WBEZ | Pitchfork 2012 http://www.wbez.org/tags/pitchfork-2012 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Pitchfork Day 3: King Krule and The Field http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-king-krule-and-field-100921 <p><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/king%20krule.jpg" style="height: 449px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="King Krule (WBEZ/Annie Minoff)" />King Krule (Archy Marshall) elicited a few Bieber-caliber shrieks when he first appeared onstage for sound check. Truth be told, The London-based singer-songwriter&rsquo;s probably the closest thing Pitchfork fest had to offer in the way of a teenybopper heartthrob. Krule&rsquo;s young, he has an accent, and many of his lyrics involve super-sensitive appeals to an unnamed, generalized &ldquo;gurl.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Krule&rsquo;s greatest asset is his voice. It&rsquo;s strangely deep and sonorous, suggesting wisdom beyond his eighteen years. Unfortunately we didn&rsquo;t hear nearly enough of it: Krule&rsquo;s vocals were consistently overpowered by run-of-the-mill bluesy accompaniments from his backing band. When at the very end of his set he launched into a solo rendition of his breakout single &ldquo;Out Getting Ribs,&rdquo; you had to wonder why he hadn&rsquo;t played solo the entire time.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I should mention that Krule was dealing with one serious setback that had nothing to do with poor artistic decisions: he was scheduled opposite fan favorite Beach House. Nevertheless, this appeared to be one of the most sparsely attended shows of the festival.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Closing Pitchfork&rsquo;s side stage was Swedish electronic act The Field (Axel Willner). Following Krule&rsquo;s sleepy ballads, The Field&rsquo;s dance-friendly four-to-the-floor &ldquo;minimal techno&rdquo; came as a welcome relief. Willner&rsquo;s music doesn&rsquo;t yield its highs all at once: This is an artist well versed in the club DJ&rsquo;s art of bringing an audience up and down slowly and deliberately.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/the%20field.jpg" style="width: 620px; " title="Axel Willner aka The Field (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div></div><div>This can make listening to The Field feel like an exercise in delayed gratification. Willner added each new beat and chopped up sample one at a time. Guitars, synths, and drums (Willner travels with a band) came in at measured intervals. It got to the point where each new addition and increase in musical momentum warranted a cheer from the crowd. When the music finally did reach its peak, the dancing was pretty ecstatic (the crowd was thin &ndash; all the better for full limb extension). And when Willner finally brought us down to the ground, it felt like the end of a festival, not just the end of a set.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/the%20field%202.jpg" style="width: 620px; " title="The Field (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 23:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-king-krule-and-field-100921 Pitchfork Day 3: Kendrick Lamar, a dash of Lady Gaga and Oneohtrix Point Never http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-kendrick-lamar-dash-lady-gaga-and-oneohtrix-point-never <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/kendrick%20lamar%201.jpg" title="Kendrick Lamar (WBEZ/Kate Dries)" /></div><p>Poor Kendrick Lamar: The thing that everyone was going to be talking about as soon as she arrived backstage was Lady Gaga, not the artist in question performing. To make matters worse, Gaga didn&#39;t even join him for his set but grooved on the side, smoking a cigarette.</p><p>At least she seemed to be enjoying herself; I didn&#39;t find Lamar any different than your typical untalented rapper, hiding behind samples and beats that have already been made famous by another. Whether it was the constant horn blast, his calls for &quot;Any beautiful ladies in Chicago right now?&quot;, or boring use of less-than-family-friendly-language in &quot;A.D.H.D&quot;, it was all sort of the usual thing.<br /><br />&quot;When I go back to Compton I like to chill with the folks,&quot; he said of his hometown. &quot;They&#39;re like chill people.&quot; This was one of several references to Compton, dropped in, I suppose, to make us feel as though Lamar is one of the people. He felt far from it. His one moment of concern was for a young (female) fan in the audience, who looked as though she might have a case of heat stroke. Once it was clear she was alright with a thumbs up from her friends, it was, in Lamar&#39;s words, &quot;Back to your regularly scheduled program&quot; -- i.e. him.<br /><br />&quot;This next record, I wrote this in a crazy space. I was on my mom&#39;s couch. I knew it would touch a lot of you motherf***ers and would hurt a lot of you motherf***ers.