Faronheit | A Chicago Centric Music Blog

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Tag: playlist

Pitchfork Music Festival 2019: The Lineup Playlist

Welcome to the start of another Pitchfork Music Festival Week here at Faronheit! There’s so much to cover over the next seven days, but the first step involves familiarizing yourself with the lineup. The diverse collection of talent that takes the stage in Chicago’s Union Park every July remains unparalleled, as the festival provides a breeding ground for tomorrow’s superstars while simultaneously paying respects to legends. Artists such as Bon Iver, The National, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance the Rapper all performed at Pitchfork before they became household names. But you also get seasoned pros like Public Enemy, Yoko Ono, The Jesus Lizard, Guided By Voices, Pavement, A Tribe Called Quest, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Bjork, and George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic showing up to guide everyone through their classic catalogs.

The 2019 edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival maintains a strong grasp on that dynamic, celebrating the decades of music we’ve gotten from The Isley Brothers, Mavis Staples, Belle & Sebastian, Neneh Cherry, and Stereolab while also providing an introduction to local and international names like Clairo, Black Midi, Tirzah, Lala Lala, and MIKE. It may interest you to know that the lineup is gender balanced, and makes a particular point to include a number of Chicago-based artists. If you’re planning to attend the festival this weekend but haven’t yet studied up on everyone that will be performing, what are you waiting for?

To help on your journey of discovery, I’ve assembled a playlist that you’re welcome to explore at your own discretion. The Spotify version embedded below features a pair of songs from every artist on this year’s lineup, with the exception of the Great Black Music Ensemble. They are sorted in the order they’re scheduled to perform, starting with early Friday afternoon and ending with Sunday night. As an alternate option, since not everyone has Spotify or wants to dig through an 80+ song playlist, you can also scroll through the lineup in alphabetical order and click on links to listen to individual songs from artists on YouTube. Hopefully that will satisfy just about everyone. So explore a bit. Find something new that inspires or motivates you. Then prepare to make some tough decisions when planning out your festival weekend. Speaking of which, please continue to check the site over the coming days for preview guides and advice on artists you shouldn’t miss at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival! If you still need tickets, here’s where you can buy them. Prices increase on Tuesday 7/16, so you may want to move quickly to save a few bucks.

Friday Preview Guide
Saturday Preview Guide
Sunday Preview Guide

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Halfway There: 75 Songs From 2019


It’s easy to get the impression that 2019 has been a relatively quiet year for music so far. There haven’t been quite as many high profile album releases, and few things have really captured the cultural zeitgeist beyond Lil Nas X and perhaps Billie Eilish. We’re in a pretty weird place, right? If you were to ask me point blank what five of my favorite albums were this year, it’d take me a few minutes to come up with a clear answer. I haven’t been listening to less music overall, there’s just less things managing to grab and hold my attention. Or so I thought.

In reflecting on the first half of the year, I wanted to assemble and share a playlist of about 50 songs that I genuinely enjoyed and/or frequently returned to over these last six months. The rules for the list were simple: only one song per artist, either released as a standalone single or as part of a 2019 LP/EP. The goal was to spread the love around, but I had to reach 50 songs first. It was tougher than I expected, until it wasn’t. What started out at barely 50 songs quickly ballooned to nearly twice that amount after taking a closer look at some release lists. A 100 song playlist would have been too much, but 50 ultimately felt like too little.

So here’s the final compromise: 75 great songs from the first half of 2019. They’re arranged in alphabetical order by artist, because official rankings are best saved for a year-end wrap-up. Please enjoy this five hours of music! Play it at your BBQ or just in your car while driving around on a hot day. I hope you discover some tracks and artists you missed earlier this year, or rediscover some fun songs you may have forgotten about over the last few months. Listen through the Spotify embed below, or follow this link. You can also listen to every song (minus Julien Baker & Thom Yorke) on the playlist individually via YouTube by clicking on the title.

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Tuned In: Jen Kirkman

Tuned In is a feature in which special guests from the world of pop culture share a playlist of songs based on a topic or theme of their choice.

Jen Kirkman is not only one of my favorite comedians, but also one of my favorite people. If for some reason you’re not familiar with her stand-up, she’s got two fantastic and hilarious specials available on Netflix called Just Keep Livin’? and I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine). You can also find them on your favorite audio streaming or download service (Spotify, Amazon, Apple) if that’s your preference. Let those serve as an introduction to her unique perspective and a way to inject some much-needed laughter into your life.

