Racist (BLUE) 6:30pm
Comedians? Rappers? Das Racist are a little bit of both, and are sure to put on one of the most fun sets at Pitchfork this year. After taking the music blog world by storm in 2008 with "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell", the band released two mix tapes with heavy rotation on my iPod, Shut Up, Dude and Sit Down, Man. Their ironic joke-rap at times delves into social commentary, but mostly they just want to be silly and have a good time. Head over to the Blue Stage Friday evening to fit a little hip hop into your weekend.
-Stephanie Griffin

Neko Case (RED) 7:20pm
We here in Chicago would love to truly claim Neko Case as one of our own, but in truth the alt-country/indie singer-songwriter has lived the life of a gypsy. She's put in time on the East Coast, Pacific Northwest, and even Canada before putting down a few years in Chicago (where, at least to our boastful credit, her career did catch fire with the album Blacklisted). Her discography also includes the fantastic live album with backing band The Sadies, The Tigers Have Spoken, which was half recorded during a show at Schubas. Her latest album dates back to 2009, but Middle Cyclone's tunes are true Case gems, full of wistful poetry and catchy, toe-to-heel boot tapping tunes. Neko could easily fill out the roster at a ladyfest like Lilith or even would have fit in nicely with the mellow vibe at the recent DMB Caravan weekend, but I'm happy she'll be with us this weekend in Union Park. I'm sure she'll be very well-received by the Pitchfork crowd, or at least I hope there will be enough recognition at 7pm Friday night that a Neko set is always a good time. And hey, you just gotta love a sassy redhead.
-Anne Holub

James Blake (BLUE) 7:30pm
If it wasn't for Aaliyah, the world still may not be aware of James Blake. The UK heartthrob gained the attention of BBC Radio 1 DJs with his glitchy, chilled out track that chopped up an Aaliyah hit to create something dense and new from the original sleek R&B pop sound. But Blake isn't just a flash in the pan, as evident by his numerous EPs and self-titled debut choked full of minimal yet lush tracks that walk a fine line between slumber inducing and dance floor worthy. Whatever side of the spectrum he churns out, it clearly appeals to many, as evident by his sold-out set at Lincoln Hall a few months ago. You could have heard a pin drop amongst the transfixed crowd, a palatable feeling over the room that we were witnessing the framework of something musically important, relevant, tender, and new.
-Lisa White

Animal Collective (GREEN) 8:30pm
Last year Panda Bear, one of the members of Animal Collective, performed at Pitchfork. This year he brought the rest of the gang to headline Friday night's show. The experimental whothewhatsis band known as Animal Collective are raconteurs of art psych rock, a little folksy but by no means strangers to synth-driven bleeps. Often acid-washed, sometimes acid-laced, and always playful, the band will be a sure draw for all the hipsters. And the ones who don't really know much about them will be there faking it.
-Kara Luger

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Julianna Barwick (GREEN) 1pm
It was a year ago April that the label Asthmatic Kitty announced that they had signed songwriter Julianna Barwick to their roster and planned to release next album. At the time they used words like "dream-pop" and "ethereal minimalism" to describe her. They attached the track "Bode" to that message which appeared on her EP Florine which had been self-released in January of that year. The sound I heard when I clicked that link was honestly otherworldly. Barwick uses her voice like an instrument that is at her disposable to be layered and loop in a sound that is nothing short of angelic. Barwick has a history of church-based performance so angelic is not a too far off comparison. Her songs are not religious, but they do have the feel and emotion of a finely crafted hymn. Barwick recently had this to say about the connection to her music and hymns, "you could really hear all the layers, harmonies, rounds, the men and the women, the claps... everything." Some of those hymns are so beautiful." The Asthmatic Kitty debut came in February of this year in the form on The Magic Place, nine tracks of meditative joy and trance inducing moments of blissful discovery.
-Jason Behrends

Chrissy Murderbot ft. MC Zulu (BLUE) 1pm
Chrissy Murderbot is a machine. Wait, let me back up. Chrissy Murderbot, (aka Chris Shively) is a man, a DJ at that, but his sheer energy is mechanical and robot-like. During 2009 and 2010, he produced a mixtape a week for eager fans. A St. Louis native, he's moved to Chicago and has been spinning and producing for a few years in the Windy City. This year, he put out an LP, Women's Studies, which got sweet raves from Pitchfork. Can you juke to his tracks? Yes. So make room for some fancy footwork in the crowd as you head into the park today. Today he'll have help from MC Zulu today (who will also appear for free at a Lunchbreak concert on July 30th in Millennium Park).
-Anne Holub

