The annual Pitchfork Music Festival is set to kick off today in Chicago, and, as usual, the taste-making website has curated a lineup of talent on the cutting edge of the music scene. With some 50 bands spread out over the course of the weekend, it can be hard to narrow down which ones to pay the most attention to, which is why you should leave it to the professional music critics like me to do the listening for you. Here’s a list of the bands from the lineup that you absolutely must know about if you want to be able to consider yourself a true music fan.
Beck Hansen, sometimes stylized as simply Beck, is a song-writer, musician, and trend-setter whose experimental genre-crossing, but still mainstream-appealing concoctions have had critics buzzing. The California-based artist is capable of jumping from a delirious funked-up, retro-style dance number, to more maudlin, acoustic compositions. Keep your eye on this guy, because he’s going to be talked about on websites for a long time to come.
Neutral Milk Hotel
Imagine music that’s “sort of like Wilco, but dreamier” with a singer that looks “like someone out of Duck Dynasty” and you’re part way toward encapsulating this Georgia-based collective. Led by the aforementioned beard-haver Jeff Mangum, little else is known about this band, whose releases have been shrouded in mystery, as they tend to avoid the spotlight. Still, their outre-folk and indie warbling have rocketed them to the top of most music critics best of the year lists, so you’d do well to catch them now before it’s too late.
A lot of people in the indie rock community are down on EDM, or Electronic Dance Music, of late, but there’s always room for artists who can really get the crowd jumping, like this Italian DJ who’s made a name for himself by collaborating with the likes of Daft Punk and others.
The shoegaze revival is alive and well. The style of music, popularized in the late eighties and early nineties, utilizes cascades of feedback manipulated into ethereal, noisome, but melodic sketches. If you don’t know about this band by the end of the weekend you’re a fucking idiot.