In a festival that lasts from about 1pm to 10pm, you’ve got a full 9 hours of daily music-listening to do, less if you count walking back and forth, resting up, hydrating, eating, boozing and trying to get free shit from the corporate sponsor tents. We did our homework and If we have anything to say about it, here are the bands you should check out, which beautifully showcase the diversity of genres this festival organizers so flawlessly selected, in 5 easy steps per day.
5 must-see artists: SATURDAY
Cloud Nothings @ the Red Stage @ 3:20pm
This sorta-Cleveland-based band (midwest, ftw!!) brings to the festival a lovely traditional indie pop-rock aesthetic to the festival and should be a fun show that showcases debut album favorites as well as tracks from their album released in spring Here and Nowhere Else. No better way to start a festival day than drinking a lemonade and enjoying some lighthearted rock jams.
Pusha T @ the Green stage @ 4:15pm
Though it’s mostly a festival aimed toward the 20-something indie-rock-loving white kid crowd, Pitchfork usually manages to get some pretty great and interesting hip hop acts on the bill. No exception to this rule is Pusha T, aka King Pusha, one half of Clipse and collaborator and producer with the who’s-who in hip hop, released a mad decent album on Kanye’s G.O.O.D. label that has been making waves since last year.
The Field @ the Blue stage @ 6:45pm
The current ultimate in pop ambient is The Field, a Swedish producer whose flowing music is serene as it is exciting. Maybe it’s the 8+ minute songs that have the perfect combination of repetition and sound-building, but you can’t help but let it make its way to be a part of you. Isn’t that what music is about?
FKA Twigs @ the Red stage @ 7:45pm
Bringing some trip hop to the table is FKA Twigs, based out of the UK, who layers some fantastic, echoey vocals over rather dark and lingering basslines, in a perfect balance that is telling of the pop music of our times, but also ventures into exciting new territory.
Neutral Milk Hotel @ the Green stage @ 8:30pm
This band is an institution in indie rock-folk music, an indie band that rises above the rest. They don’t go on tour very often — and when they do, it usually sells out in minutes — have an extensive catalog on wonderful, cohesive albums and should be a treat to catch on a cool Chicago summer night.
5 must-see artists: SUNDAY
Speedy Ortiz @ the Blue stage @ 1:00pm
Though their name is kind of stupid, this band plays some pretty sweet alternative rock, complete with the cute, clear lady vocals and distortion-heavy, post-grunge guitars loudness that carries the songs. Tracks from their latest EP The Real Hair and their 2013 album reminiscent of contemporaries like The History of Apple Pie and predecessors like Electrolane and the overall Chicago alt-rock scene of the 90s.
Perfect Pussy @ the Blue stage @ 1:55pm
“Interference Fits” (video below) is one of the thrashiest, noisiest, loveliest songs I’ve heard in some time and I’ve been looking forward to seeing this band for a while after hearing their badass album from this year, Say Yes to Love, which reminded me a lot of My Bloody Valentine except screamier and a ragw-paced punk bans. Expect a loud, crazy show and a healthy dose of body positivity. Yes, please.
Earl Sweatshirt @ the Red stage @ 3:20pm
Another of my favorite tracks of the year, is “Chum” by Earl Sweatshirt, who you may know from Odd Future. Over a simple looped piano line and beat, he expresses an melancholy that is both relatable and honest, and the rest of the album Doris, has much of the same, going dark places but trying to find the light. The artist is cutting his tour short due to exhaustion, so we are very lucky that he will still be performing at Pitchfork!
DJ Spinn @ the Blue stage @ 6:45pm
Chicago-based DJ Spinn is keeping the juke of the house parties of our teen years alive and bringing it into the light for the rest of America so share. He keeps it classic with lots of claps, House-influenced rhythms and samples that support the main basslines, but hones in on what we love from that diverse genre and makes it his own with an entourage of footwork dancers.
Kendrick Lamar @ the Green stage @ 8:30pm
Over the past handful of years, Kendrick Lamar has exploded into a hip hop powerhouse and prophet. He is the the final artist to perform at this year’s festival and, really, no introduction is necessary.