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Pitchfork Music Festival Day Three
- by Neph Basedow

Hopes for cooler temperatures were short-lived Sunday morning, when we woke upto not only a continued heat wave, but a massive downpour to boot.

CAVE: 1pm, Balance Stage

Dark skies and ominous clouds erupted into what seemed destined to become a day-long thunderstorm, but thankfully for us (as well as tens of thousands of fellow Pitchfork Festival attendees), the weather miraculously cleared—and just in time for our first local show of P4K’s final day, CAVE.

Chicago’s CAVE meandered to the Balance Stage fashionably late, leaving their crowd just enough time to be tempted to instead journey over to fellow Chicagoans, Allá, who temporarily (and punctually) rivaled their set time. Twenty sluggish minutes past their scheduled start time, sound issues were solved, and CAVE took to the stage in the steamy heat. And they turned out to be the revelry that Sunday’s stifling afternoon required: noisy, reverbed psych-rock. Sporting the presumed band uniform of tanks and unkempt hair, CAVE buzzed through their repertoire of trippy, punk-tinged songs. Enthused and refreshing they may’ve been, some of CAVE’s jams seemed to stretch a tad too long, leaving us the opportunity to take in both of Sunday’s local acts…

Allá: 1pm, Aluminum Stage

I jetted over to the Aluminum stage, just in time to catch the last part of Allá’s set. Not having seen the local quartet before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was generally pleased with what was delivered: a blend of entrancing world beats and Latin-tinged pop, with considerable likeness to such acts as Thievery Corporation.

Frontwoman Lupe Martinez engaged her audience with her lush singing style that I couldn’t help but loosely compare to (Mazzy Star’s) Hope Sandoval. Allá held their own on such a spacious stage, though I can bet seeing them in a more intimate environment would suit them better.

Best Coast: 1:55pm, Balance Stage

Best Coast easily provided a welcome whimsical midday pick-me-up. The lo-fi Californians delivered peppy surf-pop tunes, making evident nods to 60s-era girl- groups, with their swaying songs about—what else?—love, boys, and heartbreak.

Although their debut LP has yet to officially drop (it releases July 27), the crowd was still able to sing along to singer Bethany Cosentino’s every word to new songs like “Boyfriend” (thanks, in part to Urban Outfitters’ streaming earlier this month).

Beach House: 3:20pm, Connector Stage

A certain highlight of Sunday was Baltimore’s Beach House, who never disappoint as far live sets go. But singer Victoria Legrand appeared noticeably more comfortable, confident, even jovial onstage this time around, acknowledging the amount of “dark bands” playing Sunday, about which she joked, “Pitchfork Fest: wear your flip-flops; bring your razor blades!” Clearly among the ranks of her own joke, Legrand and musical copilot Alex Scally plowed through their token atmospheric dream-pop tunes, including synth-driven tracks like “Walk in the Park,” “Norway,” “Used To Be,” and Devotion’s sultry single, “Gila.” Whether you were up-close in the set’s action, or napping in the shade, Beach House provided the perfect mid-afternoon dose of lush pop songs.

St. Vincent: 5:15pm, Connector Stage

The ever-charming St. Vincent (A.K.A. Annie Clark) defended such a title with her humble, sugary-sweet stage persona. But don’t be fooled with such sweetness; although Clark delivers enchanting, reserved melodies like “Marrow” and “The Stranger,” she’s just as willing—and incredibly able—to demolish said reverence with crunchy guitar solos and fueled numbers like “Actor Out of Work” and “Your Lips Are Red.” If anything, Clark’s guitar volume could have been knocked up a coupl’a notches, as she at times competed with her woodwinds section. Headliners aside, St. Vincent’s was the first performance since Saturday’s Titus Andronicus that seemed to beg the utmost live compliment—just one more song.

Major Lazer: 6:15pm, Aluminum Stage

What to say about Major Lazer...? Between elaborate Chinese dragons, dancing ballerinas, and a healthy dose of dirty (and we mean drrrty) dancing, DJs Diplo and Switch served up an entertaining—albeit ridiculous at times—set, through-and through. Better yet, we finally witnessed some stage-diving and Hennessy-drinking.

There’s a noticeable gap in evening coverage from hereon out (sorry, Neon Indian, Big Boi, and Sleigh Bells)... as securing a good spot for Pavement simply outweighed our priority scale.