In addition to consistently crafting new stand-up material and touring around it, Jen Kirkman has written two very funny and very smart books that made the NY Times bestseller list, has a weekly podcast talking about her life and things happening in the world, spends time writing for the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and maintains a strong, bullshit-free social media presence. She’s so hard-working and multi-talented there are definitely other things I’m forgetting too (talk show appearances, Drunk History segments, etc.), so the best way to keep track of everything is by joining her email newsletter.

There’s also Kirkman’s taste in music, which is as delightful and whip-smart as her comedy. She’s gotten downright poetic in the past when talking about the brilliance of David Bowie, Prince, and Morrissey, among others, and has often cited Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” as her go-to karaoke song. It’s no surprise then that she puts a tremendous amount of care into crafting a pre-show playlist for her tour dates. Here are ten fantastic songs she’s selected that help put her in the right frame of mind before a show. You just might hear some of these before her set at Thalia Hall on Thursday, January 17th. It promises to be a great night kicking off her extensive tour for 2019 with plenty of laughs and brand new material. Plus, she’ll be signing books after. Buy tickets in advance now, because there’s a very good chance this show will sell out!

Jen Kirkman
Thursday, January 17th at Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport St.)
8PM / $26 / 17+
Buy Tickets

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The Top 50 Songs of 2018

There were a lot of really great songs released in 2018. Actually, there are a lot of great songs released in any given year, and definitely more than a list of 50 can fully contain. But I’ve got to try anyway. The 50 songs in the list below feel like a relatively comprehensive chronicle of what it was like living through 2018, though I suppose if it were truly accurate there’d be a lot more depressing shit that’d turn most people off. Overall I’d say this is a strong balance of mood, tempo, style, and genre I sincerely hope will leave you feeling satisfied. The most fascinating thing to me about this year’s list is that the top two songs are not currently part of any full-length album. As for the unofficial “rules” behind the selections for the Top 50 Songs, there are only two: the song must have been officially released by an artist or band in 2018, and no artist is allowed to be featured more than once (for diversity’s sake). While there are audio streams and in some cases videos to accompany each song (apologies for the couple of live videos, as album versions were unavailable), you can also stream the entire list (minus one song) via the Spotify embed at the bottom of this post, or by going to this link. Please enjoy these Top 50 Songs of 2018, and feel free to share your favorites in the comments or let me know on social media (@faronheit).

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2018: Hear the Lineup


It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With the music for festing and everyone telling you have a cold beer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes friends, it’s time once again for Christmas in July, aka the start of music festival season in Chicago. I’m thrilled to once again to spend the week providing wall-to-wall coverage of this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. The next seven (or so) days will be jam packed with previews, reviews, highlights, and music direct from Chicago’s Union Park. The 2018 Pitchfork Music Festival officially begins this Friday, July 20th, and runs all weekend with 40+ performances from a diverse set of artists and bands from the (figurative) past, present, and future. So whether you’re already planning to attend, are thinking about attending, or are simply wishing that you could go, my hope is there’s something for everybody with this extensive guide to one of the best and most unique music festivals on the planet.

Before attending a smaller, more boutique festival like the Pitchfork Music Festival, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the lineup. Pitchfork historically has one of the most well-rounded lineups every year, and often includes smaller, up-and-coming artists you’ll be hearing much more about in the coming years. Not every band is a household name, so if you’re not up on, say, Irreversible Entanglements, you might want to know what they sound like before choosing to include them as you plan out your schedule for the weekend. This is where a playlist comes in handy. Below you’ll find a variety of ways to learn a bit more about the artists performing at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, including tracks to stream on YouTube and Soundcloud. If Spotify is your preferred streaming service, I’ve also assembled a playlist (ordered by day and set time) at the very bottom of this post featuring two songs from just about everyone on the lineup. Click around, explore a bit, listen to some tracks, and get your bearings before this weekend!

If you’re thinking about attending this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival but don’t have your passes yet, here’s where you can go to find out more information and purchase tickets. The official preview guide starts tomorrow, with an hour-by-hour breakdown of the best acts to see on Friday. Join me, won’t you?

