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The Reader's guide to the Pitchfork Music Festival: Sunday

A rundown of the essentials, 5 recommended itineraries, and of course reviews of all of Sunday's acts on the bill



See our reviews of the bands playing on Friday & Saturday

Get prepared for every hour of Pitchfork with our five Sunday itineraries, compiled by staff, contributors, comrades, and readers.

Have a look at tonight's afterparties, counterfests, and more.

Have a listen to what you'll be seeing today, with staff writer Miles Raymer's Spotify playlist:

1:00 A Lull Chicago's A Lull describe themselves as five multi-instrumentalists who harvest sounds from a host of indie microgenres, which basically means you're going to see a lot of doodads and instruments switching hands as the band irons out its colorful, expansive tribal pop onstage. Their pleasantly accessible recent EP, Meat Mountain (Lujo), is less druggy than Animal Collective but more daring than all the nameless bands milling around on this turf that are too boring to make an impression. Also tonight at Schubas, 18+. —Kevin Warwick Blue stage

[Recommended] 1:00 Dirty Beaches Dirty Beaches couldn't have a more appropriate name. Alex Zhang Hungtai's one-man band makes fuzzy, minimal, moody 1950s-­flavored boogie that's slowed down to a creepy crawl and sounds as if it were recorded through a haze of cigarette smoke. This is the bad guy's theme music—the soundtrack to drag races, switchblades, and pocket flasks. The comparison Hungtai gets most often is Suicide, and I also hear a superdark Elvis or a dissonant Springsteen. Also tonight at Schubas, 18+. —Luca Cimarusti Green stage

1:45 Unknown Mortal Orchestra The Unknown Mortal Orchestra's self-titled debut on Fat Possum is loaded with hooks and benefits not just from the highly listenable falsetto of front man and mastermind Ruban Nielson but also from a punchy rhythmic backbone that frequently nods to sunny-day hip-hop beats. But there's something strange about the whole arrangement—it's not at all clear what Nielson thinks he's doing combining influences as disparate as Krautrock and lite AM-radio pop, or how he makes them fit together so naturally, or whether he's trying to tell us something by doing it. Whatever the message might be, the band is good—it's one of those rare acts that makes a high degree of musical proficiency seem fun rather than stifling. The fact that nobody else is doing anything remotely similar is just a bonus. Also tonight at Schubas, 18+. —Miles Raymer Red stage

1:55 Milk Music Olympia band Milk Music is one of many from the Pacific Northwest eager to revive grunge. The loud, sloppy guitar licks on their 2010 debut, Beyond Living (Perennial), are coated with just the right amount of fuzz, and their energetic, high-decibel stage show will get fists pumping and ears ringing. —Leor Galil Blue stage


[Recommended] 2:30 Iceage It's an increasingly poorly kept secret that Scandinavia—to many, the land of corpsepainted black-metal bands and cyborglike pop stars—is home to one of the most compelling punk scenes around. Copenhagen's Iceage are leading the pack, and they've attracted a lot of attention with the reissue of their debut album, New Brigade (What's Your Rupture?). The young foursome obviously grew up listening to Swedish posthardcore icons Refused, but New Brigade also has plenty of gothy ambience, and its pop hooks are unabashedly catchy. Iceage can make you wonder what it would've sounded like if Ian Curtis and Joe Strummer had started a band together and it was as good as you'd hoped. —Miles Raymer Green stage

[Recommended] 2:50 Thee Oh Sees This twisted and prolific Bay Area rock band, led by scene veteran John Dwyer, seems intent on confounding expectations from one record to the next, following tuneful, restrained efforts with noisy, self-­indulgent ones. In September they'll release their fourth album in three years, Putrifiers II (In the Red), and it's one of their best and most diverse—packed with storming rhythms, nonchalant hooks, fuzzed-out unison guitar riffs, and Dwyer's infectious falsetto singing. Like they did on last year's Castlemania, Thee Oh Sees occasionally venture out of the dank garage they usually call home and into the sunshine—a few songs on Putrifiers II use synthetic string parts, apparently in an attempt to play with twee flower-power poses. Most bands that put out this many records don't bother much with quality control, but Dwyer and company can produce great music in bulk. Also tonight at the Empty Bottle, 21+. —Peter Margasak Blue stage


