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The Transverso Guide to Pitchfork Music Festival 2017

Music ListTransverso MediaComment

Pitchfork Music Festival is an experiential embodiment of the magazine itself, topped off with all the sweat and smoke you reflexively sense when reading their articles. All the artists too cool for Lollapalooza descend on Union Park just a few weeks before in the publication's (and our!) native Chicago, and we've taken the liberty of condensing the lineup into a handy guide you can use to preview what's in store this weekend.


FRIDAY


Hiss Golden Messenger (Red Stage - 3:00)
What’s this? An artist who has some predominant twang and mountain revival gospel roots featured on the Pitchfork Musical Festival lineup!? Say it ain’t so! Anyway, trade in your dad hats for a decidedly more Stetson-y aesthetic, because Hiss Golden Messenger is bringing some much needed Americana grit to the ultimate poseur festival on the calendar. Coming off of 2016’s Heart Like a Levee, MC Taylor is one of the few aritists in rotation today that have become consistently better with each subsequent release. So, if you want some pickin’ music to mix things up before you see Vince Staples, then Hiss Golden Messenger would serve as an interesting pre-Crabs in a Bucket fare. (Sean McHugh)

Vince Staples (Green Stage - 4:00)
Rap’s current “Big Fish,” as far as hip-hop personas go and as his recent studio release Big Fish Theory suggests, is a strong addition to the festival and helps maintain Pitchfork’s reputation for diversified and well-curated lineups. Performances of Staples’ new material will satiate an audience hunger for hip-hop bangers, invigorating electronic beats, and recitable hooks. Those who have yet to hear the new album need not be alarmed as Staples’ latest release will easily captivate fans previously earned and win over new ones. [Editor's Note: Not to mention Vince Staples' feature was probably the best part of the new Gorillaz record, too.] (Ezra Carpenter)

 

William Tyler (Blue Stage - 4:00)
One of the prides and joys of Nashville, Tennessee, William Tyler is a man that everyone has heard but never realized. His unique brand of post-bluegrass/country music brings about a side of the Southeast that many have never considered. Concise and deft in his ways, Tyler and his backing band (typically consisting of members from Margo Price and Bully) elicit sounds and senses of a Southern sound making its way into a proud but creeping decay, with the slightest sliver of hope trickling through each and every one of Tyler’s fine finger picking. Unfortunately, Tyler drew the toughest slot share of fest going up against Vince Staples’ set, which will undoubtedly be the belle of the ball (festival). (Sean McHugh)

Thurston Moore Group (Red Stage - 5:00)
Undoubtedly included in the lineup as means for Pitchfork to retain its ties to the indy-establishment community, post-punk legend Thurston Moore will be a polarizing act for the festival audience. Millennials will either embrace Moore’s cultivated practice of ambient punk or rip their ears off entirely from a boredom induced by music they simply don’t understand. Guitar enthusiasts, avid fans of experimental music, and post-punk die-hards do not need any persuasion as to why they should not miss out on a performance by the Sonic Youth founding member. But casual Sonic Youth fans (whose favorite of their catalog is most likely Goo) and those unfamiliar with their work should be weary of lengthy, downtempo post-punk instrumentals that do little to win over impatient listeners. (Ezra Carpenter)

Frankie Cosmos (Blue Stage - 5:15)
Under the guise Frankie Cosmos, Greta Kline has established herself as one of the finest songwriters of her generation. Her intimate, earnest lyrics are as emotionally transparent as a diary entry and as charmingly frank as a gossip sesh with your best friend. Her hooks worm their way into your brain, often weeks after you first hear them. So even if you’ve never heard her, check out Frankie Cosmos on the Blue Stage. By September, you’ll know all their songs by heart. (Julian Axelrod)

Kamaiyah (Green Stage - 6:30)
Fresh off her appearance on this year’s XXL Freshmen Class cover (the only female MC, bafflingly), Oakland’s own Kamaiyah is riding a massive wave of well-deserved hype. Her incredible mixtape A Good Night in the Ghetto is the perfect distillation of her bright, funky sound, which recalls Salt-N-Pepa and TLC but sounds completely singular. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun show at this year’s fest. (Julian Axelrod)

Dirty Projectors (Red Stage - 7:00)
Upcoming Dirty Projectors’ performances bear more of a loss than a win for avid fans. On one hand, you will have the new material featured on their recent self-titled LP at your disposal with the band’s signature electro-pop sound nuanced with the dancehall influence that has marked most popular music this past year. But sadly, you will miss out on the vocal and guitar contributions by hallmark member Amber Coffman, who left the band to begin a solo venture catalyzed by the disintegration of her relationship with former partner and DP frontman Dave Longstreth. Within the context of Pitchfork’s Friday lineup, Dirty Projectors will serve you best as a palate cleanser for headlining act LCD Soundsystem. They will do well to help you adjust from the hip-hop/R&B/industrial electronic acts (Danny Brown, Vince Staples, Arca, and DAWN) featured on the day’s lineup. (Ezra Carpenter)

Acra (Blue Stage - 7:45)
If ever there were a sound that would be simply and best described as being “creepy” while not being a post-punk emo band consigned to Warped Tour oblivion, Arca would be at the top of the heap. Alejandro Ghersi’s self-titled 2017 release is by far and away his best AND creepiest/WTF-iest. Where other records like 2015’s Mutant went for a more devilish production route, S/T is remarkably pop-y (if you can consider music that sounds like the revised soundtrack of Saw-meets-Antichrist to be pop-y) and insatiably listenable. If you want to impress even the Pitchfork-iest of wannabe scenesters at Pitchfork Fest this year, then sticking it out during Arca will almost certainly impress those strangers you desperately seek validation from! (Sean McHugh)

