As is tradition for me around this time (almost) every year, I take off to Chicago to catch the Pitchfork Music Festival that has been happening every year since 2006 in Union Park. Though I didn’t have a chance to go last year, due to an expensive cross country move that I was going to be partaking a month after the festival, I am excited to return to the tradition again this year. Just as I did in 2010 I’m going to break the weekend up into 3 posts, one for each day of the fest, detailing each of the acts that I am looking forward to catching and hopefully helping you to discover some new acts even if you aren’t going to the festival. With any luck I’ll be able to update after each day of the fest to inform you as to what exactly went down, with links to any pictures and video (of at least reasonable quality) that I can find.
Friday July 13, 2012:
Tim Hecker, with the release of “Ravedeath 1972” in February 2011, blew pretty much everyone away with his expansive ambient drones. For me, as someone that doesn’t normally sit and listen to ambient music, there is something very intriguing about the sound of this album. It’s dense, complex, gritty, it may seem simple on the surface but there is a lot to dig in to. It’s an album to which I keep returning. I’m looking forward to his performance on Friday, but I’m also a little bit nervous that his brand of atmospherics may get lost to an outdoor venue. There’s a lot of subtlety to his music that may be hard to grasp in an open air venue. Typically the crowd at the festival knows (I’m making an assumption here based on my own personal feelings after years of attending) the music fairly well so I’m sure it will go as well as it can, but there is still a chance that it will end up like the disastrous (and BORING!) Panda Bear set from 2010.
Japandroids, are definitely not ones to disappoint. After the release of their first album “Post-Nothing” this Vancouver duo played the side stage of the festival in 2009. The energy of their songs and the catchiness of their hooks seemed to endear them to everyone. Every shout along chorus seemed familiar and inviting even to those in the crowd that may have only come to know the band that day. Not much has changed in the 3 years since that album was released. They have a new LP out, the aptly titled “Celebration Rock”, that is perhaps the best release of the year so far. The new one is even more exciting than the last, and that Japandroids have spent the majority of their time on the road has certainly helped. There is no question that this set will be fantastic, though I can’t hide my disappointment and frustration that Pitchfork has decided to once again relegate them to the smaller stage.[audio:http://quartertonality.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/07.-The-House-That-Heaven-Built.mp3|titles=The House That Heaven Built]
Dirty Projectors seem to be in step with Japandroids. The last time we heard from Dave Longstreth and company was the same summer that the Vancouver duo released “Post-Nothing”. Both albums fought for my attention that summer, and neither one surpassed the other in listens. I loved (and still do love) “Bitte Orca”, and being that a stream of the latest Dirty Projectors album, “Swing Lo Magellan”, was just released yesterday (and it sounds fantastic) I’m sure this will be another hard fought battle for the summer. The official release date for the album comes just before the festival (July 10 on Domino Records), and may push Japandroids around for their spot as “best release of 2012 so far”. But all that is ok. This will also be a repeat performance, as they played in support of “Rise Above” in 2009 just before the official release of “Bitte Orca”. That was my first ever introduction to the band, and now that I am more familiar with their stuff (as is everyone else) I’m sure to get a lot more out of it.
As for the rest of the performances on the first day of the festival, I have never really been the biggest fan of Feist. I found “The Reminder” quite boring and because of that I haven’t even bothered checking out her new one, “Metals”. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised. Though earlier in the day I am going to have to check out The Olivia Tremor Control as they have been in the back of my mind forever as a band that I definitely need to check out. All that I know about them is that they are one of the original bands in the Elephant 6 collective. That alone is enough to get my attention. I also realize that I lose about a million hipster cred points for not checking them out sooner.