It only took three years, but we’re finally back to regularly scheduled programming. After a year off in 2020, and a festival pushed back to September in 2021, Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park next week at its regular mid-July slot: just a couple weeks before Lollapalooza hits Grant Park.
Though the festival has no shortage of talented acts slated to perform each year, this year is special because of the lineup’s emphasis on booking female-identifying and gender non-binary artists: those that continuously make up the minority of festival lineups. P4k has consistently represented these artists well in the past, but this year, the lineup features more women than men for the first time ever.
While it’s no secret that the team at Staged Haze are big fans of a lot of the artists headlining Pitchfork this year, we wanted to highlight some of the other acts to check out instead. See you in the park!
Ethel Cain – Red Stage, 1:45-2:25 p.m.
Genre – Alt Rock
For Fans Of – Lana Del Rey, Imogen Heap
If you’re searching for a dramatic, emotional Aries to kick off your Pitchfork weekend with, you’ll certainly find them in Ethel Cain (born Hayden Silas Anhendönia). Cain has been making music since 2017 under the name White Silas, but continued her career under the moniker Ethel Cain in 2019.
Thanks to platforms like SoundCloud and Tumblr, Cain grew a dedicated internet following who became fanatic over her music that deals with themes from poverty, drug abuse, domestic violence, and more.
Cain’s debut album, Preacher’s Daughter, dropped earlier this year. The project has been described as a concept album “centered around the character Ethel Cain, who runs away from home only to meet a gruesome end at the hands of a cannibalistic psychopath.”
Tkay Maidza – Blue Stage, 2:45-3:30 p.m.
Genre: Hip Hop
For Fans Of: Lizzo, Doja Cat
The first time I heard Zimbabwean-born, Australian musician Tkay Maidza, it was smack dab in the middle of quarantine. Maidza’s first single of 2020, “Shook,” became a staple on my workout playlist, listening to it so often that it ended up getting the 23rd spot on my most streamed songs of 2020.
Maidza has had a decent amount of success in Australia and in Europe, supporting artists like Troye Sivan, Charli XCX, and Years & Years on various tours.
Pitchfork included Maidza’s work as some of the best progressive pop in 2021, so it makes sense why she’s set to make her debut in Union Park next week.
SPELLLING – Blue Stage, 4:00-4:45 p.m.
Genre – Experimental pop
For Fans Of – Solange, Empress Of
Time to get witchy, y’all. California native Tia Cabral’s set to make her debut at Pitchfork next week in support of her 2021 album, The Turning Wheel, a project that was included in the publication’s picks for the best jazz and experimental music of the year.
I have no qualms admitting that I’m new to Spellling’s music, but I would venture to assume that her performance on the Blue Stage is going to be one of the most unique of the weekend, if not THE most unique. Cabral’s experience studying art in college and working as a face painter at a children’s park called Fairytale Town (a profession at a place that honestly sounds made up), and some of her inspiration pulls from vampires, Frida Khalo, and even drinking whiskey in the shower. Need I say more to grab your attention?
Camp Cope – Blue Stage, 5:15-6:00 p.m.
Genre – Indie Rock
For Fans Of – Beach Bunny, Middle Kids
If you’re aching for a fun, alt. pop performance from a band like Chicago’s very own Beach Bunny, check out Camp Cope! Self-described as “power-emo,” Camp Cope have been making waves in their home country of Australia since the beginning of their career.
Their debut album dropped in 2016 and reached the top 40 in the ARIA Albums Chart, was nominated for a J Award for Australian Album of the year, and was also nominated in a whopping six categories at the National Live Music Awards the same year.
Camp Cope is set to tour their latest release throughout the rest of the year, so don’t miss out on your chance to see their set in Chicago.
Indigo de Souza – Green Stage, 4:15-5:10 p.m.