 

 

LCD Soundsystem (Green Stage - 8:10)
15 years later and they haven’t quite lost their edge yet. Like we wrote in our preview of Lollapalooza last year, LCD Soundsystem are about as good as a headlining act can get. Say what you will about their temporary breakup and subsequent reunion, you’d have to be heartless to sit through a live rendition of “Dance Yrself Clean” and not feel at least a decent hit of euphoria. With the introduction of new instant classics “call the police” and “american dream” to their set, plus some other unreleased tracks from the forthcoming return record American Dream (due out September 1 via Columbia / DFA), James Murphy and co will continue to rise like a phoenix from the ashes, even if New York still brings them down. All you have to do is show up. (Weston Pagano)


SATURDAY


Weyes Blood (Green Stage - 2:30)
A quiet, yet deserving member of the “next-wave” of west coast indie stars (as christened through association with Father John Misty and Ariel Pink), Weyes Blood is one of the most refined new talents in music. Orchestral compositions spread across infectious melodies make for a magnificent and beguiling live experience that settles quite nicely into the Pitchfork aesthetic. Decidedly more reserved than the delightful garage-ska of Jeff Rosen and the Rock chic of Cherry Glazerr, Weyes Blood is a nice mid-afternoon comedown on Pitchfork Fest’s second day. (Sean McHugh)

 

Mitski (Blue Stage - 4:00)
In-studio performances with various radio-stations and online media outlets have revealed a tasteful versatility in Mitski’s live performance arsenal. The artist behind 2016’s Puberty 2 is able to manage solo performances accompanied only by an electric guitar and amp, as well as support from drums and rhythm  guitar (in which case she hops on bass). Mitski Miyawaki is a true music virtuoso with proficiency in several instruments and a keen ability to curate a performance according to individual venues and audiences. It is always a unique opportunity to experience a grassroots independent artist taking on an outdoor venue and one would be wise not to miss out on her set. She pairs well with fellow New York-based independent artist Vagabon (also featured on the Saturday lineup) and will be a great primer for Angel Olsen.  (Ezra Carpenter)

Angel Olsen (Green Stage - 6:15)
The best Olsen sister of them all, Angel is set for a homecoming of sorts after leaving Chicago for Asheville, North Carolina back in fall of 2013. Coming off of last summer's rollickingly infectious "Shut Up Kiss Me" and the rest of her breakthrough album My Woman, it'll be worth stopping by the Green Stage for that single alone. (Weston Pagano)

 

Madlib (Blue Stage - 6:30)
If you are at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 and actively choose to skip out on Madlib’s set then you are - to place it in layman’s terms - a loser. Madlib is an absolute and unequivocal of hip-hop, rap, house, electronic, chillwave, and everything else Pitchfork readers salivate over. He is the All Father of modern urban music. AKA Otis Jackson, Jr. is the go to collaborator for one of the most criminally underrated rappers of his generation, MF DOOM, and has created one of the greatest rap albums of all time, Madvillainy. I mean, come on, the dude has worked with Mos Def, Kanye, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, AND has been on heavy rotation in every DJ worth his or her weight in wax. Seriously, I cannot reiterate enough, if you are in attendance at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 and you choose NOT to see Madlib, please do return. Go see Madlib, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, GO. SEE. MADLIB. (Sean McHugh)

A Tribe Called Quest (Green Stage - 8:30)
Hip-hop greats currently celebrating a late career second wind, and the life of esteemed emcee and former founding member Phife Dawg, will navigate through their performance by revisiting classic tracks and new material from 2016’s politically charged We Got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. Performing throughout the 2000s, Q-Tip developed an onstage presence that is more lively, energetic, and tenacious than anything from ATCQ’s catalog would suggest. Hip-hop heads young and old need not worry of whether or not these veterans still have the stamina to energize a crowd. Q-Tip’s mellow delivery and tack-sharp lyrics over Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s pristine work on the ones and twos are vintage hip-hop at its finest. (Ezra Carpenter)


SUNDAY


Kilo Kish (Green Stage - 1:00)
One of the coolest acts on Pitchfork’s lineup this year, Kilo Kish is exactly what someone like Kehlani wishes she could be. She’s the performance art contemporary of SZA and NONAME, and immediate associate of Vince Staples (AOTY?), so if that’s not endorsement enough, then you probably aren’t one for her set. Nevertheless, if you’re at Pitchfork Fest, you should go because her 2016 LP Reflections in Real Time kicks as AND she’s the only one playing during her time slot. (Sean McHugh)
 

 

 

Colin Stetson (Red Stage - 1:45)
Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, BadBadNotGood, Animal Collective, David Gilmour, Feist, Timber Timbre, Tom Waits, TV on the Radio. Yes, those are all bands that Pitchfork has an obsessive Stan-ism for, but they are also bands that have called upon alto and baritone saxophonist extraordinaire Colin Stetson for all their brasswind needs. On top of such a fact, Stetson’s live set and solo work is absolutely exceptional - he gerry rigs his own unique microphone apparatus (effectively a choker around his neck) that picks up guttural noises emanating not only from his core, but also his esophagus. His live set is all but a masterclass in circular breathing and live-sound MacGyvering, so if you’re one for DIY-isms, then Stetson’s set is a must see. (Sean McHugh)

