WBEZ | #pitchfork2010 http://www.wbez.org/tags/pitchfork2010 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Pitchfork Day Three: wrap-up http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-three-wrap <p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img width="500" height="371" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20pool.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>If it's this sleepy next year, I'm blogging from the pool (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em><br />&nbsp;</p><p>While almost everyone is in agreement that day three is the strongest of Pitchfork 2010, it started out on the main stages with only slightly more energy than the past two days.</p> <p>To be clear, I have nothing against chill-out music as a genre; I just expect ambient pop to measure up to the best of what I&rsquo;ve heard from that sound in the past, whether it&rsquo;s the godfather himself, Brian Eno, or Aphex Twin in his ambient mode, or the mellower of the early &rsquo;90s shoegazers. Too much <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chillwave">chillwave</a>, doesn&rsquo;t rise to those peaks on record. And even if it did, that&rsquo;s not guarantee that it can carry a crowd of 18,000 in the festival setting. Especially when it&rsquo;s interspersed with just plain generically jangly indie rock.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="375" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20alla.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Allá (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">Kicking things off on Sunday, not long after a heavy rain yielded to plain old oppressive heat and humidity, Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.myspace.com/estiempo">Allá</a> gave the crowd a taste of chill sounds at their best, with singer Lupe Martinez cooing seductively as the musical team of brothers Jorge and Angel Ledezma created lush pillows of sound and gently percolating, occasionally Latin-flavored grooves behind her.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="333" height="500" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20McCombs.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Cass McCombs (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)<br /></em></p><p style="text-align: left;">At his mellowest, California-bred singer-songwriter <a href="http://www.myspace.com/cassmccombs">Cass McCombs</a> brings to mind a less polished Lloyd Cole; at his best, which is very good indeed, things tip more toward garage rock and Paul Westerberg. During the second main-stage set of the day, McCombs gave a taste of both, drawing from his fourth album &ldquo;<em>Catacombs</em>&rdquo; (2009), as well as dipping deeper into his back catalog for a strong if never really fiery set.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="422" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20girls.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Girls (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p><a href="http://www.myspace.com/girls">Girls</a>, unfortunately, were another step back toward mid-tempo mediocrity. The twee, tinkley sounds seem so fragile that merely listening too hard might cause them to fall apart&mdash;though the precious mix of the floweriest San Francisco circa &rsquo;67s psychedelia and mellowest Smiths isn&rsquo;t helped by the lack of charisma evinced by bandleaders Christopher Owens and J.R. White. Gotta say, I would have loved to have heard another set from Allá instead.</p> <p>By mid-afternoon, it was time for more mellow as <a href="http://www.myspace.com/beachhousemusic">Beach House</a>, the ethereal duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, played a wispy, dreamy set of songs that functioned as intimate pillow talk&mdash;that just happened to be overhead by 18,000 people.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20beach%20house.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Beach House (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">&ldquo;You know, as headphones music, this stuff is great,&rdquo; said one concertgoer standing beside me during the Beach House set. &ldquo;But here&hellip; now&hellip; <em>really</em>?&rdquo; My thoughts exactly, and obviously expressed not for the first time during this long, somnambulistic weekend.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="211" title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20lightning%20bolt.jpg" /><br /><em>Lightning Bolt (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">Thankfully&mdash;finally!&mdash;there was a welcome shot of adrenaline from the next main-stage act, the aptly named <a href="http://www.myspace.com/lightningboltbrians">Lightning Bolt</a> from Providence, Rhode Island. The earth-shaking, cascading rhythmic assaults of drummer and vocalist Brian Chippendale (he had one of those headset microphones hidden beneath his Lucha Libre mark) and bassist Brian Gibson were so powerful and overwhelming that it was hard to fathom that they were being churned out by only two guys&mdash;and both named Brian, no less.</p><p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20crowd%20part%20two.jpg" /><br /><em>&nbsp;(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">The churling, co-ed mosh pit in front of the stage erupted during the first notes of Lightning Bolt&rsquo;s set, and it never let up. Clearly, at least some of the crowd filling Union Park was as eager for an outlet for their adrenaline as I have been.</p><p>Alas, things soon calmed down again with <a href="http://www.myspace.com/stvincent">St. Vincent</a>. With the temperature decreasing ever so slightly and the sun finally setting&mdash;though it had been obscured by clouds anyway for much of the day, anyway, with the threatened thunderstorms thankfully holding off&mdash;Annie Clark and a sizable band lilted through the songs she prefers to think of as mini-film scores, with lush orchestral pop arrangements and frequent hints of naïve and childlike touches straight from vintage Disney soundtracks.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20st%20vincent.jpg" /><br /><em>St. Vincent (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)<br /></em></p><p>It was charming. It was enchanting. But it was hardly revelatory or mind-blowing. And no, I ain&rsquo;t jaded, and yes, I still love Pitchfork. But where in 2010 were the sort of shear-the-top-of-your-head-off experiences like Art Brut, Os Mutantes, and Mission of Burma (2006), Clipse, Girl Talk, Mastodon, and Battles (2007), Les Savvy Fav, Titus Andronicus, and F&mdash; Buttons (2008), or F*cked Up, Ponytail, and the Vivian Girls (2009)?</p> <p>In way too short supply, that&rsquo;s where.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30389" title="Crowd Part three" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Crowd-Part-three.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p>The tempo picked up again with <a href="http://www.myspace.com/majorlazer">Major Lazer</a> at 6:15 p.m., and -- hallelujah! -- it stayed at a pretty high level through the end of Pitchfork 2010.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><!--break--> <img width="500" height="200" class="size-full wp-image-30391" title="MAjor Lazer 2" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//MAjor-Lazer-2.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Major Lazer (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p>During Major Lazer's set, the field in front of the main stages became one undulating mass of sweaty bodies gyrating to the globe-spanning grooves of DJs and producers Diplo and Switch, augmented by assorted dancers, partiers, posse members, and giant Chinese puppets. The Jamaican dancehall rhythms that form the basis of the duo's album &quot;Guns Don't Kill People -- Lazers Do&quot; were at the heart of the live set, too, though there are so many more ingredients in the mix that the sound is best described as a mash-up of a hundred of the best dance stations on earth, all received simultaneously through outer space, laid on top of one another, and remixed by a crazy stoner alien who's happened to set up a home studio on Venus.