It is here once again, Chicago music fans: the sweaty, raucous summer romp known as the Pitchfork Music Festival.
The three-stage festival, which begins Friday afternoon at Union Park, is nowhere near the size of the so-deemed "Walmart on the Lake." But, largely thanks to the quality of the festival's lineup this year, any Pitchfork-goer will still face some tough choices when it comes to competing sets -- one taking place at one of the grounds' two main stages and the other on its smaller, Blue side stage.
Sure, a band like the Carrie Brownstein-fronted riot grrrl supergroup Wild Flag (5:15 p.m. Saturday, Red) or hometown hero Willis Earl Beal (4:15 p.m. Friday, Blue) are more clear must-see picks. But such acts aside, we considered six of this year's most perplexing set time showdowns. Let us know who you're looking forward to seeing in the comments below.
Check back at HuffPost Chicago for daily coverage -- including photos, recaps and interviews -- from the festival, plus on-the-ground updates from HuffPost staffers on Twitter, including @robojojo, @lizzieschiffman and @YMTE. If you have photos or tips on the festival you'd like to share, don't hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purity Ring vs. Feist
<strong>Purity Ring: 8:20 p.m. Friday, Blue Stage</strong> <br> This two-member Canadian electronic outfit has taken the indie music world by storm with the mere four singles they have unleashed on the world since their 2010 inception. The quality of their witchy jams convinced 4AD to sign them and their debut full-length album "Shrines" will be out later this month.
<strong>Feist: 8:20 p.m. Friday, Green Stage</strong> <br> Leslie Feist -- another Canadian! -- already had some incredibly impressive work under her belt by the time her song "1234" was selected to soundtrack an iPod commercial and subsequently exploded. Nevertheless, that exposure launched Feist's career into a new level and she hasn't looked back ever since. Her live shows are known for being pretty killer and her latest release -- "Metals" -- garnered well-deserved praise. <br> <strong>Winner: Purity Ring.</strong> Sorry Leslie, but we're snobs and want to be able to say we "saw them when." But if we change our minds and snag a primo spot for Feist's set, we'll try our best to see Purity Ring at Schubas.
Danny Brown vs. Hot Chip
<strong>Hot Chip 7:20 p.m. Saturday, Red Stage</strong> <br> English electropopsters Hot Chip has been known to shine in concert with their modern takes on '80s synth. Having recently released their fifth studio album "In Our Heads," we're anxious to see the latest iteration of their ever-evolving sound, plus some older jams like "The Warning."
<strong>Danny Brown 7:40 p.m. Saturday, Blue Stage</strong> <br> Maybe it's the usually obnoxious heat at work at Pitchfork, but sometimes the louder the music, the more convincing the set. In this case, Danny Brown is probably the most anticipated musician representing the rap genre at this year's festival, and we're incredibly amped to see what this always unpredictable Detroit native brings to the table. <br> <strong>Winner: Danny Brown.</strong>
Godspeed You! Black Emperor vs. Grimes
<strong>Godspeed You! Black Emperor 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Green Stage</strong> Canadian post-rock outfit doesn't often make it around to Chicago, but when they do, like all their shows, it tends to involve looped film projections and some serious, ambient rocking.
<strong>Grimes 8:40 p.m., Saturday Blue Stage</strong> <br> Another Canadian -- what the blergh is in the water up there? -- Claire Boucher is at the helm of one of the biggest indie music stories of the year. Her eclectically-influenced jams rely largely on keyboards and synths, but the sum of that sound is much more than the parts used to create it. At the Empty Bottle earlier this year, her set was plagued by sound issues, a relatively common occurrence for Boucher, so it will be interesting to hear how she fares on the notoriously sound-troubled Blue stage. <br> <strong>Winner: GY!BE. </strong>This set truly has the makings of one for the ages, especially under the Chicago night sky at the end of a long, hot day.
A Lull vs. Dirty Beaches
<strong>A Lull 1 p.m. Sunday, Blue Stage</strong> <br> Chicago natives A Lull -- hometown kids! -- will be kicking off the festival's final day on its side stage, but this group of truly difficult-to-describe five instrumentalists is set to truly make the most of it. This is going to be a really special set.
<strong>Dirty Beaches 1 p.m. Sunday, Green Stage</strong> <br> Alex Zhang Hungtai, a.k.a. Dirty Beaches, is a Polaris Music Prize-shortlisted, Taiwanese-born Canadian one-man band who specialized in the sort of lo-fi, bedroom-eyes music that will make for a perfect way to ease into the day. His music is often hauntingly somber in mood, as though it comes from another distant place, in another time. <br> <strong>Winner: A Lull. </strong>Gotta have some love for homegrown talent.
Thee Oh Sees vs. Iceage
<strong>Iceage 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Green Stage</strong> <br> Copenhagen's very own Iceage released one of last year's finest albums -- "New Brigade" -- and are returning to Chicago for only the second time of their budding careers. In its review of their debut album, Pitchfork wrote that the band hits "a punk-rock sweet spot," pulling from hardcore, post-punk and goth influences in arriving at their momentous sound. And remember that thing we said about louder musical genres really excelling at Pitchfork? The same is true here -- expect this to be one of the weekend's standout sets.
<strong>Thee Oh Sees 2:50 p.m. Sunday, Blue Stage</strong> <br> Thee Oh Sees are a San Francisco garage rock outfit that you won't want to miss. On Facebook, they describe their interests as "making friends, making music, making art, making out" and that's pretty much the mood to expect from this set. <br> <strong>Winner: Iceage.</strong> This was a tossup, so we went with the band that traveled farther to get here. That's only fair, right?