Woods (RED) 1:45pm
The band Woods formed in 2005, and is currently comprised of Jeremy Earl, "tape-effects technician" G. Lucas Crane, Kevin Morby, and Jarvis Taveniere. Their experimental aesthetic comes from the same current as Kurt Vile and New Jersey's Real Estate. Their sound has been described as lo-fi rock and part of what has been dubbed the "Brooklyn sound," a nebulous classification, but one that seems to have stuck.
-Jessica Palmer

Sun Airway (BLUE) 1:55pm
Philadelphia-based Sun Airway, a duo comprised of John Barthmus and Patrick Marsceill, have been compared to Lord Huron, Animal Collective and Here We Go Magic. Their debut album, Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier, has made waves with cuts like "Put the Days Away" and "Waiting On You" (below, watch a live performance).
-Jessica Palmer

Cold Cave (GREEN) 2:30pm
Wes Eisold was on the thin edge of the wedge when Darkwave Synth came to town. His Cold Cave project gave an accessible face to a movement that was bubbling up during Brooklyn's Wierd Records' weekly live DJ and performances. Bands like Xeno & Oaklander, Martial Canterel, Staccato du Mal and Sleep Museum brought returned interest to simple drum machine beats, catchy/somber synth lines and strange, disconnected vocals. If you're old enough to remember Absolute Body Control and Opera Multi Steel, you'll find this to be familiar territory. To that, Cold Cave adds some noisier elements (courtesy of power electronic provacateur Dominick Fernow of Prurient) and, especially on the new album Cherish the Light Years, a lighter touch that refracts the occasional beam of golden sunshine.
-Chris Sienko

G-Side (BLUE) 2:50pm
Huntsville, Alabama duo G-Side, Stephen Harris (aka ST 2 Lettaz) and David Williams (alias Yung Clove), released their fourth album: The ONE... Cohesive earlier this year, and are scheduled to release a second, titled Slow Motion Soundz in November. They have been compared to OutKast, and Pitchfork has described their sound as "quiet storm rap." They also tend to draw a crowd, so pick a spot early.
-Jessica Palmer

Gang Gang Dance (RED) 3:20pm
Everyone wants some of Gang Gang Dance these days. Why else would buzzriffic band Florence and the Machine lift a part of one of their songs? But Flo and the gang aren't the only folks to acknowledge that Gang Gang has really made it — Pitchfork and plenty of other critics liked what they heard on Eye Contact. Opener "Glass Jar" showcases much of the band's unique flair — hints of grime and garage melded with psychedelia and experimental noise, all wrapped up like some glorious '80s nature documentary/soulful cop revenge show theme song. And when they add singer Lizzi Bougatsos to the mix on songs like "Mindkilla," it's going to be a wild but lovely trip.
-Dan Morgridge

Wild Nothing (BLUE) 3:45pm
Hailing from Blacksburg, VA, Wild Nothing is another branch onto the sound tree that connects with the Cocteau Twins and The Radio Dept. Maudlin and romantic, Jack Tatum, whose resume includes stints in Jack and the Whale and Facepaint.
-Jessica Palmer

No Age (GREEN) 4:15pm
No Age does the guitar/drum duo thing, and does it perfectly well. Sub Pop's given that format plenty of play over the years, and No Age continue the grand tradition, wielding the drumsticks like mallets and the guitar like another rhythm instrument, punching at the pop hooks until they emerge from the fuzztone ether. Their experimental, often story-based music video suggest a visually engaging live experience, too.
-Chris Sienko

OFF! (BLUE) 4:45pm
OFF! is the supergroup of the weekend. The hardcore band features members who've done notable time with Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Burning Brides, Redd Kross, Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes and Earthless, among others. From Keith Morris' timeless scream to Dimitri Coats' power-riffing to Steven McDonald/Mario Rubalcaba's thundering rhythm section, the foursome digs back for exciting and relentless minute-long songs that recall some of the best parts of Morris' music history from L.A. County's legendary early '80s hardcore punk scene. It's fast, loud, abrasive, and pummeling. Do you need another reason to see them? (OFF! will also be playing Reggie's on Sunday night.)
-James Ziegenfus