</p><p>There ain't no party like a Major Lazer party, and the Major Lazer party don't stop. (If only more of Pitchfork '10 had been like this!)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30392" title="Big Boi" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Big-Boi.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Big Boi (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p>As the penultimate act of the day and of the festival, moonlighting Outkast emcee <a href="http://www.myspace.com/bigboi">Big Boi</a> also brought the funk, delivering the challenging but tuneful genre-mashing sounds of his recent solo album &quot;Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty&quot; onstage&sbquo;&nbsp; with maximum energy and minimal trite hip-hop crowd-baiting tomfoolery (though he did pause once to ask the honies in the house to, er, show him their mammary glands, a request to which no one in Pitchfork nation responded -- and no, I would not count <a href="/jkaufmann/2010/07/pitchfork-day-2-shirtless-dudes-photos/30205">the dudes without shirts</a> that my colleague Justin Kaufmann has been chronicling).</p><p>Adding to the videos that provided most of the visual appeal of Big Boi's set, the rapper was joined by the same local troupe of young breakdancers who earlier adorned the stage as Raekwon performed.</p><p>Then, at last, it was time for the final set of the weekend -- but not before a bit of priceless comedy courtesy of &quot;Rockin' Rian Murphy,&quot; who claimed to have been a DJ on Q101 during the early '90s heyday of alternative rock, but who in fact is the wickedly satirical co-founder of Pavement's original label, Chicago's Drag City.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="293" title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20pavement.jpg" /><br /><em>Stephen Malkmus of Pavement (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p><a href="http://208.100.14.212/jderogatis/2010/07/pitchfork-day-three-wrap-up/www.myspace.com/pavement">Pavement</a> always had an uneasy relationship with the corporate feeding frenzy that followed in the wake of Nirvana&rsquo;s &ldquo;Nevermind,&rdquo; though that did not stop the group from, say, courting modern-rock radio play with its middle and later-period singles, or performing as part of the original touring Lollapalooza (much to the chagrin of the band&rsquo;s nemeses, the Smashing Pumpkins, in what passed as rock&rsquo;s answer to the Tupac/Biggie feud back then).</p> <p>Murphy brought the silliest aspects of those days flooding back as he bemoaned his inability to &ldquo;break&rdquo; the band during his (non-existent) days as a Q101 &ldquo;personality,&rdquo; and the more the crowd shouted for him to shut up and let Pavement play, the more he rambled on, with the anger on the field palpably building. It was amazing, really, how few people &ldquo;got it&rdquo;&mdash;and it was just as surprising that a considerable number of the under-25 fans began leaving midway through Pavement&rsquo;s set, which turned out to be much better than I expected.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="332" title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20ibold.jpg" /><br /><em>Mark Ibold of Pavement (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p>Having caught the band several times in its earliest days with drummer Gary Young, a middle-aged (at the time) drunk who spent as much time running around in the crowd as he did behind his drum kit, I always considered that to be the ultimate live Pavement. The other musicians could be shoegazers, and at least Young offered a bit of silly visual excitement. Mid-period Pavement was fine musically but offered little to look at, and the late period of the band was marked by the occasional pointless noodling.</p> <p>Though Young is missing from the reunion, Stephen Malkmus and his bandmates were musically concise, tight, and focused, and they delivered many of their best songs&mdash;&ldquo;Range Life,&rdquo; &ldquo;Frontwards,&rdquo; &ldquo;Greenlander,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Unfair&rdquo; among them&mdash;in versions that were every bit as strong as they were back in the day, and better in some cases than that last stage of the group. Since the music always seemed timeless, there was less of a taint of nostalgia here then with, say, the Pixies reunion, though to be sure, the motivations probably were very much the same, and mostly colored green.</p> <p><strong>So that was that for the fifth (or sixth) Pitchfork Music Festival, and the one&mdash;and I trust you&rsquo;ve gathered this by now&mdash;that I liked the least. But I do need to make one more thing very clear: The festival consistently remains the best-run, most community-oriented of any of the (conservatively) four dozen of these sorts of events that I&rsquo;ve attended across the country and in Europe over the last three decades.</strong></p> <p><strong>Pitchfork is the festival Chicago needs and deserves. So it had an off year; that doesn&rsquo;t mean I&rsquo;m not already looking forward to 2011. And even a mediocre Pitchfork will always be infinitely better than the soulless and corporate Walmart on the Lake known as Lollapalooza&ndash;which, as my recent reporting hopefully has made clear, is a very Chicago event in all of the worst ways, while Pitchfork continues to stand for the local music community at its best.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 19 Jul 2010 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-three-wrap Pitchfork Day 3: Major Lazer, Big Boi, and Pavement http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-3-major-lazer-big-boi-and-pavement <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30389" title="Crowd Part three" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Crowd-Part-three.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p style="text-align: left;">The tempo picked up again with <a href="http://www.myspace.com/majorlazer">Major Lazer</a> at 6:15 p.m., and -- hallelujah! -- it stayed at a pretty high level through the end of Pitchfork 2010.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><!--break--> <img width="500" height="200" class="size-full wp-image-30391" title="MAjor Lazer 2" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//MAjor-Lazer-2.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Major Lazer (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p style="text-align: left;">During Major Lazer's set, the field in front of the main stages became one undulating mass of sweaty bodies gyrating to the globe-spanning grooves of DJs and producers Diplo and Switch, augmented by assorted dancers, partiers, posse members, and giant Chinese puppets. The Jamaican dancehall rhythms that form the basis of the duo's album &quot;Guns Don't Kill People -- Lazers Do&quot; were at the heart of the live set, too, though there are so many more ingredients in the mix that the sound is best described as a mash-up of a hundred of the best dance stations on earth, all received simultaneously through outer space, laid on top of one another, and remixed by a crazy stoner alien who's happened to set up a home studio on Venus.</p><p style="text-align: left;">There ain't no party like a Major Lazer party, and the Major Lazer party don't stop. (If only more of Pitchfork '10 had been like this!)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30392" title="Big Boi" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Big-Boi.