Like most festivals with more than one stage, Pitchfork sometimes books two great acts to play overlapping sets, forcing fans to make a painful choice. Reader writers found quite a few of those conflicts on the fest's schedule, and thought long and hard about who they'd go to see. These write-ups compare those decisions with the "winners" as determined by Pitchfork itself, via rounded averages of the ratings the site has given to each artist's releases.
Saturday, 3:45 PM, Blue Stage
Saturday, 3:20 PM, Red Stage
This summer California rapper Vince Staples punctuated his unlikely rise from Odd Future outlier to hip-hop phenom with an exclamation point, releasing his debut full-length, Summertime '06 (Def Jam), a double LP that's among the year's most lucid, stirring hip-hop albums. Staples is an accomplished lyricist, able to convey weighty, complex ideas with brio; he juggles wily sociocultural precepts while flowing over choice beats by Chicago legend No I.D., who produced most of the album's 20 tracks. New favorites "Lift Me Up," "Get Paid," and "Señorita" are sure to make the set list, but stans will no doubt clamor for cuts from last year's EP Hell Can Wait, including the police-brutality protest "Hands Up." Staples shares a time slot with Ex Hex, where Mary Timony's smart, sometimes oblique garage pop may have found its purest form—this trio is her best project since Helium. A D.C. native, Timony was last seen in transcontinental supergroup Wild Flag, and the supporting role she played there no doubt inspired her to go for a more personal approach here. Ex Hex's debut, Rips (Merge), has a summery, mid-fi vibe perfect for a sunny July afternoon. But I'd still recommend Staples—he's an emergent megastar who isn't long for second-tier venues like the Blue Stage. Check him out now so you can brag during his headlining set in a couple years.
Pitchfork's call: Vince Staples, 8.7 > Ex Hex, 8.4