Pitchfork Music Festival Preview: Friday
What to expect from Day One
In the midst of festival season, Chicago’s Union Park will play host to arguably one of the most important music festivals of the year. From July 18 through 20, Pitchfork Music Festival will bring together dozens of artists that are pushing the limits of today’s music, but have not yet reached the summit of their success. It would be easy to look at another festival and say, “Outkast is going to blow minds when they play ‘Hey Ya!’ or ‘Ms. Jackson,’” but instead, we will inspect a few recent releases from acts at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival to perhaps shed light on the next generation of popular music.
Hundred Waters — “The Moon Rang Like a Bell” — 3:20 p.m. on the Red Stage
Hundred Waters’ second full-length album, released May 27, rides a fine line between dark and majestic. Mainly considered an “art-rock” group, the band has successfully taken ownership of their sound with “The Moon Rang Like a Bell.” Lead singer Nicole Miglis has a wispy voice that lends itself well to the digitized and floating sound of Hundred Waters, yet her vocal range, along with the instrumental diversity of her three band mates, offers just enough variety to maintain the listener’s interest throughout the 48-minute long “Moon.” Hundred Waters has toured with the likes of The xx and alt-J, which is indicative of the style, and even more so, the quality of music to expect from them.
3.9 out of 5 stars Similar to: The xx, Björk, Dirty Projectors Must-listen track: “Cavity” Upcoming local shows: July 15 at The Luminary in St. Louis
The Haxan Cloak — “Excavation” — 5:15 p.m. on the Blue Stage
“Excavation” is the creepy kid in your high school that everyone is afraid to talk to. It is the first time that you truly feel your life is in danger. It is the soundtrack to a movie in which even the hero dies. English musician Bobby Krlic is the Haxan Cloak, and 2013’s “Excavation” is a one-way trip to Hell. In fact, Krlic’s second album is a story of the soul’s journey after death — told entirely without lyrics. The intimidating, droning, impossibly dark sound of “Excavation” is unlike anything else within the broad genre of electronic music, and artists such as Skrillex pale in comparison to the level of nightmarish anguish it presents. “Excavation” is something one must prepare for. It is not a welcoming album, and it does not get easier to listen to as it progresses. The Haxan Cloak will bring you to the underworld, deeper and deeper with each song, and then abandon you at the lowest imaginable point. It is utterly astounding — as long as you are ready for it.
4.3 out of 5 stars Similar to: Fuck Buttons, Oneohtrix Point Never, Raime Must-listen track: “Excavation (Part 2)” Upcoming local shows: none
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks — “Enter the Slasher House” — 7:15 p.m. on the Blue Stage
“’Monster Mash’ meets 1960’s garage rock” is a paraphrased description of Dave Portner’s (read: Avey Tare’s) newest venture. Animal Collective’s frontman is currently exploring a new side of acid-rock — this time under the moniker Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks. Portner’s newest group released its first record on April 7, 2014 and was successful not just in portraying its intended gimmicky horror theme, but also in creating genuinely pleasant music. Look no further than “Enter the Slasher House”’s single “Little Fang” to see how fun Slasher Flicks’ music can be. The album bounces with trippy joy reminiscent of Animal Collective at their best, but takes a step away from the experimental label that is often applied to Portner’s main project. “Enter the Slasher House” grounds itself in the novelty of silly horror movies, but merges that with the complexity of psychedelic rock and roll to create a truly charming sound that is worth more than a simple listen.
4.2 out of 5 stars Similar to: Animal Collective, Jane’s Addiction, Panda Bear Must-listen track: “Little Fang” Upcoming local shows: none