WIUX joins in on another Pitchfork Music Festival. The 14th annual festival lineup is just as diverse and exciting as its preceding years with headlining performances from HAIM, Belle & Sebastian, The Isley Brothers, Pusha T, Robyn, and Charli XCX among the rest of talent on three different stages. To get you even more excited for this weekend in Union Park, here are some of the WIUX Board of Directors’ must-see artists and songs that explain for themselves why you should make it to their sets. Nick’s Pick: Charli XCX Sunday - 7:25-8:25pm - Red Stage The pop icon will be hitting Union Park this Sunday to deliver a much-anticipated set after releasing "Gone," in collaboration with Christine and the Queens. The British singer-songwriter is no novice when it comes to delivering melodrama and hype on stage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chSZCtLrgz8 Real Charli's Angels will know this hit from 2016, which will hopefully make an appearance in her set on Sunday! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfAqtFuGjWM And we certainly can't forget the perfect nostalgia machine that was Charli XCX and Troye Sivan’s “1999” Music Video. Sydney’s Pick: Belle & Sebastian Saturday - 7:25-8:25pm - Red Stage The Scottish champions of indie-pop will make a truly wonderful set at Pitchfork this weekend, bringing back nostalgia and familiar memories of teen angst to the crowd, no matter their age. https://open.spotify.com/track/4yWtNWnO7l98fHqVKvzZE5?si=q_mR3fvpTTGzrFXgCjOfpA As part of the Pitchfork Classics series, they published an hour-long documentary of the history of the 1996 classic If You’re Feeling Sinister in 2013. The band is set to make a rare performance of this album in full during their set this Saturday on the Red Stage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4de-RHHLCBA Noah’s Picks: Freddie Gibbs Saturday - 6:30-7:15pm - Blue Stage Fun Fact: Freddie Gibbs was born in Gary, Indiana! The Hoosier rapper will perform a soulful and still energetic set on Saturday. Gibbs brings traditional and nostalgic sounds of classic jazz and soul artists to the forefront, making them new again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8R7fmLYgi4 Pusha T Friday - 6:15-7:15pm - Green Stage Truly pushing the limits of how many icons one Pitchfork crowd can handle, Terrence LeVarr Thornton aka Pusha T will be delivering a packed set in Union Park this Friday. Relisten to his 2011 classic with Tyler, The Creator, "Trouble On My Mind," and get ready. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GKL_ZoJQjc Also, who could forget his iconic Over/Under? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqC1MfZL3lI Kenlynn’s Picks: Jeremih Saturday - 7:45-8:30pm - Blue Stage Jeremih will be returning to the Pitchfork stage this weekend. He even performed Kenlynn's favorite song (for literally every occasion), “oui,” at the fest in 2016. Here's hoping he'll do it again and be just as enraptured with the audience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSbNkAZutLQ The Isley Brothers Saturday, July 20 - 8:30-9:50pm - Green Stage To make their appearance on the Green Stage even more special, the Isley Brothers will be making their 60th Birthday Celebration on the stage this Saturday. The classic Cincinnati-native band that started as a trio between brothers have had hit after hit and made an influence over contemporary sound today. https://open.spotify.com/track/0Ph6AkM04RCD60P4OFJsXr?si=0D_KvqnTTCemIEdEJWzWFw Their song, "(At Your Best) You Are Love," has been covered by another WIUX favorite, Frank Ocean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A-MJTK4Ms0 Listen to "Hello It's Me" and compare with the tribute cover by Erykah Badu and Andre 3000. https://open.spotify.com/track/2nW1GqX9wxxrkM7iRdADaI?si=MjQwkZHtRzOaa1ssNYak6w https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXGqHYNTNHU
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Pitchfork Music Festival is celebrating its 14th birthday this weekend with 40+ acts including HAIM, Charli XCX, Belle and Sebastian, and Robyn. The excitement for the fest is at an all-time high right now, and I can hardly sit still. I'm trying not to think about the four and a half hours I'll be in the car driving to Chicago, but luckily there is a cure to the road trip restlessness. It's never too late to learn the lyrics to a couple more of your favorite performer's songs or fall in love with another artist on the lineup. Road trips can be fun; all you need is good friends and good music. Stay excited with this perfect car playlist for hours of Pitchfork prep. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6oOWUcGGOpc0lxmwJ7ykBM?si=f2sMNhmKTCiTsuIGFUeT1A
