If you’re getting anxious for Lollapalooza next weekend, you can get your music fix Saturday and Sunday at the Wicker Park Fest, which takes over Milwaukee Avenue (from North Avenue to Wood Street) and features a lineup of more than 40 acts on three stages. Many of the bands are from Chicago, and admission is a mere $5 suggested donation (beat that, Lolla). Below are seven songs to sample before hitting the fest.
“Strobe Lights” by Kill Hannah: The track is three years old, but Chicago’s own Kill Hannah blends Smashing Pumpkins-esque infrastructure with electronic synth ornamentation—almost perfectly tuned for this year’s musical landscape.
“Money” by The Drums: The closest I can get to a description? The earnest crooning of the Four Seasons meets the aesthetic of Vampire Weekend.
“When I Grow Old” by Pet Lions: In this song, the local indie band features shimmering synths, catchy melodies, and a beat that can’t be ignored. Plus, their bassist, Shuhei Yamamoto, is one of our top 20 singles in 2012.
“Unbroken, Unshaven” by The Budos Band: True, the Budos Band is entirely instrumental, but when your repertoire is full of triumphant funk and soul, you don’t need lyrics.
“Hymn #76” by Joe Pug: The music of former Chicagoan Joe Pug—whom reviewers have compared to Bob Dylan—is often a mix of brooding and philosophical. This track stands out by staying inspirational throughout.
“Female Doctor” by Miniature Tigers: The track’s infectious rhythm, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, and sweet 80s flavor are bested only by the song’s music video.
“Fit Against the Country” by Horse Feathers: Talented fiddle and banjo players: Check. Working-class subject matter: Check. But what takes this song beyond the average indie folk piece is how singer/songwriter Justin Ringle makes his voice slide exactly like a violin.