Pitchfork Music Festival Predictions

Pitchfork Music Festival logo.

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Pitchfork announced its annual music festival will take place July 16-18 in Chicago’s Union Park. Tickets for the Pitchfork Music Festival will go on sale Friday, when the music site will also announce part of its lineup.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Greg Kot got word that Pavement and St. Vincent will be performing at the festival. The rumors that Pavement will be playing Pitchfork’s festival have been making their rounds online for close to a month, and the idea of St. Vincent performing isn’t that unusual either.

The festival has proven to be something of a ground for Pitchfork-approved bands, and both Pavement and St. Vincent are beloved by the site. Alongside these two acts, there are a number of acts that one might expect to see on the lineup for this summer’s festival. With that in mind, here’s a list of potential acts one could see onstage this summer. [NOTE: I have no inside connection to the behind-the-scenes work at the festival. These are all my predictions, and in a couple of cases, far-reaches for who I think may play this year's festival.]

*The xx: The U.K. nu-soul act not only earned a rave review and “Best New Music” pick from Pitchfork last year, but they claimed the No. 3 spot on the site’s Top 50 of 2009 albums list. With all the love Pitchfork has draped on the band, why wouldn’t they perform during the festival?

*Phoenix: Sure, they’re featured in a Cadillac commercial, just walked away with a Grammy and they’ve played just about every late night TV show imaginable. But, as “big” as Phoenix has become, Pitchfork has long supported the band. As the group has yet to play the festival and finished off an impressive 2009, during which Pitchfork placed the band’s album in its top ten albums of the year, this could be the summer Phoenix performs on a stage with the Pitchfork banner insight.

*M.I.A.: Call this one a long shot. In the time since Pitchfork gave the rapper their “Best New Music” tag for her debut album, Arular, M.I.A. has experienced a career unlike any other the past decade, and one few could have predicted. Still, M.I.A. is prepping a new album and has hardly performed in quite some time. A spot on Pitchfork Fest would be quite the coup.

*Sleigh Bells: Without an album to their name, Sleigh Bells may be the one band you can guarantee will end up getting a “Best New Music” pick for their debut album that’s slated to come out this year. For all the adoration Pitchfork gave “Crown on the Ground” and all the reports on the site detailing the band’s every move, why wouldn’t they get that nice review crown? As the band’s slated to play this year’s Coachella festival, it would be odd for Pitchfork to pass over a band they’ve made popular online.

*Mos Def: Indie kids have a thing for Mos Def. Coming off of last year’s Pitchfork-approved The Ecstatic, and never having played the festival, Def would make a nice spot for himself as the hip-hop act of the festival.

*Future of the Left: Consider this something of a wild card choice. The band has received high reviews from the site, has yet to play the festival, and holds a special place in the hearts of indie-punks everywhere. Though the excellent Travels With Myself And Another didn’t make the cut for Pitchfork’s Top 50 albums of 2009 list, they would fill the festival’s “punk” quota, and with a new album on the way, they may provide some new jams for a P4K Fest set as well.

*Neon Indian, Toro Y Moi and/or Washed Out: Pitchfork has given the thumbs up to these three glo-fi bands. As neither of these “scene-bearers” of glo-fi have had their time on the P4K stage, the summer of 2010 would be the latest possible moment for all three acts to show their stuff before the blogs really gang up on glo-fi.

*Hot Chip: A perennial indie favorite and the kind of gateway band for kids looking to get into electronic music, this band has yet to play Pitchfork despite getting consistent news coverage on the site and favorable to great reviews. With the band’s newest album, One Life Stand, ready to hit stores in the U.S., it’s about time they play P4K Fest.

*Torche or Floor: Torche, alongside Harvey Milk (who could potentially play the fest as well), have become the metal darlings for harder-edged hipsters everywhere. With pre-Torche band Floor reuniting for a handful of shows in the south, this summer’s Pitchfork Festival would be the perfect opportunity to try and rope in either Floor as the “reunited metal act” or Torche as the “metal act” for the summer.

*Sunny Day Real Estate: The Seattle quartet is one of the few emo acts that Pitchfork gives any time of day. After reuniting for a fall tour and readying for the barrage of summer festivals (so far Coachella is on the block), SDRE would be a niche pick for the Friday night “Don’t Look Back” lineup, which typically features older, oft-reunited acts playing their big albums. A Sunny Day performance of Diary in its entirety? It’s another toss up, but it’s not impossible either.

*Beach House, Four Tet and Surfer Blood: These three acts already rung up the notable “Best New Music” accolades for 2010. Consider these three near shoe-ins.

*LCD Soundsystem: No previous P4K Fest appearance, a new album on the way and a spot in the “covetous” P2K Top 20 Albums list. Is there a headlining spot with Mr. Murphy’s name on it or what?

*The Beatles: OK, that’s not going to happen… Or is it?


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