Every summer, Chicago’s music-loving festival-goers face a dilemma. With many of the city’s festivals touting numerous acts across several stages, the inner turmoil of which performances to see and which to potentially miss reaches a boiling point. Do you stick with the band you’ve seen a few times because you know they’ll put on a great show, or do you catch the next big thing before they make it big? Make the wrong choice and you might miss an epic performance for a band that turns out to be a flash in the pan.
This weekend, the indie-music mecca known as the Pitchfork Music Festival brings the dilemma to Union Park. With a healthy mix of indie-darlings with mainstream viability (Sesame Street visitor, Feist) and virtual unknowns (Chicago’s own Willis Earl Beal), the choice making can get tricky. We’ve done a bit of the dirty work for you and put together a playlist of 10 of our favorite tracks we hope to hear this weekend. Maybe it will make your decision a little easier.
Vampire Weekend – Cousins
They may possibly be the first preps to sing about horchata, but somehow their eclectic mix of world sounds makes us believe they’ve had more than a glass or two. “Cousins” is one of the more upbeat tracks from their last effort, Contra, and will undoubtedly get the crowd moving.
Purity Ring – Belispeak
Back in the ‘90s, it’s possible that Freestyle and Grunge had a love child, and its name is Purity Ring. Seemingly inspired equally by The Cover Girls and Trent Reznor, “Belispeak” is a bewildering track we can’t stop playing over and over again.
Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid
This year’s Reign of Terror amps up the heavy guitar, giving our choice track a grittier feel than Sleigh Bells’ previous efforts. That juxtaposition of pretty pop vocals and drum machine is still there though, which we can’t get enough of.
Willis Earl Beal – Close To Me
Chicago’s native son’s raw, almost unfinished sound is honest, sometimes guttural, and real in every sense of the word. He’s one of the festival’s most interesting choices, and a definite must-see set. A true artist by any means necessary: write him and he’ll draw you a picture; call him and he’ll sing you a song.
Kendrick Lamar – F*ck Your Ethnicity
While the song’s title may have you think otherwise, we can get behind Kendrick Lamar’s message of equality. As one of the most exciting lyricists we’ve seen in a long time, Lamar can be currently heard on the far corners of the radio with Dr. Dre on “The Recipe”.
AraabMuzik – Electronic Dream
Electronic Dream, indeed. The half Dominican, half Guatemalan AraabMuzik weaves a light electronic sound, airy vocals and a hip-hop drum pattern into a musical tapestry all his own. Although he’s collaborated with Dipset, Ludacris and Gucci Mane, he proves can do more than just produce a beat.
Grimes – Oblivion
There’s something enchanting, haunting, almost, in the voice of Claire Boucher, the Vancouver-born artist behind Grimes. After multiple listens, we still can’t tell if she’s purposely singing like a child, or if that’s her real voice. Either way, we like it.
It’s Real – Real Estate
Hard to believe these guys hail from Jersey and not sunny California. Like the Beach Boys reincarnated, Real Estate’s breezy sound screams summertime; a perfect trait for a band playing a summer festival. Unfortunately the four-legged stars of this video are unlikely to make an appearance in Union Park.
Hot Chip – Ready For The Floor
Yes, this is one of Hot Chip’s older songs, but it’s also one of our faves. It’s got just the right amount of upbeat synth to make you move without making you feel like you’re dancing to “Walking On Sunshine”. Plus the Joker and those Vicki Vale-esque robo-babes in the video are totally psyching us up for the new Batman movie.
Danny Brown – Party All The Time
The bulk of XXX is fellow Midwesterner Danny Brown’s self-deprecating, sometimes raunchy accounts of his hard-partying ways. But in “Party All The Time”, he turns the table on his female counterpart to slower paced, chilled out groove.