More than 40 bands will perform on three stages at the Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend. That's a ton of music to choose from, so we thought it might help to offer a list of the must-see acts for each day.
Friday, July 15
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• The music of the offbeat band tUnE-yArDs shimmers with quirky instrumentation -- shifting beats, horns, even ukulele. But the key instrument here is Merrill Garbus' voice, which floats and screams and croons, sometimes all within the same song.
• The reunited Guided By Voices was one of the great bands of the alternative era. Singer/songwriter/driving force Robert Pollard mined '60s pop, psychedelia and punk to create wonderfully smart and catchy pop for a new generation.
• Das Racist has divided audiences with its freewheeling, sometimes absurdist take on rap music. For me, seeing "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" performed live is reason enough to catch this unusual New York hip-hop trio.
Saturday, July 16
• On Saturday, new punk band OFF! will deliver short, brutal blasts of music that recall the best punk/hardcore of the 1980s. (The band includes members of Black Flag and Redd Kross.)
• It's hard to believe that DJ Shadow's groundbreaking debut, "Endtroducing," came out 15 years ago. The record remains an important document for the still-evolving world of sample-based music.
• Headliners and Pitchfork vets Fleet Foxes are riding a wave of critical acclaim for their latest record, "Helplessness Blues."
Sunday, July 17
• The presence of outlaw rap outfit OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), also known just as Odd Future, in the festival lineup has generated controversy because of the group's lurid lyrics, some of which depict violence against women. Several Chicago-based advocacy groups will have space at the festival so they can distribute information about violence and its consequences. Expect this band's performance to be a lively one.
• Beloved alternative act Superchunk's 2010 record, "Majesty Shredding," its first record in nine years, showed that this veteran band hasn't lost any of its bite.
• Finally, headliners TV on the Radio wrap the festival up with their danceable, genre-bending brand of rock 'n' roll.