NE-HI (Green Stage - 2:30)
Pitchfork is relatively light on hometown heroes this year, so make sure you show out for Chicago’s own NE-HI. The scrappy foursome traffics in sun-bleached, nostalgic guitar anthems that were custom-made for drinking on a friend’s porch. Their infectious riffs recall fellow Chicago mainstays Twin Peaks (who played Pitchfork last year) but NE-HI’s earnest tone sets them apart. The gang is holding down a prime spot on the main stage, so come celebrate their success by cracking open a cold one with these boys. (Julian Axelrod)

Isaiah Rashad (Red Stage - 3:20)
One of the best rappers working and yet somehow can’t seem to garner the respect of his contemporaries. He’s a southern rapper (Chattanooga, Tennessee) that managed to work his way into the XXL Freshman class of 2014, which included Kevin Gates, August Aslina, Vic Mensa, and some guy named Chance the Rapper (pre-spiritual revival) and Rashad STILL managed to murder the cypher. His post-2014 work has been equally as exceptional and under covered, but if you hit his Sunday set at Pitchfork Festival, you will hopefully convert to a Rashad disciple rather than Chance. (Sean McHugh)

Joey Purp (Green Stage - 4:00)
Joey Purp is yet another Chicago-based rapper that counts the like of Julien Ehrlich of Whitney and Mac DeMarco as fans; so if that isn’t Pitchfork-y enough for you, then you aren’t at Pitchfork. Otherwise, you should still check out Joey Purp because he’s a founding member of Savemoney (whose alumni include Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa) and he samples Drake’s “Gyalchester” on his song “Gucci Link.” That fact alone is worth hitting his set (and because his set is ultimately more interesting than Hamilton Leithauser, speaking from experience). (Sean McHugh)

Hamilton Leithauser (Green Stage - 4:15)
Because Rostam is never along for the live shows it can be easy to forget that The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser’s newest album is not technically a solo record. He and his live band, which includes former members of Spoon and White Rabbits, still do more than a sufficient job performing the duo’s fantastic I Had A Dream That You Were Mine, though. “I use the same voice I always had,” Leithauser belts out on “Sick as a Dog,” and despite the “extreme hiatus” of his original act there’s really no excuse to miss out on those world class pipes in any context while he’s still able to howl and wail with such passionate power. (Weston Pagano)

Pinegrove (Blue Stage - 5:15)
Arguably the greatest Bandcamp band to date, Evan Stephens-Hall and his Montclair, NJ cohorts bring their blue-chip millennial middle class spectral gazing to an otherwise lavish Pitchfork lineup (then again, the festival is the wannabe indie “tastemakers” wet dream). Anyway, Pitchfork is yet another festival stop on what has become a near two-year victory lap for Pinegrove highly lauded debut album Cardinal. There will undoubtedly be countless fervent and angst-laden Pingrovians, as the band’s faithful travel extremely well. Certainly a must see if you’re looking for more guitar and viscerality as opposed to the majority of Pitchfork’s beat-saturated 2017 lineup. (Sean McHugh)

The Avalanches (Green Stage - 6:25)
Most artists wouldn’t be able to come back from a 15-year hiatus. Then again, most artists aren’t the Avalanches. More than a decade after their seminal debut Since I Left You, the Australian group returned with another silly, sunny, sample-heavy sound collage in Wildflower. Even more impressively, they expanded their sound (including collaborations with Toro y Moi and fellow Pitchfork performer Danny Brown) while still sounding like they did in 2000. The group doesn’t tour often, so this may be your last chance to see them… until they drop their third album in 2033. (Julian Axelrod)

Jamila Woods (Blue Stage - 6:30)
Solange’s 2016 masterpiece A Seat at the Table earned her a much-deserved headlining spot at Pitchfork this year. But before you hear “Cranes in the Sky” live and ascend to heaven, make time to see another incredible 2016 R&B album come to life. Chicago singer/poet Jamila Woods gained widespread acclaim with her solo debut HEAVN, a deeply stirring and empathetic work about struggling to find peace amongst personal and political turmoil. It’s an invigorating record, and Woods brings the same mix of warmth and passion to the stage. (Julian Axelrod)

 

American Football (Blue Stage - 7:45)
The godfathers of American emo and native sons of Illinois (Urbana) who helped bring Chicago independent music into bloom in the late '90s have hit the festival circuit in support of their self-titled second LP (released in 2016 and not to be confused with their 1999 debut which was also self-titled…). Household name amongst indy/emo circles, Mike Kinsella has returned with the band’s original members to capitalize on 90s nostalgia and the hometown yearning for the unapologetic emotionality of their cult classic debut. Known for the technicality of their math rock sound, the sharpness and complexity of their instrumentals alone qualify American Football as a must-see. If not for their pristine instrumentation, see them to indulge in your forgone teenage feelings and perhaps buy yourself a PBR or some fireball to realize the sentiment.  (Ezra Carpenter)

Nicolas Jaar (Red Stage - 7:25)
Its highly likely that Nicolas Jaar is your favorite DJ-producer’s DJ, and yet somehow, most people who claim to be up-to-snuff on their scene knowledge leave him unabashedly unlisted in their “top-DJs-working” lists. So, if you wish to make up for past transgressions of not-listening-ness, then hit up Nicolas Jaar’s set. He put out one of the best experimental records of the decade in 2016’s Sirens as well as one of 2017’s best Boiler Room TV sessions. Go see him to prep for Solange, if you’re trying to groove instead of feel blue after American Football’s set. (Sean McHugh)

Solange (Green Stage - 8:30)
Pitchfork named Solange’s 2016 LP A Seat at the Table its number one album of the year. Her live performance is as visually striking as her music is provocative. Elaborate stage decor and lush wardrobe pieces create a medium that amplifies her songs’ conceptions of black beauty, assessments of race relations, and interrogations of the African American identity. A live performance by Solange is nothing short of an enriching experience sonically, visually, and intellectually. As Sunday’s headliner, she is an undeniable match for her festival headlining peers and has the potential to come out of the weekend as the best performer amongst them. (Ezra Carpenter)

LCD Soundsystem Releases the First Two Tracks Since Their Return, "call the police" / "american dream"

New Music, Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

There once was a band called LCD Soundsystem, and now there is again.

