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Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 Preview

The 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival is set for its ninth year in Chicago’s Union Park July 19-21. Much like its parent website, the festival has gained worldwide acclaim for showcasing emerging and established artists from the independent music world. This year features headliners R. Kelly, Bjork, and Belle & Sebastian, as well as Swans, Solange, Joanna Newsom, Low, Tory y Moi, Metz, and more. With a park as tightly confined as Union Park you have no excuse not to catch it all. Here is a list of artists and attractions to look forward to.

Julia Holter

The ideal setting for Julia Holter is around 1AM in a dark basement. The LA songstress calmly helms the keyboards with a voice that is at times haunting, at other times poppy, and sometimes both. Holter’s tracks are full of strange time signatures, winding piano parts, and builds that lead nowhere. Let’s hope these elements are as engaging in the afternoon sun as a late night dungeon. With a new album due out next month we are bound to hear new sounds. Maybe the next great summer picnic song will be in there.

Ryan Hemsworth

As DJ pseudonyms get more and more ridiculous by the day the fact that Ryan Hemsworth goes by his birth name feels appropriate. The Canadian export has no specific sound and needs no gimmicks to prove his skills. His latest EP Still Awake has received a very positive response to its more ambient and soundtrack inspired songs. Despite this success do not expect this to be a lay on the ground and stare at the clouds type set though. Hemsworth shines live when he is free to get the crowd moving to a blend of his album originals, remixes of everyone from Grimes to the Backstreet Boys, and even random mash-ups like A$AP Rocky on top of Japanese pop music.


Oddly enough, the two closers for Saturday night both hail from Glasgow, Scotland. If Belle & Sebastian is from before your time or their brand of indie pop is simply not your cup of tea, then go check out their fellow Scot, Rustie. His single “After Light” caught some ears in 2011 and his BBC Essential Mix was hailed as one of the best mixes of 2012. Even so, Rustie is still not very widely known in the states. This should change and it will for those present on Saturday night for his fusion of instrumental hip-hop and grime.

Autre Ne Veut

Arthur Ashin, aka Autre Ne Veut, has been garnering well-deserved buzz all year behind the release of his album Anxiety. The title comes from Ashin’s struggles with his own anxiety and deals with the complexities in his personal relationships. His unique music is no less intricate than the subject matter. Ashin passionately belts out his soulful R&B vocals on top of heavily layered synths that make sitting still a challenge. At times it sounds like too much for one man to pull off live, but based on the outcome of Anxiety this guy knows what he is doing.


Everyone seemed to get a little down on MIA after her 2010 album MAYA. Although she became conflicted with her stardom over the years I’m guessing that Miss Arulpagasam cares what the world thinks about her more than she would like to let on. As a result, expect a big comeback when she hits the stage Sunday at Pitchfork for her first large scale show in almost two years. If the video backing the wild “Bring the Noize”, from her new album Matangi, is any indication then MIA is fired up. Let’s hope she brings the noise and the flare that made all of our jaws drop in the first place.


CHIRP Record Fair

The Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) has become one of the most active organizations in supporting independent music in Chicago. Stop by to learn more about CHIRP and support them and local record stores and labels by picking up some new vinyl. Already have more vinyl than you know what to do with? They will be taking donations as well.


Hosted by the American Poster Institute, Flatstock will be packed with eye candy. If a quality poster is your preferred method to commemorate your love of live music, then be sure to stop by the Flatstock poster show. You will be able to meet artists and pick out top-notch posters highlighting your favorite acts.


Do not fret if the festival ends and you still have not whetted your appetite for live music. After leaving the grounds you will be able to explore the city’s great live venues with official aftershows, unofficial aftershows, and even a few arena rock shows.

Thursday, July 18

…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, UME – Double Door

Caitlin Rose – Schubas Courtney Love, Starred – House of Blues

Jeff Parker, Rob Mazurek – Constellation

Sally Timms, Janet Bean – The Hideout

Sarah Neufeld, Olafur Arnalds – Millennium Park

Savages, Parquet Courts – Lincoln Hall

Majical Cloudz, Pitchfork DJs- Lincoln Hall

Friday, July 19

Foxygen, Gauntlet Hair, Gambles – Schubas

Julia Holter, Jessica Pratt – Constellation

Merchandise, Daughn Gibson, Connections, Steve Gunn – Bottom Lounge

Savages, Sky Ferreira- Lincoln Hall

Phish- FirstMerit Bank at Northerly Island

Pearl Jam- Wrigley Field

Saturday, July 20

Mac DeMarco, Ex-Cult, OBN IIIs – Empty Bottle

Richard Colburn of Belle and Sebastian (DJ set) – Debonair Social Club

Trash Talk, White Lung, Ratking – Bottom Lounge

Waxahatchee, Carbonleak, Modern Hut – Schubas

Wolf Eyes, Pharmakon, Marshstepper – Bottom Lounge

Phish- FirstMerit Bank at Northerly Island

Ray-Ban x Boiler Room Afterparty feat. Nicolas Jaar, Ryan Hemsworth, Todd Edwards, and more- Constellation

Sunday, July 21

Parquet Courts – Bottom Lounge

Phish- FirstMerit Bank at Northerly Island

By Mitchell Davis

Mitch Davis is a University of Illinois graduate that spends his days trying to see as many live shows and ski as many mountains as possible.

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