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Lollapicks: Top 10 Indie Picks Lollapalooza 2011

posted August 5, 2011, 1:31 am by Ben Oliver | Filed Under Editorial, General Interest, Live Show Reviews, Music News, Tour | comment Leave a Comment

Written by Benjy Oliver
Who doesn’t love a music festival, right?  It’s all the best parts of a concert–music, friends, alcohol and drugs…just lots and lots more of them!  Each year, more and more of them are popping up all over the place.  As you probably already know, one of the biggest and baddest (and longest running), Lollapalooza, is going on this very moment (August 5th – 7th) in Chicago, Illinois. 

And it has to be one of the most incredible line ups this year–hell, maybe even one of the best ever!  We’re talking Foo Fighters, Eminem, Coldplay, Deadmau5, and Muse to name a few! Rolling Stone’s guide presents a good summary to the impressive bill, but who doesn’t already know about these celebrity performers?  Yet one of the best reasons to go is to discover new music!  Anyone who has ever been or considered going to experience a massive event like this knows what it feels like when looking towards the bottom of the schedule. It can almost feel like reading a foreign language, seeing bands listed that you have never heard of.  That’s where we come in to help.  This isn’t meant as a planning guide for deciding who to catch, unless you are really late!  Since we weren’t able to get this posted before the event, we are intending it to be a primer for the armchair quarterback fans like us.  We aren’t providing first hand coverage, but are watching the live stream coverage on YouTube like many of you.  In our best and on going effort to cover the best in indie music, we present Lollapicks: Top 10 Indie Picks for Lollapalooza 2011. These are some artists seemingly turning up everywhere this year.

Bands You May Already Know:

Death From Above 1979

This band makes for quite the story.  The Canadian duo decided to take 2 of their favorite genres, rock and dance, and mix them together into a pop-punk blend.  The recipe has proven to be unbelieveably sucessful and they do this with only bass, drums, and vocals–sans guitar. They were around for a few years in the early 00’s before calling it quits in 2006.  Then suddenly and unexpectedly they reunited this year stronger than ever before. Almost like the TV show Family Guy that was originally canceled for lack of ratings before coming back greater than ever.  And if their LCD Soundsystem like presence on this weekend isn’t proof enough of the high demand to see them, check out the riot that happened at SXSW from being booked in too small of a venue.

Two Door Cinema Club

The indie rock-pop trio from Ireland is known for their mellow and laid back yet catchy songs.  They formed in 2007 and put out an EP in January of 2009.  Soon, TDCC and their smooth sounds began to attract attention from both fans and critics alike.  They probably received the most recognition after touring and opening up for Phoenix.  It seems they may just now be hitting their stride,  surfing the current wave of buzz caused by the release of their record Tourist History last year in 2010.  They are gaining new fans everywhere this year, by also playing Glastonbury, Coachella, and The Isle of Wright festivals.

Foster The People

What can be said about the ever expanding popular group and their nearly instant, overnight fame that hasn’t been already?  They started the year as a somewhat well known band, then had a very impressive experience at SXSW.  There has been relentless, non-stop touring and the release of Torches since then, a MTV VMA nomination, with nearly  incessant sold out shows at every location.

Explosions In The Sky

This instrumental entourage from Austin is currently going where few, if any, in this genre have ever gone.  When I ‘m using the word genre, I’m doing so very lightly and sarcastically.  Such a storied history, with origins dating back to pre 9-11.  It’s been said that the avalanche of attention began there, with gossip tying their 2nd record to the infamous attacks.   From there, the guitar driven artists continued to build their reputation and street cred by going on tour opening for Fugazi.  Then the next bit of luck and reward for hard work came by an opportunity to record the soundtrack of Friday Night Lights.


One male, one female, from New York. Sorta like Matt and Kim, sorta not so much. Imagine if The Flaming Lips and David Bowie hooked up. Ok wait, don’t! Electronic loops, hip-hop beats, shoegaze, soul, pop—each finds its way into their songs. Sarah and Josh were friends since junior high school before forming the trip-hop/psych-pop collaboration. They released 2 EP’s in 2009, while their full length Eyelid Movies came out last year. There is currently another EP in the works, dropping soon.

Bands You Need To Know:

The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart

Another indie rock-pop band, this and coming Brooklyn crew have released 2 EPs, and now 2 LPs.  The latest, Belong, dropped earlier this year.  One writer said in their review it sounds “like the Jesus and Mary Chain if they got stoned in a basement and just wanted to cuddle”.  The clean cut friends greatest strength is their genuineness, and the music they make is a real reflection of who they are.  Their noisy, bubble gum pop fuzz is as authentic as it is energetic.

Chain Gang of 1974

If Kamtin Mohager hadn’t lived in the 1980’s, you get the feeling that he would somehow still love the decade’s sounds.  Like Nine Inch Nails and Dashboard Confessional, the shape-shifting singer/multi-instrumentalist is the only member of the increasingly popular outfit.  Referred to in short as TCGO1974, he of course recruits a band while out touring. Listen to Wayward Fire, if you haven’t yet.  I’m positive you will be familiar with it by the end of the year (it sounds more 80’s than 80’s music does!).


The young entertainers have already been at SXSW, and featured as one of Spin’s next big things for 2011.  The north eastern punk pop rockers have also been pegged as a rising band by Pitchfork.  They twenty somethings recorded their first 7 song EP, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods in March 2010 in Erik’s bedroom using a pink paisley guitar, a Casio keyboard and Fruity Loops. The EP was later picked up by EMI and rereleased in February. The group intends to release another 5 song EP, Family Of Love, August 9th.


Just releasing their initial EP Oblangle Fizz Y’All, the emerging shooting stars are some of the newest, youngest artists  performing.  Their unique, self-described hardcore pop punk is quickly paving a bright road into the near future for them.  They will be hitting the road this fall opening for Cults and Foster the People, along with being on stage at ACL.  Comparisons to Passion Pit abound, for good reason.

Friendly Fires

The English neon pop gang were nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2009 for their first record.  Their newest release, Pala, came out right before summer and they will be touring the U.S., providing dance music for the masses.  Their songs are very well crafted melodies, and have the potential to be contagious anthems.


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