If you’re like me, you can’t wait for warmer weather to arrive. Spring and summer seem just around the corner, even if Chicago is supposed to be getting 9 inches of snow in the next couple days. For me, the highlight of every summer is music festival season. I’m a music festival obsessive, and have been for almost a decade now. Of course that doesn’t mean I go to a ton of music fests, more that I pick and choose carefully which ones I want to focus on. The hope is to get the most and best music for your hard-earned money. It makes a festival like Lollapalooza an easy choice for me every year, as they cram 140 bands into 3 days, and I’ve almost never found a time slot each year where I didn’t want to see a single act. The other music festival I genuinely love, and arguably more than any other in Chicago or elsewhere, is the Pitchfork Music Festival. It’s a boutique festival, meaning it’s small (only 3 stages), and doesn’t necessarily have big and popular names outside of the headliners. But its overall size and scope are perfect for what it specializes in, which is introducing the world to the next great band, and celebrating the ones that are already there. You’ll hear the band that’s just starting out but has been building significant buzz, and you’ll hear from the well-established band that broke up several years ago but has now returned to try and reclaim their former glory. The stories are endless, and the quality is exceptionally high. The lineup every year provides music lovers with perfect opportunities to celebrate and discover some great music. Anyways, I don’t mean to prime the pump too much on the Pitchfork Music Festival, but I do want to make sure you’re aware of what acts have been announced for the 2013 edition so far. This year, it seems Pitchfork have outdone themselves, booking headliners Bjork, Belle & Sebastian and R. Kelly. I’m not going to get into the WTF-ness of R. Kelly right now, and plenty of others have already done that for me. Suffice it to say, I think he was on his way out, having passed his R&B prime a few years ago, when someone tossed the idea of Trapped in the Closet at him. He’s been more of an overblown comedian than a legitimate music star ever since then, in my opinion. Still, I’m interested to hear what he’ll do for his headlining set this summer, and whether or not I’ll be able to appreciate it ironically. But a bunch more acts were just announced for this year’s lineup, so let me run those down for you quickly: Joanna Newsom, Trash Talk, Angel Olsen, The Breeders (playing Last Splash), Rustie, Swans, …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Mac DeMarco, Chairlift, TNGHT, Sky Ferreira, Killer Mike, El-P, Foxygen and Tree. All that, and it’s not even half of the total lineup. I’m already thrilled and excited to go this summer based on those artists alone. You can get your ticket by going here. It’s $50 for a one-day pass and $120 for a 3-day pass, which is cheap when you look at fests like Coachella and Bonnarroo (and Lollapalooza too, I guess). Once more artists on the lineup are announced, I’ll make sure to update you on that as well. In the meantime, let’s make the most out of today’s Pick Your Poison. I’ll recommend tracks from Babe the Blue Ox, Chalk and Numbers, Decades, Ian Place, Picture Day and Qurious. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream new songs from Small Black, Shout Out Out Out Out, Vondelpark, Yellowbirds and Azealia Banks (covering The Strokes).

Autumn Owls – Semaphores (Acoustic)

Babe the Blue Ox – Dragging the Joneses

Candace Bellamy – Put Down the Foot

Chalk and Numbers – Pretty Colors

China Rats – Nip It in the Bud

Decades – Tonight Again

Home By Hovercraft – Lie in Your Bed

Ian Place – On the Other Hand

Jahan Lennon – Can’t Ruin My Fun

laymedown – X

Picture Day – Madoline

Qurious – Wunderkammer

Strongheart – Empty Hands

Trixie Whitley – Need Your Love (Schwarzwald Remix)


Azealia Banks – Barely Legal (The Strokes cover)

Small Black – Free at Dawn

Shout Out Out Out Out – I Hope I Don’t Find Out

Two Door Cinema Club – Sun (Viceroy Remix)

Vondelpark – California Analog Dream

Yellowbirds – Young Men of Promise