Destroyer (RED) 5:15pm
It's hard to believe that one man can fit as many sounds onto an album as Daniel Bejar did with his ninth studio album under the moniker Destoyer. Kaputt, Destoyer's latest effort in a series of releases that have followed the band's 1995 inception in Bejar's home studio, is a 50-minute mirage of percussion, brass, strings, synths and pretty much whatever else you can wrap your ears around. Bejar's sound is simultaneously futuristic and reminiscent. His music pays homage to the '70s brand of pop made popular by obvious influences like David Bowie while pushing the structure and the content of the songs further than the majority of Bejar's peers and predecessors. The result is a funky, dream-like stream of consciousness maestroed by the brutally honest and personal lyrics that Bejar continues to log album after album.
-Katie Karpowicz

The Radio Dept. (BLUE) 5:45pm
The Swedish band The Radio Dept. have been around since 1995, and their song "Keen on Boys" was featured in the 2006 Sofia Coppola film Marie Antoinette. Their sound has been compared to The Pet Shop Boys, My Bloody Valentine, and Cocteau Twins, and among their influences have cited artists as various as Charles Aznavour, Chet Baker, Kraftwerk and Jonathan Richman.
-Jessica Palmer

The Dismemberment Plan (GREEN) 6:15pm
If you missed their two sold-out shows at Metro earlier this year, you probably haven't had a chance to see The Dismemberment Plan in eight years. After a decade on the road playing intense rock shows, the band called it quits back in 2003. On the downside, in a festival setting fans most likely won't be able to rush the stage like in their heyday. Still, their set Saturday at the Green Stage is guaranteed to cause a huge dance party. Be prepared, things are gonna get a bit rowdy.
-Stephanie Griffin

Twin Shadow (BLUE) 6:45pm
Twin Shadow, is a throwback. His sound is New Wave and his vocals draw New Order/Morrissey comparisons. Throwback or not, you won't be able to resist him. He's going reel you in with '80s synthesizers and fuzzed bass and rich electronic textures accompanied by super catchy hooks. Then, he'll make you feel at home with lyrics that shimmer in golden summer nostalgia. And, finally, he'll woo you in with the velvet vocals. He's. just. too. tempting.
-Bonnie Page

DJ Shadow (RED) 7:25pm
A preview of DJ Shadow seems superfluous for something like Pitchfork. You all know who he is and what he does. Refreshers: a producer and DJ, aka turntabilist, known for producing instrumental music from samples with primarily hip-hop beats; credited with creating the experimental instrumental hip-hop style associated with the Mo' Wax label. He's at Pitchfork in support of forthcoming album A Return To Form (out later in 2011) which seems to be everything but based on pre-released tracks (breakbeats to folk). Live he has one goal: to "put a show together that could compete on any level with rock, pop and rap bands."
-Bonnie Page

Zola Jesus (BLUE) 7:40pm
Zola Jesus is solo performer Nika Roza Danilova, an exotic-sounding young thang from the woods of Wisconsin. Her strong vocals, backed by moody synths, industrial stomps, and electro beats, are straight out of '80s Siouxie-land, while ethereal layers and classical strings keep things from dragging. Danilova counts among her influences Diamanda Galás, Throbbing Gristle, and Swans, leading one to hope for some vocal theatrics. She plays between DJ Shadow and Fleet Foxes, an interesting sandwich to be sure.
-Kara Luger

Fleet Foxes (GREEN) 8:30pm
Fleet Foxes' self-titled debut was a breath of fresh air with gorgeous harmonies highlighted over an array of folk/pop sounds that hit somewhere between Band of Horses and Grizzly Bear. On this year's sophomore effort, Helplessness Blues, the band pulls more inspiration from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and their ilk, but there are also some surprises. There are strange key changes and tales of hard labor, unfulfilled dreams and regret. Even though they aren't much to look at live (especially when on the heels of DJ Shadow's tremendous visual performance), Fleet Foxes deliver their sound with an easygoing perfection. Whether at Pritzker Pavilion, a mid-afternoon slot at Pitchfork, in a gloomy rain at Lollapalooza or along the Mediterranean, they've never disappointed my ears and will offer an ideal calmness as Saturday winds down (as long as fellow festivalgoers don't drown them out).
-James Ziegenfus