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Big Boi (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p style="text-align: left;">As the penultimate act of the day and of the festival, moonlighting Outkast emcee <a href="http://www.myspace.com/bigboi">Big Boi</a> also brought the funk, delivering the challenging but tuneful genre-mashing sounds of his recent solo album &quot;Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty&quot; onstage&sbquo;&nbsp; with maximum energy and minimal trite hip-hop crowd-baiting tomfoolery (though he did pause once to ask the honies in the house to, er, show him their mammary glands, a request to which no one in Pitchfork nation responded -- and no, I would not count <a href="/jkaufmann/2010/07/pitchfork-day-2-shirtless-dudes-photos/30205">the dudes without shirts</a> that my colleague Justin Kaufmann has been chronicling).</p><p style="text-align: left;">Adding to the videos that provided most of the visual appeal of Big Boi's set, the rapper was joined by the same local troupe of young breakdancers who earlier adorned the stage as Raekwon performed.</p><p style="text-align: left;">Then, at last, it was time for the final set of the weekend -- but not before a bit of priceless comedy courtesy of &quot;Rockin' Rian Murphy,&quot; who claimed to have been a DJ on Q101 during the early '90s heyday of alternative rock, but who in fact is the wickedly satirical co-founder of Pavement's original label, Chicago's Drag City.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="293" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19 pavement.jpg" /><br /><em>Stephen Malkmus of Pavement (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://208.100.14.212/jderogatis/2010/07/pitchfork-day-three-wrap-up/www.myspace.com/pavement">Pavement</a> always had an uneasy relationship with the corporate feeding frenzy that followed in the wake of Nirvana&rsquo;s &ldquo;Nevermind,&rdquo; though that did not stop the group from, say, courting modern-rock radio play with its middle and later-period singles, or performing as part of the original touring Lollapalooza (much to the chagrin of the band&rsquo;s nemeses, the Smashing Pumpkins, in what passed as rock&rsquo;s answer to the Tupac/Biggie feud back then).</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Murphy brought the silliest aspects of those days flooding back as he bemoaned his inability to &ldquo;break&rdquo; the band during his (non-existent) days as a Q101 &ldquo;personality,&rdquo; and the more the crowd shouted for him to shut up and let Pavement play, the more he rambled on, with the anger on the field palpably building. It was amazing, really, how few people &ldquo;got it&rdquo;&mdash;and it was just as surprising that a considerable number of the under-25 fans began leaving midway through Pavement&rsquo;s set, which turned out to be much better than I expected.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="332" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19 ibold.jpg" /><br /><em>Mark Ibold of Pavement (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p>Having caught the band several times in its earliest days with drummer Gary Young, a middle-aged (at the time) drunk who spent as much time running around in the crowd as he did behind his drum kit, I always considered that to be the ultimate live Pavement. The other musicians could be shoegazers, and at least Young offered a bit of silly visual excitement. Mid-period Pavement was fine musically but offered little to look at, and the late period of the band was marked by the occasional pointless noodling.</p> <p>Though Young is missing from the reunion, Stephen Malkmus and his bandmates were musically concise, tight, and focused, and they delivered many of their best songs&mdash;&ldquo;Range Life,&rdquo; &ldquo;Frontwards,&rdquo; &ldquo;Greenlander,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Unfair&rdquo; among them&mdash;in versions that were every bit as strong as they were back in the day, and better in some cases than that last stage of the group. Since the music always seemed timeless, there was less of a taint of nostalgia here then with, say, the Pixies reunion, though to be sure, the motivations probably were very much the same, and mostly colored green.</p> <p><strong>So that was that for the fifth (or sixth) Pitchfork Music Festival, and the one&mdash;and I trust you&rsquo;ve gathered this by now&mdash;that I liked the least. But I do need to make one more thing very clear: The festival consistently remains the best-run, most community-oriented of any of the (conservatively) four dozen of these sorts of events that I&rsquo;ve attended across the country and in Europe over the last three decades.</strong></p> <p><strong>Pitchfork is the festival Chicago needs and deserves. So it had an off year; that doesn&rsquo;t mean I&rsquo;m not already looking forward to 2011. And even a mediocre Pitchfork will always be infinitely better than the soulless and corporate Walmart on the Lake known as Lollapalooza&ndash;which, as my recent reporting hopefully has made clear, is a very Chicago event in all of the worst ways, while Pitchfork continues to stand for the local music community at its best.</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 18 Jul 2010 23:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-3-major-lazer-big-boi-and-pavement Pitchfork Day 3: Beach House, Lightning Bolt, and St. Vincent http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-3-beach-house-lightning-bolt-and-st-vincent <p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img width="500" height="371" title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20pool.jpg" /><br /><em>If it's this sleepy next year, I'm blogging from the pool (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em><br />&nbsp;</p><p>By mid-afternoon, it was time for more mellow as <a href="http://www.myspace.com/beachhousemusic">Beach House</a>, the ethereal duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, played a wispy, dreamy set of songs that functioned as intimate pillow talk&mdash;that just happened to be overhead by 18,000 people.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" title="" alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20beach%20house.jpg" /><br /><em>Beach House (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">&ldquo;You know, as headphones music, this stuff is great,&rdquo; said one concertgoer standing beside me during the Beach House set. &ldquo;But here&hellip; now&hellip; <em>really</em>?&rdquo; My thoughts exactly, and obviously expressed not for the first time during this long, somnambulistic weekend.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="211" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20lightning%20bolt.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Lightning Bolt (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">Thankfully&mdash;finally!&mdash;there was a welcome shot of adrenaline from the next main-stage act, the aptly named <a href="http://www.myspace.com/lightningboltbrians">Lightning Bolt</a> from Providence, Rhode Island. The earth-shaking, cascading rhythmic assaults of drummer and vocalist Brian Chippendale (he had one of those headset microphones hidden beneath his Lucha Libre mark) and bassist Brian Gibson were so powerful and overwhelming that it was hard to fathom that they were being churned out by only two guys&mdash;and both named Brian, no less.</p><p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20crowd%20part%20two.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>&nbsp;(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">The churling, co-ed mosh pit in front of the stage erupted during the first notes of Lightning Bolt&rsquo;s set, and it never let up. Clearly, at least some of the crowd filling Union Park was as eager for an outlet for their adrenaline as I have been.