Pitchfork 2013 Preview: 10 Bands You May Not Know But Don’t Want To Miss
With only a day left before the 2013 Pitchfork Music Fest kicks off in Chicago, most fest goers are well into their planning of logistics: strategies on which food vendors will be the closest or will run out of beer in the hot sun, quickest way to get into (and home from) the fest and maybe even some pre-saved snarky tweets lined up & ready to shoot out about the newest hipster fad that will rear its head to become the newest thing for the rest of 2013.
With all of this said, the one thing that truly matters is what everybody showing up in Union Park will be vying to check out – the bands. With the Pitchfork Music Fest being one of the premiere front-running Independent and Underground festivals in the US which possesses the ability to change the landscape of an artist’s career in one performance, and with every attendant of this year’s fest already aware of the three big acts going by the names of Bjork, Belle & Sebastian and R. Kelly, 24/7 City Secrets has decided to open Pandora’s Box on what secret bands you may not be aware of who are worth their own admission price at venues normally overlooked on any other given weekend:
Before even releasing his first official album in 2003, singer-songwriter Matthew Houck was already making tracks as being an Indie sensation under the name Phosphorescent. The artist snuck on our radar after releasing his 6th full length this past Spring titled, Muchacho and immediately grabbed our ears with some wonderful influences from Robbie Williams, Postal Service and Tom Petty. While solo acts are are curious to check out, Phos may just be the right ticket to help start out a wonderfully Summer Fest in Chicago.
Generally, every year at Pitchfork there is at least one solo artist who is able to bring the entire weekend to a halt – most notable is the mashup artist Girl Talk, who in 2007(NSFW) was able to easily overpack a side stage, draw cops in from off the street with his hypnotizing ways and begin a string of talk that has catapulted the artist far from basement shows in his native Pittsburgh to huge clubs across the US.
This year, the artist who may very well take the 2013 laptop festival crown is Andy Stott. With his avant-techno beats that put him on the indie map in 2012 with the release Luxury Problems, Mr. Stott’s transportive, heady and chilly tunes are diggable without lulling you into a sleep and light enough to brighten your day but not blow your fuse before the sun goes down. The Manchester native doesn’t tour that often so be sure to catch him while you can.
* Killer Mike (Sunday – 2:30 PM, Green Stage)
* El-P (Sunday – 3:20 PM, Red Stage)
Known to many as a the prolific producer and rapper, ex-Company Flow member, El-P has given listeners his flow and rap style since 2002. Always timely, El-P has churned out albums that speak about the culture of the time with a hard stance of the artist’s personal views on those topical items – most recently, 2012’s Cancer 4Cure grabbed both critical acclaim and audience response by delivering some of the artist’s best grungy and industrial sounds yet & combining those with an urban dystopian view.
On the other hand, rapper Killer Mike has been blazing his own path since 2003’s hard hitting Monster album. The rapper who specializes in more traditional studio hip-hop has been a long time favorite in the underground scene and recently made some great mainline waves in 2012 by floating to the top of playlists with his R.A.P. Music release.
While neither of these artists are unknown in the music community, the secret here is the collaboration that was recorded together and released last month under the duo’s name Run the Jewels (also the name of the album). Both artists are slotted to perform separate sets this weekend (aka Outkast’s 2001 Speakerboxxx/The Love Below ); the only question remains if crowds will be able to catch the new collaborative material together live on stage. Given that Killer Mike’s debut was on the fellow Atlanta native’s Stankonia album, fate seems only fitting.
For Sacremento native’s Trash Talk, Hardcore has some how come alive and is well in well form in a day and age of all things EDM. The rockers who formed in 2005 have been cranking out harsh tunes since their self-titled EP from the same year, and have since followed-up with four full length albums – 119 is the groups latest release from 2012 and shows signs of thrash and a grounded ferocity that most bands miss in lieu of younger energy and simplistic writing. Finally, if the preceding description didn’t get you onboard, just know that Thomas Pridgen (former Mars Volta drummer) has joined the band for the foreseeable future so the wall of sound should be pretty intense during their live set.
