Though their name has become pretty commonplace and even pedestrian at this point depending on who you ask, Pitchfork has long been associated with the virtues of unrivaled hipsterdom. And truly, what better way is there to hang on to your last little bit of hipster cred than by announcing your festival lineup in the most inconvenient way possible?
For those of you who haven't been paying attention, whether out of ignorance or frustration, Pitchfork has spent the last two weeks slowly teasing their lineup for the 2018 festival via a livestream of artist Shelby Rodeffer painting the names on a mural in Chicago. Not only is it a pain and inconvenience to sit and watch as each artist was slowly announced, they broke it into several releases, and finally, blessedly, the last announcement has been made and the full lineup is now available, sans paint-covered overalls.
Part and parcel of Pitchfork's identity has been recognizing more fringe and less populist artists, and this year's lineup continues that trend. There's plenty you may have heard of, and some you're probably eager to see, but we've also drawn up a short list of artists you might not want to miss out on if you're making your way to the Windy City this summer.
1. Lucy Dacus
In this day and age singer-songwriters truly are a dime a dozen, so it's understandable to be skeptical when someone recommends you not miss one. But Lucy Dacus, despite having a few years under her belt in the mainstream, is not your typical songwriter. Drawing on late-era indie rock as much as contemporary songwriting, she's a bit of a pseudo-indie rock revivalist without all the cocaine and shallow personality. Giving a breath of fresh air to a genre that was seemingly on its last legs, Dacus flirts between breathtaking vulnerability and attitude-driven rock with a gusto you can't miss.
2. Blood Orange
Though it should hardly need saying, I can't overemphasize how important it is that you catch Blood Orange if you're heading to Chicago this year. Sitting firmly at the intersection of art and social commentary, Blood Orange tackles issues grand and sublime through carefully crafted pieces of beauty that stress the importance of always having more diversity in the arts.
3. Zola Jesus
Zola Jesus is one of those artists that you've probably written off as a flavor-of-the-month sound, a pop artist trying to subvert the pop sound, but she's so much more than just a run-of-the-mill art-pop producer. Carefully and precisely picking apart and reassembling genres and sounds, she dares you to tie her down to one sound. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the early-Placebo era industrial sounds she incorporates into her track "Bound". A definite can't miss.
4. Ms. Lauryn Hill
Okay, I know none of you reading this were planning on missing Ms. Lauryn Hill, but just in case, let's say this, DO NOT MISS THIS SET. I mean, how many opportunities in life will you have after this to see her live again? Someone must have collected all the dragon balls, because this is a wish come true.
5. Alex Cameron
If you know me then you knew that this was coming from a mile away, so I don't want to hear any complaints about it. Al Cam was my darkhorse artist of the year last year, and produced one of the most impressive albums of 2017 in Forced Witness
. Simultaneously affecting and hilarious, I guarantee Cameron will be responsible for your most carefree moments of truly cutting loose and getting lost in the sound.
6. Iron Mike Eagle
Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, Pitchfork Festival is pretty light on the rap and hip-hop this year. And while it's not a slight against Earl Sweatshirt, he definitely attracts a certain crowd, one that you might be keen on avoiding if you're not into weed-pattern socks and white people who are cavalier about using the n-word. Instead, check out Iron Mike Eagle, who beautifully blends archetypal R&B grooves with moving lyricism and infectious rhythms.
What would going to Pitchfork be if you miss out on Chicago's homegrown Noname? She delivers unbelievably conscious bars with a devil-may-care attitude, offsetting spitting verses with an equally inviting amount of intimacy.