Photo by Beatriz Alvania Lana Del Rey gives us another sweet taste of emotion that she’s promised to anticipating fans with the release of her third single from her upcoming album Norman Fucking Rockwell. Her new single, “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but i have it,” almost seems like a stripped-down recording because of its sound that’s held back when compared to Del Rey’s typical strong, building sound. Soft, beautifully muffled piano backs her smooth voice that feels like it's about to break from the cage of inner self. The track’s lighter elements don’t take away from its power, though. Del Rey still manages to reach into the deepest cave of your soul, and you feel it – just like you always do with Del Rey’s beautifully desperate and melancholic voice. Del Rey alludes to artists like Slim Aaron and authors like Sylvia Plath, who the exhaustive titled track was originally named after. She explains the effects of being compared to the “all of these debutantes” in Aaron’s photos. Del Rey says the forthcoming album produced by Jack Antonoff is done, but there’s no mention of its release date. On the other hand, she recently announced that her first poetry book is set to release along with the album this year. Listen to the three singles out now from Norman Fucking Rockwell. https://open.spotify.com/track/1PfUKiMDKIlPEF9FfdJawc?si=YjcCkK0xT3akXCYvPCftEg https://open.spotify.com/track/7AluhhfZ0AO0Zw8MoUstzN?si=AWh0JGziQOGXbDguywRyyQ https://open.spotify.com/track/4UAW2gObi5o6sJla0qZpPn?si=_E4RdSbCR6Gr06G2KLgyPw
Sufjan Stevens wrote “Lonely Man of Winter” for the winner of his “Xmas Song Xchange Contest” with Asthmatic Kitty Records in 2007 and has since kept it under wraps. Until now, that is. https://youtu.be/9DPqg8Ti-N4 Stevens welcomed the winter into the world today with the digital release of the original recording of “Lonely Man of Winter,” as well as a new version produced by Doveman featuring Melissa Mary Ahern. A third song was released alongside the two versions of “Lonely Man of Winter.” The single is called “Every Day is Christmas” and is a production by Alec Duffy. Who is Alec Duffy, you ask? He’s the winner! Sufjan Stevens’ song exchange contest in 2007 challenged people to write and submit an original Christmas song to Stevens’ label, Asthmatic Kitty. The winner would then trade the rights to their song for the rights to an exclusive Sufjan Stevens song. Duffy’s “Every Day is Christmas” was the winner and inspiration for “Lonely Man of Winter.” Until now, no one heard “Lonely Man of Winter” except Duffy and the people who attended the listening sessions he held at his house to show the song and mimic “a time before the internet.” Sufjan Stevens and Alec Duffy released their respective songs together as singles with all proceeds going to JACK, a non-profit art and music venue in Brooklyn founded by Duffy in 2012. The money will help JACK’s mission “to fuel experimentation in art and activism and help it serve as a launch pad for the next generation of artists.” Both versions of “Lonely Man of Winter” will be available December 9 on limited edition 7-inch vinyl. https://open.spotify.com/album/6ih3mS49nmttFRS8A63X7L?si=ghNkBVKoTgaQo9M8VfrHdQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8y8OK2lcJE Fresh off the release of her Sugar & Spice EP, Harriet Pilbeam’s project Hatchie surprised us with a familiar face; the relatable, internal conflict of never-ending dissatisfaction. As a strong Hatchie lover from the start, you could probably assume my excitement when I heard about the release of their new single “Adored.” Keeping up with the relationship theme and dreamy pop sound of Sugar and Spice, this Adult Swim single is nothing short of exceeding my expectations. The song starts with a familiar instrumental intro most similar to the style of “Sleep” and “Sure” from Sugar & Spice. The dominant instrumentals pull back to let the chorus lead into the meat of the song— “I don’t want to be adored. I want more." She explores feelings of never achieving lasting satisfaction, even when her life seems perfect. We all want more than we have, and that feeling is impossible to escape. The single was accompanied by a music video; a live performance of “Adored” in Seattle, Washington, recorded back in September of this year. I had the pleasure of seeing Hatchie perform this song at Middle Waves Music Festival in Fort Wayne on September 15th, just three days before this music