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Commentary: Lollapalooza a musical paradise with The Killers, Matt and Kim, American Authors

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The summer music festival season is closing in fast, and as a result many official lineups have finally been announced. These festivals are scheduled to take place in the coming months in all areas of the country, and your particular tastes in music will likely determine your music festivals of choice. Each week, I’ll weigh in on an upcoming festival.

When the Lollapalooza lineup was officially announced April 1 the world paid attention, and rightfully so. This Chicago-based music festival is so popular that tickets were completely sold out long before the announcement, and those who purchased them won’t be disappointed. I might be eternally jealous if you happen to be one of the lucky few with a key to this musical paradise, but I won’t withhold my performer picks for this festival. 

The Killers

I paid no attention to this band during its beginning “Hot Fuss” days, nor did I bat an eyelash when the singles “When We Were Young” and “Human” took over the airwaves. The Killers was nothing more to me than another band with a boring, overdone radio-rock sound. Now I want nothing more than to take all of those feelings back and regain the years I lost looking at the group with disdain. That’s how great the band really is, and that’s why I think it’s so important that you see the band perform if you get the chance.

Join me in looking past the ugly pop-rock façade put on by The Killers with its stereotypical radio singles and instead check out “Miss Atomic Bomb,” a song from the band’s 2012 album “Battle Born.” It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what made this song change my mind about the group, but my best guess is I finally heard the emotion in vocalist Brandon Flowers’ voice, and my heart melted. I dare you to listen to it and not be moved the same way.

Wild Belle

I hope you’re ready to take a trip through time, because you’ll be sent straight back to the era of fringe, bell-bottoms, peace and love as soon as you hear this sibling duo’s music. Wild Belle easily combines the sultry, soulful voice of vocalist Natalie Bergman with the psychedelic musical styling of her brother Elliot Bergman, and the result is surprisingly magical. This music provides a welcomed switch from the standard pop-rock-whatever with a sound you’re likely to have never heard before.

Turn on “It’s Too Late” from the band’s debut album “Isles” and let your inner flower child come out to play. Commence peace signs and abundant use of the word groovy.

American Authors

It seems like the cool thing for bands to do now is make happy, bouncy music and look like hipsters, but I can’t argue with that when American Authors is a band that can pull it off so brilliantly. There’s just something that’s absolutely infectious about the music, and more than once while listening to this band I’ve felt the sudden urge to dance. I can almost guarantee you’ll feel the same.

The band’s single “Believer” is as catchy as they come, and there’s a banjo part in the song so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be listening to it right now. Get ready to be oddly inspired to complete your life goals when the final note of the song rings out.

Matt and Kim

If you like to smile, you’ll love this duo because that’s all you’ll be doing from the very minute the music begins to play. It is glaringly obvious that members Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino take a very experimental attitude toward their music, but where other bands often fail by creating noise with no sense of direction, this one succeeds with delightful beats and a palpable sense that the artists are having fun and really want you to be, too. 

I know the duo has had numerous singles throughout the years, but those from the beginning of its career are arguably still some of the best. Listen to “Yea Yeah” from the band’s 2006 self-titled debut album and you’ll see what I mean. Careful, though, you might get whiplash from bobbing your head to the music so fiercely.

Lollapalooza is scheduled for Chicago’s Grant Park from Aug. 2-4. All forms of tickets are sold out for the festival.

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