Pitchfork Music Festival: Sunday | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

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Pitchfork Music Festival: Sunday

Sleigh Bells, Major Lazer, St. Vincent, Pavement, and more

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Intro | Friday | Saturday


1 PM Allá  Aluminum

1 PM Cave The motorik groove of Krautrock has always been the bedrock of Cave's music, but lately this local trio have tamed the desperate wildness of their early years—with a fresh emphasis on forward-mixed vocals and relatively clean instrumental sounds, they seem to be trying to grow, perhaps even mature a little. The flat, rather uncharismatic singing of Dave "Rotten Milk" Pecoraro is a poor substitute for the noisy intensity that's missing now, but the band can still cast a spell with their high-speed lockstep rhythms—the tightly coiled drumming, the terse, looping guitar, the pointillist keyboard splatter—and it's magnetic when they ride a lick into infinity or smear analog synth and effects-heavy guitar into a levitating miasma.  Balance —PM

1:45 PM Cass McCombs Complex but not tortured about it, folk-rock singer-songwriter Cass McCombs is both the lone wolf and the wounded deer it eats for dinner. Even those of us who can pick up strong, specific emotions from songs with no words probably only get half of whatever's going on with him. Is he making a joke, is he bitter, has he fallen in love? Only a foolish music critic would try to figure that out. Listening to McCombs is like stargazing downtown, straining your eyes to see through a translucent darkness—the two sparkling dots you can make out through all the atmospheric haze and city glow could be light-years away, or they could be just beginning the last moments of their fiery plunge to the earth.  Connector —LA

1:55 PM Best Coast Also Sat 7/17 at the Empty Bottle, 21+.  Balance

2:30 PM Girls  Aluminum

2:50 PM Washed Out Georgia youngster Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, makes cloudy, twinkly, deceptively vulnerable boy-in-a-bedroom synthscapes—like a mud wrap in a spa, they're a kind of detox that only works if you really spread yourself with grime. His music is lovely jellyfish chilltronica, delicate and floaty, but if the lighting's different it can sound like the sun's rising and whatever substance you abused with the hottie you just met is starting to wear off, and even though you're kind of exhausted it's time to have sex.  Balance —LA

3:20 PM Beach House Now three albums in, Beach House seem happy to merely tweak their brand of dream pop—and that's just fine with me, since Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand seem to be putting the energy they might've wasted overhauling their sound into developing as songwriters. On their first Sub Pop record, Teen Dream, they roll back their usual haze of echo and reverb a bit, but the hypnotic, cascading melodies don't suffer for it; Legrand allows the darker, sultrier side of her voice to come forward, and the organ, piano, and guitar sound more defined, so that they pair better with the vocals instead of just hovering in the background. Given what a perfect summer soundtrack this album is, it seems perfectly appropriate that Beach House will be able to look out into the audience during their Pitchfork set and see plenty of sunglasses, flowered dresses, and picnic blankets.  Connector —KW

3:35 PM Local Natives Also tonight at Lincoln Hall, 18+.  Balance

4:15 PM Lightning Bolt The 2009 album Earthly Delights, Lightning Bolt's first in four years, sounds just like, well, Lightning Bolt. Drummer-vocalist Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson have made only relatively cosmetic changes to their frantic shitstorm of thumping noise-rock riffs: Gibson has thickened the braincase-rattling effects on his already ludicrously deformed bass, resulting in some heavier grooves, and Chippendale has pushed his distorted, delay-laced vocals a bit higher in the mix, so that they're almost comprehensible. The drumming still sounds like the work of three hopped-up berserkers playing perfectly in sync, and the menacing swirls of repetition still sound like apocalypse announcing itself (Earthly Delights' 12-minute closer, "Transmissionary," may just be the perfect Lightning Bolt song). If you're at all familiar with Lightning Bolt live, then you already know that this may very well be the "I don't care how hungover I am" set of the weekend (sorry, Pavement). Here's hoping they stick to their guns and set up their gear anywhere but on that big stage.  Aluminum —KW

4:45 PM Surfer Blood  Balance

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