video was shot. Because I was so familiar with Hatchie’s discography, I remember being excited to hear something I didn’t know all the words to. "Adored" won't be on Hatchie upcoming album, as she announced on Instagram, but it's a sign to her growing style and talent. https://www.instagram.com/p/BpWFL4BlPwf/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link Hatchie’s signature elements creep into “Adored” with every line. They utilize dreamy synths over and over alongside complementary guitar riffs. There’s that same stream-of-consciousness, diary-like songwriting that makes us feel so connected to their music. Hatchie never fails to keep our hearts on their toes, and this single is just proof of that. Hatchie’s music has managed to be both consistent and changing in the best way. Their sound has grown into something beautiful these last few months, and they are absolutely one of the bands I am most excited to see develop into even bigger and better things.
Released October 5, 2018 RATING: 5/7 Cat Power, known off-stage as Charlyn “Chan” Marshall, has returned to the world of music with Wanderer, six years after the critically acclaimed Sun in 2012. Wanderer looks back to earlier Cat Power projects with slow guitars and piano instrumentals that compliment her “stream-of-consciousness” lyrics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ss1uN1IHyA 1. "Wanderer" This first track, the title track, is a quiet, yet well-developed introduction to the rest of the album. Quiet and raw, “Wanderer” beautifully hums a glorious one-minute preface to the album. This song was the first released single for Wanderer. 2. "In Your Face" The light, tapping percussion throughout “In Your Face” creates a mysterious ear-catching element. This song makes me feel like I am walking through a remote desert for miles and miles, looking around for any sign of life, but my view is being distorted by the heat mirage and I’m hopelessly alone. It sounds like a lonely love song that produces a rattling anxiety with the stealthy, fuzzy strings sitting just behind, carrying Marshall’s vocals through to the end. This song picks up quite a bit from the opening track which helped keep my attention throughout the four minutes and 12 seconds. 3. "You Get" “You Get” feels like a real Cat Power song. Her timeless, raspy voice accompanied by her soft, clever guitar playing evolves into the signature sound that we’ve all grown to love. This is the first track with noticeable repetition that sets a trend for the rest of the album. Wanderer’s use of repetition isn’t something to criticize. It helps Marshall’s point of view develop in this narrative. She sings “time” in almost every line and echoes it in response to the later verses. If Marshall wanted us to take one thing away from this song, it would be that time is essential to heal. It can be used to get what you want and what you think you need. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd8nU87OCrA 4. "Woman (feat. Lana Del Rey)" This song features a combination of voices that was unexpected, yet perfectly appropriate. It starts with an underwater echoing of Lana Del Rey and Cat Power singing the single word, “woman,” harmoniously. They then take turns singing lines from the verses but join forces for the powerful, repetitive chorus “I am a woman.” Their deep-toned voices blend like butter when they sing together a little differently with each repeat of the word. Their layered voices, both deep but uniquely projected, act as angelic ghosts floating in the instrumentals that echo off of each other. "Woman" gets heavier with stronger percussion and vocals that radiate confidence and persistence. This is Marshall’s way of saying “I’m over it. I’m better. Now I’m free.” She declares that she is a woman, and that’s all she will ever need. She finds comfort in knowing women are powerful creatures and she’s not who she was before; she’s not as weak. Cat Power released a different version of “Woman” as the second single for Wanderer. The single version omits the echoing vocals at the beginning, getting right into the first verse. The general compositing is louder, more grandiose, and more powerful with the layering of instrumentals and vocals. “Woman” worked well as a single; it features Lana Del Rey, reaching a wider audience, and the single version alterations are easy to follow and get stuck in your head. 5. "Horizon" This track is the first on the album to directly introduce the family theme. Marshall addresses her mother, father, sister, and brother. She begs her parents to be with her - “Mother, I