The 2023 music festival season is well underway and in just a week and a half, Chicago is getting in on the action.
Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park from July 21-23, and we’re looking forward to heading back for the third year in a row! Headed to Pitchfork this year? Check out our list of compiled artists we think you should check out, and why.
Sen Morimoto | Green Stage | 2:30-3:15pm
Koyoto born, East Coast bred and now Chicago-based musician Sen Morimoto has been performing in the local music scene for years, so it’s pretty wild to realize that this is only his first time getting a spot performing at Pitchfork!
If you’re looking to hear something unlike any other artist performing at Pitchfork, definitely check out Sen Morimoto’s jazz-rap: a pretty unique genre combination, if you ask me! Sen Morimoto’s third album DIAGNOSIS drops on November 3, so I’m sure plenty of new music will be played.
Grace Ives | Red Stage | 3:20-4:10pm
It’s definitely safe to say that Pitchfork’s brand of musicians tends to be a bit more obscure than the mainstream artists on other major US festivals, and the list of pop artists on the lineup is scarce (though they do exist!)
If you’re a person looking for a pop artist on this year’s lineup, look no further than Grace Ives: a 27-year-old pop singer-songwriter from New York whose sophomore album Janky Star was met with critical acclaim last year. If you’re a fan of Joji, Kid Cudi, Charli XCX, or Sky Ferriera, to name a few, you’ll definitely like Grace Ives: Janky Star was co-produced by Justin Raisen, who has worked with all of the artists I just mentioned.
Alvvays | Red Stage | 7:25-8:25pm
Alvvays cracked our top 10 albums of 2022, so it’s obvious that we’re going to try to convince you to go see them at Pitchfork this year. Blue Rev was the Canadian’s first album in over five years, which means that their tour dates supporting this album are also some of the first consistent dates since 2019.
Indie rock bands are no strangers to Pitchfork’s publication nor its festival, but one that feels accessible, easy to enjoy, and interesting enough sonically without becoming too complex to the average ear are few in far between. Alvvays absolutely fills that hole, and does it incredibly well.
Vagabon | Blue Stage | 4-4:45pm
Vagabon’s new album, Sorry I Haven’t Called, which drops in September, tells the story of grief following the loss of her best friend in 2021.
“Once I gave myself permission to make a record that’s full of life and energy, I realized that’s the point of this album. In the midst of going through all of these tough things, it became a record because of the vitality that these songs had,” Vagabon (real name Lætitia Tamko) says about the project.
The two singles that have been released so far, “Carpenter” and “Can I Talk My Shit?” were both co-produced by Rostam (formerly known for his work in Vampire Weekend, also collaborator of Maggie Rogers, HAIM, and Clairo): “Carpenter” was also co-written by Donna Missal. If you’re a fan of any of these artists, I suggest you check out Vagabon’s afternoon set at Pitchfork.
Julia Jacklin | Blue Stage | 5:15-6pm
If you’ve ever been the type of person to overthink something so much that it causes you to do nothing instead of something, you should be listening to Julia Jacklin. Jacklin, who was born in Australia to a family of school teachers and didn’t know anyone who was a full time musician, found her voice in high school when she joined a band that performed pop punk covers.
Fast forward to three incredibly successful singer-songwriter, indie, and/or folk albums, Jacklin has become a household name in the indie space (and to Pitchfork readers). If you’re a fan of artists like Stella Donnelly or Faye Webster, you need to listen to Julia Jacklin, like, yesterday.
Snail Mail | Red Stage | 5:15-6:10pm
It’s incredibly hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Snail Mail’s last album was released in 2021 and that Lindsey Jordan is still touring it. But if I were attending Pitchfork this year, it would be an easy to decision to check out her performance, despite it overlapping with the incredibly talented Julia Jacklin (Pitchfork seriously couldn’t avoid that conflict? Big bummer).
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Snail Mail twice: once in 2018 and 2019, when Jordan was only 19 and 20, respectively. At the ripe age of 24, I’m sure her performance has dramatically improved, and since she’s probably one the youngest performers of the weekend, I suggest you see what she’s about.
Big Thief | Green Stage | 8:30-9:50pm
I have no problem admitting that I’ve never fully gotten into Big Thief’s music: for years, they were a group whose music I should have loved, but I struggled to connect with them. With that being said, it was none other than Pitchfork 2021 where I saw Big Thief perform for the first time and everything just completely clicked for me.
Hearing Adrienne Lenker’s vocals live was something indescribable and it was astonishing to see an audience so completely captivated by an artist’s voice. This is the band’s first time headlining Pitchfork despite being on the lineup many different times, so definitely be sure to check it out.
Florist | Blue Stage | 2:45-3:30pm
In an era where streaming numbers don’t necessarily correlate to a draw that an artist has in a live setting, I’m curious to hear how Florist’s performance goes at Pitchfork.
The indie-folk band from Brooklyn has been releasing music since 2013, and have 1.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and have released four studio albums that have been continuously praised by critics. Even the queen Beyoncé herself featured an instrumental portion of the band’s track “Thank You” in her Netflix film, Homecoming.
Considering I find their music in the same vein as Big Thief, who are closing the festival on Saturday evening, I’ll place bets on fans from that set getting to Union Park for this set as well.
Hurray for the Riff Raff | Blue Stage | 6:30-7:15pm
Alynda Segarra, the lead singer of Hurray for the Riff Raff, has a pretty unconventional rise to success, to say the least. Segarra got their start in the scene after being a regular attendee of hardcore punk shows in New York, and eventually left home at the young age of 17, eventually joining the Dead Man Street Orchestra, a “hobo” band that toured across the country on freight trains, and was featured in a photo essay by Time Magazine in 2007.
Since then, Segarra has self-released several albums before signing with Nonesuch Records in 2021: Life on Earth was released in 2022 (the album I first discovered by the group). Based on this little info I’ve divulged about this artist, I’d bet money on their live performance being incredibly full of life and unlike anything else I’ve experienced at a festival.
Bon Iver | Green Stage | 8:30-9:50pm
From a brief Google search, I can tell you that Pitchfork’s favorite white man, Justin Vernon, hasn’t played their festival since 2008, aka 15 years ago. Considering Vernon is from the midwest and has publicly stated his disdain for Lollapalooza, it’s pretty shocking that it’s taken him this long to make his return to Union Park.
I’m assuming Bon Iver, who only just recently released two new songs and hasn’t dropped a full length project since 2019, will be playing new material next week. It’ll also be their first US performance since June of 2022, so be prepared for something special.
Select tickets to Pitchfork Music Festival are still on sale! Click here for more info.