Pitchfork has established itself as a more underground and under represented music festival, aiming to highlight bands that might not have gained as much critical acclaim as those playing at other Chicago festival staples like Lollapalooza and North Coast. This is awesome for festival goers, encouraging them to seek out new bands, and find more music that they love. It also makes scheduling your festival day require more preliminary research. To help with that, WIUX has done some of your heavy lifting and compiled a stack of 5 bands to see before 5 p.m..
When: Friday at 3:20
Where: Blue Stage
Why: Ryley Walker is a 25 year old Chicagoan whose jazz folk fusion is full and inviting with intricate finger picking weaving around the compositions. It is music that meanders as if simply enjoying the audible path and is reminiscent of its 1960’s forbearers. His vocals quiver crisply and intertwine with the electric fuzz distortion that occasionally clings to the otherwise clean melodies. His second studio album Primerose was released this past March under Bloomington’s own Dead Ocean’s as a follow up to his 2014 All Kinds of You.
When: Saturday at 1:55
Where: Blue Stage
Why: According to their Facebook page the official band interests are “Milkshakes, Root beer, Dogs, Cats and comics” which is easy to relate to. Hailing from Nashville Bully has indie-grunge gusto that with energize an afternoon slump. Their debut album Feels Like was recorded at Steve Albini’s studio where founder and vocalist Alicia Bognanno used to intern. The vocals are layered sweet and tender but an aggressive, more grunge-y tone breaks through showcasing the stylistic variety that keeps Bully’s songs interesting and fun to listen to. Bully are likely to shred through their set leaving the audience ready for the rest of the day and crushing on Bognanno. You can also catch them at Lollapalooza this summer.
Kurt Vile and the Violators
When: Saturday at 4:15
Where: Green Stage
Why: You might already know Kurt Vile from his stint as a member of The War on Drugs but once you listen to his 2013 album Walking on a Petty Daze you’ll probably also love him. The Violators, Kurt Viles’s backing band, is made up of Jesse Trbovich, Rob Laakso, along with Kyle Spence who is also in the band Harvey Milk. Lo-Fi indie rock equivalent of relaxing on a hammock by a lake, Kurt Vile and the Violators are a must see stop, maybe an early picnic dinner while they strum in the afternoon sun. With rumors of a new Kurt Vile album coming out later this year, there is a good chance you’ll catch some new songs.
When: Saturday 3:20
Where: Red Stage
Why: Ex Hex came blasting out straight from the gates. A year and a half ago this Washington D.C. group hadn’t played a show yet, since then they have released a 7” called Hot and Cold, their 2014 album Rips as well as played a set at the 2014 SXSW in Austin, Texas. Formed by 90’s alt rock alum Mary Timony (Wild Flag, Helium, Autoclave and solo work) and joined by Betsy Wright and Laura Harris, Ex Hex is named after Timony’s 2005 solo album Ex Hex. Now Ex Hex is a punky garage pop girl group that will charm the pants off of you, s and force you to dust off some of your better dance moves.
When: Sunday at 4:15
Where: Green Stage
Why: Even if you haven’t heard the sometimes snarky but always honest album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit from this Australian indie rocker that was released earlier this spring, you are likely to still be enthralled in the set. The humorous lyricism alone will have you captivated, as they are held prominently at the forefront of her music. The instrumentation complements it perfectly, being the river that carries the vocal boat down your ear canal. Barnett is not new to large festivals having played Coachella previously and with the sun sinking lower in the afternoon sky Barnett will be urging you so boogie or sway.
WIUX will be covering Pitchfork next weekend, so keep your eyes trained on the blog and follow WIUX on instagram @wiux991 to see the festival from our eyes.