&quot; Sorry Lamar, rapping about &quot;Rigamortis&quot; is literally about as moving as your song about a pool full of liquor. Last time I checked, rappers that have been commercially successful and still one with the people exist; see Common or Taleb Kweli. Those rocking deep narcissim but honesty about it end up like Kanye. The in-between both worlds isn&#39;t working.</p><p>&quot;I need you to recognize that my plan is to win your hearts before I win a Grammy,&quot; Lamar said. I fear for those chances, as well as the likelihood of finding the right women, weed and weather to keep anyone happy.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/oneohtrix.jpg" title="Oneohtrix Never Point (WBEZ/Kate Dries" /></div><p>At least Lamar was memorable; his the crowd was desperately clamoring for him to start. When Oneohtrix Point Never aka&nbsp;Daniel Lopatin&nbsp;went on, thus began the slow exodus of fans toward AraabMuzik. Lopatin didn&#39;t make people wait, coming on quickly and with little fanfare, but he also didn&#39;t have much of a chance to retain fans; I can&#39;t much think of a weirder line-up choice to follow Kendrick Lamar than this Dan Deacon-esque music (but without enough hook or screwed up beats). It was only three songs in that he broke into some sort of <em>George of the Jungle</em>, Phil Collins-inspired tune, but by that point, my attention span was broken and I wandered away, following the crowds of eager fans still on a high from their taste of rap for the day.</p></p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 21:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-kendrick-lamar-dash-lady-gaga-and-oneohtrix-point-never Pitchfork Day 3: AraabMUZIK, Beach House, Vampire Weekend (it’s a wrap) http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-araabmuzik-beach-house-vampire-weekend-it%E2%80%99s-wrap-100918 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/araabmuzik_0.jpg" title="AraabMuzik (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Picking things up again, Providence, Rhode Island native Abraham Orellana, better known as AraabMuzik, brought the dubstep in a big way as things wound down on the main stages, turning a full field in one giant swirling and bouncing mass as he hands moved in a blur over his MPC and assorted other machines. His grooves were hypnotic and irresistible, but when he delivered the day&rsquo;s second much-buzzed cameo&mdash;by Chicago gangsta rapper Chief Keef&mdash;things fizzled. Keef is all bluster, with little to distinguish his verbal spew or justify his bragging other than his oft-noted criminal record.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/beach%20house.jpg" style="width: 620px; " title="Beach House (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>From there, it was sleepy time once again as Beach House took the field as the festival&rsquo;s penultimate act. While I admire the recent album <em>Bloom </em>as well-crafted chill-out/make-out music, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally were no more engaging onstage in this prestigious slot than they&rsquo;d been at <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-3-beach-house-lightning-bolt-and-st-vincent">a mid-afternoon spot on the 2010 bill</a>. Now as then, except for diehard fans, one had to think, &ldquo;As headphones music, this stuff is great. But here&hellip; now&hellip; <em>really</em>?&rdquo; And that certainly wasn&rsquo;t a first for this weekend.</p><p>Finally it was back to the well again for Vampire Weekend, the festival&rsquo;s headlining closer this time, <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/07/pitchfork-music-festival-day-t.html">as opposed to the buzz band at 5 p.m. in 2008</a>, but really no more impressive and with no substantial new turns to its music. (It&rsquo;s been two and a half years since the release of the group&rsquo;s second and last album, <em>Contra.</em>) Though I loathe the group&rsquo;s snarky, preppy/yuppie take on <em>Graceland</em>/Peter Gabriel on album, I do admire its energetic grooves in a live setting, an accomplishment that owes a lot to underrated drummer Chris Tomson. But this performance really felt as if we&rsquo;d been here and done that before, an assessment that could be made of much of Pitchfork 2012.</p><p>As usual, there were some highlights, and a few surprises&mdash;just not as many as there have been in the past. And for anyone who&rsquo;s been to one or two Pitchfork festivals before, much less all of them, you had to leave Union Park hoping that the promoters and the Website owners will work just a little bit harder to make the bill a lot more special in 2013.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/vampire%20weekend.