[Recommended] 3:20 Ty Segall With a no-fuss approach to the studio and a prodigious work ethic, San Francisco garage rocker Ty Segall has made 11 albums since 2008—and the brisk pace of his output seems to have rubbed off on his music, giving it an appealing urgency. The latest, Slaughterhouse (In the Red), is his first studio record with his current touring band and proof that their time on the road has sharpened their edge but not polished it. The album opens with a gale of guitar feedback from Segall and Mikal Cronin, which dissolves into the stomping, hypnotic "Death"—and for the next 35 minutes, unholy guitar skree jockeys for position with driving, Nuggets-style melodies and unhinged rhythms. Also Thu 7/12 at Lincoln Hall, sold out, 21+, and Sat 7/14 at the Empty Bottle, 21+. —Peter Margasak Red stage

[Recommended] 3:45 The Men The Men could really care less about getting comfortable in any specific subgenre of punk. The Brooklyn dudes busted out of the underground in 2011 with Leave Home and have remained loyal to their DIY roots, continuing to tour warehouses and "spaces" and make whatever sort of postpunk, postjazz, post-­Afrobeat, posthardcore noise they damn well feel like. This year's stellar Open Your Heart (Sacred Bones) is cleaned up compared to Leave Home, with better production and less blown-out grunge, but the band remains just as willing to experiment. The opening cut, "Turn It Around," is an out-and-out anthemic rager, while its follow-up, "Animal," features slide guitar skating over raunchy hardcore punk. "The Country Song" is, go figure, basement-­ready country, and the seven-­minute-plus instrumental "Oscillation" sounds like End Hits-era Fugazi with guest vocals from Jame Gumb. And that's just the first four tracks. Also Sat 7/14 at the Empty Bottle, 21+. —Kevin Warwick Blue stage

4:15 Real Estate The respectable popularity of Real Estate's 2011 album Days (Domino) proves that there's still some life left in jangly guitar pop—apparently all the good ideas didn't get used up in the 80s and 90s. Real Estate aren't exactly a "retro" band, but I'm sure that if you could somehow play Days for indie-rock fans 25 years ago, they'd find it familiar—and probably make some flattering comparisons to R.E.M. —Miles Raymer Green stage


[Recommended] 4:45 Kendrick Lamar Critics, fans, and fellow rappers have been quick to crown silver-­tongued Compton MC and Black Hippy figure­head Kendrick Lamar as one of the genre's brightest prospects. On last year's Section.80 Lamar applied his biting, dexterous flow to insightful observations about identity, sexism, and Reagan-era babies. He's been ramping up his game in preparation for the release of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City (Interscope/Aftermath), collaborating with marquee names like Maybach Music and Dr. Dre. The new tunes I've heard are strong—especially "Cartoon & Cereal," about the comfort Saturday-morning cartoons can offer an underprivileged black kid who has to deal with traumatic violence practically every day. Here's hoping the rest of the album is just as brilliant. —Leor Galil Blue stage

5:15 Chavez During its three-year existence in the mid-90s, Chavez was seen as something of an indie-rock supergroup, with singer and guitarist Matt Sweeney (Skunk), fellow guitarist Clay Tarver (Bullet LaVolta), drummer James Lo (Live Skull), and bassist Scott Masciarelli (aka Scott Marshall, son of Garry). On their two records, re­issued in 2006 on the vault-clearing Better Days Will Haunt You (Matador), they go for big gestures and even bigger riffs, with fist-pumping rhythms, meaty unison parts, and occasional splashes of acidic dissonance—the melodies generally feel like they've been lifted from power ballads, and the anthemic songs are relentlessly driving. The music sounds as sturdy and accomplished now as it did when it was new, but it's also just as unoriginal. I'm surprised Chavez is giving it another go, especially since Sweeney (a sometime collaborator of Will Oldham) is now a busy session musician and producer. All you need to justify a reunion these days is a broken-up band, I guess. —Peter Margasak Red stage


