Smile Politely

Pitchfork preview: I don’t care, I care, I really don’t care

If you’re making the trek up to Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend (and I have it on good authority that many of you are), you’ve probably already picked apart the schedule for your favorite artists, but for a point of comparison, here’s a look at my list.

Must Sees
Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record may not be their best, but I’ve always found that their live performances improve my listening experience for BSS albums post-show. And their set at Lollapalooza in 2006 is the stuff of legend, so you know they can bring it to the outdoor setting.

LCD Soundsystem – While I think this year’s This is Happening is slightly overrated, it’s only because their previous album, Sound of Silver, was so fantastic. I’m really looking forward to seeing thousands of people sing along to James Murphy with the Chicago skyline in the background.

Titus Andronicus – I’ve been kind of ho-hum to this band’s albums, but every time I hear their songs I think, “this sounds like it would be amazing live.”

Big Boi – Big Boi’s new album is my favorite of 2010 so far. And the back catalog he has to pull from is just sick.

Hmmm . . .
Pavement – I probably wouldn’t be going this weekend if it wasn’t for Pavement, but let’s face it, they were never known as an outstanding live band. And this tour has always seemed like an obvious cash grab for them. But it’s f-ing Pavement, so it could be magical. I certainly hope it will be.

Sleigh Bells – I am usually completely allergic to the latest hipster flavor of the month, but I can’t get enough of this band’s debut album Treats. Though I can’t really explain why it’s worked for me, I recommend the haters play it LOUD before they totally dismiss the band. Still, scheduling a noise hop band at the end of the weekend seems like a bad idea. After three days in 90 degree heat and sets by dozens of other bands, I think their loud overly-distorted sound could be an absolute disaster to the hung over/tired masses. Or perhaps it’ll be the perfect antidote.

Panda Bear – I admit I’ve never understood why everyone thinks Animal Collective/Panda Bear is so great. The music seems pretty decent to me, but not AMAZING!!! They have a well-established live reputation, so we’ll see if this performance can bring me into the fold.

Major Lazer – This seems like it could be the performance of the weekend or it could be another knob twisting show that would be great in a small club, but doesn’t translate to the festival atmosphere.

Modest Mouse – This anti-recommendation may be slightly personal. I had a run in with Mr. Isaac Brock in which I can verify his reputation as a jerk is well-deserved (as is mine). But more than any other band of the last two decades, MM is the one whose quality of output has been in direct contrast to their popularity.

Girls – More people seem to care about this band’s back story than the music. I listened to the album three times and each time I liked it less. That’s exactly the opposite of what’s supposed to happen. I can think of at least thirty bands from Champaign that deserve this band’s buzz so much more.

Wolf Parade – Their music has always seemed like an amalgamation of every band that was cool between 1999 and 2004 to me.

Robyn – If Robyn was from the U.S., she’d be a third-rate pop star, but since she’s from Sweden, Pitchfork and the blogs are apparently required to like her. I don’t get it. As far as this kind of thing goes, Annie is way better.

(Modest Mouse photo by Wendy Lynch)

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