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px; " title="Vampire Weekend (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div></p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 21:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-araabmuzik-beach-house-vampire-weekend-it%E2%80%99s-wrap-100918 Pitchfork Day 3: Ty Segall, Real Estate, Kendrick Lamar… and (sorta) Lady Gaga http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-ty-segall-real-estate-kendrick-lamar%E2%80%A6-and-sorta-lady <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ty%20segall.jpg" title="Ty Segall. (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>As expected, prolific San Francisco garage rocker Ty Segall took the main stage in mid-afternoon and immediately claimed it as his own with a furious sound and a confident presence that belied his young age or the fact that he&rsquo;s spent much of his time in the musical spotlight before late recording alone in his bedroom.</p><p>Touring in support of the brilliant <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/record-reviews-roundup-neneh-cherry-ty-segall-best-coast-bobby-womack">Slaughterhouse</a></em> and fronting a tight quartet he calls the Ty Segall Band, he leaned heavily on the songs he wrote for that album with the new group, mixing indelible pop melodies and raucous clangor and stretching some tunes out into expansive but never really indulgent jams that amply justified his description of this music as &ldquo;evil space rock.&rdquo; Oh, and he also made the rare concession this weekend to the absurdity of the festival setting by leading a chant of &ldquo;Oi, oi, oi,&rdquo; followed by a kick-butt cover of AC/DC&rsquo;s immortal &ldquo;Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.&rdquo; Now <em>that&rsquo;s</em> rock&rsquo;n&rsquo; roll.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/real%20estate%201.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Real Estate (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" />From that adrenaline rush, the tempo instantly shifted into nap time as New Jersey indie-rockers Real Estate that was perfectly lilting and I dare say even lovely at times. But is lovely what anyone really wants at 4:30 in the bright sun on the middle of a festival bill? The group essentially had one song and one tempo, yet the set went on&hellip; and on&hellip; and on&hellip; and on. Sure, the temperature was in the mid-&rsquo;90s. But my God, I&rsquo;d have killed for a cup of coffee.</p><p>Per the rest of the weekend, my plan had been to leave the secondary stage to my WBEZ colleagues and catch the reactivated Chavez on the main stage next, hopefully forgiving bandleader Matt Sweeney for his time in the ill-fated Zwan. But the Pitchfork-powers-that-be spread the word that Lady Gaga would be appearing with Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar on the smaller platform, so along with seemingly thousands of others, off in that direction I went.</p><p>For all the positive buzz on Lamar, and despite some admittedly impressive freestyle chops, his set was a tremendous disappointment that left no hip-hop cliché unturned. Left side/right side shout-outs, exhortations to chant &ldquo;f--- that&rdquo; and wave your hands in the air, a song paying homage to &ldquo;p---- and Patrón,&rdquo; countless mentions of weed and blasts from the air horn to hype everybody up&mdash;all of it simply was pathetic. But even worse was the fact that Gaga&mdash;and several in the know swear it <em>was </em>her (&ldquo;She&rsquo;s here! She&rsquo;s really here!&rdquo;)&mdash;did nothing but stand on the side of the stage, gently gyrating and enjoying being notice.</p><p>So much for giving one to the little monsters. Though I suppose we still can hope she&rsquo;ll sing &ldquo;Horchata&rdquo; with Vampire Weekend.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Gaga Kendrick.jpg" title="Kendrick and Gaga (Photo by daveisfree)" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div></p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 18:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-ty-segall-real-estate-kendrick-lamar%E2%80%A6-and-sorta-lady Pitchfork Day 3: Thee Oh Sees and The Men http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-thee-oh-sees-and-men-100916 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/thee%20oh%20sees%202.jpg" title="Thee Oh Sees (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Guitars continued their domination of the Blue stage with Thee Oh Sees delivering a scorching set. While a San Francisco band playing Nuggests-style garage rock doesn&#39;t sound like a surefire hit at a fest like this, Thee Oh Sees made everyone in earshot believers in short order.</p><p>A huge crowd of young fans whipped into a mosh pit, something I&#39;m fairly certain never happened at a Thirteenth Floor Elevators show. The most striking thing about Thee Oh Sees set was how full of energy and vitality it was. Psychedelic garage rock has a pretty standard musical template, which Thee Oh Sees didn&#39;t deviate from too much. But there was nothing conventional or predictable about the performance.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/thee%20oh%20sees%201.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: right; " title="Thee Oh Sees (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" />This was the best music I heard all weekend and it looks like members of Wild Flag and White Mystery agreed with me - they were watching intently from the wings.