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Pitchfork Festival (Saturday and Sunday)

Pitchfork Festival (Saturday and Sunday)

Back in the day, our grandfathers drank their coffee and read the daily paper in the morning. Music news probably wasn’t on the front page very often. But in 2008, I read every morning with my coffee (along with of course). Folks, we live in an age when new music is right at our fingertips.

At our fingertips! We can download almost any album ever made at this very moment if we can use search engines the right way! Some say this is affecting the music industry in a negative way, and it might be true. The music industry may be dying, but, music itself has never been more popular. Pitchfork is proof of this. And this past weekend’s festival was a celebration of that fact.

 Ryan Schreiber, the founder and mastermind behind the world of Pitchfork, spent some time with me over the weekend to talk about some of the music, inspiration, and fun that is to be had in the music business today.

Ryan has been sharing good music with the world for years now, and sees no sign of slowing. “Our readership is higher today than it’s ever been,” he says. Pitchfork still represents an ideal. While you will certainly find the cynics and the ultra-hipsters who will not talk highly of the Pitchfork Media brand, Ryan is a sincere music fan, out to share what he loves with the world. He will receive no foul remark from me.

So what’s new this year? The tough thing about the Pitchfork festival is how nearly all of the bands there are worth talking about. Almost any of them could be the next big thing. The most obvious band in the hype radar this year was Vampire Weekend, and they put on a fairly straightforward show. One that may not have been worthy of a slot on SNL.

(Les Savy Fav haircuts)

My favorite shows were Animal Collective, Caribou, Public Enemy and M Ward. But I could say great things about Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver too, and I wasn’t even able to catch every show, but I’m sure that there were more wonderful sets out there.


The first show I saw on Saturday was Caribou, and while I did enjoy their Andorra album from last year, I couldn’t even recognize them in the live setting. The level of energy was high, much higher than what comes across on record. Two or three members would simultaneously rock out on two kits of drums, and flares of noise and quirkiness crept in for an occasional indie rock plight. And speaking of indie rock, Animal Collective headlined Saturday night, blasting bright lights and high volume to a sold out crowd. You’ll never hear a more unique show, and it may inspire you to take off you shoes and dance around in the mud. It’s still possible that their sound may be the future of rock and roll.

The Sunday that followed kept the vibe going. Les Savy Fav took a break from the barbershop and rocked out wildly. Boris tore it up. And the afternoon received an indie rock purge from M Ward. Ward is an artist I could see blowing up upon the release of a new record. He has the sort of virtuosic talent of a John Mayer, and all the critical acclaim he needs to make some serious hits. He might not want to go that route though, because he’s in a good place in the indie world.

The indie world is exciting. It is braving the monsters that stand in the road, blocking the way to “success.” Declining CD sales only mean finding new paths towards the same goal. There’s a lack of fear at the Pitchfork festival, and a hope for sincere art. This is heard in the music, seen in Ryan Schreiber, and felt in the attitudes of all the music-lovers that aren’t just out for a drunken party. There are people who really do care about good music, and as long as we’re here, nothing can stand in our way from spreading the goodness to all who will accept it.

Dylan Peterson is a recently married bicyclist from Chicago. He provides internal help to Sound Opinions (check your local NPR station for times, or subscribe to the podcast). And he made an official muxtape for the Relvant Music Blog.

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