It’s that time of year again, Pitchfork 2017 music festival is upon us. I have the pleasure of being one of the two that are fortunate enough to cover the festival for this year.
This lineup can be a little bit daunting if you don’t know who most of the artists are, luckily, I will be your guide through the hipster jungle that is Pitchfork.
Pitchfork has somewhat of a more simplistic setup in comparison to much larger festivals such as Lollapalooza, so it is easy to try to make your schedule for this year. The festival is split up into two separate areas: The red and green stages, and the blue stage (which is put in a different area). My schedule is chosen based on who I would like to see, then who I think would put on the best concert experience.
Norf. Norf. But seriously, Vince Staples is not your average rapper. He has turned a little bit away from his usual rap beats for more electronic beats. He was also recently featured on the newest Gorillaz album. I honestly don’t know what to expect from this concert, but from what I’ve heard so far, I think that this is going to be a great concert.
If you have never heard of Frankie Cosmos, she is a prolific indie darling. If you want to experience some short sweet songs, Frankie Cosmos is your girl. Her newest album, Next Thing, was able to fit a wide range of emotions into a small package. Frankie Cosmos has a style of her own, and you should definitely see her. Frankie Cosmos is a great artist, but I would leave a little early to see…
I have a top few (like 4) artists that I classify as “See at any cost,” and artists have been added and then removed as I’ve seen them in concert. Luckily at Pitchfork this year, there are two current members and one previous member on my short list. Danny Brown fits into the former category. Danny Brown is raunchy, crude, thoughtful, and a unique rapper from the city of Detroit. Not only does Brown have a distinct voice, his beats are becoming more experimental as time goes on (on XXX he sampled a Metronomy song *which is really awesome*). After his newest album, Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown was able to show that he was not just a rapper, but a person who can change the landscape of what rap means. See Danny Brown — you will not be disappointed.
Dirty Projectors is a very experimental band. Each one of their albums seems vastly different from the previous one. From The Glad Fact, to Bitte Orca, to Swing Lo Magellan; Dirty Projectors has shown that they can play a vast array of styles and genres of music. With their new self-titled album, Dirty Projectors shows that it can still reinvent themselves, into a more electronic sultry sound. I personally am going to see Dirty Projectors because I don’t know what they’re going to play, but I do know that it’s going to be great.
Former member of my “See at any cost” list, they definitely do not disappoint. LCD Soundsystem is a synth-indie-dance-rock-punk band who is going to release their upcoming album (American Dream) any time soon. There is no real way to describe this concert, so I’ll just state a couple of great things that you can expect from their show. Great music, a really big disco ball, new songs, dancing, feeling, and everything in between. I cannot stress this enough, if you can only see one concert at this Pitchfork, see LCD Soundsystem!
Saturday is full of hard decisions to make, depending on what type of music you like, Saturday will be very different for most people.
Mitski Vs. George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
Mitski and George Clinton are two vastly different artists. Mitski is a indie female rocker, while George Clinton is a classic funk group. Mitski has a remarkable talent of making sad songs catchy. Songs like “First Love/Late Spring” and “A Loving Feeling” are able to make you both feel and sing along. With her latest album, Puberty 2, Mitski was able to blend her lyrical style with a hard rock exterior. If rock isn’t necessarily your thing, George Clinton is for you. Clinton is a mainstay of soul and funk, he has been making music for at least fifty years. His projects, including Parliament and Funkadelic, are going to be joining him on stage. You may know Funkadelic from their song “Can You Get To That” or George Clinton from his song “Atomic Dog”. Both are going to be great concerts, but it’s a hard decision to make.
Angel Olsen Vs. Madlib
Angel Olsen is currently on my short list, but I think that this is a hard decision to make. Angel Olsen with her new album, My Woman, showed that she could make more upbeat songs that her dreary indie folk. Even before My Woman, Burn Your Fire for No Witness was still proof that Angel Olsen can venture into a more rock oriented sound. Angel Olsen should be a great concert to go to, but if sadder indie folk is not your thing, you should definitely see Madlib. Madlib, the beat-maker extraordinaire, has been featured with many prominent rappers. He has collaborated with the likes of Danny Brown, BJ the Chicago Kid, Earl Sweatshirt, Freddie Gibbs, J Dilla, and most importantly MF Doom. Madlib and MF Doom created one of the best rap albums of the 21st century, Madvillainy. You can’t go wrong with either choice, they’re both great.
PJ Harvey Vs. S U R V I V E
Like the previous two decisions, this is a matter of preference due to vastly different genres. PJ Harvey is part of the group of artists within this festival that are the new wave of female led indie rock (Mitski, Cherry Glazerr, Priests, etc.). Where PJ Harvey differs is her softness in comparison and her lusher (and a bit more atmospheric in some songs) instrumentation. Though PJ Harvey is a somewhat atmospheric indie rock group, S U R V I V E is a very atmospheric electronic artist. Not only is S U R V I V E atmospheric, but they are able to fluctuate the tone of the music while keeping it atmospheric. This band is a little less of an EDM concert, but a little more of an experience that you just have to experience for yourself.
A Tribe Called Quest
You don’t need me to tell you to see A Tribe Called Quest. Whether they’re making a political statement with songs like “We The People…”, or rapping over samples for classic songs like “Walk on the Wild Side” or “Benny and the Jets”, A Tribe Called Quest has been able to become a hip-hop mainstay. Their newest album, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, is a great return from their previous album in 1998. Their newest album shows that they are back and better than ever. Go see them!
Isaiah Rashad is a rapper from Chattanooga, Tennessee, who is currently on TDE with Kendrick Lamar. Previously, Isaiah Rashad was on the XXL Freshman list in 2014, and he was able to live up to his expectations with his release of his first album last year. If you like some of the people that he has collaborated with (Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and SZA), you will definitely like Isaiah Rashad. His concert is going to be great!
I don’t know much about Joey Purp, except for the few songs that I have heard from him. The song “Girls @” is a bona fide banger with Chance the Rapper as a feature. From what I have heard so far, I think that this is going to be a great concert experience, I cannot wait.
Just like A Tribe Called Quest, The Avalanches came back from a long hiatus to release a great new album. The Avalanches’ Since I Left You (2000) helped break ground on a new type of hip-hop/electronic music with samples from older songs, an atmospheric feel, and Latin influences. With the new album, Wildflower (2016), The Avalanches were able to improve on their established style by adding some other artists into the mix. Danny Brown, MF Doom, Toro y Moi, and Father John Misty make an appearance on their new album, which only adds to the new style that they are creating. The Avalanches will help provide this festival, and especially Sunday, with a fresh atmospheric concert that is sure not to disappoint.
Nicholas Jaar is a minimalist house musician from Chile. He is really able to put his own Latin influences into his music. With hypnotizing beats, and a style all his own, Nicholas Jaar should be able to put on a great concert this pitchfork. I think that this will be one of the best concert feels of the entire festival, go see him.
Solange Knowles, sister of Beyonce Knowles, made a recent breakout with her album A Seat at the Table last year. A Seat at the Table was able to bring her personal experience with black culture and put it into a nice neo-soul package. Solange is able to move her style of soul into this music festival with her beautiful voice and her nuanced takes on society at large. Solange is going to be a great concert, I cannot wait for her performance.
Honestly, my tastes are going to be different from yours, so use this with your own discretion. The most important thing to do at this music festival is to have fun and listen to some great artists.