4 Must See Acts at Pitchfork 2013

Foxygen – 1:45pm (Red)

Boy meets boy. Boys share mutual love for rockumentary Dig! and bond over Rolling Stones vinyl listening sessions. Boys form band. So goes the charming story of Foxygen, the ratty-haired youthful duo from Los Angeles. Borrowing heavily from rock and roll’s grandfathers, Foxygen has created some of the most unique music 2013 has had to offer. They differentiate themselves from the mess of youngsters occupying Pitchfork’s lineup this year by neglecting the synthesizer and instead prioritizing the sounds of the Stones, the Velvet Underground and the Kinks. They are rock and roll purists, with Sam French even claiming in a Pitchfork interview that he, “doesn’t even know any new bands,” and that he, “can’t relate to modern music very well.” A curious sentiment coming from a 22-year-old. While many of Foxygen’s merits are arguable (and often discussed on Twitter), some aren’t. Particularly their breakout debut album, We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. The album is a feast for the ears, and though the boys are yet to master the art of live performances, Pitchfork offers a renewed opportunity for them to get serious about their sound.

Sky Ferreria – 4:45pm (Blue)

Synth-pop has found a new princess in the precocious Sky Ferreira. A millennial through and through, Sky grew up idolizing Britney Spears and uploading songs to her Myspace account. It was there that she was discovered by swedish producers Bloodshot and Avant who took her under their wing and begin fitting her for synthy stardom. In those early years, Sky released a few EPs and some forgotten club bangers like “One” and the bass-dropping “Sexrules” and worked with a variety of different producers. Then in 2012 she found producers Dev Hynes and Ariel Rechtshaid who helped stitch together her praiseworthy EP Ghost, which was released back in October. Ever since then, it’s been a waiting game for her delayed and then delayed again debut album to drop. Only then will there be more to say about Sky Ferreira who has brought much joy to people all over the world with the self-effacing and delightful “Everything is Embarrassing. Rumor has it, Ferreira fans will now have to wait until 2014 for a full length album but to quote Sky’s Twitter bio, “it’s like, whatever.”

R. Kelly – 8:30pm (Green)

Either out of intrigue or adoration, people are talking about R. Kelly. The Chicago crooner’s performance has stoked excitement throughout the city and provided big name buzz for the festival whose previous headliners have typically eschewed Top 40 fame. Unfortunately for Kelly, the past half decade has been one of relative obscurity preceded by an infamous underage urination scandal that anyone who was half-conscious during the year 2002 heard about. Then again the obscurity has been just that…relative. To those who have been watching more closely, Kelly has had quite the respectable career since the drama ebbed. Continuing to write and produce all of his own music, Kelly released well-received album after well-received album and acquired another grammy nomination for his throwback album, Love Letter. So to assume that he is nothing more than a washed up soul artist who will soon be playing casinos would be naive to say the least. As R. Kelly put it on his track “Shut Up,” “See my future ain’t my past/ it’s not the end of the hourglass/ who said it would not last?” Attendees should consider R. Kelly’s Pitchfork concert less of a “comeback concert” — as its been dubbed by some in the blogosphere — and more of a “I never went anywhere” performance. A reintroduction of sorts to all those who have forgotten just how sweet Kelly sounds, just how much he inspires.

Phosphorescent – 2:30pm (Green)

More than ever before, artists today are able to rocket to the top of the charts and become the next big thing before they even release a proper full length album. (Icona Pop, anybody?) In a world full of hares, rarely do we find a tortoise, but in Phosphorescent that is exactly what we have. Twelve years after Matthew Houck officially entered the game, he has finally become a ubiquitous mention among “best of” lists from NPR, Pitchfork, et al. Phosphorescent’s 6th full length album, Muchacho, was released earlier this year to much acclaim. Rich in texture, deep in meaning, and somehow also quite catchy, the album brought warmth to a chilly, Chicago spring and created slews of new Phosphorescent fans around the world. The album, which was recorded in Tulum, Mexico, cascades upon listeners’ ears like morning light flooding a bay window, and watching Phosphorescent dole out tracks from Muchacho and his back catalogue in the brilliant afternoon sun is one of this girl’s Pitchfork must-dos.

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