<br /><br />The Men had a more uneven set, inserting drastic stylistic changes into the intelligent punk of their recent debut record. They took the stage with a slow, Crazy Horse-sounding tune featuring lap slide guitar. The next song they continued their Neil Young tribute by adding harmonica to the mix. It left the crowd confused more than anything. After Thee Oh Sees&#39; blistering set the crowd was energized and The Men didn&#39;t give them anything to dance to until their third song- a punk jam that stretched on too long.</p><p>Some have compared their music to the Twin Tone label&#39;s output, and the Replacements are definitely an influence. I was also reminded of early Teenage Fanclub with their alternating between three lead singers, though The Men are nowhere near the Fanclub in the vocal department.</p><p>Eventually The Men played songs from their album, including &quot;Open Your Heart,&quot; though it proved to be too late. The crowd was already disconnected, but The Men got their wish - no one is pigeonholing them.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/the%20men.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 414px; " title="The Men (Photo by Andrew Gill)" /></div></p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 18:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-thee-oh-sees-and-men-100916 Pitchfork Day 3: Dirty Beaches, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Iceage http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-dirty-beaches-unknown-mortal-orchestra-iceage-100912 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dirty%20Beaches.jpg" title="Dirty Beaches (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Day Three in Union Park starts under bright blue skies and already brutal heat in a painfully slow and sleepy mode that I fear may be the story of the day, with several notable exceptions.</p><p>Taiwanese Canadian musician Alex Zhang Hungtai kicks things off on the main stages with Dirty Beaches appearing in this setting as a synthesizer and guitar duo. The first 15 minutes or so of his 40-minute set consist of a painfully static ambient drone, not only entirely inappropriate at a festival, but the sort of thing that the pioneering Krautrock band Harmonia did a million times better in 1974. From there, Hungtai slowly built things up with the addition of processed vocals, a tinkling mechanized ride cymbal and eventually some eruptions of noise guitar&mdash;all too little, too late and not nearly interesting enough to make anyone regret having arrived early.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Unknown%20Mortal%20Orchestra.JPG" title="Unknown Mortal Orchestra (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Much stronger was Portland&rsquo;s Unknown Mortal Orchestra, led by former New Zealander Ruban Nielson, and delivering melodic, harmony-laced psychedelic pop that also occasionally erupted in a big noisy explosion of chaotic guitars. The sound was familiar and nothing earth-shaking onstage&mdash;I now am eager to check out the self-titled album on Fat Possum, which I missed last year&mdash;but it was at least a pleasant surprise and a very welcome change of pace after Dirty Beaches.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Iceage.JPG" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Iceage (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>The intensity built even higher with the next act, Iceage, a Danish quartet favoring a ferocious style of post-hardcore or extremely aggressive garage rock, nicely building anticipation for the next performer and my pick of the day, the young garage-rock master Ty Segall. Unfortunately, the Iceage set squandered the momentum it was building when it derailed for several minutes not once but twice in 40 minutes, victim, apparently, of some sort of equipment problem.</p><p>Could the musicians&rsquo; gear be melting in the heat already? Let&rsquo;s hope not.</p></p> Sun, 15 Jul 2012 15:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-3-dirty-beaches-unknown-mortal-orchestra-iceage-100912 Pitchfork Day 2: Grimes and Danny Brown http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-grimes-and-danny-brown-100905 <p><p>If Chromatics were playing music for a dark disco, Danny Brown was at the strip club at the end of the block. Very much a party rapper, Brown is more concerned with describing very specific sexual acts in very specific detail than flexing his formidible skills in wordplay and flow. Though the 2 Live Crew act was nothing new, it did seem Brown prefers Adderol to pot.</p><p>On a sidenote, there has been excessive airhorn and gun cocking sound effect usage this weekend. As an Aziz Ansari fan, I can&#39;t help but think of his character, Randy (from <em>Funny People</em>) everytime I hear it.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/grimes3.jpg" title="Grimes (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>Headlining the Blue stage, Grimes unceremoniously kicked off her performance after a hurried soundcheck in front of a rapt audience. The first time the crowd got even a glimpse of Claire Boucher onstage, they went crazy. Flanked by her friend Mike Tucker of Blood Diamond, Grimes hoped around like a muppet as two dancers clad in moss-covered sports bras did sort of choreographed moves.