Tag Archives: CHVRCHES

(Via Pitchfork)

There was a moment when I just sat staring at the scene in Chicago’s Union Park. It was on Sunday, the last day of the 2015 Pitchfork Music Festival. Caribou was playing on the main stage, the smell of marijuana was pungent, and I was enjoying a hot dog. There were people everywhere. Most crowded at the front of the stage for Caribou, some standing idly talking with their friends, and others, like myself, nodding along to the bassline of “Can’t Do Without You.” It was a moment of clarity that I experienced in a festival (my first) marked by a rush of emotional states which played out like a roller coaster through a grueling three day plunge. There was CHVRCHES’ maelstrom of synth, Freddie Gibbs putting Pitchfork on blast for previous line-ups, an actual maelstrom that shutdown the festival for all of 20 minutes, the dirge of listening to Panda Bear and the rowdiness of A$AP Ferg’s energetic dorkiness. Yet, throughout all of it, festival goers noticed a fair amount of community throughout the throngs of festival goers. We weren’t inundated with a slew of corporate sponsors, distractions and a disorienting amount of people. That community created an atmosphere in which we could enjoy the acts, no matter how close or far away we were from each respective stage. It was a community I was glad to be part of for three days.

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The cover art for all of the official releases from the Glasgow synth pop group CHVRCHES are similar to that of warning signs seen plastered around nuclear reactors. The ones that scream “RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL” to remind you of the world-ending power that the energy efficient machines contain and maintain, barely. The stylized name of the group on its debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, leaps off the cover as an all-caps instruction to be wary of what lies inside. Yet, just beneath the group’s name lies the album title in an almost minuscule font size which reads as a footnote about the volatile materials contained within.

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From top to bottom: CHVRCHES, London Grammar, and HAIM

This past summer, pop radio beat listeners to death with Daft Punk’s return from Studio 54, Robin Thicke’s perceived predatory tendencies, and Miley Cyrus’ problematic appropriation of black culture. But the heavy radio rotation of the aforementioned songs seemed to reveal that these were summer simmers rather than jams; a few mild tracks rather than ones that brought any real heat. Yet, in the background, three buzzworthy trios released hits that are the lead ins to their highly anticipated September debuts. CHVRCHES, London Grammar, and HAIM all have different pop stylistic approaches that use a semblance of electronic instrumentation to get there.

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