want to hold your hand. Father, I need you to be a man.” She longs to be there for her younger brother and sister like her parents were not for her. Marshall reassures them in each verse, saying that she’ll give them all the love she has and all the help she can give. “Horizon” is wonderfully dominated by piano but has musical elements new to Wanderer. This track features heavy vocal distortion and Autotune on Marshall’s voice that echoes and elongates the second chorus. The electronic, popular 2000s style is unique to Horizon, adding variety to the soft percussion and guitar of the first four tracks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-Tsk-cPXxI 6. "Stay" Marshall is no stranger to covers. She has released two albums almost entirely made up of covers: The Covers Record in 2002 and Jukebox in 2008. However, this song took me by a bit of surprise. She included her mellow, emotional cover of Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s “Stay” from Rihanna’s 2012 album, Unapologetic. Cat Power’s version preserves the lyrics that she felt were relevant to her and takes a piano-focused approach as she floats through the song. The timing and pacing stray far from the original which is what makes the song her own; the cover was unidentifiable until a few lines in. Marshall’s interpretation is much airier and breathier which adds to its originality. She stays quiet and timid even in the parts Rihanna belted out in her version. 7. "Black" This song carries on a little less quietly than the others. She spouts meaningless descriptions in the internal monologue-like storytelling like “can of Coke down my throat.” “Black” sings about an angel of death; an old friend that helped her and has since died. Because of this, I’m assuming “Black” is referring to death itself. The reference to one of Marshall’s own losses introduces another aspect of the album, which continues to complicate things and reinforce the idea of it being a work meant to be listened to, not one able to be transcribed and make any kind of sense. 8. "Robbin Hood" On “Robbin Hood,” Marshall sings of a woman with her baby walking home after dark and getting robbed. “Got to cover my head to my ankle or die” - makes me think the woman in the story wasn’t robbed of money or valuables but was robbed sexually, and the way to prevent it is to dress conservatively as not to "tempt” the robber. Marshall isn’t known to express politics in her work, but she does express her discontent with socially induced female inferiority and description of today’s age of sexual assault. 9. "Nothing Really Matters" Cat Power’s vocals in “Nothing Really Matters” stand loud and projected on Wanderer, but that’s not saying too much considering the soft-spoken nature of the album. She pushes her voice to be higher and stronger to express what could be her inability to relate to what matters to other people. She is lonely because what matters to her doesn’t seem to matter to anyone else. The piano in this song reminds me a lot of Father John Misty’s melancholic piano compositions, that pair well with his lyrics of similar criticisms of the disconnect between society and individual. 10. "Me Voy" Light guitar strumming leads Cat Power’s effortlessly full vocals into the first verse. She goes back and forth from singing “I’m going” and “Me voy,” the Spanish equivalent. The four-minute song is repetitive of very few words, declaring that she’s leaving, she’s gone, and she wishes “you” wouldn’t leave. “Me Voy” is short and abstract; it can be easily associated with nearly any situation, giving the listener freedom to attach meaning and significance as they please. 11. "Wanderer/Exit" “Wanderer/Exit” is an embellished extended version of the opening track. This closing version has stronger backing instrumentals than the opener and an additional one minute and 16 seconds added in which Cat Power repeats “Oh wanderer, I’ll be wondering” for a final time. The opener and closer, both titled variants of wanderer, act as bookends to this album that provide appropriate closure to the listener. https://open.spotify.com/album/28SMXZ4p2uQGJZJpFXw8em?si=vRaw0fNxShubTxkIK68kLA