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/grimes%20w%20dancer.jpg" title="Grimes with dancer (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" /></div><p>Despite the enthusiasm of the crowd and Grimes&#39; showmanship, other than her two internet hits (&quot;Genesis&quot; and &quot;Oblivion&quot;) there wasn&#39;t much more to grasp onto in her performance. Songs with traditional lyrics sounded like Madonna remixes while the others were more like Panda Bear outtakes.</p><p>That being said, Grimes&#39; two good songs are actually really great. It comes down to the beat. On those tunes she nailed a beat that is totally infectious and new. It reminds me of the &#39;80s game Skip-It, so why not call it that: The Skip-It Beat. That&#39;s where Grimes should focus her energy if she wants to develop a distinctive career.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-8B0PfV2R0I" width="620"></iframe></p></p> Sat, 14 Jul 2012 23:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-grimes-and-danny-brown-100905 Pitchfork Day 2: Sleigh Bells, Hot Chip, Godspeed You! Black Emperor http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-sleigh-bells-hot-chip-godspeed-you-black-emperor-100910 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sleigh%20bells%20together.jpg" title="Sleigh Bells (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sleigh%20bells.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 200px;" title="Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Alas, Pitchfork Day 2 failed to provide another high point as memorable as Wild Flag or Cloud Nothings on the main stages, and the rest of the day petered out in an inconsistent, fairly mediocre though thankfully rain-free way.</p><p>As in the past and as on the recordings, I was unimpressed with Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller&rsquo;s attempt to create an overwhelming merger of noise and melody with Sleigh Bells. Stiff, contrived, canned, labored, joyless and often vocally off-key&mdash;these are none of my favorite things. And judging by the reaction of the crowd as well as comments on Twitter, as many people agreed with me as joyfully reveled in the New York duo&rsquo;s clangorous din.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hot%20chip.jpg" title="Hot Chip (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>The U.K. dance combo Hot Chip was better, but only to a point. As on its recent album <em>In Our Heads</em>, the group can provide an uplifting disco high during its best moments, such as the celebratory single &ldquo;Night and Day,&rdquo; with its goofy rapped lines such as, &ldquo;I like <em>Zapp</em><em>, </em><em>not Zappa</em>/So please quit your jibber-jabber.&rdquo; But moments like those come in only one of three songs, live or on record, and too much of the overly long set in Union Park recalled the generic sounds of a cheesy, thinking-they&rsquo;re-too-cool-for-the-room wedding band.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/godspeed%20you%201.jpg" title="Godspeed You Black Emperor (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Finally, the music closed out in the main part of the park with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a Montreal instrumental band whose expansive, slow-building psychedelic drones can be revelatory or even transcendent in the right place at the right time&mdash;it&rsquo;s all about set and setting, as Timothy Leary said&mdash;but which pretty much looked and sounded like paint drying at Pitchfork, though at a considerably more robust volume, once things got going.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mud%20limbo.jpg" title="Limbo in the mud during Hot Chip's set. (WBEZ/Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Like Feist on Friday, you just had to wonder why anyone thought this was the right headlining act after a day that included much better&mdash;as well, granted, as some worse. The most common comment I heard out in the fields and in the VIP areas backstage today: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just not all that special this year.&rdquo; Then again, during a brief rest at the WBEZ booth at the midway, I also was approached by two obviously out-of-town festival-goers who eagerly asked (direct quote), &ldquo;Do you know if there&rsquo;s any Pitchfork-branded merchandise for sale anywhere?