Pitchfork Music Fest 2015 Preview

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Tomorrow begins another Pitchfork Music Festival at Chicago’s Union Park. And once again, Loud Loop Press will be on-site all weekend long bringing you the best coverage we possibly can.

What can you expect? Updates throughout the day on our Twitter, our editor Richard Giraldi’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Then on 10 a.m. the day after (Saturday, Sunday and Monday), we’ll have a full recap of the previous day’s happenings complete with blurbs on the acts we caught, photos and more!

Of course, like every Pitchfork Fest, there’s a ton of music everyday, some of which you have no clue about, so we’ve decided to help out with a brief, but informative, guide to the acts we’re most looking forward to checking out.


Ryley Walker Blue Stage, 3:20 p.m.

Ryley Walker is the artist at Pitchfork Fest 2015 that your parents are most likely to approve of. Walker’s revival of late sixties/early seventies guitar music (Van Morrison is easily the most obvious influence, though there are others) should play well with anyone with a fondness for that era. Walker is talented enough that his beguiling tunes, full of his intricate fingerpicking and understated croon should please festival goers of all ages. (Dan Henshaw)

Natalie Prass Red Stage, 3:30 p.m.

Nashville based Natalie Prass makes soulful, gorgeous ballads in the grand tradition of forebears like Dolly Parton and Dusty Springfield. She garnered attention earlier this year with the release of her self-titled debut album, an excellent collection of songs chock full of intricate, inventive melodies that are as arresting as they are memorable. Prass’s voice is absolutely incredible, and her impressive singing ability combines with the strong arrangements to make something special. (Dan Henshaw)

Jessica Pratt Blue Stage, 4:15 p.m.

Jessica Pratt’s musical story is too good not to mention in any piece about her; San Francisco garage stalwart Tim Presley (of White Fence) apparently poured his life savings into turning a bunch of Pratt’s demos from 2007 into her self-titled 2012 debut album. She was only 19 then, and now at 27, she finally released a follow up on Drag City. On Your Own Love Again is a great collection of homespun folk that improves on her strong debut. Fans of her labelmate Joanna Newsom should flock to her Friday set. (Dan Henshaw)

Steve Gunn Blue Stage, 5:15 p.m.

Steve Gunn makes straightforward, fiercely traditional guitar tunes that move at their own pace with a patience and attitude that makes it unsurprising that he was once in Kurt Vile’s backing band. Gunn is insanely prolific, releasing music at a breakneck pace, which culminated in last year’s Way Out Weather, which was roundly lauded as his best work. His songs may seem simple, but they feature instrumentation that’s impressive in it’s amount and complexity. Gunn himself has a great voice and has proven himself to be a great songwriter. For songs that sound effortless, there’s clearly a ton of attention given to the little details, and it should be fun to watch all the parts come together in a live setting. (Dan Henshaw)


Jimmy Whispers Green Stage, 1:00 p.m.

Jimmy Whispers rose from the ashes of local pop ensemble Light Ensemble to make lovelorn, lo-fi pop music on his own. His demos got Ariel Pink’s attention, and it’s easy to paint Whispers as the Midwest’s answer to Pink. He’s got a catalog of tender ballads that come straight from the bedroom with little in the way of production, (and shoulder length blond hair to boot.) His fuzzy, emotional love songs should play well on a warm summer afternoon in the park. (Dan Henshaw)

Protomatyr Red Stage, 1:45 p.m.

Even if the sun-blotting darkness that Detroit post-punkers Protomartry traffic in seems inappropriate for what is apparently going to be a very sunny day, their sophomore LP Under the Color Of Official Right is so good that this set is can’t-miss proposition. Singer Joe Casey pens some pretty bleak lyrics, and the rest of the band creates an appropriately dark sonic landscape to surround him. The band is playing an aftershow at Schubas, so maybe festival goers would be better served to catch another set on Saturday and see them in a darkened room. (Dan Henshaw)

Bully Blue Stage, 1:55 p.m.

Bully’s “little band that could” story involves them breaking free from their hometown of Nashville to spread their Nirvana-esque, nineties alt rock sound after frontwoman Alicia Bognanno interned at Electrical Audio as a sound engineer. The band’s debut LP Feels Like was recorded there, and it’s full of riffs that will make anyone who lived through the year that punk broke feel nostalgic. Bognanno’s lyrics and delivery, whether in attack mode (the short and aggressive “I Remember) or a bit more understated (the laid back jangle of “Trying”) conveys a very specific kind of longing and frustration that has connected with audiences for decades. (Dan Henshaw)

Ex Hex Red Stage, 3:20 p.m.

After Wild Flag disbanded in late 2013, I was curious what was next for Washington D.C. singer-songwriter and American treasure Mary Timony. Thankfully, she didn’t stay away for long and returned in 2014 with a brand new band, Ex Hex, which also featured bassist Betsy Wright and drummer Laura Harris. The band’s debut 2014 LP, Rips, does just that with a sound far punchier than Wild Flag and more influenced by late 70’s pop rock such as The Cars and The Knack. It feels far fresher than one would think and is bolstered by Ex Hex’s fun rock ‘n’ roll party of a live show. (Richard Giraldi)


Single Mothers Blue Stage, 1:00 p.m.