Genre – Indie Rock
For Fans Of – Samia, Girlpool
If you paid attention to album releases last year, including Indigo de Souza in this list is a no-brainer. The musician’s 2021 sophomore release, “Any Shape You Take,” was one of our best albums of 2021 at Staged Haze.
The Asheville-based artist manages to capture a full range of emotions on her latest album, so expect to leave her set beaming with joy, while simultaneously crying your eyes out, as you should at all good concerts.
The Linda Lindas – Green Stage, 2:30-3:15 p.m.
Genre – Punk Rock
For Fans Of – Bikini Kill, Pom Pom Squad
The Linda Lindas first made a massive splash on the internet in mid-2021, when the Los Angeles Public Library posted a video of the teenage (and pre-teen) punk band performing their song “Racist, Sexist Boy” at one of its branches. The video, one of the only rays of sunlight during the pandemic, went extremely viral, garnering praise from musicians like Tom Morello and Kathleen Hanna.
The LA-based band isn’t just a viral sensation, though. Their 2022 debut album “Growing Up” is one of the best punk albums released this year, and captures all of the energy of the riot grrrl movement from the ’90s.
Magdalena Bay – Red Stage, 5:15-6:10 p.m.
Genre – Indie Pop
For Fans Of – SOPHIE, Rina Sawayama
I’ve never seen Magdalena Bay live, unfortunately, but just listening to the group’s 2021 album “Mercurial World,” I know that anyone who stops by the Red Stage will be in for a treat both in terms of hearing a performance full of great music, and also in that Magdalena Bay’s music is fun, exciting and energetic dance music — who could ask for more in a live show? Take it with a grain of salt, because again, I’ve never seen the group live, but I think their set could be one of the most fun hours at the festival throughout the weekend.
The Los Angeles-based band, composed of members Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin, are known for their green screen music videos, which they make themselves.
Lucy Dacus – Green Stage, 5:15-6:10 p.m.
Genre – Indie Rock
For Fans Of – Phoebe Bridgers, MUNA
I’m sure many of you have been following Staged Haze for awhile now, so I’m sure it doesn’t come to anyone’s surprise that we’d include her as an act to see at Pitchfork this year. Dacus has been steadily touring her 2021 album Home Video for nearly a year at this point (which is an album we named the 4th best of 2021), and if you haven’t had the chance to see the show yet, here it is.
I’ve seen Dacus twice on her own and once touring with Boygenius, and her stage presence has continued to get stronger without losing the relatable and endearing qualities that garnered her a dedicated fanbase, one that has continuously stuck by her, since the beginning.
Cate Le Bon – Blue Stage, 7:45-8:30 p.m.
Genre – Indie Rock
For Fans Of – Perfume Genius, Destroyer
To close out the festival, Cate Le Bon is one of the final day’s three headliners, taking the Blue Stage at 7:45 p.m. The Welsh singer is destined for a fun set, as much of her music draws on pop influences from decades past.
Le Bon’s been releasing music since 2007, and just released sixth studio album earlier this year with the solid “Pompeii,” a synth-heavy art pop album that takes direct inspiration from ’70s and ’80s Japanese pop.
Toro Y Moi – Red Stage, 7:25-8:25 p.m.
Genre – Chillwave
For Fans Of – Washed Out, Blood Orange
If you’re looking for an alternative to Cate Le Bon and want to have a fun, vibey jam session before catching The Roots’ closing set, I suggest checking out Toro Y Moi! Though 35-year-old Chad Bear is not necessarily an artist on the rise (his biggest song “The Difference” ft. Flume has over 100 million Spotify streams and was Grammy nominated), I would be super curious to see how many people at his set are familiar with his work outside of that track.
Toro Y Moi’s discography is often credited as one of the spearheads of the “chillwave” genre of the 2010s, and I can’t see anyone else fitting in perfectly as the “indie” dance artist with a Pitchfork co-sign.
Bear’s most recent release dropped earlier this year: Mahal, his seventh studio album, dropped in April on Dead Oceans.
Check out our previous Pitchfork coverage here.