Releasing the first two tracks of their rebirth era at midnight, the "double A side" of “call the police” / “american dream” is the first recorded taste of what's to come for a band that took a few years off, "staring at the computer. wearing headphones. yelling into transducers. missing bowie. looking at calendars. hoping there's enough time. stretching."

In a long Facebook post James Murphy elaborates on the uncertainty around the forthcoming release date for the band's much-anticipated return record, muses on future tour plans, and criticizes the scalping industry.

Despite Murphy's introspective lamentation of "Losing My Edge" all those years ago, LCD don't feel as if they've lost a drop of measured urgency as the new singles convey a timely mix of references to class warfare and political discourse, emotional turmoil, gender norms, and the unavoidable march of time and death. These themes are at least partially dredged through LSD-tinged reflection and all of course clocking in at a minimum of six minutes.

"call the police" and "american dream" are almost certainly going to be performed during LCD Soundsystem's SNL performance tonight, and you can hear both tracks below right now, via YouTube videos of the singles being played on vinyl, because of course they are.

Transverso's Guide to Lollapalooza 2016

Music ListTransverso MediaComment

Longtime staple of both the Chicago and music festival experiences, each year Lollapalooza earns their reputation as one of the premiere menageries the performance industry can offer. Lolla, as the kids call it, needs no introduction at all, in fact, but we’ve written one anyway to justify our staff compiling such a lengthy list of recommendations (and condemnations) for this year’s edition. So if you’re still building your schedule, torn between conflicts, or just don’t know much about the bands that’ll be there, this is the guide for you!


THURSDAY


Pinegrove (Petrillo Bandshell 12:15-1:00)

So you didn’t want to go to Lollapalooza. It’s too big, too loud, and way too crowded, but your friends talked you into buying a ticket and now you’re at a goddamn music festival at noon on a goddamn Thursday. New Jersey punks Pinegrove feel your pain. On their incredible new album Cardinal, singer-guitarist Evan Stephens Hall crafts antisocial anthems that thread the line between emo and country, alchemizing unease and isolation into universally relatable howl-alongs. (Standout single “New Friends” is a rousing power ballad about deciding to have more than three acquaintances.) Pinegrove specialize in songs that sound great screamed in a giant crowd or whispered alone in your room, and their festival-opening slot offers you a rare chance to choose the former over the latter.  (Julian Axelrod)

Autolux (Samsung 12:45-1:30) 

Coming off a delightfully peculiar and long-awaited return on Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records with Pussy’s Dead, Autolux are uniquely melancholic in a captivating way. Despite their relatively under-the-radar history, you may know founding member and multi-instrumentalist Carla Azar as one of Jack White’s main studio and touring drummers. (Weston Pagano)

Lucy Dacus (BMI Stage 1:00-1:40)

Seeing a festival set based on one song is a risky proposition, but early Thursday afternoon is a prime time for experimentation, and when the song is as good as Lucy Dacus’s “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore,” it’s not much of a risk. The track is a deft, subtle breakdown of the ways women are pigeonholed into types – the Funny Girl, the Cute Girl, the Groupie. It’ll have you laughing as you cringe with recognition, a trick Dacus pulls throughout her strong debut No Burden. The record recalls sarcastic storytellers like Jenny Lewis and Courtney Barnett, but comparing Dacus to other women does her a disservice. Don’t come to this show to see a Type – come to see Lucy Dacus kick ass. (Julian Axelrod)

Hiatus Kaiyote (Petrillo Bandshell 2:00-3:00)

The Melbourne-sprung Hiatus Kaiyote lead off early in the festival, and is a standout performer among its peers. This is a must see act, particularly anyone trying to bend their knees and swing their hips. Coming off a salutary reprise of "Laputa” in collaboration with Taylor McFerrin and Anderson Paak in April, the psychedelic soul outfit is in top form. Lolla is the first stop on their lengthy North American tour, so they should be full authentic giddiness and energy. Whether you’re trippin’ hard on something good and need a deep groove or atmospheric musings to set your mind right, want to get down’n dirty with some dance moves, or just want to vibe with a beer in hand, Hiatus has got you covered. (Andrew Meriwether) 

Yeasayer (Lakeshore 3:30-4:30)

Despite their latest LP being named Amen & Goodbye (arguably one of the best and most under-appreciated records of 2016), Yeasayer will be saying hello to Chicago for the third time in as many months when they ascend the Lakeshore Stage on Thursday. Not that we could get tired of seeing them, though, as the psychedelic freak-folk rock electro-pop trio wear many hats and wear them exceedingly well. Don’t miss their aftershow-that’s-really-a-preshow on Wednesday, as their sound always conveys better indoors and their impeccably intriguing performance decorations that play with the Sgt. Peppers-esque album art direction motif will likely not make it onstage at the festival itself. (Weston Pagano)

Wild Child (BMI 4:30-5:10)

I first saw Wild Child after we interviewed them at SXSW. It was in a small church downtown in their native Austin, and every time the band swore - in a song or otherwise - they semi-jokingly cringed and asked “Can we say that in here?” They’re the cutest folk outfit, but now they can say whatever the fuck they want out in Grant Park as well. (Weston Pagano)

The Arcs (Lakeshore 7:30-8:30)