</p><p>Alas, things soon calmed down again with <a href="http://www.myspace.com/stvincent">St. Vincent</a>. With the temperature decreasing ever so slightly and the sun finally setting&mdash;though it had been obscured by clouds anyway for much of the day, anyway, with the threatened thunderstorms thankfully holding off&mdash;Annie Clark and a sizable band lilted through the songs she prefers to think of as mini-film scores, with lush orchestral pop arrangements and frequent hints of naïve and childlike touches straight from vintage Disney soundtracks.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20st%20vincent.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>St. Vincent (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)<br /></em></p><p>It was charming. It was enchanting. But it was hardly revelatory or mind-blowing. And no, I ain&rsquo;t jaded, and yes, I still love Pitchfork. But where in 2010 were the sort of shear-the-top-of-your-head-off experiences like Art Brut, Os Mutantes, and Mission of Burma (2006), Clipse, Girl Talk, Mastodon, and Battles (2007), Les Savvy Fav, Titus Andronicus, and F&mdash; Buttons (2008), or F*cked Up, Ponytail, and the Vivian Girls (2009)?</p> <p>In way too short supply, that&rsquo;s where.</p></p> Sun, 18 Jul 2010 18:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-3-beach-house-lightning-bolt-and-st-vincent Pitchfork Day 3: Allá, Cass McCombs, and Girls http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-3-all%C3%A1-cass-mccombs-and-girls <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="384" height="500" class="size-full wp-image-30295" title="4805507611_71fb842d58" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4805507611_71fb842d58.jpg" alt="" />&nbsp;</p><p>While almost everyone is in agreement that day three is the strongest of Pitchfork 2010, it started out on the main stages with only slightly more energy than the past two days.</p> <p>To be clear, I have nothing against chill-out music as a genre; I just expect ambient pop to measure up to the best of what I&rsquo;ve heard from that sound in the past, whether it&rsquo;s the godfather himself, Brian Eno, or Aphex Twin in his ambient mode, or the mellower of the early &rsquo;90s shoegazers. Too much <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chillwave">chillwave</a>, doesn&rsquo;t rise to those peaks on record. And even if it did, that&rsquo;s not guarantee that it can carry a crowd of 18,000 in the festival setting. Especially when it&rsquo;s interspersed with just plain generically jangly indie rock.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="375" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20alla.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Allá (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">Kicking things off on Sunday, not long after a heavy rain yielded to plain old oppressive heat and humidity, Chicago&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.myspace.com/estiempo">Allá</a> gave the crowd a taste of chill sounds at their best, with singer Lupe Martinez cooing seductively as the musical team of brothers Jorge and Angel Ledezma created lush pillows of sound and gently percolating, occasionally Latin-flavored grooves behind her.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="333" height="500" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20McCombs.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Cass McCombs (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)<br /></em></p><p style="text-align: left;">At his mellowest, California-bred singer-songwriter <a href="http://www.myspace.com/cassmccombs">Cass McCombs</a> brings to mind a less polished Lloyd Cole; at his best, which is very good indeed, things tip more toward garage rock and Paul Westerberg. During the second main-stage set of the day, McCombs gave a taste of both, drawing from his fourth album &ldquo;<em>Catacombs</em>&rdquo; (2009), as well as dipping deeper into his back catalog for a strong if never really fiery set.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="422" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-13/201-07-19%20girls.jpg" alt="" title="" /><br /><em>Girls (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p><a href="http://www.myspace.com/girls">Girls</a>, unfortunately, were another step back toward mid-tempo mediocrity. The twee, tinkley sounds seem so fragile that merely listening too hard might cause them to fall apart&mdash;though the precious mix of the floweriest San Francisco circa &rsquo;67s psychedelia and mellowest Smiths isn&rsquo;t helped by the lack of charisma evinced by bandleaders Christopher Owens and J.R. White. Gotta say, I would have loved to have heard another set from Allá instead.</p></p> Sun, 18 Jul 2010 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-3-all%C3%A1-cass-mccombs-and-girls Pitchfork Day 2: Wrap-up http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-wrap <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30191" title="4802648010_6c17fb3407" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802648010_6c17fb3407.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>And Yawnfork continues. Sad to say, the first part of day two at the Pitchfork Music Festival has continued in the sleepy spirit of Friday, with nothing as yet to energize a sold-out crowd of 18,000 baking in the 92-degree heat.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><!--break--> <img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30193" title="4802655238_b419c07f55" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802655238_b419c07f55.jpg" alt="" /> <br /><em>Free Energy (not) (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>Kicking things off on the main stages at 1 p.m., the very ironically named <a href="http://www.myspace.com/freeenergymusic">Free Energy</a> made a punch line of a description that also happens to be fact: The band is big in Minnesota (where it formed, though it's now based in Philadelphia). The group is signed to DFA, the label co-founded by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, but it lacks the punch, drive, and originality of most of their labelmates -- and certainly of Murphy's own band -- and its set of generic indie-rock laced with touches of '70s AM rock might have been a treat on a quiet night at the Twin Cities' 400 Bar, but it fell flat at Pitchfork.</div><p>The New Jersey quartet <a href="http://www.myspace.com/realestate">Real Estate</a> was no better, and maybe even a little worse, since its 45-minute set felt three times that long. All chiming guitars and genteel, mid-tempo rhythms, the group recalled the least of England's early '90s shoegazer bands, but without the rhythmic drive that generally elevated even the most mundane of those groups.</p><p>And, no, I'm really not feeling especially grouchy this year. I've just been waiting for the sort of discoveries Pitchfork has always provided in the past, and with the exception of Robyn on Friday, nothing so far has even come close.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30196" title="4802887854_97105d414b" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802887854_97105d414b.jpg" alt="" /> <br /><em>Delorean (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>At least Barcelona's <a href="http://www.myspace.com/delorean">Delorean</a> worked its own mellow, electronic grooves effectively into a pleasant if not electrifying mid-afternoon trance-out breather. But midway through its set, I was nonetheless counting the minutes until Titus Andronicus, one of those &quot;wow&quot; revelations that blew me away the first time it appeared at Pitchfork in 2008.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30220" title="4802592939_b26f9daa73" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802592939_b26f9daa73.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>The excitement finally kicked in on day two with a rollicking set by New Jersey's <a href="http://www.myspace.com/titusandronicus">Titus Andronicus</a>, who were one of the highlights of the festival two years ago.