Local Current Blog

Today’s Music News: Pitchfork Music Festival begins, and more

A scene from the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival. Photo by Jay Gabler.

The Pitchfork Music Festival begins today in Chicago; the three-day festival features headliners Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Kendrick Lamar. The Current’s Andrea Swensson and Leah Garaas will be there; follow them at @SlingshotAnnie and @leahgaraas. Also, read Andy Moe’s post on the Pitchfork/Lollapalooza effect: how the Twin Cities benefit by being in the region, but outside the bubble.

On their Facebook page, Cloud Cult announced that their search for a new drummer has ended. “It has been an incredible honor to have more than 250 drummers respond to our ad about the position opening. In sifting through the applications, it is amazing to see how many incredible drummers there are out there. Although it has been difficult to narrow down the final contenders, we are pleased to announce the new member of the Cloud Cult family, Jeremy Harvey!”

Blues hero Johnny Winter has died at age 70. In addition to an acclaimed solo career that included a performance at Woodstock, the Texan produced albums for legends including Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. (Pitchfork) For a taste of Winter’s fire, watch him cover “Highway 61 Revisited” at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration in 1992.

We also said goodbye to Broadway actress and singer Elaine Stritch, a leading Stephen Sondheim interpreter and a perennial wit, who died at the age of 89. (New York Times)

Amazon leaked the track list for a reissue of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Adore, and Billy Corgan was livid about it, taking the opportunity to lambaste the record industry as a whole. “The record business as you already know instinctively is quite bad,” Corgan wrote on the band’s website, “and some would say music hasn’t been in such a disadvantageous place in the culture since the selling of commercial music began in the early 1900s. And I for one have been very outspoken about what I would say are harmful business practices, the kind which place artists in an exploitative position vis a vie their rights and ownership of their own work.” (Pitchfork)

Nominations for the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards have been announced; unsurprisingly, they’re dominated by Beyoncé, whose acclaimed self-titled “visual album” was seen by many as a game-changer for the music industry. For Video of the Year, the Yoncé/Jay-Z duet “Drunk in Love” will spar with “Fancy” (Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX), “Happy” (Pharrell), “Chandelier” (Sia), and Miley Cyrus’s infamous “Wrecking Ball.” (Pitchfork) The latter song was memorably covered by Jeremy Messersmith at this year’s Rock the Garden, though surely to the disappointment of some fans, he performed the number fully clothed.

The week of Weird Al continues; Yankovic’s latest video release is a lo-fi, giggle-worthy take on “Fancy”: donning a blond wig and mustache, Weird Al sings about how “Handy” he is. (Consequence of Sound)

Arcade Fire have tapped Devo and Television to be among their openers on the last leg of the Reflektor tour. (Consequence of Sound) Listen to complete audio of Arcade Fire’s March 8 show at Target Center.

The New Pornographers have released a new single and video from their upcoming Brill Bruisers album. The video for the song, “War on the East Coast,” has Dan Bejar and A.C. Newman walking cooly through an urban landscape, with Newman lip-syncing Bejar’s vocals. (Local Current) The New Pornographers will be in Minneapolis to play the Skyline Music Festival at Target Field on August 8.

In local music news, P.O.S. announced that he’s headlining a block-party-style outdoor show—”the best show ever”—in downtown Minneapolis on September 13. It’s the rapper’s first headlining gig since he took some time off for a successful kidney transplant. (Local Current)

Cloud Cult was searching for a new drummer. And, according to the band, the search has officially ended. From Cloud Cult’s Facebook Page: “It has been an incredible honor to have more than 250 drummers respond to our ad about the position opening. In sifting through the applications, it is amazing to see how many incredible drummers there are out there. Although it has been difficult to narrow down the final contenderes, we are pleased to announce the new member of the Cloud Cult family, Jeremy Harvey!”

In case you missed it – David Bowie’s isolated vocal track for “Ziggy Stardust” is chilling. (NME)