Written by Erin Dickson
The sixteenth annual Pitchfork Music Festival kicks off this weekend in Chicago’s Union Park and, as usual, the lineup is absolutely stacked. Over the next three days, an eclectic mix of up and coming acts, indie-pop icons, cutting edge hip-hop and everything in between will be on full display with something for everyone to enjoy. While I’m looking forward to seeing basically the entire lineup, here are five acts that I’m definitely not going to be missing.
One of the best things about Pitchfork is how much of the local music scene they incorporate into their lineups and this year is no exception. Influenced by her Venezuelan and Guatemalan heritage, KAINA’s music is soulful, bluesy and uniquely her own while still combining so many of the elements that make Chicago music so special. Her most recent album, It Was A Home, was released on one of my favorite labels, SOOPER Records, and she is constantly collaborating with other Chicago legends such as Sen Morimoto and Saba. A hidden gem on this year’s lineup, KAINA is sure to walk away from this weekend with some new fans.
Where To See Her: Sunday, Green Stage @ 2:30 p.m.
The Linda Linda’s
A last minute lineup change has The Linda Linda’s replacing Chubby & The Gang on Saturday and I, for one, am absolutely stoked. Ranging in age from 11 to 17, The Linda Linda’s are one of the most inspiring bands out there right now. Taking influence from classic punk bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney, this group is making their mark on the music world in a big way with their catchy garage-rock riffs and clever lyrics. Similar to Horsegirl’s set at Pitchfork 2021, it’s refreshing to see younger groups making a name for themselves at such an iconic festival.
Where To See Them: Saturday, Green Stage @ 2:30 p.m.
After having to cancel in 2020, Chrystia Cabral, a.k.a. experimental pop musician SPELLLING, will finally be making it to the Pitchfork stage. Fresh off the heels of last year’s The Turning Wheel, I’m curious to see how her synth-driven, theatrical songs will translate in a live outdoor setting.
Where To See Her: Friday, Blue Stage @ 4:00 p.m.
I just really really love this band. A product of the post-punk boom that’s been coming out of the UK recently, their album, New Long Leg, was one of my favorites from last year. Lead singer Florence Shaw delivers witty, often comical lyrics in a spoken-word fashion which in combination with a strong bass line and angular guitars makes Dry Cleaning’s music almost hypnotizing. With a new album coming out later this year, this group is definitely one to keep an eye on if you haven’t already.
Where To See Them: Saturday, Green Stage @ 4:45 p.m.
Florida-born, Alabama-raised Ethel Cain has had a big year. Her debut album, Preacher’s Daughter, got glowing reviews from outlets such as Billboard and The New York Times and she’s currently on her way to selling out a nation-wide tour. Her music combines ambient instrumentation, ethereal vocals and thoughtful lyrics that touch on topics such as gender and sexuality, religion and her experiences growing up in the South. The only downside of her set will be how early it is but that just means she’ll be a tough act to follow.
Where To See Her: Friday, Red Stage 1:45 p.m.
The one and only time I’ve seen Japanese Breakfast was opening for Mitski back in 2016 so to say I’m excited to see her close out the Red stage on Saturday (the same day Mitski headlines!) is an understatement. Led by Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast saw massive success over the past year with 2021’s Jubilee and Zauner’s New York Times Bestselling memoir Crying in H Mart. Although the live show has obviously evolved since 2016, the music still feels just as personal and I can’t wait to experience it all again.
Where To See Them: Saturday, Red Stage @ 7:25 p.m.