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Fresh & Onlys (GREEN) 1pm
After a long weekend of music, crowds, sunshine, warm beer, Porta-Johns, and various edibles on sticks, it's totally understandable to be a little burned out (or hungover). Appropriately, San Franciscans The Fresh & Onlys kick off the last day of the festival with their decidedly lo-fi brand of psych-garage pop. They're like breakfast: Something pleasing and easy to ingest, yet packed with enough nutrients to keep you going for the rest of the day.
-Kara Luger

Darkstar (BLUE) 1pm
Let's get this out of the way up front: This Darkstar has no association with any hokey Grateful Dead ribfest-level acts. This Darkstar hails from London and evokes an '80s synthpop sound not unlike a downtempo Cut Copy with some hyperdub injections. On their full-length North, the trio toss effects on every aspect of their music and build dense layers of electronic beats smothered in synthesizers. When I saw them in May, they played a 1:30am set wearing dark clothes and drenched in minimal lighting and fog. It looked almost exactly as their music sounds. A 1pm set is going to be just a little different. Let's hope they're up for the challenge of sunlight.
-James Ziegenfus

Yuck (RED) 1:45pm
You'll probably be pretty exhausted by Sunday, but if you can drag yourself out of bed, make sure to grab some food and pop a squat on the lawn to catch Yuck at the Red Stage. Hailing from London, the band just recently released their self-titled debut in February on Fat Possum Records. This band could have easily come straight out of the early '90s, around the same time the members themselves were born. Their mellow shoe-gaze is the perfect way to relax before a long day of music. Don't be fooled by the name, the band is anything but repulsive.
-Stephanie Griffin

How To Dress Well (BLUE) 1:55pm
Chicago's homegrown talent How To Dress Well have a way of slipping away from us, but for once, we're importing...from Brooklyn, no less! Tom Krell love for '90s R&B crooning might technically make a trend when combined with Abel Tesfaye's Weeknd project, but the two couldn't have less in common with their end results. Krell strips the wailing falsettos to their core and makes them into dreamy, cold reflections. At this early of a time on Sunday, there won't be many about — but that should be the perfect atmosphere for sinking into gorgeous tracks like "Suicide Dream 3" or its orchestral versions.
-Dan Morgridge

Kurt Vile & the Violators (GREEN) 2:30pm
At this point, a strong argument can be made that there is nothing new in music. Reviewers and internet pundits constantly play a game of "sounds like" and "influenced by" because it's the easy thing to do. A strong argument can also be made that Philadelphia native Kurt Vile isn't doing anything new with his reinterpretation and assimilation of the past fifty years of American guitar rock, but that misses the point. Often, a simple thing done right is good enough to put yourself ahead of the crowd, and Vile rarely misses in his work. Solo, or as at his Pitchfork appearance with his band, the Violators, Vile turns in carefully hewed songs that incorporate a mélange of styles and genres, from elements of folk rock to psychedelia and a sort of casual '70s AM Gold. Critics have been falling over themselves to shower him with acclaim over the past few years, and on the heels of the release of Smoke Ring for My Halo it seems as though he may be headed for more of the commercial success that he richly deserves.
-Dan Snedigar

Twin Sister (BLUE) 2:50pm
The Long Island band Twin Sister signed with Domino Recordings back in May on the momentum of their first two EPs dating back to 2008. The label recently announced that they will be releasing the band's debut full-length album In Heaven on Sept. 27. They are also releasing the first single from that album "Bad Street" the week following Pitchfork. The band has been called shoegazers, but the sound is mush more than that. They are led by the dynamic vocals and presence of Andrea Estella, and on "Bad Street" the band presents a funkier and more polish sound than on their past EPs which were heavier and darker. The album promises to move beyond anything else you've heard from this band.
-Jason Behrends

OFWGKTA (RED) 3:20pm
If you know who Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (aka Odd Future) are, chances are you've already formed your opinion of them. The hip-hop collective has garnered more attention in the past six months than some bands will ever have in the span of their entire career, igniting debates over the lyric content of their work. Leader Tyler, The Creator (cocky? Never!) has sparked anger and protest over songs that are riddled with homophobic sentiment, violence and sexual assault against women, and other typical shock value rhetoric. It's a shame the beats and vocal cadence gets lost in the sophomoric message, because some of the work coming out of this collective has real potential. Whether their set erupts in protest and anger or they explode and fizzle, it will probably end up being one of the most talked about events of the weekend. Nothing new for Odd Future, being talked about is what they seem to do best thus far.
-Lisa White

