The Pitchfork Music Festival gains momentum in the Near West Side neighborhood in Chicago at Union Park this weekend. 11 years in, Pitchfork remains one of the more defined festivals – Union Park’s total acres just surpassing 13 and 3-day tickets (still on sale) topping at a mere $165 – with their typically eclectic lineup comes artists you may not have heard of before. That’s okay. We’ll give you a rundown of which 3 artists you definitely need to check out while attending.
Kicking off the entire festival from the Green Stage on Friday is the mesmerizing Julia Holter. After releasing 4 albums over the last 5 years, each album progressively more approachable than the last, this CalArt grad is poised to transport more mainstream audiences; and transport she will. First with the ebb-and-flow quality of her voice — soft and airy one moment, intensely direct the next. Secondly with her impressionistic lyrics, phrases forming images and ideas that present multiple paths for listeners to follow. Finally, as an experimental composer, building simple piano chords into weightless orchestrations, buoyed by layers upon layers of her arresting voice. Holter presents an expansiveness that will certainly soar in the open, festival air.
Essential Track: any of them from her latest album Have You in My Wilderness. Seriously. They’re all beautiful.
As every festival needs it’s shout-along choruses, Saturday afternoon’s Blue Stage brings us Australia’s Royal Headache. Breezy. Catchy. Stirring. The name of the game here is hooks and Royal Headache has daks loads of them. Lead singer, Shogun, belts these hooks with a soul-punk aesthetic that rivals artists of both seemingly disparate genres. The energy of their live sets should propel fest-goers’ hearts and feet in all the best ways.
Essential Track: “Need You” from their most recent album, High. Get down to that organ solo!
Sunday’s Red Stage finds Porches’ lead vocalist and mouse-clicker, Aaron Maine, creating pocket-sized, electronic daydreams. Written and produced in bedroom-tapes style, though crisp in its quality, Porches latest album does not shy away from synth-laden, looping beats and autotune. At times, you might feel the urge to clunkily dance. At other times, you might want to hum along to the simple melodies. Either way, you will be entranced by their pleasant balance of brightness and drift; in a crowd of people, under blue skies, feeling the waves wash over you.
Essential Track: swaying dance-track “Be Apart” off their latest album, Pool.
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