</p><p>In 2008, touring in support of their first album &quot;The Airing of Grievances,&quot; Patrick Stickles and his bandmates delivered an edgy set of twisted art-punk. With the release of their second album, the historical concept effort &quot;The Monitor,&quot; their sound has taken a turn toward simpler song structures with anthemic choruses and dramatic dynamic shifts -- a sound, needless to say, ideally suited for motivating a bored, over-heated crowd in the wide-open spaces of a baseball field.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30222" title="4803127512_6bdc555aa0" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803127512_6bdc555aa0.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>Stickles was a less flamboyant frontman this time around, but the band's bigger sound, made all the more powerful by the addition of horns, proved to be this festival's second undeniable highlight, after Robyn on day one.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30224" title="4802562495_916b574d14" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802562495_916b574d141.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Raekwon (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>Alas, the excitement level waned once more as <a href="www.myspace.com/raekwon">Raekwon</a>, one of the more energetic members of Staten Island's legendary Wu-Tang Clan, started his set 20 minutes late. With his hype man intermittently taking the stage to trumpet his imminent arrival, many in the crowd assumed that rapper Corey Woods was simply being a prima donna, building suspense for his appearance. Then, when he finally did appear, he was plagued by dicey sound throughout the set.</p><p><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">In fact, Pitchfork's Chris Kaskie said that both the delay and the sound problems were caused by a generator overheating in the brutal temperatures. </span><strong>UPDATED: </strong>Kaskie was wrong: Pitchfork Festival stage managers say the delay in starting the set was not on the festival's end--no generator overheated--and that one of Raekwon's posse in fact was having trouble booting up his laptop with the backing tracks.</p><p>Raekwon did seem to be trying hard to overcome the sound difficulties and the sketchy pacing of the set with extra energy, but the show was over before he ever had a chance to get in front of these obstacles.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="333" height="500" class="size-full wp-image-30226" title="4803266046_d1c1b2e04f" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803266046_d1c1b2e04f.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Jon Spencer (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>And then it was time for <a href="http://www.myspace.com/jsbluesexplosion">the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion</a>. Or, I should say, in the ever-annoying, super-hypberbolic manner of the band's titular leader, <strong><em>THE BLOOOOOOS EXPLOSION!!!</em></strong></p><p>In sorry contrast to Spencer's first, legendary indie-rock combo Pussy Galore, which got the mix of blues grit, garage grunge, and goofy rock camp exactly right, the Blues Explosion, despite the exquisite playing of guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins, always had a relationship to the music it claimed to love that bordered on blackface parody. While the band's guitar blow-outs and rolling rhythms were as ferocious as ever, that quality remained as the reunited combo took the stage in Union Park, and, as in the past, it made it difficult to totally lose yourself in the noise.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="334" class="size-full wp-image-30234" title="4803390454_3682d8b333" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803390454_3682d8b333.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Wolf Parade (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>Playing the invigorating set of fractured but high-energy art-pop that Modest Mouse should have given us while closing things out on Friday, Montreal&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.myspace.com/wolfparade">Wolf Parade</a> delivered on the promise of its recent third album &ldquo;Expo 86&rdquo;&mdash;its best, in my opinion, though I seem to be in the minority among the band&rsquo;s fans. As singers and songwriters Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug traded off in leading the quartet, he band delivered one propulsive anthem after another, injecting a very welcome dose of melodic energy.</p><p>Sadly, things slowed down again during the penultimate set as dusk and a slight breeze finally replaced the day&rsquo;s oppressive heat<strong> </strong>while Animal Collective&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.myspace.com/pandabear">Panda Bear</a>, a.k.a. Noah Lennox, played a way-too-long set of drony trance grooves punctuated by atonal yelps, yodels, and the occasional wounded whale noise. If this sort of thing had been delivered by a third-tier Grateful Dead offshoot band on one of the smaller stages at Bonnaroo, the Pitchfork crowd would have scoffed in derision. But since it was Pitchfork-endorsed, most stood politely and soaked it in, though there was a steady stream of refugees fleeing for the other stages, the food lines, or the Porta-Potties.</p> <p>Without the aid of mind-altering substances, Panda Bear&rsquo;s performance was an indulgent, unlistenable mess. With them, it may well have prompted the sort of bad trip that would lead someone to believe that they could fly off the steeple of First Baptist Congregational Church across Ashland Avenue from Union Park.</p> <p>Then, at last, it was time for the most anticipated set of the day: Saturday headliners <a href="http://www.myspace.com/lcdsoundsystem">LCD Soundsystem</a>, the transcendent/art-punk dance-pop band led by producer, independent label co-founder, unlikely vocalist and front man, and all-around music obsessive James Murphy.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="336" class="size-full wp-image-30242" title="4803191147_391ae9837c" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803191147_391ae9837c.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>Driven by the relentless grooves hammered out on bass, drums, an array of percussion (heavy on the cowbell), and vintage &rsquo;80s Syndrums, LCD Soundsystem&rsquo;s set mixed longer dance grooves with concise and unforgettable singles such as &ldquo;Drunk Girls&rdquo; and &ldquo;Daft Punk is Playing at My House.&rdquo; The group started strong, and the intensity built and built as the set progressed and the giant disco ball hung over the stage shot shafts of light across the field.</p> <p>Still, as great as the band was, the mediocrity of much of what preceded it on the first two days prompted one to wonder if Pitchfork ultimately means as much in 2010 as it did earlier in the decade.</p> <p>LCD Soundsystem opened with a tune called &ldquo;Us v Them&rdquo; that can be heard as an ode to the sort of underground that existed in the late&rsquo;70s and early&rsquo;80s, and which formed Murphy&rsquo;s aesthetic and worldview. It was a time when real music fanatics defined themselves&mdash;and the world&mdash;by the sounds they loved most. And those who considered it noise? Well, they were the enemy, pure and simple.</p> <p>&ldquo;Us and them/Over and over again,&rdquo; Murphy chanted at the climax of the song. It&rsquo;s hard to imagine many of the acts of the last two days&mdash;Sharon Van Etten or the Tallest Man on Earth; Free Energy, Real Estate, or Panda Bear&mdash;inspiring that kind of passion, prompting fans to draw a line in the sand with them and the music they love on one side and the rest of the world on the other.