[Recommended] 5:45 Oneohtrix Point Never Daniel Lopatin uses Judy—his nickname for his Roland Juno-60 synthesizer—as a lead voice, rising above textured surfaces he builds out of samples culled from YouTube and DVDs of old commercials. The prominence of samples has increased over time; whereas Rifts, a 2009 collection of early work, sounded like low-budget Vangelis, his most recent album, Replica (Software/Mexican Summer), has more in common with his stated influences, including the glitchy laptop-filtered guitar of Christian Fennesz and the cuts of Gang Starr producer DJ Premier. Lopatin's live show is typically an uninterrupted set of dreamy synth drones overlaid with brief bursts of clattering noise, so the impatient may want to head elsewhere. But it'll be your loss: stick around for the whole thing, and you might just reach nirvana through a circuit board. —Tal Rosenberg Blue stage

[Recommended] 6:15 AraabMuzik The Akai MPC series drum machine and sampler is one of the most important pieces of musical gear developed in the past century, but it doesn't have the iconic status of, say, the Fender Stratocaster—unlike the Strat, the MPC has very few practitioners who can really shred on one in concert. Virtuoso producer AraabMuzik is one of them, and he's among the best yet. Watching him build up and tear apart a beat onstage is awe-inspiring from a technical standpoint, exciting from a sonic standpoint, and just in general so completely fascinating that you're likely to forget you're basically watching someone pushing buttons in rhythm. —Miles Raymer Green stage

6:45 King Krule Eighteen-year-old Londoner Archy Marshall, aka King Krule, makes sensitive, dub- and garage-influenced singer-­songwriter music, delivering his lyrics in a voice that sounds surprisingly grown-up and thuggish. Marshall has an auspicious future—or a long future at least, given his age—but right now his material just sounds like a collection of vaguely stylish but undercooked sketches and demos. Frankly speaking, if you're skipping AraabMuzik to see this, you screwed up. —Tal Rosenberg Blue stage

7:25 Beach House On a handful of songs from Beach House's fourth and latest album, Bloom (Sub Pop), chintzy electronic beats are among the first sounds we hear—it's as if the duo want us to know they haven't forgotten where they came from. On the new album they add depth and richness—and, for the first time, live drumming—to their relatively limited palette of sounds, but in its broad outlines their approach remains unchanged. The songs float and billow rather than move forward, filled out by Alex Scally's hydroplaning guitar arpeggios and the hypnotic, cascading keyboard of singer Victoria Legrand—they sound like the Cocteau Twins, except more earthbound. Beach House have gotten a lot of mileage out of this formula, probably because they've elaborated on it—and written even prettier melodies—for each new record. —Peter Margasak Red stage

[Recommended] 7:40 The Field Swedish producer Axel Willner gives new meaning to the term "minimal techno." His music as the Field is often nothing more than one or two brief, blissful samples that repetitiously skip over lightly tapping beats—it's like Steve Reich taking a stab at trance music. Listen to this stuff through Pitchfork's huge sound system, and you can expect to "Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic," to borrow a phrase from Prince. —Tal Rosenberg Blue stage

  • Napoleon Habeica

8:30 Vampire Weekend Considering their precocity, brains, and handiness as a metonym for "indie rock," Vampire Weekend are basically the new Pavement. Unlike Malkmus and company, they've never seemed ashamed of their soft-rock leanings, and on 2010's Contra (XL) they polished away the few sharp edges of their 2008 debut. The trade-off, for those of us who preferred those edges, is that they've expanded their adventurous experiments with international music and learned how to incorporate their influence via synthesis, not pastiche. Just as on the first album, the "child of privilege catches feelings" routine can get a little tiresome—but then the band morphs suddenly into a fantastic avant-ska outfit and intrudes on its own mood. —Miles Raymer Green stage

Your day's not over yet. There's lots more to do at Pitchfork's afterparties.

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