Once you listened to a couple Black Keys records, you’ve pretty much listened to them all, right? So why go see Dan Auerbach, the lead vocalist and guitarist of BK, when you’ve got the plenty of other artists who could punch your eardrums? Because The Arcs, Auerbach’s most recent solo project, are not a blues rock band, and because they kick a lot of ass. On 2015's very well received Yours, Dreamily, Auerbach delves into the psychedelic and macabre both musically and lyrically; a refreshing departure from his past productions. His time behind boards as a producer has also broadened his sound beyond riff-a-licious jams to include horns, synths, and a dizzying collage of other fantastic instrumentation. Fit this veteran into your evening schedule - you won’t be disappointed. (Andrew Meriwether) 

Lana Del Rey (Budlight 8:45-10:00)

Do people really still like Lana Del Rey? (Weston Pagano)


FRIDAY


Lewis Del Mar (Bud Light 12:45-1:45)

After surfing with MGMT convinced them to sign to Columbia, Lewis Del Mar burst onto the scene with a confident "Can you please sit the fuck down?" We assume they'll be asking - and getting - the opposite this Friday. (Weston Pagano)

Joey Purp (Perry’s 2:30-3:15)

There is a truly astounding amount of incredible rap coming out of Chicago right now, and the city’s vital scene is well represented on the Lolla lineup, from perpetually rising star Vic Mensa to Rick Rubin disciple Towkio. Joey Purp may not have the same recognition as his comrades at the fest (yet) but he’s making the most interesting music. His mixtape iiiDrops crackles with inspiration as Purp recounts his violent upbringing and with a dead-eyed mumble, somehow sounding sleepy and urgent simultaneously. And the man has an incredible ear for beats, from the throwback Neptunes funk of “Girls @” (with Chance the Rapper) to the dying elephant bounce of “Photobooth.” Whether you’re a Chicago native or a first-time visitor, don’t miss this preview of the city’s next big star. (Julian Axelrod)

Foals (Samsung 4:00-5:00)

Still on the road a year out from their fourth LP What Went Down, Foals bring one of the most aggressively exhilarating indie rock sets to the festival stage. The youthful hints of mathiness in their set have been all but drowned out in favor of their more mature, denser sound of late, but you won’t be able to analyze much of anything with Yannis Philippakis shredding guitar whilst splayed out on top of you. Look for “Inhaler” to turn the droves of calmly-swaying-white-guys into an animalistic frenzy as cries of “I can’t get enough SPAAACE” go from purely metaphorical to literal, too. (Weston Pagano)

Sunflower Bean (BMI 6:50-7:30)

Sunflower Bean finds themselves in the unfortunate predicament of being surrounded by heavy reputations: Future, Miike Snow, and M83 are all set to perform in neighboring time slots. But for the rock fan whose feelings on grunge-rock are more fond than ill, Sunflower Bean may be the band to see. Their post-punk is fast and aggressive and guitarist Nick Kivlen is a true virtuoso on the axe. If you’re swayed more by advocacy, the Brooklyn-based band stands opposed to the plethora of shoegaze that the New York borough’s music scene has been producing. So if you’re in the mood for aggressive guitars or feel like protesting the shoegaze genre, check out Sunflower Bean.  (Ezra Carpenter)

Miike Snow (Lakeshore 7:00-8:00)

Those of you who still don’t know Miike Snow probably are familiar with Britney Spear's "Toxic" and Bruno Mars' "Grenade," the world-beating hits the Swedish writers and producers were the masterminds behind. But for the rest of us, it's been a few years of waiting for them to tour again like they are now in support of their latest record, iii. After their hiatus the first few shows were noticeably rusty at times (frontman Andrew Wyatt nearly killed a girl with a mic stand when I saw them at SXSW in March), but they’ve almost certainly gelled back to their delightful old ways since then. Either way, their uniquely engaging brand of perfect pop that blends professional polish with indie edge make this a set you should see. (Weston Pagano)

M83 (Samsung Stage 6:00-7:00) 

Friends, family and fellow 2011 nostalgists: We are here today not to bury M83, but to praise them. (Or rather, him.) While many people populate the stage at an M83 show (including Dallas musician Kaela Sinclair, who joined the touring band after an open call for keyboardists) the project is the brainchild of Anthony Gonzalez. The French pop mastermind was thrust into the mainstream on the heels of hit single “Midnight City,” which you might know on the off chance you’ve seen a movie, TV show, or commercial in the past 5 years. This year’s follow-up album Junk seemed at first like a decisive (and divisive) left turn away from the epic, windswept pop anthems that cemented M83’s place atop festival lineups, filled with overtly cheesy synth struts and melodramatic strings that evoke the elevator music in an overpriced '80s hotel. But like a weird foreign soap opera you find on cable at 3 AM and end up watching until sunrise, Junk is packed with peculiar pleasures. Give yourself up to Gonzalez’s vision of a pop utopia – it is a world unlike any other.  (Julian Axelrod)

Radiohead (Samsung Stage 8:00-10:00)

No introduction needed for this Friday headliner, but the release of LP9 and the reintroduction of “Creep” to the band’s set has reinvigorated fan curiosity and interest. Firstly, Radiohead has consistently played A Moon Shaped Pool true to its tracklist until its fifth track: “Ful Stop.” The front end of the album has been well-received for its stoic and somber tone, so expect to get very intimate with the band from an early onset. Now onto the issue of “Creep.” We get it, the majority most probably despises the reinclusion of the band’s 1993 single. However, this majority is also likely comprised of fans who have followed Radiohead’s progression since the release of 1993’s Pablo Honey. So to the younger Radiohead fan: this may be one of the few times you will ever hear “Creep” performed live if you haven’t experienced it already. However one may feel about the song, it is undoubtedly a privilege to hear it performed live. EDM fans will be split between Martin Garrix and Major Lazer, so the Radiohead crowd should consist of a homogeneous set of genuine Radiohead fans. (Ezra Carpenter)