Photography by Sydney Scholl Best Artist Performances of Middle Waves 2018 Fort Wayne hosted its third annual destination music festival, Middle Waves on September 14th and 15th at Headwaters Park. The festival had not only sick performances from international artists, but also provided spaces for local artists as well. Previous years have featured artists including The Flaming Lips, MGMT, and The Lemon Twigs. The Middle Waves lineup this year was more diverse than ever with artists like Joywave, Smino, Lizzo, and Dr. Dog. The following performances were only a few of the many exciting acts from this year's festival. Best Acts From Friday, September 14th Joywave Joywave gave a fun-filled show on the St. Mary’s Stage that had the crowd jumping one second and on their ‘feels’ the next. The audience got loud when Joywave got on stage, and they stayed loud until they left. Vocalist, Daniel Armbruster, swung around the microphone cord as he rhythmically bounced around, exploring every inch of the stage. He tossed the mic from hand to hand in between mimicking drummer Paul Brenner by playing ‘air drums’ in between verses. The enticing show had peak after peak with every song, and you could hear the fans singing along to each song Joywave performed their very electro-alternative rock with songs like “Content” and “Doubt” from their 2017 album and “Compromise,” their new single from this year. With the last “bang” of each song, Armbruster pretended to fall backward with the fading out music, only to catch himself, and bounce back energetically for the next song. The 5-piece band put on an energetic show as a phenomenal transition into the Friday night headliner, Smino. Smino St. Louis born and raised, Smino surprised the Middle Waves crowd with his engaging R&B and rap performance. After some hesitation from festival-goers expecting Goldlink to headline on the St. Mary’s Stage Friday, Smino came to the rescue and gave an unexpectedly engaging set. He spoke to the audience like close friends as he introduced each song. His smooth, emotion-ridden rapping and impressive voice hooked the crowd from the beginning of "Krème Brûlée." During "Wild Irish Roses," Smino took a joint from one of his bandmates to calm his nerves. He walked to the edge of the stage and passed the joint to a cameraman who took a hit, camera in one hand, joint in the other. The crowd went wild and suddenly, loyal fans were singing along and new fans are swaying to the powerful, soulful rhythm. By his third song, no one was judging or worrying about being judged. They were completely captivated. His stage presence was full of appreciation and creative expression; he radiated vulnerability, but that didn’t take away from his excitement to introduce every musician on stage who helped make his musical dreams come true. He removed himself from the spotlight to highlight the talents of his bandmates, producers, and angelic backup vocalists while they each made the crowd roar in appreciation of the individual talents. Smino opened the hearts of so many on Friday night; it was a night to remember and reminisce for years to come. There’s no doubt in my mind, or anyone’s that was there that night, that Smino is one of the best growing artists in every aspect; lyricism, sonics, composition, and flawless layering. Best Acts From Saturday, September 15th IDLES Joe Talbot led the English punk band, IDLES, through an emotional performance that brought the audience heavy rhythm and powerful wit. Lead vocalist Talbot and guitarist Mark Bowen entertained the audience in between songs with best-friend banter as Bowen introduced “I’m Scum” and Talbot responded, “Yes you are, Bowen.” The two buddies kept the playful thing going when Talbot introduced “Love Song” and ran up to hug Bowen’s legs. Bowen proudly serenaded Talbot in front of everyone. The biggest spectacle of the IDLES set was Mark Bowen jumping off the stage and into the crowd. With guitar still in hand, he lied down in the middle of the grass. Fans screamed about how close he was, but just a few moments later, Bowen found himself surrounded by scattered fans lying down next to him, taking selfies while he shredded. The show was very interactive and very intimate with the audience which made it a once-in-a-lifetime live IDLES experience. Talbot screamed his heart out in the aggressive, soul-crushing “Mother,” criticizing the misogynists of the world and recognizing the mistreatment of women. His whole face red and sweaty, he put all his passion and anger out into the world, creating a memorable, thought-provoking show, still bringing that fist-pumping, punk rock sound. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks It’s pretty safe to say that if you know indie rock, you know Stephen Malkmus. His first project, Pavement, is widely considered the most influential indie band of the 90s. He has obvious skill; it's apparent that he has something to say and knows how to say it. Casually creeping out from backstage, not noticeably phased by the size of the crowd or the nerves that sometimes overwhelm performers, Malkmus began playing his opening track “Shady Lane.” Loyal fans appreciated hearing Pavement songs live like “Stereo” that Malkmus and the Jicks played later on in the show. The band’s live performance of Shiggy from their 2018 album Sparkle Hard was honest, beautiful, and what felt like an exhilarating experience with Malkmus’ zesty, witty lyrics. He felt the music move through every nerve as he swung his guitar up and played behind his head for a killer guitar riff. He started kicking and jumping around while he melted everyone’s faces off with the powerful solos from him and another Jicks guitarist. Malkmus took a water break after playing a successful live version of "Houston Hades" to practice his smooth-talking and flirted with the fangirling crowd. “It’s a very attractive day weather wise. Not to mention the audience,” he said, making the audience smile blissfully. He kept the audience swooning through the rest of his classic indie rock set, performing songs from his Pavement project, old Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and a few from his new album with the Jicks. Hatchie Stepping onto the Maumee stage following a quick break after soundcheck, Australian singer-songwriter Harriett Pilbeam thanked the crowd for giving her the opportunity to visit the United States for a festival show where she could just be herself and sing her songs. She started the 6-song set with 2018 single “Sleep” and performed the full Sugar and Spice EP. The emotion in her voice was nothing but honest, raw, authentic. The collection of shoegaze styled songs took the audience through Hatchie’s every vulnerable feeling that she had no intention of hiding. The stage lit up Hatchie’s hair and skin. Blue. Red. Green. You could feel the colors changing with the essence of teen romance and heartbreak. Pilbeam was joined by her boyfriend Joe Agius, Hatchie’s acoustic guitar talent, along with other Brisbane based musicians that have been traveling together on their United States tour experience. She didn’t embellish or exaggerate the performance like some artists tend to do, she simply let them feel whatever was on their hearts. Make it their own experience. The crowd’s energy went from bobbing up and down with her opening track “Sleep” to blissfully swaying side to side with their closest friends as the soft, fuzzy sounds and enticing lyrics of “Sure” finished up the show. Hatchie, of course, thanked the audience again before cracking a vulnerable smile and exiting the stage. Lizzo Escorted on stage by her backup dancers behind giant feathers, Lizzo amazed the audience with her yellow, orange and black, mesh bodysuit when her identity was revealed. She proved herself as one of the most powerful female Hip-Hop and R&B on Saturday night at the St. Mary’s Stage. The whole performance was high-energy and danceable. She even let her backup dancers, that she called the “big girls,” teach the audience how to twerk. Although the “twerk tutorial” stood out as a major boost of energy, the real gamechanger was when she invited a little girl from the crowd, wearing a Lizzo shirt, on stage to sing along to the anticipated performance of "Good as Hell." Lizzo obviously had no problem keeping the crowd’s attention, but that didn’t stop her from popping off by busting out her classical flute that she “never brings on tour because people would think it’s lame.” She said, “screw it,” and everyone in the crowd was shocked and impressed with her hidden, childhood talent. It was just icing on the cake of her elaborate performance. Dr. Dog As the headlining band of the festival, Dr. Dog rallied to the largest crowd of the weekend, each person waiting, anticipating the start of their performance. Festival-goers of a wide range of ages screamed in excitement when front men, Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken, led the band on stage. The Philadelphia based band changed up their sound with the 2018 release of Critical Equation. Dr. Dog played stellar live versions of a lot of the new album, and it was obvious that it was very well received by fans. You could feel the loyal fans in the crowd tremble when McMicken strumed the first few chords of one of their older songs like “The Breeze”, “Heart it Races” and “Both Sides of the Line." In response to the crowd’s obviously dedicated chanting, Dr. Dog reemerged from backstage after performing their final song to play an encore. They closed out the festival and left every festival-goer content and in love with the weekend.