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.
Like Berry Gordy’s Motown, Matthew E. White’s vision started in a house – the attic, to be specific. His vision was a modern update of Gordy’s pragmatism: music would be recorded efficiently, economically and communally with a house band made up of academically-trained musicians living in Richmond, Virginia. The name of this outline was Spacebomb, and its first result was White’s 2012 release Big Inner, a surprise critical darling that originated as a sort of advertisement for the label. Now, with the label’s release of Natalie Prass’ eponymous debut and his follow-up, Fresh Blood, Spacebomb is having a moment reminiscent of Memphis in the ’60s and Philadelphia in the ’70s.