</p></p> Sun, 18 Jul 2010 07:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-wrap Pitchfork Day 2: Wolf Parade, Panda Bear, and LCD Soundsystem http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-wolf-parade-panda-bear-and-lcd-soundsystem <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="334" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803821630_344af455f0.jpg" title="4803821630_344af455f0" class="size-full wp-image-30243" /> <br /><em>(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><p>Day two ended with the uneven mix of a few highs and a whole lot of lows that has characterized the fifth (or sixth) annual Pitchfork Music Festival, the weakest to date -- though there's still the hope that day three will redeem 2010 tomorrow.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><!--break--> <img width="500" height="334" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803390454_3682d8b333.jpg" title="4803390454_3682d8b333" class="size-full wp-image-30234" /> <br /><em>Wolf Parade (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em><br />&nbsp;</p><p>Playing the invigorating set of fractured but high-energy art-pop that Modest Mouse should have given us while closing things out on Friday, Montreal&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.myspace.com/wolfparade">Wolf Parade</a> delivered on the promise of its recent third album &ldquo;Expo 86&rdquo;&mdash;its best, in my opinion, though I seem to be in the minority among the band&rsquo;s fans. As singers and songwriters Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug traded off in leading the quartet, he band delivered one propulsive anthem after another, injecting a very welcome dose of melodic energy.</p> <p>Sadly, things slowed down again during the penultimate set as dusk and a slight breeze finally replaced the day&rsquo;s oppressive heat<strong> </strong>while Animal Collective&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.myspace.com/pandabear">Panda Bear</a>, a.k.a. Noah Lennox, played a way-too-long set of drony trance grooves punctuated by atonal yelps, yodels, and the occasional wounded whale noise. If this sort of thing had been delivered by a third-tier Grateful Dead offshoot band on one of the smaller stages at Bonnaroo, the Pitchfork crowd would have scoffed in derision. But since it was Pitchfork-endorsed, most stood politely and soaked it in, though there was a steady stream of refugees fleeing for the other stages, the food lines, or the Porta-Potties.</p> <p>Without the aid of mind-altering substances, Panda Bear&rsquo;s performance was an indulgent, unlistenable mess. With them, it may well have prompted the sort of bad trip that would lead someone to believe that they could fly off the steeple of First Baptist Congregational Church across Ashland Avenue from Union Park.</p> <p>Then, at last, it was time for the most anticipated set of the day: Saturday headliners <a href="http://www.myspace.com/lcdsoundsystem">LCD Soundsystem</a>, the transcendent/art-punk dance-pop band led by producer, independent label co-founder, unlikely vocalist and front man, and all-around music obsessive James Murphy.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="336" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803191147_391ae9837c.jpg" title="4803191147_391ae9837c" class="size-full wp-image-30242" /> <br /><em>James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em><br />&nbsp;</p><p>Driven by the relentless grooves hammered out on bass, drums, an array of percussion (heavy on the cowbell), and vintage &rsquo;80s Syndrums, LCD Soundsystem&rsquo;s set mixed longer dance grooves with concise and unforgettable singles such as &ldquo;Drunk Girls&rdquo; and &ldquo;Daft Punk is Playing at My House.&rdquo; The group started strong, and the intensity built and built as the set progressed and the giant disco ball hung over the stage shot shafts of light across the field.</p> <p>Still, as great as the band was, the mediocrity of much of what preceded it on the first two days prompted one to wonder if Pitchfork ultimately means as much in 2010 as it did earlier in the decade.</p> <p>LCD Soundsystem opened with a tune called &ldquo;Us v Them&rdquo; that can be heard as an ode to the sort of underground that existed in the late&rsquo;70s and early&rsquo;80s, and which formed Murphy&rsquo;s aesthetic and worldview. It was a time when real music fanatics defined themselves&mdash;and the world&mdash;by the sounds they loved most. And those who considered it noise? Well, they were the enemy, pure and simple.</p> <p>&ldquo;Us versus them/Over and over again,&rdquo; Murphy chanted at the climax of the song. It&rsquo;s hard to imagine many of the acts of the lat two days&mdash;Sharon Van Etten or the Tallest Man on Earth; Free Energy, Real Estate, or Panda Bear&mdash;inspiring that kind of passion, prompting fans to draw a line in the sand with them and the music they love on one side and the rest of the world on the other.</p> <p>LCD Soundsystem does that, and it was about time that Pitchfork had some of that spirit. I just wish there was a whole heck of a lot more.</p></p> Sat, 17 Jul 2010 22:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-wolf-parade-panda-bear-and-lcd-soundsystem Pitchfork Day 2: Titus Andronicus, Raekwon, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-titus-andronicus-raekwon-and-jon-spencer-blues-explosion <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30220" title="4802592939_b26f9daa73" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802592939_b26f9daa73.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>The excitement finally kicked in on day two with a rollicking set by New Jersey's <a href="http://www.myspace.com/titusandronicus">Titus Andronicus</a>, who were one of the highlights of the festival two years ago.</div><p>In 2008, touring in support of their first album &quot;The Airing of Grievances,&quot; Patrick Stickles and his bandmates delivered an edgy set of twisted art-punk. With the release of their second album, the historical concept effort &quot;The Monitor,&quot; their sound has taken a turn toward simpler song structures with anthemic choruses and dramatic dynamic shifts -- a sound, needless to say, ideally suited for motivating a bored, over-heated crowd in the wide-open spaces of a baseball field.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30222" title="4803127512_6bdc555aa0" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803127512_6bdc555aa0.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;Stickles was a less flamboyant frontman this time around, but the band's bigger sound, made all the more powerful by the addition of horns, proved to be this festival's second undeniable highlight, after Robyn on day one.</div><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30224" title="4802562495_916b574d14" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802562495_916b574d141.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Raekwon (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;Alas, the excitement level waned once more as <a href="www.myspace.com/raekwon">Raekwon</a>, one of the more energetic members of Staten Island's legendary Wu-Tang Clan, started his set 20 minutes late. With his hype man intermittently taking the stage to trumpet his imminent arrival, many in the crowd assumed that rapper Corey Woods was simply being a prima donna, building suspense for his appearance. Then, when he finally did appear, he was plagued by dicey sound throughout the set.</div><p><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">In fact, Pitchfork's Chris Kaskie said that both the delay and the sound problems were caused by a generator overheating in the brutal temperatures. </span><strong>UPDATED: </strong>Kaskie was wrong: Pitchfork Festival stage managers say the delay in starting the set was not on the festival's end--no generator overheated--and that one of Raekwon's posse in fact was having trouble booting up his laptop with the backing tracks.