SATURDAY


AudioDamn! (BMI 1:00-1:45)

Fresh-faced and endearing, the up-and-coming German trio told Transverso all about their debut EP and subsequent first American tour in our interview not too long ago. Expect a playful show in which their clean suits do little to betray solid rock and roll chops. (Weston Pagano)

Big Grams (Samsung 4:15-5:15)

Though starting out as an unexpected pairing, the Big Boi + Phantogram supergroup have become staples of this year’s festival circuit following their self-titled debut, and we’re excited to see these #FestivalKillers supply their #JediRapShit at Lolla this year. Also look for Phantogram’s aftershow at House of Blues on Sunday which will be their first of many dates in support of their forthcoming record, Three - whether or not Big Boi will appear in that as well remains to be seen. (Weston Pagano)

Leon Bridges (Bud Light 4:45-5:45)

Saturday night offers a wide selection for those looking for vanguard of foundational genres. Whether it’s country’s golden boy Chris Stapleton, The Band-channeling Houndmouth, or the foot-stomping Nathaniel Ratcliff and the Night Sweats, one can easily get their fill of the horns, tube amps, and Rhodes organs. Carrying the mantel for classic Soul is Leon Bridges, whose career has skyrocketed since releasing a couple of tracks on SoundCloud two years ago. Bridges seems to be the walking definition of vintage. Everything from his tucked white t-shirts in high waisted jeans to the analogue tinged sound of his records is something out of another era, or perhaps a hyper real version of an era. You may not get anything “new” per se from this performance, as he essentially stays in the safety of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding type tracks. Nonetheless, Bridges ability spark that comforting feeling of nostalgia will undoubtedly delight audiences. So give yourself a break and go enjoy some smooth crooning. (Andrew Meriwether) 

Chris Stapleton (Petrillo Bandshell 5:45-6:45)

The country act - still quite the anomaly for well-established music festivals. Yes, Chris Stapleton is definitely a performance out of left field, yet his popularity is as unquestionable as his vocal talent. Stapleton’s voice is a rustic, molasses-smooth brand of country ballad that will resonate with fans of R&B, soul, blues, and traditional male vocals. He deserves the highest attendance for his allotted time slot (excusing Jane’s Addiction die-hards) and is sure to please anyone who can appreciate a good voice. If you find yourself undecided on who to see early Saturday evening, take a chance on Stapleton. (Ezra Carpenter)

Houndmouth (Pepsi 6:30-7:15)

One could make a strong argument that the market for alt-country bands is oversaturated. Fans may be burnt out on bemoaning lost love and rehashes of blues bar brawls, and genre is a reaching a breaking point and the whole edifice may come crashing down (which, I suppose, may end up being a decent country song). Luckily, one can take solace in a group like Houndmouth. The band is nothing if not earnest, which is hard to come by these days with acts like The Lumineers, whose one-trick-pony folk tunes have spawned a whole litany of saccharin imitators. Houndmouth is steeped in the Music From Big Pink and Basement Tapes rock, and they do about a good a job as anybody at tapping that raw emotional power found in the old masters. On a warm summer evening, on the cusp of rowdiness and love, you won’t find anything much better than Houndmouth. (Andrew Meriwether)

Grimes (Lakeshore 7:30-8:30)

When the Coachella organizers booked Grimes opposite Guns 'n' Roses, they made a clear statement: Give this artist three years (and one more great album) and they’ll be headlining every festival in existence. Listening to last year’s bone-crushingly sweet masterpiece Art Angels, it’s hard not to see Grimes as a global superstar from an alternate dimension who slums it on our planet as a critically acclaimed indie darling. Right now she’s in a weird limbo between the two, so this may be your last chance to see Grimes in any sort of intimate setting before she blows the fuck up. (Julian Axelrod)

Disclosure (Bud Light 8:30-10:00)

A lot of variety to pick from for Saturday’s closing acts: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hardwell, Vic Mensa, and Disclosure. Saturday’s closing action seems to offer something for fans of every genre to appreciate. Not to be underestimated is the hometown boy Vic Mensa’s performance of his new, politically-charged material. But if the headlining RHCP don’t quite pique your interest, Disclosure will surely be the most fun way to spend your time. The release of their latest Moog for Love EP promises a return to their old U.K. garage house style and though their second LP Caracal demonstrated a shift towards more accessible pop music, the transition hasn’t curbed the band’s ability to inspire dance. (Ezra Carpenter)


SUNDAY


Låpsley (Samsung 12:45-1:30)

It’s Sunday afternoon and somehow, you’ve found yourself back at the festival at way too early of an hour, still feeling the effects of Saturday night’s drinking. Låpsley may be the cure to your hangover. Coming off Long Way Home, Her atmospheric and minimalist pop/R&B is incredibly easy to listen to and exudes a sensational sort of spatial relaxation - Låpsley’s Sunday afternoon set would be a perfect way to ease yourself into the day.  (Ezra Carpenter)

FIDLAR (Bud Light 2:45-3:45)

This band turned heads when their “Cocaine” music video featured a montage of Nick Offerman public urination, but FIDLAR has more credit owed to them than just their ability to enlist star power in their visuals. For one, FIDLAR will definitely contend for the best moshpit of Lollapalooza. Their fanbase comes together in full energy and enthusiasm for each show. FIDLAR’s set is worth their cover of the Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage” alone. Stop by if you’re in the mood for some rough, high-throttle moshpitting, the Sunday mid-afternoon time slot is pretty slender anyway. (Ezra Carpenter)

