I'm making you a mixtape (Pitchfork Music Festival 2010 edition) 3/3

Dear _______,

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. I know that really the important thing here is listening to the music, and I really hope that you find something that you like. I know that good music doesn’t come through here too often. Though I guess if you keep an eye out there is some good stuff. I would have never heard any Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band if I didn’t go to see Japandroids at the Soundlab. That was a good choice. I guess I’ve just grown cynical. Never happy no matter where I am. Buffalo isn’t really that bad, thanks to bands coming through here to get to and from Toronto. I guess it could be worse. We could live in Nebraska or something, or North Dakota. The Dakotas are probably an indie rock dead zone, I imagine. Anyway, what I was talking about? Oh yeah the last day of the Pitchfork Festival.

I’ve never heard of either of the 1st two bands, so unless they sound really interesting, the chances of me standing there to check them out are slim. I have to remember to get to The Bird Machine‘s table and get my official Pitchfork Music Festival poster that I always pick up (except for the first year I went, which I have regretted ever since). I love Jay Ryan’s designs. He’s done some album artwork too. He did Andrew Bird’s “Weather Systems” and Fruit Bats’ “Spelled in Bones”. He’s a nice guy too (and the lead singer/bass player in Dianogah).

The first thing that I want to check out is Best Coast’s set. I sent you that one song back in like December or January or something like that. Remember, it was all awash in reverb and sounded like something out of the early 60’s recorded by Phil Spector? The wall of sound? Well, anyway, that song was “When I’m With You” and I’m just going to re-use it again here. Best Coast is pretty much a solo project by Bethany Cosentino. She used to be in a band called Pocahaunted, which, if I remember correctly, also drowned everything in reverb and echo. As of Monday you can stream the entire album over at Urban Outfitters’ site. I checked it out. I imagine this album will be good and then the 2nd album will end up sounding exactly like it and probably won’t be worth buying. But for now, excited.

Things are going to get tricky Sunday afternoon because Lightning Bolt is playing at 4:15 and Surfer Blood is playing at 4:45. I have seen Lightning Bolt before, as you know. It was at the Soundlab again, and I was standing in the front row of people crushed against the drums and every time Chippendale hit the snare it felt like I was getting punched in the nose. I’m curious about what Lightning Bolt is going to do in a festival setting like this because they usually like to play IN the crowd. I don’t think they could get away with that here. It may take away from some of the fun if they are so far away, up on a stage, but I love all their tunes so much I guess it doesn’t really matter to me, and I will be in no mood to fight my way to the front. Their latest album, “Earthly Delights” came out several months ago. I love it. I think it’s better than their last album. The song I’m putting on your mix is “Sound Guardians“, the opening track. They named it as such because when they first began work on it they thought it sounded like Soundgarden. This has all the typical elements of a Lightning Bolt track, it’s loud, distorted, fast, with break-neck speed drumming and lead bass that’s like a drill being bored into your skull. Intense. One of my favorite bands.

Surfer Blood I only recently became aware of. More of a classic garage-band thing going on. I like what I have heard so far and my ability to make it to their set will depend on how awesome Lightning Bolt is (which will be measured in volume). “Floating Vibes”. This track sounds similar to Real Estate to me. Of course you remember me going on and on about them yesterday. Surfer Blood is from Florida though, not New York, which is strange I guess, considering.

Did I tell you about Neon Indian coming through here a few months ago? Well they did and I was going back and forth about weather I was going to see them or not and I ended up not going. I don’t regret it or anything, especially now that they are playing Pitchfork. There has been a good amount of buzz about this band. There was a new categorization made for them, people refer to them as “Chillwave”. They are really synth heavy, and from what I have read the lead guy, Alan Palomo, is a composer. “Should Have Taken Acid With You“. The songs sound like post-modern responses to the 80s. I feel like I’m listening to the aural equivalent of a grainy home video. It’s scary to refer to something that sounds like it is out of the 1980s as “retro” but there you have it.

I doubt that I’ll check out Sleigh Bells, but I may. Around the time that they are scheduled to go on (and on the ‘b’ stage everything always runs behind schedule) I should probably be heading over to the stage that Pavement is playing on. I almost feel bad for Sleigh Bells, going up against a long awaited reunion of a band like Pavement. Indie rock royalty. Anyway, I have really liked what I have heard from Sleigh Bells, like this track “Crown on the Ground” which reminds me of The Go! Team (saw them open for Sonic Youth in Toronto….I wonder what happened to them…) the way the girl sings and the way there are handclaps and distortion all over the place. It might be good to check them out for a minute, if their stage is running on time. But I really really need to see Pavement.

I don’t know if I have ever gone on about Pavement to you before. I was very late to the game as far as being a Pavement fan goes. They were broken up for 7 or 8 years before I even bothered to listen to them at all. When I did I listened non-stop for what seemed like a year. I memorized the tunes on every album. I became completely obsessed. I moved from album to album, listening to one 5 or 6 times a day for a month and moving on to the next. I have my favorite tracks, though my favorite album by Pavement changes every time I sit down. They broke up in 1999 and have been anything but forthright with whether or not they would ever get back together again. When they finally announced that they were I go so excited that I told everyone that I knew, even people that didn’t care, because I just felt like I had to tell everybody. When I heard that they were headlining Pitchfork this year I got even more excited. Just thinking about standing there and watching them is getting me excited all over again. In just a few days it’s going to be a reality. I’ll probably text you as it is happening. I’m sure you are thrilled.

A few years back Stephen Malkmus performed at Pitchfork solo. He did a ton of Pavement songs and I was so happy then. I started recording his set before he even picked up his guitar because I had a suspicion that something amazing was going to happen and it did:

And yeah, he messed up the words, but I don’t think anybody could tell or even cared. I can’t even imagine how awesome it is going to be if they play “Range Life“, which is my favorite song by Pavement, and is right up there with my favorite Sonic Youth songs. But that is a topic for another mix tape.

Well, I hope you enjoy the mix. It should give you a pretty good idea of the stuff that I am going to be experiencing while I am in Chicago. If you are lucky I will recount every last minute detail to you upon my return.

See you soon,


2 thoughts on “I'm making you a mixtape (Pitchfork Music Festival 2010 edition) 3/3”

  1. I can’t get into Surfer Blood or Neon Indian I’m afraid. I love the vast majority of Forcefield PR bands but Neon Indian’s sound just doesn’t do it for me :/

  2. I like both of them. For completely different reasons. Surfer blood satisfies my want for loud, jangly garage rock and Neon Indian is doing something I think that is completely new, or at least was completely new when they first started. I think of Neon Indian in the same way that I think of Brian Jonestown Massacre: as post-modern. They re-interpret the music of 20 years before they began creating music, and filter it through modern interpretation. I like. Plus Neon Indian has some Sonic Youth elements to them too.