Pitchfork Music Festival Preview
The summer is moving along at an unseemly rate and the festival circuit is quickly coming to a close. The Pitchfork Music Festival takes place this weekend in Chicago’s Union Park. Here are each day’s highlights with their official bios and our comments:
“In spring 2012, Wire’s plan had been to convene at Rockfield Studios in Wales to review the rudimentary blueprints of songs that had never made it beyond a few live performances in 1979 and 1980 – a time when the band-members were in creative overdrive yet the band itself was disintegrating. The aim wasn’t simply to resuscitate and record old songs; in fact, many of them hadn’t become proper songs in the first place, existing only as basic ideas or undeveloped parts. Rather, the objective was to approach that unrealized work as an oblique strategy, a potential springboard for Wire’s contemporary, forward-looking processes – a possible point of departure for new compositions.
Change Becomes Us encapsulates the paradoxical essence of Wire’s creativity. The tendency of these new songs to refuse a single, settled identity is emblematic of the band’s ever-evolving aesthetic – one that’s always hinged on sustained tensions and oppositions: between the familiar and the unfamiliar, the comfortable and the unsettling, the melodic and the brutal, the cerebral and the visceral, the smart and the moronic, the obvious and the inscrutable, the rational and the absurd.”
“Daughn Gibson hails from the Cumberland Valley town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The charismatic crooner and sound sculptor’s music sets his subversively witty and colorful tales against an engaging blend of electronic music, country, and blues. Gibson’s spirited, DIY approach is informed by his time spent playing in punk and metal bands and stints as a cross-country truck driver. His deep baritone adds to the allure, which posits the handsome balladeer in territory explored by the greats. He’s earned comparisons to the likes of Lee Hazelwood, Scott Walker, and Arthur Russell, and contemporary artists like Nicolas Jaar, the Magnetic Fields, and James Blake. Daughn will release his second LP and debut for Sub Pop Records in 2013.” We just got Daughn Gibson’s newest album and it is most excellent. Listen for it in rotation!
“Trash Talk is an American hardcore punk band from Sacramento, California, formed in 2005. They have toured all around the world including, as well as performing at many festivals in support of their releases. Trash Talk recently signed to Odd Future Records and released their new record, 119.” Use this as a balance for the sweet and dreamy sounds of Daughn Gibson. Everybody loves a little hardcore punk, right?
“Low was formed by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker in Duluth, Minn., in 1993. The Invisible Way is their 10th album in 20 years as a band. It was recorded by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and engineered by Grammy-winner Tom Schick at Wilco’s the Loft studio in Chicago. How is this different from any other Low record? In the words of Low’s Alan Sparhawk: ‘Mimi sings lead on five of the 11 songs; piano, lots of piano… and an acoustic guitar; songs about intimacy, the drug war, the class war, plain old war war, archeology, and love. Thank you for your time and please enjoy what we made. I think it’s beautiful.'”
“Canada’s METZ are a return to everything that’s good about loud, ecstatic live music; a frantic nod to Nation of Ulysses, Shellac, the Pixies, the Jesus Lizard, and Public Image Ltd. at their most vicious, while carving out some heavy new business. METZ have been around for over three years, sharing stages with Mission of Burma, Mudhoney, Oneida, and NoMeansNo. Their debut METZ was produced by the band and recorded by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and Alexandre Bonenfant. METZ articulate with deafening clarity what we’ve known for some time: The world of good music needs a new power trio, and this is it.” More punk. Pitchfork is going hardcore with this festival.
“Savages’ intention was to create a sound, indestructible and musically solid, written for the stage, designed with enough nuances to provide a wide range of emotions. Savages are a self-affirming voice to help experience our girlfriends differently, our husbands, our jobs, our erotic life, and the place music occupies in our lives. Savages’ songs aim to remind us that human beings haven’t evolved so much, that music can still be straight to the point, efficient and exciting.” Female fronted, noisy, and destructive. Don’t worry about missing these ladies, they will be in Denver on September 20!
