Photos: Lollapalooza 2014

Originally a touring festival with a name defined by “an extraordinary or unusual thing,” the mammoth that is Lollapalooza continues to live up to its moniker. The crowd continues to swell, the corporate signage multiplies, and the average age drops with each installment of the Chicago festival.

But despite any negatives, the Perry Farrell-led spectacle is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most important music events in America, if not the world, and this year was no exception. Friday saw Arctic Monkeys battle it out in the same timeslot as EminemPhantogram, and Zedd. Outkast won the weekend with its hits-drenched Saturday set, and rainy Sunday offered something for everyone with southern rockers Kings of Leon headlining alongside hometown favorite Chance the RapperSkrillex, and Darkside. 

It was these diverse musical options at every hour that made Lollapalooza 2014 a success. Until next year…

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Best Albums: Man Man, Arctic Monkeys, Balance and Composure, Obits, Cock & Swan, Tremor

This week’s best albums

– With its fifth album, quirk-rock quintet Man Man offers a “band reboot,” merging its Tom Waits-ian, trop-pop weirdness with Talking Heads inspirations, old-school soul, and other oddities.

Arctic Monkeys makes another surprise transition, this time with a slinky nightclub record that channels bluesy rock riffs from the ’70s.

Balance and Composure, among the new guard of indie-rock bands that actually rock, makes an advancement of musical and songwriting depth.

– Rick Froberg’s Obits, on its third LP, better balances its members’ blues, rock, psych, and world-music influences with the more familiar snarl of their post-hardcore precursors.

– Following a more acoustic LP, Seattle duo Cock & Swan crafts an album of washed-out ambience, breathy vocals, glitching syncopation, and pop nostalgia.

– Argentinian “folklorica” outfit Tremor utilizes human voice for the first time, offering a poppier blend of folk and electronica.

Honorable mentions

The Weeknd: Kiss Land (Republic)

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Lollapalooza 2009: Friday & Saturday

Two days. Nine bands. Rain and mud the first day, which made for lighter crowds and Woodstock-era vibe. The next day held thick, steamy heat and crowds that got thicker by the minute. Walking until my feet ached. Crappy red cowboy boots are perfect for the rain, but not the heat. Things always get the most interesting as they’re about to end. Read More

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