Monday, July 11, 2011

Pitchfork Day 1

I think it's interesting that rather than going to both P4k and Lolla, I'm only choosing to go to Pitchfork this 2011. Primarily the reason is that I believe Lolla is too focused on the 18-25yo crowd, which I'm not a part of anymore. Am I a grown-up? Not by any means other than by age and responsibility, but I do see a shift in how P4k operates this year, especially with respect to their brand image of the festival.

For instance, looking at who is playing where and when, they don't show a timetable (I have one below) but rather merely organize it chronologically and visually, teetering on paragraph form. It's annoying if you're trying to set up the logistics of where to be and when, but if the setup were designed with a purpose (and why wouldn't it) then the focus is that they are trying to get you to see a show fully without breaking mid-way to head to the half-way finished show on the other side of Union Park. I think that's more sophisticated because you are there with intent, not to live the festival to excess.

Also, the new icon/logo for the festival is decidedly muted: not colored, not in your face, not even prominent. It's meant to be humble and that gives the fest greater credibility because it's not the advertising that's drawing you there (I'm not saying they didn't do that) but the quality of the curating. I like it. Speaking of, just look at the names of the stages.

Who are you anticipating?

They have figured out how to do the subdued banger but without actually being a banger or being over-the-top with typical distortion. The early 90's synth patch flavor reminds me of Alexander Robotnick's Shout borrowing the same. On the other hand of excellence, I get the same impression that I got from Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack in that every track stands up very well on it's own, but as an album I can't say that I would listen to Giza all the way through unless I'm on my way to some neon dungeon. Hey, what are you doing tonight?
Track to hear: 'Chains'
Verdict? 20ft back, all in black.

Judging by her glam photo with confident name on a chain, I wasn't expecting the somber, serene sounds she sirens, but I'm glad. Sometimes like a singer-songwriter, sometime like the XX, and sometimes like a passivated Go Team, it would be well-good to stop by and sit down. By the way, check this out.
Track to hear: 'Breakfast'
Verdict? Lying the the grass, problems take a pass.

Merrill Garbus has got lots of concepts. LOTS. Intermittent lounge singing, Wizard of Oz choruses, drum machine-drummer duet, distorted vocal sirens... all really cool, but in the end I feel like I'm eating food at someone's house that measures their culinary abilities by the number of ingredients they can add to a dish. If I listen to an album like WHOKILL over and over, I think the desire for instant gratification subsides and I may find and pick out the intricacies of the tunes. My girlfriend will have to press play though.
Track to hear: 'My Country'
Verdict? Passing through to get a brew.

These guys fit the exact archetype for a street music fest: bubbly, slightly weird for the olds, and like a parking meter, intended to make you leave. Sorry guys, not a fan. However, I would love to see if they do the live collab with Gary Numan on 'My Machines' so I can throw a rose at him.
Track to hear: ....
Verdict? Which end, is the opposite end.

Hearing hip-hop at Pitchfork is always a refresher for me as I hardly get enough of it. Curren$y takes care of my fix. You know what's perfect? The subtlety of the instrumentals, the lack of auto-tune, and basically the lack of gimmicks both in effects and lyrics. Like a primer-only coupe deville, this guy flows well without the flash and has it where it counts.
Track to hear: 'Breakfast'
Verdict? Listening within the masses, listen later after classes

Did I mention I like primer hoopties?

Thurston Moore
Almost immediately after pressing play, I got the desire to take a summer siesta after hearing him through mog. It's perfect. I woke up at 5am to take my pop to an epic bike trip today for the weekend and I'm beat. The delightfully plucked guitar paired with the swooning violas remind me of a high fidelity, sunday morning kurt vile without microphone pedals. I probably won't make it through his set standing up.
Track to hear: 'Benediction'
Verdict? Let the sun bake me, let the next band wake me.

James Blake
While glitch-minimalism may work for some, his CMYK EP doesn't really get it done, nor does Klavierwerke. Eh, I'm just not a fan of the style. If you love the odd / experimental / electronic sounds of samplers, this guy is for you.
Track to hear: ....
Verdict? Neko Case is the place.

Speaking of, what about the headliners? Guided by Voices, Neko Case, and certainly Animal Collective are all like gorgeous women: they are not in need of any more fanfare. So I'll be seeing them all.

Oh btw, some extra events are here.
And if you want to hear a medley of folk yourself: eMusic has a free sampler.

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