Shabazz Palaces (BLUE) 3:45pm
Seattle's Shabazz Palaces hail from the Pacific Northwest's hip-hop hinterlands, which haven't seen a lot of action since Sir-Mix-A-Lot's posse ruled Broadway. There are no ready comparisons when trying to describe or even necessarily categorize the Shabazz Palaces, who seem to reflect as much forward-looking concept as influence or emulation in their music. To the limited extent that their CVs are relevant to their sound, Shabazz Palaces consists of Ishmail Butler, once upon another life a member of the Digable Planets, and Tendai Mararie, trained in Zimbabwean classical music. Musically, the production is often angular and challenging and for the most part exactingly minimal, with just enough flourish to create a rich sonic pastiche. On stage, the Shabazz Palaces show incorporates theatrical masks and costumes, further reinforcing Mararie's African contributions. Other internet commentators have noted, and it is tempting to wonder, whether the more subtle political lyrics gust over the heads of the lily-white blog-following crowds found at some of their larger profile shows to date, such as the Gorilla vs. Bear showcase at SXSW in March, but for those willing to lend an ear, Shabazz Palaces offer a unique opportunity to what could either be the future of hip-hop, or at worst a decidedly interesting cul-de-sac.
-Dan Snedigar

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (GREEN) 4:15pm
Pitchfork called Before Today one of 2010's best, and then clearly picked the perfect spot on the schedule for this unique band. Ariel Pink's psychedelic pop, channeling the smooth sounds of the '70s and '80s through a cracked mirror, should suit the last day, late afternoon vibe: sun-baked, a little woozy, like a half-remembered dream. Find a spot to lay your blanket down and chill for awhile.
-Andrew Huff

Baths (BLUE) 4:45pm
Electro-pop artist Baths began playing with a MIDI keyboard and Digital Performer at age 4, after crafting his skills over the last 17 years he brings to Pitchfork a lot of good press and dense layers of sound — guitars, pen clicks, chorals etc. — with lush melodies that center the disjointed layers of busy instrumentation and keep them from ever feeling too disjointed.
-Bonnie Page

Superchunk (RED) 5:15pm
Chapel Hill, SC's Superchunk have been around long enough that they practically invented the genre that today is lumped as "indie." Formed in 1989, this dynamic power pop band has released nine full length albums, a slew of miscellany and has seen founding members Mac McCaughan and Laura Balance co-found the influential Merge Records label. Far from being a nostalgia act though, Superchunk's 2010 release Majesty Shredding marked something of a return to their shimmering best and made all sorts of critics' best of lists. Whether you are seeing them because they are a key piece of the evolution of the past two decades of American rock music, or whether you want to just jump around and get your rocks off, Superchunk's set should get the worn out Sunday crowd back on their feet.
-Dan Snedigar

Kylesa (BLUE) 5:45pm
Kylesa is a slippery beast. It's primarily metal at its core, but as you stare at its hide very closely, all sorts of liquid patterns glide past: elements of Live Skull/Sonic Youth sludge noise, barking nu-metal vocals (or domineering ice-queen vocals, courtesy one the band's three distinct vocalists), chooglin' mid-'70s hard rock (often referred to as just "Rock"), and '90s Kyuss-ian majestic doom all scream through the surface in a strange mish-mash. That, of course, is just the music crit in me talking. I can break down this bit or that bit and footnote it all to fuck, but why would you care? Kylesa rocks like hell, and like locals Nachtmystium, they have everything going for them, happy to glue all these Frankenstein body parts together into some sort of awful shambling shoggoth. No matter your metal preferences, you'll find plenty here to lose your mind to.
-Chris Sienko

Deerhunter (GREEN) 6:15pm
Perhaps it's telling that it is so hard to write about self-described "ambient punks" Deerhunter. Their music was always an amalgam of many different styles, well enough executed to be a critical darling when they first appeared on the scene, nigh on ten years ago, but derivative enough to have apparently peaked and ebbed since their first Pitchfork appearance in 2007. That having been said, headman Bradford Cox does bring something to the table, as evidenced by his arguably more interesting side project Atlas Sound, and Deerhunter shows are never without their moments.
-Dan Snedigar