</p><p>Raekwon did seem to be trying hard to overcome the sound difficulties and the sketchy pacing of the set with extra energy, but the show was over before he ever had a chance to get in front of these obstacles.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="333" height="500" class="size-full wp-image-30226" title="4803266046_d1c1b2e04f" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4803266046_d1c1b2e04f.jpg" alt="" /><br /><em>Jon Spencer (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;And then it was time for <a href="http://www.myspace.com/jsbluesexplosion">the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion</a>. Or, I should say, in the ever-annoying, super-hypberbolic manner of the band's titular leader, <strong><em>THE BLOOOOOOS EXPLOSION!!!</em></strong></div><p>In sorry contrast to Spencer's first, legendary indie-rock combo Pussy Galore, which got the mix of blues grit, garage grunge, and goofy rock camp exactly right, the Blues Explosion, despite the exquisite playing of guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins, always had a relationship to the music it claimed to love that bordered on blackface parody. While the band's guitar blow-outs and rolling rhythms were as ferocious as ever, that quality remained as the reunited combo took the stage in Union Park, and, as in the past, it made it difficult to totally lose yourself in the noise.</p></p> Sat, 17 Jul 2010 18:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-titus-andronicus-raekwon-and-jon-spencer-blues-explosion Pitchfork Day 2: Free Energy, Real Estate, and Delorean http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-free-energy-real-estate-and-delorean <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802648010_6c17fb3407.jpg" title="4802648010_6c17fb3407" class="size-full wp-image-30191" /><br /><em>(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour) </em></p><p>And Yawnfork continues. </p><p>Sad to say, the first part of day two at the Pitchfork Music Festival has continued in the sleepy spirit of Friday, with nothing as yet to energize a sold-out crowd of 18,000 baking in the 92-degree heat.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><!--break--> <img width="500" height="333" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802655238_b419c07f55.jpg" title="4802655238_b419c07f55" class="size-full wp-image-30193" /> <br /><em>Free Energy (not) (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>Kicking things off on the main stages at 1 p.m., the very ironically named <a href="http://www.myspace.com/freeenergymusic">Free Energy</a> made a punch line of a description that also happens to be fact: The band is big in Minnesota (where it formed, though it's now based in Philadelphia). The group is signed to DFA, the label co-founded by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, but it lacks the punch, drive, and originality of most of their labelmates -- and certainly of Murphy's own band -- and its set of generic indie-rock laced with touches of '70s AM rock might have been a treat on a quiet night at the Twin Cities' 400 Bar, but it fell flat at Pitchfork.</div><p>The New Jersey quartet <a href="http://www.myspace.com/realestate">Real Estate</a> was no better, and maybe even a little worse, since its 45-minute set felt three times that long. All chiming guitars and genteel, mid-tempo rhythms, the group recalled the least of England's early '90s shoegazer bands, but without the rhythmic drive that generally elevated even the most mundane of those groups.</p><p>And, no, I'm really not feeling especially grouchy this year. I've just been waiting for the sort of discoveries Pitchfork has always provided in the past, and with the exception of Robyn on Friday, nothing so far has even come close.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="500" height="333" alt="" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//4802887854_97105d414b.jpg" title="4802887854_97105d414b" class="size-full wp-image-30196" /> <br /><em>Delorean (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>At least Barcelona's <a href="http://www.myspace.com/delorean">Delorean</a> worked its own mellow, electronic grooves effectively into a pleasant if not electrifying mid-afternoon trance-out breather. But midway through its set, I was nonetheless counting the minutes until Titus Andronicus, one of those &quot;wow&quot; revelations that blew me away the first time it appeared at Pitchfork in 2008.</div></p> Sat, 17 Jul 2010 15:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-2-free-energy-real-estate-and-delorean A look at Pitchforks past http://www.wbez.org/jderogatis/2010/07/a-look-at-pitchforks-past/30179 <p><p>While we're in the full-on Pitchfork mode, and because a couple of readers have emailed with questions about my thoughts on past festivals, here are some links to my festival coverage in years past. (I'm missing a few, it seems, but blame the beyond-sketchy quality of my former employer's Web site.)<!--break--> </p><p><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2009/07/pitchfork_2009_day_i.html"><strong>2009 Day One</strong></a> <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2009/07/pitchfork_2009_day_ii.html"></a></p><p><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2009/07/pitchfork_2009_day_ii.html"><strong>2009 Day Two</strong></a> <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2009/07/pitchfork_2009_day_iii.html"></a></p><p><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2009/07/pitchfork_2009_day_iii.html"><strong>2009 Day Three</strong></a> <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/07/pitchfork_music_festival_day_o.html"><strong>2008 Day One</strong></a> </p><p><strong><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/07/pitchfork_music_festival_day_t.html">2008 Day Two</a></strong> </p><p><strong><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/07/pitchfork_music_festival_day_t_1.html">2008 Day Three</a></strong> <a href="http://jimdero.com/News2007/Pitchforkroundup.htm"><strong> </strong></a></p><p><strong><a href="http://jimdero.com/News2007/Pitchforkdiaryandfeatures.htm">2007 Part One</a></strong> </p><p><a href="http://jimdero.com/News2007/Pitchforkroundup.htm"><strong> </strong></a><strong><a href="http://jimdero.com/News2007/Pitchforkroundup.htm">2007 Part Two</a></strong> </p><p><strong><a href="http://jimdero.com/News2007/Pitchforkfest.htm">2007 Profile of promoter Mike Reed</a></strong> </p><p><strong><a href="http://jimdero.com/News%202006/Pitchforkreview.htm">2006</a></strong> </p><p><strong><a href="http://jimdero.com/News2005/IntonationConcertReviewJuly18.htm">2005</a> </strong> <strong> </strong></p></p> Sat, 17 Jul 2010 10:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/jderogatis/2010/07/a-look-at-pitchforks-past/30179 Pitchfork Day 1: Wrap-up http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-1-wrap <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4143/4800703081_7d40ca8281.jpg"><img width="500" height="333" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4143/4800703081_7d40ca8281.jpg" alt="Pitchfork Music Festival gets underway (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)" /></a> <br /><em>Pitchfork Music Festival gets underway (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour</em>)</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>Officially getting underway in the West Side&rsquo;s Union Park amid 90-degree temperatures and under a bright blazing sun at 3:30 Friday afternoon, the Pitchfork Music Festival was slower to kick into gear in terms of musical excitement today than it was during any of the five preceding years (or six, if we count its origins as the Intonation Festival in 2005).