“Though made up of Texan transplants, Parquet Courts are a New York City band. Throw out the countless shallow Brooklyn bands of the blasé 2000s: Their debut record, Light Up Gold, is a conscious effort to draw from the rich culture of the city–artists like Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan, and the Velvet Underground that are not from New York, but of it. A panoramic landscape of dilapidated corner-stores and crowded apartments is superimposed over bare-bones Americana, leaving little room for romance or sentiment. It’s punk, it’s American, it’s New York… it’s the color of something you were looking for.” They just came through the Larimer Lounge and put on a fun and bumping show. Their brand of stoner punk is as accessible as it is fun.
“Matthew Houck, an Alabama native, now Brooklyn resident, has delivered five albums as Phosphorescent since his 2003 debut. Houck has a highly distinctive artistic voice, but also a refreshing, rolled-sleeves approach to his expression. It was 2007’s Pride – a delicate and spare, haunted and haunting work of ragged country, bittersweet southern gospel and forlorn folk-ish drone – that first caused ears to swivel appreciatively in Phosphorescent’s direction. He followed it with To Willie, a tribute to country legend Willie Nelson, then 2010’s Here’s To Taking It Easy, an unapologetically enthusiastic plunge into country rock and rolling Americana. Now, his sixth album flashes yet another color in the subtly shifting Phosphorescent spectrum. Muchacho reprises the understated melancholia and sensuous minimalism of Pride, while kicking up a little of Here’s To Taking It Easy‘s dust, but it also strikes out into more adventurous waters via rhythm and electronic textures.” We loved this record when it was in rotation, and are still really digging Phosphorescent’s unique sound. He is coming to Denver on September 22!
“Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly made Something, their second record, over 18 months between the back of an antique store in Brooklyn and the basement of a family home in Streatham, London. The world and characters of Something slowly emerged–overtones of manic revenge contrast with a dark brooding guilt, and pastoral, almost psychedelic love meets its own inevitable, blue future. Producer Dan Carey’s London studio is part of the world of Something, full of giant plate-reverb boxes, mint green reel-to-reels salvaged from dismantled BBC studios, and plastic human heads which are used to record and simulate the listener’s location in approximation to the sound. The head was sitting in the back seat of Carey’s car, a microphone on each ear, while Caroline drove, screaming the “I’m gonna hunt you down… I’m gonna run you down” lyric of “Sidewalk Safari”.” Former CD of the month and straight up goodness. I want to go on a Sidewalk Safari.
Yo La Tengo:
“Yo La Tengo is one of the most beloved and respected bands in America. For nearly 30 years, Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew have enjoyed success entirely on their own terms–playing the world’s best concert halls, museums, and dives, dominating critics’ lists, doing a “Simpsons” theme, playing the Velvet Underground in “I Shot Andy Warhol”, sharing stages with some of the most important musicians of our time, and even creating a holiday tradition unto themselves with their yearly series of Hanukkah shows at Hoboken, New Jersey’s legendary club Maxwells, from which they’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to charity.
Their 13th (depending who you ask) LP Fade is the most direct, personal, and cohesive album of their career. Recorded with John McEntire at Soma Studios in Chicago, it recalls the sonic innovation and lush cohesion of career high points like 1997‘s I Can Hear the Heart Beating as Oneand 2000’s …And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. The album is a tapestry of fine melody and elegant noise, rhythmic shadowplay and shy-eyed orchestral beauty, songfulness and experimentation. But Fade attains a lyrical universality and hard-won sense of grandeur that’s rare even for this band. It weaves themes of aging, personal tragedy, and emotional bonds into a fully-realized whole that recalls career-defining statements like Blood on the Tracks, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight, or Al Green’s Call Me.” The epitome of college rock. One of 1190’s favorites to be forever remembered on our soon-to-be-finished mural.
“Foxygen is the Los Angeles-bred songwriting duo of Sam France (vocals) and Jonathan Rado (guitar/keyboards). They are the raw, de-Wes Andersonization of the Rolling Stones, Kinks, Velvets, Bowie, etc. that a whole mess of young people desperately need. They create a sometimes impressionistic, sometimes hyper-real portrait of sounds from specific places and times that somehow never comes across as anything but absolutely modern music. They bring the manic, freewheeling qualities of an artist like Ariel Pink to those aforementioned influences to make for one of the most refreshing listens of the year.” Another CD of the Month veteran, these college rockers are playing The Bluebird on September 24.