Toro Y Moi (BLUE) 6:45pm
In a musical era where rap artists like Kanye West and Kid Kudi are releasing albums containing classical musical arrangements, remixes and mashups are more popular than ever and rock bands such as Kings of Leon and The Black Keys are turning blues tunes into popular radio hits, genre is growing harder and harder to define. That's why up and coming artists that are thriving off of the thinning lines of genre definition, artists like Toro y Moi are the ones to watch at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival. At age 24, Chaz Bundick, the brains behind Toro y Moi is already on his second album, Underneath the Pine, one that continues to seamlessly blend whatever else this whiz kid feels like spinning into his musical web. From pop to jazz to indie rock to R&B, anything is fair game in Bundick's world.
-Katie Karpowicz

Cut Copy (RED) 7:25pm
Some albums are perfect for a season, totally encapsulating the feeling, mood, and moment of a time of the year. For a summer soundtrack you want something with a danceable beat, something that will make your hips move and sweat drip off your brow. And somehow Cut Copy have perfected this perfect soundtrack not once, but twice, with their critically adored albums In Ghost Colours and their most recent, Zonoscope. Both albums are glittering thumping electro dance pop, the perfect band to get a crowd dancing under the stars. If their belated phenomenal set from Pitchfork Festival a few years back is any indication of what to expect, we'll see a proper dance party Sunday night.
-Lisa White

HEALTH (BLUE) 7:40pm
LA's post-hardcore synthpunks HEALTH have chilled out a little over time; their joint with Crystal Castles didn't have the same edginess as earlier singles, and last year's single, "USA Boys," is mellower still. Still very danceable, though, and that's definitely the point. If there's any performance at Pitchfork this year at which to expect a bunch of kids grooving rave-style in front of the stage, this is it. It'll be interesting to see who migrates over from the Cut Copy set to this one.
-Andrew Huff

TV On The Radio (GREEN) 8:30pm
The loss of Gerard Smith in April was a tough blow to TV On The Radio. They cancelled several shows, including their spring Chicago date, in the aftermath. Although not a founding member, he'd made contributions to both Return To Cookie Mountain and Dear Science, effectively putting his name on over half of the band's recorded output. Nevertheless, the band is doing what it can to move on, and thus we finally get a return of the legendary group. Nine Types of Light is a softer, kinder record than much of the rock we've known from TVOTR, but songs like "Red Dress" still bring a little nasty funk into their tight rhythms. For a show-closer, we can expect that Tunde and Dave will cut it loose, so hopefully longtime fans will get their Young Liars fix on.
-Dan Morgridge

Pitchfork Music Festival 2011 Schedule

Note: Colors indicate stage name

Friday, July 15, 2011

3:20 Gatekeeper (BLUE)
3:30 EMA (RED)
4:30 tUnE-yArDs (BLUE)
4:35 Battles (GREEN)
5:30 Thurston Moore (RED)
5:30 Curren$y (BLUE)
6:25 Guided By Voices (GREEN)
6:30 Das Racist (BLUE)
7:20 Neko Case (RED)
7:30 James Blake (BLUE)
8:30 Animal Collective (GREEN)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

1:00 Julianna Barwick (GREEN)
1:00 Chrissy Murderbot ft. MC Zulu (BLUE)
1:45 Woods (RED)
1:55 Sun Airway (BLUE)
2:30 Cold Cave (GREEN)
2:50 G-Side (BLUE)
3:20 Gang Gang Dance (RED)
3:45 Wild Nothing (BLUE)
4:15 No Age (GREEN)
4:45 OFF! (BLUE)
5:15 Destroyer (RED)
5:45 The Radio Dept. (BLUE)
6:15 The Dismemberment Plan (GREEN)
6:45 Twin Shadow (BLUE)
7:25 DJ Shadow (RED)
7:40 Zola Jesus (BLUE)
8:30 Fleet Foxes (GREEN)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

1:00 The Fresh & Onlys (GREEN)
1:00 Darkstar (BLUE)
1:45 Yuck (RED)
1:55 How to Dress Well (BLUE)
2:30 Kurt Vile & the Violators (GREEN)
2:50 Twin Sister (BLUE)
3:45 Shabazz Palaces (BLUE)
4:15 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (GREEN)
4:45 Baths (BLUE)
5:15 Superchunk (RED)
5:45 Kylesa (BLUE)
6:15 Deerhunter (GREEN)
6:45 Toro Y Moi (BLUE)
7:25 Cut Copy (RED)
8:30 TV on the Radio (GREEN)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks, sarah@gapersblock.com
Transmission staff inbox: transmission@gapersblock.com



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