After seminal Indie songwriter Ty Segall asks you to be in his backing back for a while, you kind of get noticed and maybe for not all the ways that really describe oneself. For Mikal Cronin – garage rock, punk and psych-rock haven’t necessarily pigeon-holed this solo artist’s career but certainly haven’t been the adjectives to best describe the clangy-pop that he put out this year on his latest album MCII and is better classified as power-pop that’s more in line with Surfer Blood and Ben Kweller. If you didn’t catch his set at the Empty Bottle last month then here’s your chance to catch your next favorite act of 2013.
Chicago’s own Tree has been around the city a few many times. Known mostly to those in-the-know as the rapper MC Tree G, aka Tree began obtaining his tale as a Nordstrom shoes salesman, to now, a rising rapper. With a top-ranked mix tape from 2012 (Sunday School) & the 2013 sequel (Sunday School II: When Church Lets Out) which MTVHive recently got wind of, Tree brings his laid back street hip-hop and sample-based production to the masses early on Sunday, so make sure you are primed and ready for the local talent.
Vancouver-based White Lung came out of the gate swinging in 2006 as an all-girl punk group with the slurred and vitriol vocals of Mish Way very Courtney Love from the late 90’s Hole (pre-Cobain) but with solo, dude-guitarist Kenny William adding his talent and writing to the line-up since 2009, we now get hints of A.F.I., The Locust and a surf rock sound with an addiction to speed. As part of their annual SXSW fest round-up, NPR’s Sound Opinions gave this band a prize for one of the most surprising acts this year in Austin, and after one listen to 2012’s Sorry album you will know why. Make sure to catch these guys when they hit the hot stage on Saturday as they will be a great way to kick start the day.
The Toronto rock trio Metz have recently come to notoriety for having played alongside Death From Above 1979 and MIssion of Burma in the past. Coming to Pitchfork this Saturday, Metz will be hauling out their signature speed, fuzz and garage sound to the Blue Stage to prove that (just like the Japandroids), Canada can rock and rock it hard.
Long gone are the days when punk bands had a stigma of being rude, crude and in-your-face. Today, we get are mostly served pop-punk that’s just edgy enough for the tweens to feel they are pushing attitude in the face of the establishment, but Kosher enough with mom & dad that they will offer the credit card to buy the bands album and listen to it secretly on their way to the office. Back in 2003, Allentown’s Matt Korvette and co. had enough of the sweetness from rock and formed Pissed Jeans to set the speakers aflame to many a listener. Ten years later, the band is still accomplishing their same task with their latest release out on Sub Pop titled Honeys. Unlike a majority of the bands playing the Warped Tour taking place at the First Midwest Amphitheater on the same day, Pissed Jeans may literally tear up the stage and leave nothing in their wake at Pitchfork.
A great deal of the attendants to this year’s Pitchfork fest weren’t alive back in 1979, or at least many weren’t able to recognize anything resembling music. Its with this pre-tense that Wire comes to this year’s fest as one of the only acts that is virtually unknown in today’s music landscape but remains a seminal brit-punk band even-so. As a group that (for the most part) is notoriously responsible for influencing Elastica’s sound, Wire dismantled briefly after three albums in 1979, only to re-emerge as strong as ever and playing what could be a historical set this weekend. If you care and like brit-punk even the slightest amount, you owe it to yourself to see this set.
Finally, of course we couldn’t just leave you with the secrets of Pitchfork – we want you to still check it all out. Therefore, 24/7 City Secrets will be updating throughout the whole weekend, live from Union Park to give you some insights and insider looks at the festival that so many Indie lovers have come to look forward to each summer in the City.
To kick us off…
With each group or act easily being events in their own right, and having earned their own acclaim and credit to garner their times to shine on the two major stages this weekend, we present our top 5 acts we simply can’t miss at the festival and got us interested in this weekend.
5) R. Kelly because, well he’s Chicago and you simply never know what your going to get.
4) Low because they have putting out massively and emotionally strong albums for years. They may be quiet but they aren’t weak.
3) Belle & Sebastian because they not only have influenced an ungodly amount of Indie bands but the chance of hearing a live cut of ‘Sleep the Clock Around’ could make my entire Summer
2) The Breeders (playing The Last Splash) because I have dreamed of hearing this album live ever since playing air guitar to it in my bedroom at the ripe age of 14 has me turning into a stupid adolescent kid all over again.
1) Bjork because its Bjork and well….that’s enough there is to that.
-Matt Miles, 24/7 Contributor
Producer of Fresh Roasted Filims
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