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The 50 Best Songs of 2017


The burden of choosing only 50 songs to help define the year in music feels wrong and just a bit insane. After all, there are literally tens of thousands of tracks to choose from, and the ability to discern the difference in quality among them can often seem akin to a parent being forced to choose a favorite child. So my decision process when assembling this list was challenging to say the least. It did leave me with enough regret to compose an additional “Honorable Mention” list, which you can check out right here if you’re so inclined.

Before we get started, I wanted to briefly explain a couple of rules I implemented when making selections for these top 50 Songs. First and foremost, no artist may be featured more than once on the list. That rule doesn’t apply to guest spots or features. It’s how *spoiler alert* Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington managed to make it onto this list twice. Secondly, every song on the list must have been officially released in 2017 as part of an album, soundtrack, or single. In other words, you won’t find any leftover songs from 2016 here, nor will you find any pre-release singles for early 2018 records. There are a few tracks on this list from artists that didn’t release an album or EP in 2017, but still delivered one-off singles. Those songs may wind up on yet-to-be-announced records for 2018, and if that’s the case they will automatically be disqualified from “Best of” consideration for next year.

As for the songs featured in this post, I’m fully convinced and committed to proclaiming they’re the cream of the crop. They’ve managed to provide a guiding light for me over the course of this dark year, while also pushing back against the status quo. Their ability to excite, innovate, and comfort is unparalleled. If you don’t understand what they’re trying to do on the first listen, give them another shot, because a few of these are real growers. It is my sincerest hope that this list manages to bring back some fond memories of shows or albums you heard earlier this year and loved, or provides inspiration and discovery of artists and songs you might not have heard of before now. So please absorb these tracks into your life and let them work their magic. Click the play button on each one to hear a stream, or just scroll to the very bottom of this list for a Spotify playlist featuring every track except for one. See if you can figure out which for the 50 that is! Join me after the jump, as we take a closer look at the 50 Best Songs of 2017.

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The Best Songs of 2017: Honorable Mention


Of the thousands of songs I heard this past year, narrowing a list down to my favorite 50 was exceptionally tough. There was plenty of heartbreak and disappointment upon the realization that some great songs were being left off of that final list. So in the spirit of giving attention to even more great music, please take these extra 25 tracks and give them a listen if you aren’t familiar with them already. They’re listed in alphabetical order so as to not prioritize any one over another. The only rules are that the tracks must have been part of a 2017 album, soundtrack, or single release. While you can click on the play button below any song title to hear it streaming (via YouTube), there’s also a Spotify playlist embedded at the very bottom of this post should you prefer to listen that way. Cool? Cool. And make sure to keep an eye out for my Top 50 Songs of 2017, which will immediately follow this post.

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2017: Lineup Playlist

Welcome to the beginning of Pitchfork Music Festival Week 2017! It’s become tradition here on Faronheit in the last few years to spend a full seven days celebrating the three day blissful orgy of music that descends upon Chicago every July in the form of the Pitchfork Music Festival. In my opinion, you won’t find a better curated or more diverse festival lineup anywhere other than Pitchfork. They put their brand and reputation on the line to celebrate great and innovative artists across backgrounds and genres. If you’re unaware or ignorant of the festival, perhaps a glance at some past coverage will provide an accurate impression of how things go each year. We couldn’t be more excited to bring you a complete festival guide all week long on Faronheit, which includes day-by-day previews, day-by-day recaps, plus a whole bunch of photos and other media along the way. Whether you’re headed to Union Park this weekend and are unsure about what bands to see, or are interested in the lineup and are looking to vicariously experience the festival without actually going, the hope is you’ll make this site one of your stops for key information and on-the-ground reporting. It’s a pleasure to put this guide together every year, and I hope it’s reflected in the content posted.

Let’s get started by providing a proper introduction to all of the artists set to perform at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017. After the jump you’ll find a Spotify playlist featuring two songs from every single artist on the linup, along with individual links to websites, music videos and more. The Spotify playlist is ordered by day and set time, while everything else is sorted alphabetically. There are plenty of ways to get to know these artists, but obviously listening to their music is the most important of all. So click some links, stream some songs, and begin your education!

More Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 coverage:
Friday Preview Guide
Saturday Preview Guide
Sunday Preview Guide

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Tuned In: Jena Friedman

photo by David Szymanski
Tuned In is a feature in which special guests from the world of pop culture share a playlist of songs based on a topic or theme of their choice.