Third Eye Blind (Petrillo Bandshell 3:45-4:45)

When I saw Third Eye Blind on the Lolla lineup, I laughed. Don’t get me wrong – I love “Semi-Charmed Life” as much as the next guy. But I couldn’t figure out why the ostensibly one-hit wonders were playing a major festival in 2016. Then the RNC happened. According to Cleveland.com, 3EB were scheduled to cover “several pro-America anthems” at a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame charity show during the convention. Instead, the band skipped most of their big hits, railed against the party’s anti-gay policies and quipped, “Who here believes in science?” to glorious boos. In summation: I love Third Eye Blind, “Jumper” is a fucking jam, and if you skip this set you hate America and science and the LGBT community. (Julian Axelrod)

Local Natives (Bud Light 4:45-5:45)

I once saw Local Natives from what felt like a mile away from the stage amidst a sea of melting people in direct sunlight at Bonnaroo. I distinctly remember feeling trapped and wondering if I put on enough sunscreen as it was 100 degrees and the midday sun was mercilessly brutal to our tired bodies. Despite this, it was still one of the most enjoyable sets of the entire festival, as Local Natives' power and poise reached out all the way to where I was, making me forget the pain. They’re thankfully a little later in the day this weekend (4:45), but it’ll still be hot. At least their new album is appropriately named Sunlit Youth. (Weston Pagano)

 

HAIM (Bud Light 6:45-7:45) 

Transverso recommends boycotting HAIM until they apologize to Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste for abandoning his friendship for Snake-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named(Weston Pagano)

Vince Staples (Pepsi 7:45-8:30)

Stage banter is an underrated art. By the time you hit day four of your 10th music festival of the summer, you’ve lost all patience for the “How’s everybody feelin’ out there?” and “We love you, Chicago!” bullshit you hear at every show. No one understands this better than Long Beach rapper Vince Staples, who has garnered a reputation as the enfant terrible of the festival circuit. The same dark humor and perceptive wit that made last year’s bracing Summertime ’06 an instant classic manifests itself onstage as Staples takes aim at the suffocating corporatization of every fest, like when he told off Spotify at SXSW while performing at a Spotify event. You should see Staples because he’s one of the best rappers out there, but the fact that he’s playing the Pepsi Stage makes this show even more enticing. (Julian Axelrod)

LCD Soundsystem (Samsung 8:25-10:00)

What hasn’t already been said about LCD Soundsystem’s reunion? The dance punk veterans are resurrected and they’re going to perform “Dance Yrself Clean,” and that’s all that matters. It’s worth the entry price alone, but it will also be joined by “I Can Change,” “All My Friends,” and “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down.” James Murphy is going to croon and howl and we might cry - there truly isn't a better set to end the festival with. If any Arcade Fire members make cameos we called it first. (Weston Pagano)

 

The 7 Best Songs Over 7 Minutes Long From the Last 7 Years

Music ListWeston PaganoComment

Ever since John Lennon decided to add a few minutes of “Na Na Na’s” to the end of what would become the timeless hit “Hey Jude” purely to piss off the radio stations with strict three or four minute run-time limitations, artists everywhere have experimented with song length, often to brilliant results. While many “Best of” lists of this nature have been compiled before, they contain almost exclusively classic rock tracks such as “Free Bird” and Pink Floyd; looking amidst our own generation I give you the seven best songs over seven minutes long from the last seven years in chronological order. Compound songs (hidden tracks and such) were not considered.


Peter Bjorn and John / Up Against The Wall

Writer’s Block (2006)

7:06

Delightful Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John claim to be Abba’s illegitimate sons. While that may be ridiculous, they do have a legitimate claim to something else: The title of most underrated indie pop rock band. While you may have heard their whistling hit “Young Folks,” overlooking the rest of the masterpiece album,Writer’s Block, is a terrible mistake, especially “Up Against The Wall.” The rolling drums, meandering guitar, and subtle vocalization techniques combine to make such a biting reflection of a relationship deceptively upbeat and toe-tapping:  “Maybe we could make this work / But now you start to leave before it's getting worse / I don't know what you came here for / It's almost that I wish we hadn't met at all.” I could not say the same to Peter, Bjorn, and John; I am incredibly thankful to have found them.

of Montreal / The Past is a Grotesque Animal

Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (2007)

11:53

This tense 12 minute adventure in angst and confession is the turning point in Hissing Fauna, arguably the best album in of Montreal’s extensive discography. It is within this song that front man Kevin Barnes claims to have transformed into his alter-ego, Georgie Fruit, a "dark mutation” that takes the form of a “black she-male,” as he deals with antidepressants and their effect on his marriage. Themes of existentialism and hopelessness intertwine as he struggles to come to terms with how someone could have “red-rovered the gestapo circling [his] heart” and love him despite his crippling flaws. The chilling ooh’s that begin around 4:20 will continue to haunt you long after the song has ended, and the synth undulations that appear later on sound straight out of Pink Floyd’s “Animals.” The line “It's like we weren't made for this world / Though I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was” epitomizes Barnes’s entire artistic career: bizarre alien creations that somehow feel more comfortable and better exemplify our most basic and secret human emotions than we ever imagined possible. He goes on to wonder if his lover “mythologizes” him as he does her and admits he’s so “touched by [her] goodness” he feels “criminal,” beautifully articulating the insecurity and altered perceptions that accompany the most vulnerably irrevocable love.

