Posted by: Jeff | August 2, 2010

Monday Mixtape XIX: Lollapalooza Edition

I am headed to the windy city of Chicago on Thursday to enjoy three lovely days in Grant Park.  Lollapalooza is a three-day festival right downtown, and features quite literally a hundred different acts to choose from.  Some of my very favorite bands are going to be there, and many acts that I’ve never seen live.  It promises to be a great time, and I’m hopeful that it surpasses even last year’s amazing lineup.

So this week, here are a few of the acts and songs that I’m looking forward to hearing on the shore of Lake Michigan, underneath the big Chicago skyline.

The New Pornographers – Moves

I saw this band in June and their witty stage banter is surpassed only by the quality of their discography.  “Moves”, the intro track off their latest album, Together, is a great example of everything The New Pornos do well: choral harmonies, power pop guitar riffs, and wonderfully unique and interesting vocal hooks.  This could be a festival highlight outside in Chicago.

Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

I’ve said this before, but this was the first track I heard by Arcade Fire, and it floored me how emotive it is.  Win Butler’s vocals practically plead – and the way the music builds and builds mirrors and magnifies the earnestness of Butler’s vocal delivery.  This will be a sing-a-long favorite, among many other equally winsome Arcade Fire numbers.

Phoenix – Lisztomania

From the opening piano riffs of this intro track from 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, this song was already an earworm.  Hopelessly catchy, Phoenix’s latest offers a number of perfect party songs – vaguely nostalgic, melodic, and meant for dancing.  Should be a party atmosphere when these Frenchmen take the stage under the city lights.

Much more below! 

Cut Copy – Hearts on Fire

Probably the band I’m most looking forward to seeing at Lolla (after Arcade Fire), Cut Copy combine heartfelt missives with twinkly synths and eminently danceable basslines.  This is clearly a dance band that knows their influences well, culling New Order-ish melodic bass leads and 90’s Eurodance-era handclaps and vocal samples alike.  The arpeggiated synths even hearken back to the disco era.  And who can deny that the saxophone solo on “Hearts on Fire” is epically placed?  Not to miss.

Hot Chip – One Life Stand

Another post-rock band bringing back the eighties, Hot Chip is a nerdy version of the more muscular Cut Copy.  Inherently more poppy, these Brits also maintain a pretty healthy sense of humor, as can be seen in their most recent music video for new single “I Feel Better”.  But among all the nerdery and humor, there’s some real emotional content in their songs as well – after all, isn’t there something adorably romantic about the wordplay of having a one life stand?

The Morning Benders – Excuses

In my mind, this is a band that got short shrift at Lolla this year.  A mere half hour set at the beginning of a day, and at the same time as equally intriguing The Kissaway Trail.  The Morning Benders released one of my favorite albums of 2010 thus far, and “Excuses” is one of the most beautifully-constructed tracks of the past few years – well worth dropping by their set to hear this gem out live.

Dirty Projectors – Useful Chamber

The quintessential indie band – a troop of talented individual musicians coming together to form a collective under the guidance of one of Brooklyn’s oddest musical talents.  Dave Longstreth may be classically-trained, but the Dirty Projectors tend to sound anything but classical – with distinctive guitar twang and halting, nonsensical lyrics, this is a band with a wide influence on the indie scene.

Metric – Help I’m Alive

Bands like Metric help keep alternative alive through pretty sparse years.  Proficient in rocking out or keeping it introspective, frontwoman Emily Haines has an expressive voice that would seem well-suited to large venues.  Metric are sandwiched in a phenomenal Saturday lineup that has me very excited.

Spoon – Got Nuffin’

Speaking of Saturday, the band following Metric on stage will be Spoon, one of the best touring bands in the US right now.  Their most recent album works better live than it does on record, so this will definitely be a great set on a terrific Saturday.  Spanning a bridge between Metric (head bobbing) and Cut Copy (dancing), Spoon should have Chicago rocking properly.

The National – Mr. November

I saw The National in June, and they delivered one of the best sets I’ve ever seen.  Given that I first learned of the band by hearing them at a festival where they really grabbed my attention, I’m very excited to know their discography and see them on a big stage in a big field under the big city lights.  And when Matt Berninger jumps into the crowd as usual during “Mr. November”, I can’t promise to stay very calm.



  1. […] mervdiddy Buzz: Lollapalooza is a three-day festival right downtown, and features quite literally a hundred different acts to choose from. Some of my very favorite bands are going to be there, and many acts that I’ve never seen live. … […]

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