Pavement: 8:30pm, Aluminum Stage

This brings us to Pitchfork Festival 2010’s highly anticipated headliners, 90’s alt- rock poster-boys, Pavement. No one seemed surprised when Stephen Malkmus and co. didn’t exactly bring finesse to their opening number; instead, we witnessed a false start of sorts. Malkmus murmured, half on-mic, half off, “Cut Your Hair,” to which the crowd eagerly erupted... only then did the band stumble into their first song—of one of their first live performances since their recent reunion, and first Chicago show since 1999. Pavement’s choice for opening song couldn’t have been any more nostalgic, as the band played to its crowd—an alternative generation they helped define. Wistful fans sang along to Pavement greats, including “Range Life,” “Here,” “Unfair,” “Greenlander,” and “Staple.” The band blasted through Terror Twilight’s “The Hexx,” waved a listless goodbye, and just like that, Pavement was gone without an encore, and Pitchfork was over. Anti-climactic? Perhaps. But Pavement’s solid setlis —encore or not—made it all worth it. And who are we to be surprised over Malkmus’ antics after 20+ years?












That’s Hard To Find

The new album from The Streets on Fire also was released today. This Is Fancy is an eleven-track parade of beats and rock mixing both humor and aggression. We have a new track from the album called “That’s Hard To Find”. This is Fancy was released by The Currency Exchange.

The bands plays tomorrow night (7/21) at Angels & Kings.



Mahjongg has released a new track from The Long Shadow Of The Paper Tiger which is out today on K Records. The track is called “Whoop”. There is also a tour video that was recently released that you can watch here.


Pitchfork Music Festival Coverage

We sent writer Neph Basedow to Pitchfork Music Festival this year to suffer through the Chicago heat, catch the local band when possible, and report back on the festival through her eyes. Here is her breakdown the bands she caught on Saturday.


Pitchfork Music Festival Day 2 

- by Neph Basedow


Netherfriends: Saturday, 1pm, Balance Stage

The sun was a-blazing as Chicago’s Netherfriends kicked off Saturday’s shows on the Balance Stage. Thankfully, said stage is tucked away just enough to offer some shade from Union Park’s too-sporadic (in this instance) trees. P4K earlybirds trickled in, as singer/songwriter and Netherfriends’ mastermind, Shawn Rosenblatt strapped on his seafoam green Telecaster, and led his band into the first set of the afternoon.

“Do you guys like dancing,” Rosenblatt asked his overheated crowd. “…Then you’re at the wrong stage!” Caution aside, Rosenblatt & co. plowed through a solid set of psych-pop tunes, featuring charmingly muddled harmonies and organ overtones. The trio, who were recently signed to indie label, Emergency Umbrella, provided an optimistic start to Saturday’s lineup, with catchy numbers like the lyrically droll “Friends With Lofts.”

Free Energy: Saturday, 1 pm, Aluminum Stage

Ample hustling was required for the rush to make the end of Free Energy’s set, but the feat was pulled off. The Philadelphia band held their own on the spacious Aluminum Stage, confidently delivering their glam-tastic take on hooky 70’s garage rock, a la Thin Lizzy; singer Paul Sprangers mirroring the energetic stage presence of Iggy Pop. Songs like the ultra-catchy “Bang Pop” had the afternoon crowd energetically dancing along, despite the 90+ degree heat.

Real Estate: Saturday, 1:45pm, Connector Stage

New Jersey’s Real Estate served as the ideal midday act; rockin’ enough to uphold our attention, laid-back enough to provide a nice break from the weekend’s folly. The surf-pop quartet delivered steady standouts from their self- titled debut, including “Green River” and “Fake Blues,” as well as the unveiling of a new track fans can expect likely expect on their follow-up.

Titus Andronicus: Saturday, 3:20pm, Connector Stage

Man, are we glad we caught this act. Fellow Jerseyans Titus Andronicus commanded thousands’ attention with their explosive set—the ideal blend of energy, diversity, and irreverence… and even a bit of comic relief. Patrick Stickles proved himself quite the comedic frontman, with one-liners like “I’m sweating like a pregnant nun talking to the Pope up here.” The band powered through their set of roaring rock songs, initiating crowd clap-alongs and effortlessly captivating Pitchfork’s midday mass.

Smith Westerns: Saturday, 4:45, Balance Stage

Chicago youngins Smith Westerns have been on our local radar for a while, so we were eager to check them out live. The band, who range from just 18 to 20 years of age, acknowledged their novice-status, in the way only 18 year- olds would: “we can’t even drink yet.” Lucky for them, temperatures climbed so high Saturday afternoon, most spectators were exclusively knocking back endless waters, anyhow. The band gathered a sizeable crowd, which could have contributed to the muddled sound issues, but garage-pop songs like “Be My Girl” were catchy enough on their own to stand out among the murky sound.








Pitchfork Music Festival 

Smith Westerns



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