Jena Friedman is the definition of a multi-hyphenate. She’s been a field producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a correspondent for National Geographic Explorer. She’s written for The Late Show with David Letterman, and is currently hard at work on her first film Serial Dater, starring Imogen Poots and John Cho. She wrote and is directing that one. So yeah, you could say that she’s got a lot of talents, and has been putting them all to good use. It’s left her plate very full, yet you might not know it because she’s not in front of the camera that often.

On a personal level, I found out about Jena Friedman a few years back via her stand-up comedy. She is tremendously funny and possesses that rare quality of being able to make you laugh about some of the darkest and most challenging topics facing our world today. Her recent, pre-election stand-up special American Cunt dives headfirst into politics, feminism, abortion, guns and religion without losing sight of our shared humanity no matter what your personal opinions might be.

After getting her start in comedy here in Chicago more than a decade ago, Jena Friedman is coming back to town next Friday, June 2nd for a set at her old stomping grounds, The Hideout. It is part of the Onion/A.V. Club’s 4th Annual “26th Annual Comedy Festival,” and promises to be a hilarious late night of stand-up with plenty of whip-smart insight about the pitch black turn our world has taken in recent months.

Jena Friedman
Friday, June 2nd at The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia Ave.)
10:30 PM / $15 / 21+
Buy Tickets

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2016: Hear the Lineup

pitchfork 2016 logo
As is tradition, I’m very pleased to welcome you to yet another year of Pitchfork Music Festival coverage! Once again there will be a full week’s worth of focus on Chicago’s premiere boutique music festival, complete with day-by-day previews, recaps throughout the weekend, and plenty of photos so you can see some of the action too. It’s extremely comprehensive, so if you’re planning to attend or just wish you could, I hope you’ll keep a close eye on the site to learn more about the lineup, who you need to see, as well as reports straight from the festival grounds.

We begin with an audio introduction to all the artists performing at this year’s fest. Those familiar with Pitchfork know they carefully curate the lineup every year to highlight important, often up-and-coming acts. That inevitably leads to a fair amount of obscure names you might not recognize. For example, you may be wondering, “Who is Jlin? What kind of music does he or she or they make?” Well, hopefully this post answers those questions with relative ease.

After the jump, you’ll find a full list of every artist performing at this weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival, complete with links to their website or Facebook or Tumblr or Bandcamp or whatever their primary web presence might be. You’ll also find links to stream two songs on YouTube or Soundcloud from each one, so you can get a basic idea of what they happen to sound like. Artists are grouped by the day they are performing and arranged in alphabetical order. If you prefer to stream your music using Spotify, you can find a full playlist at the very bottom of this post, also featuring two songs from every artist on the lineup. Those are grouped in order by day and set time.

Really what I’m saying is, no matter your audio preferences, there should be a format here that will give you access to the music, which is of course the most important part of this whole festival equation. So sit back and get familiar before spending the weekend in Union Park, so you can go in with a head full of knowledge and impress your friends.

Check out the preview guides for Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

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The 69 Best Songs of 2016 (So Far)

Top69Songs2016
We’re halfway through 2016, so now’s as good of a time as any to take a moment for reflection before we march onward through the rest of the year. It’s been a wild six months, filled with surprise and high profile releases from some of music’s most prolific artists, not to mention quite a few underground successes as well. There’s probably no way you’ve heard all the great stuff, which is why I wanted to share this Spotify playlist filled with all of my favorites. If it seems like 69 songs is an intentional joke, I can assure you the number is 100% arbitrary. There’s nothing particularly official about this, nor are there rankings, simply a collection of tracks released between January and the end of June that you should probably spend some time with. They’re ordered in a way that I think flows best, in an effort to optimize listenability. It’s worth noting that this also makes a great playlist for your summer BBQ, as it’s packed to the gills with uptempo brilliance. Please enjoy and share!