</p> <p>Pitchfork 2010 abandoned the &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t Look Back&rdquo; concept of revered indie-rock heroes holding forth on opening day by playing one of their classic albums in its entirety, which was not necessarily a bad thing, given the mixed results of recent years (Slint and GZA, a let-down; Mission of Burma and Public Enemy, pretty darn great) and the taint of nostalgia that always lingered over that endeavor.</p> <p>Unfortunately, in starting a few hours earlier, promoters seemed to assume that the crowd would be slow in arriving&ndash;it wasn&rsquo;t; the fields in front of the main stages were respectably full from the moment the gates swung open&mdash;and that things would be pretty sleepy early on. At least, that&rsquo;s the only logic I can think of for starting with two sets by snoozy performers playing solo acoustic.</p> <p>Born in New Jersey, raised in Tennessee, and now based in Brooklyn, singer-songwriter <a href="http://www.myspace.com/sharonvanetten">Sharon Van Etten</a> was here on the strength of her perfectly pleasant but far from remarkable 2009 debut, &ldquo;<em>Because I Was in Love.&rdquo;</em> Onstage in front of the vast open space of the festival setting, her charms were lost, and she came across as Cat Power imitating Laura Nyro, but minus the bizarre spectacle of the former&rsquo;s onstage melt-downs.</p> <p>Just as uninspiring was <a href="http://www.myspace.com/thetallestmanonearth">the Tallest Man on Earth</a>, a.k.a. Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, who did his best Dylan circa &rsquo;65 imitation, but unfortunately lacked about 95 percent of ol&rsquo; Bob&rsquo;s powers as a songwriter. But at least he moved around a bit more than Van Etten.</p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<a href="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4094/4801198693_ed98e95263.jpg"><img width="500" height="333" alt="" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4094/4801198693_ed98e95263.jpg" /><br /></a><em>Tallest Man on Earth (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>If one subtracted the significant power in this crowd of an endorsement by the Pitchfork Web site&mdash;a phenomenon parsed for the umpteenth time just the other day in <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/15/arts/music/15pitchfork.html?_r=2&amp;ref=music">The New York Times</a>&mdash;there honestly was no justification for either artist holding such a prestigious festival slot. Both would have been better suited to a Tuesday night at Uncommon Ground.</p> <p>By virtue of his own music and his championing of inventive underground hip-hop via the late, lamented Def Jux label, <a href="http://www.myspace.com/elproducto">El-P</a> certainly was deserving of his place on the bill, though it was ill-timed: The dense, dark sounds of his solo output and heavy themes of his lyrics would have been better suited to the nighttime hours, with a more party-hearty emcee taking his place in the sun. But after a rocky start, the artist his mom calls Jaime Meline found his groove and rode it out, helped by the fact that he seemed to be sober&mdash;not a given during his live shows by any means.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4098/4801227391_879a2b722f.jpg"><img width="500" height="333" alt="" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4098/4801227391_879a2b722f.jpg" /><br /></a><em>The Liars ((photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>When <a href="http://www.myspace.com/liarsliarsliars">the Liars</a> took the stage at 5:30, it seemed as there finally might be some adrenaline pouring from the main stages. The New York dance-punks/noise-rockers started in rollicking, hard-hitting form, but their set all too quickly derailed into jammed-out pseudo-dub excursions that provided yet another excuse to yawn.</p> <p>Part of it, sure enough, is the heat: Bands have to work even harder when it&rsquo;s this sweaty to impart a sense of excitement. But Pitchfork organizers, fearing even more brutal temps tomorrow, are doing their part: I just got word that they&rsquo;ve told vendors to drop the price of bottled water from $2 to $1. Stay hydrated, kids.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4801319782_136c6ca965.jpg"><img width="500" height="359" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4801319782_136c6ca965.jpg" alt="" /></a> <br /><em>Robyn at Pitchfork Music Festival (Photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>The first serious signs of life on day one o came courtesy of the 31-year-old native of Stockholm, Sweden, Robin Miriam Carlsson, better known simply as the dance-pop artist <a href="http://www.myspace.com/robynmyspace">Robyn</a>.</p> <p>Bounding about onstage as if she was leading an aerobics class, Robyn&rsquo;s defiantly retro, synth-laden grooves and chant-along choruses were nothing new: Think of Cyndi Lauper fronting an amalgam of every ridiculously coiffed English pop band in heavy rotation on MTV circa 1984. But the sheer exuberance of it all was invigorating and undeniable, and the sun-baked crowd of 18,000 came to life as the unassuming Everywoman led them through a high-octane workout.</p> <p>Lollapalooza can have Lady Gaga. Robyn owned day one of Pitchfork.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4080/4801356888_c3d9bd6ed7.jpg"><img width="500" height="333" src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4080/4801356888_c3d9bd6ed7.jpg" alt="" /><br /></a><em>Broken Social Scene (Photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div> <p><code> </code></p><p>As the penultimate act of the day on the main stages, the Canadian orchestral/power-pop supergroup <a href="http://www.myspace.com/brokensocialscene">Broken Social Scene</a> suffered slightly from the same problem evidenced on its last album &ldquo;Forgiveness Rock Record&rdquo;: A weakness in the songwriting that doesn&rsquo;t always justify the grandiosity of its arrangements. But the sound of the band was bigger than ever at Pitchfork as John McEntire of Tortoise and Soma Studios added a second drum set and percussion and the group brought out horn and string sections that included local hero Paul Mertens and heroine Susan Voelz, and the lushness of the sound coinciding with the setting of the sun and the first kind, cool whispers of a breeze made for some magical moments.</p> <p>Finally, <a href="http://www.myspace.com/modestmouse">Modest Mouse</a> closed things out with a set that was&hellip; perfectly okay.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a rel="attachment wp-att-30163" href="/jderogatis/2010/07/pitchfork-day-1-robyn-broken-social-scene-and-modest-mouse/30151 /modest-mouse-2"><img width="500" height="333" class="size-full wp-image-30163" title="Modest Mouse" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//Modest-Mouse1.jpg" alt="" /></a> <br /><em>Modest Mouse (Photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div><p>The long-running Washington state art-pop band seemed like an all-too-predictable booking for Pitchfork: Since the release of its last album, &ldquo;We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank&rdquo;<em> </em>(2007), the group has to have played Chicago at least half a dozen times, and some of those with Johnny Marr. Even with the Smiths legend on guitar, the group has never been an exceptional live act: On really good nights, its skewed rhythms and off-kilter hooks can make your head spin, but there aren&rsquo;t a lot of those, and this wasn&rsquo;t one of them. Aside from the one truly inspired tune of the night, a version of &ldquo;Dramamine&rdquo; from the band&rsquo;s first album, the set was an underwhelming way to end the day.</p> <p>With the strongest overall bill on Sunday, and the most anticipated single set of the fest on Saturday night with LCD Soundsystem, the story of Pitchfork 2010 may just be one of a slow but steady build.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 17 Jul 2010 07:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/pitchfork-day-1-wrap