MGMT / Siberian Breaks

Congratulations (2010)

12:10

Following the success of their anthemic debut, Oracular Spectacular, psychedelic duo MGMT were given almost absolute artistic freedom by their record label while making their immensely underrated follow-up, Congratulations. That freedom allowed them to stray from the pop single structure of “Kids” and “Time To Pretend” and create this sprawling 12 minute conglomeration of acid-tinged streams of consciousness which vocalist Andrew VanWyngarden claims is his favorite of the album, saying, "It's kind of like eight different songs strung together into one, and the general theme is about surfing in the Arctic Circle by Russia." With crushing retorts such as “There's no reason / There's no secret to decode / If you can't save it / Leave it dying on the road” and the suicide note-worthy “If you’re conscious you must be depressed / Or at least cynical” amidst heavy reverb, this song undoubtedly has a depressing air about it, and yet the glittering synth and fitting realization of “Being here's always changing tunes” leaves you with an almost indifferent taste of acceptance in your mouth as you fade away, gently reminded nothing is truly ever “created or destroyed.”

LCD Soundsystem / Dance Yrself Clean

This Is Happening (2010)

8:56

It was difficult to pick only one song by the unfortunately now-disbanded indie dance pop masters and synth gods of the long song that are LCD Soundsystem, but I decided on “Dance Yrself Clean” based on the fact that it is quite simply perfect. Although a bitch to play on air during my radio show due to its immensely dynamic volume range (either it’s too quiet or peaking, always!) it is infectiously catchy and well worth the struggle. The initial soft patter of percussion and whispered vocals give way to a barrage of delicious, dance-inducing noise and hair-raising howls around the three minute mark, creating a drop that ended dubstep before it even began. Frontman James Murphy later admitted to needing steroids to help carry his voice through the recording process and protect it from injury, and while this may feel like cheating to some, it is a testament to his dedication as a musician and drive to create the best that he can, and the thought of this work of art having never been completed instead is far more discomforting, especially when considering it ended up being the very last song LCD Soundsystem ever made. “Break me into bigger pieces / So some of me is home with you,” he cries; careful when giving in to this song around your expensive music playing equipment, or he may not be the only thing left in pieces.

Cold War Kids / Fashionable (Bonus Track)

Mine Is Yours (Deluxe Version) (2011)

7:02

I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed by the overproduced and polished third album by the soulful and, until this point, brilliantly raw Cold War Kids. And although it was still enjoyable, Mine Is Yours even left out the best song of all: “Fashionable” is only listed as a bonus track on the deluxe version, or a rare 7” that used to be available exclusively at shows before they quickly sold out (I had to hide mine under a couch in Atlanta’s Buckhead Theatre back in 2011, but that’s another story). It begins with vocalist Nathan Willett gently cooing over bouncy acoustic guitar before transitioning to a church organ, in turn introducing the percussion, and eventually building up to a delightful return to his wonderfully powerful and emotional wails of old (sadly, the only song post-Loyalty to Loyalty to really do so), as it builds in excitement towards the end, sending chills down your spine. “I am your style / Oh and you are my style” he belts out before asking, “Who will sweep you off your feet?” You do, Nathan. You do.

 

Young Man / 21

Vol. 1 (2012)

7:04

Colin Caulfield’s big break happened when his YouTube cover of a Deerhunter song caught the ear of the band’s frontman.  An album and record deal later he has put together a full band under the name Young Man, and the resulting fuller sound is perfectly showcased in “21.” The almost eerie piano opening is reminiscent of Musique pour Supermarché as it blooms into soothing guitar melodies driven by pulsating snares and Caulfield’s gently probing cries of “crying shame.” The also lyricized “indeterminate feelings” swirl throughout the seven-plus minute runtime, presenting indie dream-pop at its best since Beach House’s Bloom.

Grizzly Bear / Sun in Your Eyes

Shields (2012)

7:07

Daniel Rossen’s flawless vocals lift this song along with its listeners above the clouds in fits of beauty. “It overflows / It overflows / It overflows” within you, receding momentarily as the piano seems to contemplate it’s very existence, before it resumes, “Silver inside / Rushing on.” After erupting with pulses of distortion, the last track on the band’s latest album, and the final song they played when I was lucky enough to see them live, signs off with a blunt, “I’m never coming back.” We can only hope this isn’t true, and that Grizzly Bear merely hibernates before returning with the sun to shine on us once more.


Honorable Mentions

Bright Eyes / Firewall

The People’s Key (2011)

7:17

I’ll admit, I’m still not quite sure what to make of the prophetic mumbling that makes up the first two and a half minutes (Hitler being name-dropped here and throughout the album reeks of stabs at sensationalism), yet I can’t help but be intrigued. The commanding, military ritual drums, rolling guitar befitting of a sedated Jack White, and the typical Conor Oberst misery spouting of lines like “On all fours she's just so insistent / Fills my mind with jump ropes and slit wrists” seem to lack some genuineness, but even at their most calculated, Bright Eyes are still worth a mention.

Death Cab for Cutie / I Will Possess Your Heart

Narrow Stairs (2008)

8:26

Although it may be one of my favorite songs from Ben Gibbard’s extensive repertoire, it doesn’t quite make the list on merit of length, as it is essentially a 4 minute song with an enjoyable yet unnecessarily drawn out intro. I might prefer it half as long but played twice as much.

Real Estate / All The Same

Days (2011)

7:22

The sweet jangly melodies of New Jersey band, Real Estate, are impossible not to hum or whistle or sing along to (although not all at once, that would be impossible). This is the perfect song for lazy warm afternoons, or, I imagine, painting.