Pick Your Poison: Monday 7-1-13

Site news alert! We’ve now reached the halfway point of 2013, and with that I’d like to use that as a springboard to make some changes to the site moving forwards. Really by “changes” I mean one change, and that’s going to concern album reviews on the site. A little earlier today, I posted my review of Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City. If you haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, please do, because it gives an in-depth analysis of one of the year’s strongest records. You may also notice that review is quite lengthy. Like the sort of lengthy that maybe makes you not want to read it, or wait until you’ve got plenty of time to read it. It’s also the first album review I’ve written in a few weeks. Why? Mostly time constraints, and when I did have free time, I kept writing that Vampire Weekend review. It went through an editing process and I didn’t put it out there until I felt satisfied with the end product. This sort of perfectionism and relentless need to dive head first into deep analysis of every record I hear has ultimately crippled my ability to write reviews in a timely and easy to read fashion. In a sense those longer reviews do stand out a little from a lot of other music bloggers, who will toss an mp3 at you with a paragraph about the song and call it a post. Alas, I’m just not getting the diversity and lending my opinion to enough records these days. There’s so many great albums out there I want to write raves about, but simply don’t have the time or luxury to do so. Which is why I’m changing the way I write album reviews. From now on, a vast majority of my reviews will be very short and to-the-point. Certainly something will be lost in these quick hit reviews, but I hope to give you a basic idea about the worth of an album in a nice economical package that’s easy to read and reveals whether or not it’s worth your time and money. Look for that new album review format to start later this week or early next week. I’ll begin by playing catch-up with a few notable releases from the first half of the year that I failed to get to, and then quickly jump to current and future releases. The hope is to put together 4-5 of these reviews each week, which is much better than the 1 or 2 every week…or two that my review rate has fallen to. I hope it will increase your overall enjoyment of the site just a little bit more. One of the other things I wanted to point you in the direction of now that we’ve officially hit mid-year is a new Spotify playlist (U.S. only) featuring 80 songs from the first six months of the year that I genuinely loved. There’s tracks from well-known artists like Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, The Joy Formidable, Kanye West and Justin Timberlake paired along side more interesting discoveries such as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Alpine, Daughter, Savages, The Knife and Autre Ne Veut. I encourage you to listen to the whole thing if you have time (take it in chunks), and click the follow button in your Spotify app to keep an eye on things. Of course new music doesn’t stop coming just because we’ve reached July. Here’s your Monday edition of Pick Your Poison as well, featuring tracks from Black City Lights, Flaamingos, Gladiola, Kodacrome, Little Big League, Obits, Sinden, The Static Jacks, Steel Cranes and Walking Bicycles. Wow, lots of good stuff today. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream new songs from Chelsea Wolfe, Duke Dumont, Holograms, Janelle Monae, Torche and Chicago’s own Twin Peaks.

Black City Lights – Offering

Cadien – Expression of Self

Emeron & Fox – Arms Out

Flaamingos – Walk A Wire

Gallant – If It Hurts

Gladiola – Your Biography

Kitten Forever – Famous Friends

Kodacrome – Strike the Gold

Little Big League – My Very Own You

Obits – Taste the Diff

Sinden – Almost Gone

The Static Jacks – I’ll Come Back

Steel Cranes – Boat Song

Walking Bicycles – So

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Listmas 2012: The Top 50 Songs of 2012 [#50-41]


Hello friends, and welcome to the official start of Listmas 2012! It’s been a long time and a lot of songs coming, but we’ve finally made it to that crucial end of the year point where we can look back on the music from the last 11 or so months and place the ultimate judgement upon it. Then we’ll forget all about it weeks later when 2013 starts to consume our brains. Some songs stay with you more than others, just as some songs stand out and make you question what you knew or thought you knew about music as a whole. Selecting my Top 50 Songs of 2012 was no easy task; in fact, I find it much harder to do than selecting my Top 50 Albums of the Year. It’s because albums are collections of songs, and judging 40-60 minutes of music is easier than judging 3-4 minutes. Still, I felt very strongly about a number of tracks this year, so much so that I’ve created a list of 50 more “runners up” that I feel are worth listening to if you haven’t already. I didn’t rank the runners up, but simply placed them in alphabetical order. It makes for a remarkably exciting playlist that I hope you’ll listen to. As for my official Top 50 Songs, that starts in the here and now, and each is assigned a number and official rank. We’ll be doing this 10 songs at a time, one set each day through Friday. That said, please enjoy Faronheit’s Top 50 Songs of 2012: #50-41.

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Listmas 2012: The Top Songs of 2012 – Runners Up


This isn’t much of a post, except to say that in advance of my Top 50 Songs of 2012 list, I wanted to give you more this year. What follows below is a Spotify playlist featuring 50 songs that I consider to be great tracks from this year, but not quite enough to make the official list. I haven’t assigned any of these tracks numbers, and they’re all in alphabetical order by artist. It’s just another great snapshot of some tracks you may have missed, so I hope you’ll at least check some of them out, if not listen to the entire 3 hour playlist. Call it a bit of bonus fun. Enjoy!

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