If the goal was to start the final day of the festival with a jolt of energy, Pitchfork was smart to slot Single Mothers in the lead-off spot on the blue stage. The four piece punk outfit bring the riffs and the outrage on their 2014 debut LP Negative Qualities – that title should tell you a lot about the snarky, sneering tone of frontman Drew Thomson. Expect a lot of cuts from that album, so if you want to start Sunday off with some thrashing, get to the blue stage at 1:00. (Dan Henshaw)

Bitchin’ Bajas Green Stage, 1:00 p.m.

Since Loud Loop is a local site, we’re almost contractually obligated to stump for local trio Bitchin’ Bajas in this preview, but rest assured, they’re more than deserve a mention – and a stop by their green stage set. Though their name suggests another in a long line of unhinged, raucous, local garage acts, Bajas are quite the opposite, delivering extended ambient, meditative tunes that unspool at a drip. That sounds like something best suited for solitary listening with a pair of nice headphones, but the band deliver a live experience that features more players and lots of live instrumentation. This should be one of the more unique sets of the weekend, so check it out if you want Sunday to start out on a relaxing note. (Dan Henshaw)

Mourn Blue Stage, 1:55 p.m.

If seeing Sleater-Kinney on Saturday night doesn’t quite satiate your appetite for heavy alt-rock riffs and screaming vocals, you’d do well to catch Mourn early on the blue stage on Sunday. The band of teens (no member is older than 18) are coming from Spain to rock the blue stage, and their strong self-titled debut LP from earlier this year makes a good case for this being a strong set.(Dan Henshaw)

The Julie Ruin Blue Stage, 2:50 p.m.

If she hasn’t already, when it’s all said and done, Kathleen Hanna will likely join the ranks of iconic female figures in rock and roll history alongside Patti Smith and Kim Gordon. If you haven’t already, check out the fascinating 2013 documentary, The Punk Singer, that detailed how Hanna played an extremely important part in the creation of the feminist punk movement known as Riot Grrrl, in addition to delving into her years long battle with Lyme disease. The Julie Ruin is Hanna’s most recent project, which hasn’t been extremely active as of late save for the 2013’s indie-punk hybrid Run Fast, but project has been in the studio recently expect to hear some new tunes this weekend at Pitchfork. (Richard Giraldi)

A.G. Cook Blue Stage, 6:45 p.m.

A.G. Cook heads up PC Music, a British electronic label that saw it’s stock skyrocket last year thanks to bulletproof singles like Cook’s own “Beautiful” and QT’s “Hey QT,” among others. The operating word with Cook and all things PC is “cute” thanks to Cook’s predilection for chipmunk vocals and squeaky, bouncy production. Based on his track record, Cook should deliver the most exuberant, danceable, and all-around fun sets of the weekend. (Dan Henshaw)


BOLD = Loud Loop Pick

FRIDAY, JULY 17 – gates at 3pm

8:30 Wilco (Green)
8:15 Ought (Blue)
7:20 Chvrches (Red)
7:15 Iceage (Blue)
6:25 Panda Bear (Green)
6:15 Tobias Jesso Jr. (Blue)
5:30 Mac DeMarco (Red)
5:15 Steve Gunn (Blue)
4:35 iLoveMakonnen (Green)
4:15 Jessica Pratt (Blue)
3:30 Natalie Prass (Red)

3:20 Ryley Walker (Blue)

SATURDAY, JULY 18 – gates at 12pm

8:45 Vic Mensa (Blue)
8:30 Sleater-Kinney (Green)
7:45 Sophie (Blue)
7:25 Future Islands (Red)
6:45 Shamir (Blue)
6:15 The New Pornographers (Green)
5:45 A$AP Ferg (Blue)
5:15 Parquet Courts (Red)
4:45 Ariel Pink (Blue)
4:15 Kurt Vile and the Violators (Green)
3:45 Vince Staples (Blue)
3:20 Ex Hex (Red)
2:50 Mr. Twin Sister (Blue)
2:30 Future Brown (Green)
1:55 Bully (Blue)
1:45 Protomartyr (Red)
1:00 Jimmy Whispers (Green)

SUNDAY, JULY 20 – gates at 12pm

8:30 Chance The Rapper (Green)
7:45 Todd Terje & The Olsens (Blue)
7:25 Run The Jewels (Red)
6:45 A. G. Cook (Blue)
6:15 Caribou (Green)
5:45 Clark (Blue)
5:15 Jamie xx (Red)
4:45 How To Dress Well (Blue)
4:15 Courtney Barnett (Green)
3:45 Perfume Genius (Blue)
3:20 Madlib & Freddie Gibbs (Red)
2:50 The Julie Ruin (Blue)
2:30 Waxahatchee (Green)
1:55 Mourn (Blue)
1:45 Viet Cong (Red)
1:00 Single Mothers (Blue)
1:00 Bitchin Bajas (Green)

For More information and/or tickets to Pitchfork Music Festival, visit: Pitchforkmusicfestival.com.

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