There's a reason why Detroit rapper Danny Brown's 2011 album is titled 'XXX': He's uncompromisingly filthy, provocative and bombastic, and is sure to turn his crowd into an unstoppable party. His gritty beats are nicely offset by his exaggeratedly nasal rhymes and stop-and-start delivery. —David Wolinsky
Olivia Tremor Control
Olivia Tremor Control, old-guard members of the Elephant Six recording collective, not only haven't missed a beat after being on hiatus from 2000 'til 2009—the psychedelic Louisiana quintet haven't missed a 128th-note, either. September last year saw the band release the single "The Game You Play Is In Your Head," which bursts with catchiness, creativity and that characteristic lo-fi quirkiness intrinsic to OTC.
Vancouver, BC, duo Japandroids dug deep to come up with this year's 'Celebration Rock,' an appropriately titled album that marked the end of the band's writer's block. A joyous reminder of how incredible the mere power chord can sound, expect Japandroids to perform with a newfound appreciation for life, music and their fan's ravenous applause.
"Dingy garage punk" doesn't even begin to strike at the heart of what Ty Segall does on his recent album 'Slaughterhouse,' but it's a decent Cliffs' Notes at understanding what the frontman and his band do. With the sludginess of Black Sabbath, the swagger of the Stooges and the discipline of punk lifers the Melvins, Ty Segall is definitely a band best enjoyed live. Enjoy.
Oneohtrix Point Never
Folks who still haven't gotten over folktronica duo the Books' disintegration will find plenty to love about Oneohtrix Point Never, aka Brooklyn experimental musician Daniel Lopatin. Lopatin weaves buzzing drones and scattered samples with synths like a preteen does with braids at a sleepover. He'll offer a welcomed respite from the festival's more madcap acts, while also being thoroughly captivating in his own right.
With a siren-like, baby-voiced singing style laid over the kinds of songs and sounds you usually hear in prom scenes from '80s movies, Grimes is sure to add an intriguing dash of variety to the weekend's festivities. Hopefully the infamous Chicago heat won't beat down the Canadian's floaty, haunting sound.
Big K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time) busts out boom-bap rap that admirably never skimps on memorable hooks and is daring enough to peel back its beats and change them up on the fly. Though he's a producer-rapper who's only 25 years old, his debut album, 'Live From The Underground,' boasts a guest spot from guitar legend B.B. King. That's two Kings for the price of one.
Frenetic New York foursome Vampire Weekend haven't released anything new since 2010's 'Contra,' which was a deserved international No. 1 album. That the worldbeat pop-slingers are reportedly trying to release a third record by year's end means two great things for Pitchfork: 1) We might get to hear early versions of new songs and 2) Well, there are new Vampire Weekend songs!
The boisterous Brooklyn duo once credited with inventing a new genre of music called "face-melting" (really) has transitioned into blasting listeners with chest-pumping stompers on this year's 'Reign of Terror.' If you value your adrenal glands and want to make sure they're still working, definitely check out Sleigh Bells.
With their goofy self-seriousness amid walls of synths and chocolate-chip cookie-warm vocals, Hot Chip can always be counted on to be fun, fun, fun. The band's latest album, this year's 'In Our Heads,' was somewhat divisive, but the only people wearing a frown listening to Hot Chip are those who came in with their minds already made up.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
On hiatus from 2003 until 2010, Montreal post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor have unpredictability and a rediscovered sense of excitement on their side. Seeing them reunited alone is a treat, but the chance that they might play new material makes it a full-on dessert course.
"Indie-rock super-group" might sound like an oxymoron, but the bicoastal band consisting of ex-members from Sleater-Kinney, the Minders and Helium disprove that notion. Still riding high from last year's self-titled album, these ladies know how to serve up punky pop that is, in every sense, punk and poppy.
Baltimore duo Beach House consistently deliver effervescent soundscapes perforated with dreamy ribbons of gorgeous guitar riffs. Their songs are somehow both sad and beautiful while also being vulnerable and private. See their latest album, 'Bloom,' for evidence.
In a few short years, Cloud Nothings have gone from a nervous power-pop band to a raucous, tuneful neo-grunge advocate. If you're suffering from a pesky case of '90s nostalgia, look no further.
Like how Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails, Dave Longstreth is the Dirty Projectors. A Yale music school alumni, Longstreth is prolific, uncompromising and adept at being easily summed up by critics. All you need to know is Dirty Projectors play kooky indie-pop that's simultaneously knee-weakeningly tender and whimsically playful.
Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, will get the crowd bumping to his throbbing, complex avant-garde hip-hop beats that are denser than the richest Devil's food cake. Hopefully the experimental producer will tease his audience with a skirt-lift on October's upcoming 'Until the Quiet Comes.'
Mr. Hecker is a mesmerizing knob-twiddler from Vancouver, BC, capable of transforming churning buzzes and staccato synths into pure captivating eeriness on par with anything David Lynch has ever mustered. What he'll do at an outdoor music festival is sure to be entertaining at the very least, and unpredictably mind-blowing at the absolute most.