&rdquo;</p></p> Sat, 14 Jul 2012 21:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-sleigh-bells-hot-chip-godspeed-you-black-emperor-100910 Pitchfork Day 2: Cults, Flying Lotus, Wild Flag http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-cults-flying-lotus-wild-flag-100909 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cults.jpg" title="Cults (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Yet another indie-pop band hailing from New York, Cults provided a pleasant mid-afternoon surprise, especially as I wasn&rsquo;t wowed by last year&rsquo;s self-titled debut. Led by driving forces Brian Oblivion on guitar and Madeline Follin on vocals, the group delivered a solid set of soulful pop resonant of a hundred great, dusty 45s from the early &rsquo;60s that you almost can name but can&rsquo;t quite put your finger on. Much like West Coast kindred spirits Best Coast, that&rsquo;s because the band brings a fresh exuberance to these familiar sounds, making them their own, and winning your heart with the charming personality, arresting presence and powerful voice of Follin.</p><p>&ldquo;Are you trying to sound like a 12-year-old girl singing into her curling iron?&rdquo; my <em>Sound Opinions </em>colleague Greg Kot ungraciously Tweeted. Hey, dude, lighten up! That naïve joy in being onstage and singing your heart out was part of what made Follin and Cults so magical.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/flying%20lotus.jpg" title="Flying Lotus (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>Unfortunately, the next main-stage act, hip-hop producer Steven Ellison, a.k.a. Flying Lotus, was one of those bookings that left you scratching your head and thinking, &ldquo;This would have been cool&mdash;maybe even great&mdash;at the Hideout or the Empty Bottle. But in front of 20,000 people in a festival setting under a bright sun in the middle of the day... What the heck were you thinking, Pitchfork?&rdquo; And no, the addition of a hype man out front of Ellison&rsquo;s laptop did not help matters at all.</p><p>Ah, well, at least the sun had returned and the rain for the most part abated&hellip; for the time being.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/carrie%20wild%20flag.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Carrie Brownstein of Wild Flag (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" />The clouds were returning by the time Wild Flag took the stage at 5:15, but after an explosive hour-long set, the sun had returned. Indeed, the quartet was potent enough to make you think it could even bend the weather to its will.</div><p>The band hit hard right out of the gate, opening with a killer cover of &ldquo;See No Evil&rdquo; by Television, with guitarists-vocalists Mary Timony and Carrie Brownstein proving themselves more than the equals of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd on those timeless, serpentine guitar duels, and reeling off some familiar lines that could serve as my Pitchfork mantra (or, indeed, my life&rsquo;s philosophy):</p><p>&ldquo;What I want/I want now/And it&rsquo;s a whole lot more/Than &lsquo;anyhow.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>From there, Brownstein, Timony, keyboardist and backing vocalist Rebecca Cole and near-Bonhamesque drummer and backing vocalist Janet Weiss tore through an effervescent, high-energy sampling of their own classics, including several promising new tunes, and tracks such as &ldquo;Romance,&rdquo; &ldquo;Racehorse&rdquo; and &ldquo;Glass Tamourine&rdquo; from last year&rsquo;s stellar self-titled debut. Many of these songs are about the joys of making a glorious noise, and they were a perfect gift in a festival setting where all too often too many of the acts just aren&rsquo;t up to an expression that simple but effective and motivating.</p></p> Sat, 14 Jul 2012 18:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-cults-flying-lotus-wild-flag-100909 Pitchfork Day 2: Liturgy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-liturgy-100908 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/liturgy.jpg" title="Liturgy, as seen through the rain (Photo by Robert Loerzel)" /></div><p>I followed a crushing guitar drone down to the blue stage to find black metal band Liturgy delivering a sonic drubbing to a crowd of rain-soaked fans. Drummer Greg Fox and bassist Tyler Dusenbury recently left the group, so guitarist/vocalist/black metal manifesto writer Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and guitarist Bernard Gann were going it alone today. The rain petered out a few songs into their set - a shame since this music would have made the perfect soundtrack to an epic downpour. Even in their reduced state, Liturgy proved they could still put the &quot;transcendental&quot; in transcendental black metal.</p><p>Hunt-Hendrix and Gann are masters of the slow build: HHH loops his shreiked vocals, then Gann buries them in layer upon layer of ferocious tremolo guitar. Hunt-Hendrix has cited avant-guard composers Alexander Scriabin and Iannis Xenakis as influences, but comparisons with minimalists Steve Reich and Philip Glass would be just as apt. As in Reich and Glass&#39;s music, the fun here is in detecting the minute changes in texture as these repetative guitar lines shift over and under one another. The audience is largely silent throughout. Is this just correct behavior when observing a satanic ritual? Or are they bored?</p></p> Sat, 14 Jul 2012 17:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/pitchfork-day-2-liturgy-100908