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Lollapalooza 2013 Lineup Predictions

IMG_0049Even though we haven’t even broken into winter, there is already a typhoon of speculation about who will be making their rounds at music festivals in Summer 2013. Bonnaroo presale tickets came and went in three minutes, and we’ve already seen message boards and websites be riddled with alleged lineups. With Nutshell being based out of and somewhat centered around the Chicago area, I thought it would be a perfect outlet for my 3rd annual Lollapalooza lineup predictions. This will, for the first time, be live updating. Bands will be crossed out and added as time goes on, up until the midnight lineup release some time in April. That is, if the Chicago Tribune would stop leaking it at 10:30. Think of this as an open discussion. Your thoughts are all appreciated, but they will only be read, reviewed, and utilized for this list if they are posted in the comments section below. That being said, we want your input. If you think I’m wrong, tell me why.

Here’s my current lineup predictions for Lollapalooza 2013, set for August 2-4:

  • Animal Collective – The dukes of modern indie rock haven’t graced the Lollapalooza stages since 2009, and they already found themselves in a premiere Saturday night slot. With Centipede Hz now under their belts and no extensive touring schedule, you can expect them to be hitting one of Chicago’s many festivals. After 2009’s powerhouse performance, it would be foolish for both the band and the festival if they did not end up in a headliner’s position this Summer.
  • Wu-Tang Clan – Now before you argue, look at the facts. According to an interview with AV Club, Clan producer RZA said that he had been contacted by Bonnaroo and Coachella, and that there’s a chance Lollapalooza has also been in contact with him about a Wu-Tang festival run. With one album having its 20th anniversary and another new one in the works, why not play a few festivals?
  • Alabama Shakes & The Temper Trap – Among many of the acts that had to be cancelled or shuffled around during last year’s mud pit, these two groups got the short end of the stick. They both had solid late afternoon slots and the potential to draw large crowds, so it would not come as a major surprise to see their names back on the bill.
  • The Avett Brothers – Backed by this year’s release of The Carpenter, the American folk group has never played on Lollapalooza’s stage. They hit their Chicago dates early on the supporting tour for the album, and a group like this would surely thrive in an outdoor festival.
  • MGMT – The group hasn’t hit the festival since 2010, and with an R.E.M.-inspired new album in the works it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them return for a third time. With three albums and their debut EP all in the catalog, the psychedelic collective would be a comfortable fit in a 5 or 6 headliner spot.
  • Phoenix – The French indie pop group hasn’t had much to say since the conclusion of their last tour, and with only one Lollapalooza appearance (2010) to date, the mysterious new album that is apparently being hammered out, a last second American Summer tour announcement with a few festivals wouldn’t be the biggest of surprises.
  • Vampire Weekend – Even though the band made a stop at last year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, they have been on a somewhat hiatus when finishing out their new album. They already have an impressive new single that’s presumably from the record, and it isn’t uncommon to see the two Chicago festivals swap bands for consecutive festival seasons. Since 2009, bands that have hit stages at both festivals include Animal Collective, Neon Indian, Washed Out, and  tUnE-yArDs, so Vampire Weekend could very well be returning to Grant Park come August.

Again, your comments are welcome below. Tell us what you’re thinking; who do you think will be playing at Grant Park in August?

Nutshell Album Review: The Avett Brothers – The Carpenter

Are you ready for some great music, folks?

That pun was not only physically painful to make, but it was necessary to explain the extent of this album. The seventh LP from The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter, is far from a bad album. Not only that, but it also makes people realize, “Hey, there’s other good folk bands than Mumford and Sons!” No offense to Mumford and co. is intended, but it’s time for the music world to start giving this North Carolina-in quintet a much needed hug. Even through the personal turmoil of the band members, they still have something small to smile about in the fact that they put together a return album that rocks in the folkiest way possible.

The Carpenter opens up with “The Once and Future Carpenter”, a song that basically ends on the album’s central theme of loving everyone and living life out to its fullest, just so death isn’t a scary thing. Next is “Live and Die”, a perfect banjo-opened song that made all fans of The Avetts jump up and scream “YES”. The reason is because the three year wait for this album is culminated right here where “Modern Folk Heaven” meets “Banjo Solo Land”. It is the easiest track to call the gem of the album, and one you definitely need to check out. “Winter In My Heart” is what follows, a sullen, slowed song that wraps up sadness into five minutes. This is truly one of the most emotional songs that’s ever reached the public, and it also is another one of the best songs on this album, if not in The Avett Brothers’ entire musical catalog.

“Pretty Girl From Michigan” turns all the emotion from the previous song inside out, and morphs into a jazzy, doo-wop masterpiece. Upbeat piano riffs, electric guitar solos, and drum break all are thrown into the mix to create a song that would even get the most stubborn feet tapping. “I Never Knew You” keeps the same tempo and sound as the previous song, but the electric guitar gets traded in for infectious acoustic chords and bass grooves. “Through My Prayers” slows the album back down but keeps the same powerful emotion heard earlier on. Another one that tugs on the heart strings, it’s a love story that didn’t end as beautifully as everyone would hope. One of the strongest lines of the record comes in this song, “I only wanted to tell you I care.” The song that follows is the minute and a half long dance track “Geraldine”, another one that drastically changes the tempo and gets you moving. The only legitimate complaint you can have about this song is how short it is.

“February Seven” is a song that sounds reminiscent of The Head and The Heart’s debut album, complete with a string section to carry the melody through the sea of deep bass and beautiful vocals. “A Father’s First Spring” is a truly emotional and touchy track. The song is a face to face confrontation with bassist Bob Crawford’s two year old daughter’s cancer diagnosis. The finished product was a polished and truly breathtaking song that leaves you speechless at this group’s power of expression. “Down With The Shine” is another one that sounds like a lot of today’s modern folk with the usual Avett Brothers spin on it. A great track for old fans and newbies alike to get the slow paced concert bop going. The album then closes with the hilariously named and equally energetic “Paul Newman Vs. The Demons” and the gentle, lovable “Life”.

The Avett Brothers have been regarded as a superpower in both modern folk music and the world of the outdoor music festival. The five-piece looked to come back strong after a three year hiatus, and their seventh album The Carpenter was able to complete that goal without a question. The emotional force that at some points comes out in tranquility is also just as easily converted into driving, faster-paced songs. That is something that is very hard to master musically, and the band pulled it off without even looking like they tried. The Carpenter gets an 89/100 and you can pick it up today.

The Carpenter Tracklisting:

  1. The Once and Future Carpenter
  2. Live and Die
  3. Winter In My Heart
  4. Pretty Girl From Michigan
  5. I Never Knew You
  6. Through My Prayers
  7. Geraldine
  8. February Seven
  9. A Father’s First Spring
  10. Down With The Shine
  11. Paul Newman Vs. The Demon
  12. Life
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