You’d think it would be easy for Pitchfork Music Festival to get lost in shuffle.
Between Lollapalooza, North Coast and the increasingly nostalgia-fuelled Riot Fest (not to mention popular street fests like Do Division and Wicker Park Fest), Chicago’s festival scene is only getting more crowded by the year.
Over the past decade, Pitchfork Festival has built up quite the institution in Chicago’s Union Park, curating exquisite lineups with the perfect balance of big-name headliners and dozens of indie darlings you’ve never heard of.
Pitchfork celebrates its 10th year in Chicago this summer, and this year’s lineup certainly one of the best in the festival’s history.
The headliner slots include local favourites Wilco and Chance the Rapper as well as the recently revived Sleater Kinney.
Run The Jewels, Future Islands, Chvrches and The New Pornographers also sit towards the top of the lineup.
While we couldn’t be more excited about these sure-to-be epic sets, here are 6 lesser known acts that can’t be missed.
Mr. Twin Sister (2:50 PM Saturday at Blue Stage)
Mr. Twin Sister’s sound is ethereal, dreamlike and infinitely danceable. Their songs are heavily electronic but also feature beautiful instrumental work — the strings are most prominent and add another layer to their delicate dynamic. Their set should not be missed.
Mac DeMarco (5:30 PM Friday at Red Stage)
There’s nobody on the scene right now quite like Canadian multi-instrumentalist Mac DeMarco. Some say he’s filling the void left by experimental rock group Ween, and his jangly hooks, goofy demeanour and ability to crush in a live setting only further back this up. If psychedelic absurdity is your thing, don’t miss him.
Viet Cong (1:45 Sunday at Red Stage)
Heavy, noisy and decidedly lo-fi, Canada’s Viet Cong (featuring two members of now defunct Calgary band Women) are injecting some much needed life into the “art rock” scene. Their riffs are labyrinthine, euphoric and have that distinct “recorded in a garage” feel while somehow staying super catchy.
Todd Terje (7:45 PM Sunday at Blue Stage)
Todd Terje may be huge on the Scandinavian dance scene, but he’s still relatively unknown in the states, but hopefully this summer’s festival circuit changes that. Terje put out one of the best albums of last year, and despite the fact that a lot of these sounds are hard to reproduce live, hearing these tunes in a huge crowd is sure to be magic. Terje has been performing with a full live band, so hopefully he’s not just up there pressing keys on a laptop.
Panda Bear (6:25 PM Friday at Green Stage)
Animal Collective fans rejoice — you can pretty much guarantee co-founder Noah Lennox’s alter-ego Panda Bear is going to show the Pitchfork crowd a good time. Panda Bear is like Animal Collective’s fun, dancier cousin, and fans of the indie-rock band as well as general EDM hounds will surely enjoy his set.
Jamie XX (5:15 PM Sunday at Red Stage)
British producer Jamie xx is best known as a member of The xx, the indie pop group whose 2009 debut sat atop many ‘best of’ lists that year. He also remixed the words of the late, great Gil-Scott Heron to much critical acclaim. Jamie xx just released his first solo album In Colour, and it’s already being hailed as one of the best of the year. His set will be a far cry from the low-key, atmospheric tones of The xx and more of a bass-heavy, feel-good time.
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