The time has come again, folks. This year's Pygmalion Music Festival lineup is here, and as the festival enters year 10, things are going to get interesting this time around. Not only has Pygmalion expanded to include the Made Fest and Pygmalion Lit Fest, there are more surprises in store to be announced in the upcoming weeks and months.
The Pygmalion Festival will take place September 25-28, 2014 in Champaign-Urbana. Here's your initial lineup for Pygmalion X.
Adored Scottish trio CHVRCHES will head things up at the festival this year. Following the release of 2013's critically acclaimed debut record The Bones of What You Believe, which spawned hit tracks like "The Mother We Share" and "Recover", Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty will make their way to Champaign-Urbana to headline. Indie/synth-pop at it's finest.
Perhaps the biggest announcement out of the entire 2014 lineup will be this one: Urbana's own American Football is performing at Pygmalion 2014. Yes, you're reading that correctly. The band hasn't performed in nearly 15 years since the release of their cult-status debut record American Football came out in 1999, and this year Polyvinyl Records is giving it the deluxe reissue treatment, and the band only has two dates lined up at this point in time. Pygmalion is one of those dates. Boom.
The highly-influential indie music icon Panda Bear, aka Noah Lennox, will perform at this year's fest. Perhaps best known for the brilliant 2007 solo record Person Pitch, you might also recognize him from his excellence as one of the main members of Animal Collective. His last release came back in 2011 with Tomboy, and you most likely recall his guest spot on Daft Punk's Random Access Memories. Snagging any member of Animal Collective, let alone Panda Bear, is quite the accomplishment.
Tycho is the project Scott Hansen has been working under for a few years now, and with the latest release of his gorgeous new LP Awake, things have really taken off. Performing with a full live band, Tycho's soundcapes fall along similar lines to the Explosions in the Skys of the world, but with a different twist. Ambient and psychadelic intricasies definitely deliver, mixed in with those aformentioned post-rock elements. Check them out for yourself if you haven't done so already.
Perhaps the most seasoned of veterans on this year's bill is Mark Kozelek, aka Sun Kil Moon. Most have experienced Kozelek's material via his old outfit, Red House Painters, and more recently under his Sun Kil Moon monkier. Kozelek has released six records under this name, the most recent being this year's incredible Benji, which has garnered quite a bit of attention as of late. A record filled with stories of life and death — death being the most apparent theme throughout. Brilliant, nonetheless.
The fine sounds of New Jersey's Real Estate will be present on this year's festival bill. Over the past several years, the band has truly honed in on their craft, putting together a trio of excellent records since 2009's self-titled debut. They are known within the indie rock world for their distinctive guitar tone and their lush instrumentation to partner with frontman Martin Courtney's vocal delivery. Their 2014 release Atlas has continued what their breakout 2011 record Days started, and they are a band that keeps getting better, not one that has lost steam.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises from last year was the post-black metal/shoegaze brilliance of San Francisco's Deafheaven. This Deathwish Records crew put together the magnificent Sunbather, a record that gathered the highest rating amongst critics last year. Sure, reviews might not grab everyone as something to pay attention to, but take a listen for yourself and see. The brutality of their black metal elements (mainly George Clark's scorching vocals), combined with the incredible integration of post-rock and shoegaze guitars, not to mention top-notch production, provided a stunning result in Sunbather that blew people away.
East Coast four piece Speedy Ortiz burst onto the indie rock map last year with the release of their debut Major Arcana on Carpark. Their style is one that revives mid-90s rock 'n roll mixed with influences of nosie pop and lo-fi indie rock. You might think of bands like Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Liz Phair, and influential bands along that same vein.
Another San Francisco outfit joining in on the festival this year is Wooden Shjips. Although they are quite different from the previously mentioned SF outfit Deafheaven, Wooden Shjips deliver a skuzzed out garage rock and hypnotizing brand of psychadelic rock music. Their most recent record came from last year's Back to Land, and before that one, appropriately titled West.
Jordan Lee makes up the outfit known as Mutual Benefit, and with the release of his debut record Love's Crushing Diamond, brought some late-year attention his way. His gentle and heartfelt delivery was one that revived some singer-songwriter predecesors like the Microphones, Devendra Banhart, and more. With a full band to help him out, his material from Love's Crushing Diamond are brought to life.
Ex Hex is the new DC-based power-trio featuring Mary Timony (Helium, Autoclave and Wild Flag), Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris. They have teamed up with the folks over on Merge for some early releases and singles which have brought them some good attention recently.
Can't forget about locals for Pygmalion 2014, and there are a few that are being announced at this time. No question that Common Loon would be included in the mix again this year, as they consistently prove they're one of the best bands in Champaign-Urbana. Last year, they released "Harry Dean Stanton". It was a good year.
Local indie rockers Elsinore will be a part of Pygmalion Festival again this year, as they're coming off of a solid 2013 with the release of their Yes Yes Yes follow up, PUSH / PULL.
Tickets go on sale this upcoming Friday, April 25th at 11 a.m. CST.