Pitchfork 2011: Who are the must-see bands?

Fleet Foxes

Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes performs at Pitchfork in 2008. The band is back this year as a headliner on Saturday night.

What: Pitchfork Music Festival

Where: Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St.

When: 3:20 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

What: 45 bands/artists, three stages, hosted by e-zine pitchfork.com

Info: Pitchforkmusicfestival.com

Tickets: Ticketweb.com ($45/day).

B = Blue Stage; G = Green Stage; R = Red Stage

XXXX = Must-see sets


8:30 p.m., Animal Collective (G): The trippy melodic pleasures of the occasional album aside (“Merriweather Post Pavilion” in 2009), this Baltimore collective is up and down in concert, ecstatic crescendos sometimes few and far between long bouts of zone-out noodling.

7:30 p.m., James Blake (B): British songwriter specializes in snoozy ballads dressed in contemporary electronic textures.

XXXX 7:20 p.m., Neko Case (R): The voice can break your heart or rip it out, depending on her mood. Expect plenty of witty repartee with her equally gifted sidekick, singer Kelly Hogan.

XXXX 6:30 p.m., Das Racist (B): Clever surrealists sprinkle their raps with pop-culture references, jokes and wayward glimpses of insight; after a series of winning mix tapes, their official debut, “Relax,” is due in September.

6:25 p.m., Guided By Voices (G): Robert Pollard reassembles his garage-rock band for a bunch of really short, brilliant songs that’ll provide plenty of 1994 flashbacks. Where were you when “I Am a Scientist” was almost a hit?

5:30 p.m., Thurston Moore (R): Don’t expect the usual Sonic Youth mayhem from the guitarist, who will be showcasing songs from his acoustic chamber-pop solo release, “Demolished Thoughts” (Matador).

5:30 p.m., Curren$y (B): The prolific mix-tape rapper from New Orleans is well-suited to headphone listening with his chorus-free delivery. But will his cannabis-worshiping streams of consciousness translate on a bigger stage?

XXXX 4:35 p.m., Battles (G): ThisNew York band tranforms complex ideas and rhythms into buoyant, ridiculously catchy tunes. Worth it just to watch the mighty John Stanier attack the drums.

XXXX 4:30 p.m., Tune-Yards (G): Merrill Garbus puts every available limb to work, thrashing a ukulele while looping her voice into a choir and pounding a drum. Her second album, “Whokill,” ranks with the year’s best.

XXXX 3:30 p.m., EMA (R): The head-on collision between melody and noise, orchestrated by a vocalist who insinuates, coos, converses and cries – that’s the approach of thisSouth Dakota native on her bracing debut, “Past Life Martyred Saints.”

3:30 p.m., Gatekeeper (B): Chicago-Brooklyn electronic duo Aaron David Ross and Matthew Arkell bring back fond memories of the brutish Wax Trax sound, perfect for dancing while wearing a spiked dog collar.


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