Guards Credit: Olivia Malone

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Check out our photos and video recap of the festival after its third and final day.

Lake Shore Stage

Maybe you’ve noticed that indie-pop band Guards walks and talks a lot like indie-pop band Cults—the swaying melodies of their 60s sound, their white-shirt-black-tie getups, their punchy, one-word plural names. And the connections go deeper: Madeline Follin, front woman for Cults, is the sister of Richie Follin, front man for Guards. The colors bleed between the two bands, but Guards have a bit more funk and rock ‘n’ roll in them—the full-bodied, reverb-loaded hooks on their debut full-length, In Guards We Trust (Black Bell), would sound lovely in a primo college-radio time slot or on an episode of Girls. “Ready to Go,” perhaps the most arena-rocking song, has an undeniable group-shout chorus that’s as transcendent as indie pop gets, and the melodies on the rest of the album feel like nice warm blankets. Also Sun 8/4 at Lincoln Hall with Alt-J, sold out, 18+. —Kevin Warwick

Palma VioletsCredit: Tom Beard

Palma Violets
Bud Light Stage

This young British four-piece got the UK music press frothing over their recent debut album, 180 (Rough Trade), and though it’s famously easy to get the UK music press frothing, Palma Violets’ shambling energy and snotty charisma have an undeniable charm. Their songs seem to be scavenged piecemeal from rock history—the Who, the Clash, the Libertines, and the Velvet Underground, among many others—as though they’re trying on ideas for size. Here’s hoping Palma Violets develop their own style by the time the novelty of their spunk and swagger wears off. Also Sun 8/4 at Schubas, sold out, 18+. —Peter Margasak

Angel HazeCredit: Mathieu Young

Angel Haze

Rap music’s current preoccupation with party drugs, modern art, and avant-garde electronic music has a lot of concerned citizens wondering (yet again) if hip-hop has lost its way. They can settle down. NYC rapper Angel Haze is a reminder that while some artists go off on their molly-and-Versace trips, others will stick close to the style’s roots (and make good music while doing so). Haze is an MC in the classical sense: a strong writer willing to probe the deep, dark places both within her mind and in the world around her, but also a woman with the kind of attitude that drives spectacular beefs, including her recent headline-­making online tussle with fellow Lollapalooza guest Azealia Banks. —Miles Raymer

BaronessCredit: Doug Seymour

Petrillo Stage

Their swampy metal beginnings notwithstanding, Baroness continue moving further into psych-influenced hard rock—evidenced by the stoner edge and proggy, delay-treated guitar of 2009’s Blue Record and last year’s supremely melodic Yellow & Green (and by this Lollapalooza slot). John Baizley and company deserve plenty of credit for crafting a far-reaching sound that appeals to metalheads and Foo Fighters fans alike (Torche did it too), and for having the fortitude to return from a near-fatal 2012 bus accident whose long-term repercussions led to the departure of their bassist and drummer. If that’s not tough, I don’t know what is. Also Sat 8/3 at Subterranean with openers Royal Thunder (see Soundboard), sold out, 17+. —Kevin Warwick

WavvesCredit: Paley Fairman

The Grove

San Diego’s Nathan Williams, the main dude behind San Diego Wavves, has packed a whole lot of musical and personal metamorphosis into the past five years. Wavves started out as a lo-fi bedroom-pop project and quickly became a full band, and Williams has now—after a well-­publicized onstage breakdown and stints playing with Death Grips drummer Zach Hill and a couple former Jay Reatard bandmates—released what’s easily his most cohesive and fully realized record, Afraid of Heights. Pop punk played a huge role in the sound of Wavves’ previous LP, 2010’s King of the Beach, and it’s hardly gone away, but what’s more apparent now than ever is a Nirvana influence: Afraid of Heights‘ lead single, “Demon to Lean On,” borrows melodies, dynamic shifts, and guitar tones directly from Nevermind. Also Sun 8/4 at the Empty Bottle, sold out, 21+. —Luca Cimarusti

The VaccinesCredit: Christaan Felder

Petrillo Stage

Last year’s Come of Age (Columbia), the sophomore album from London indie rockers the Vaccines, is of a piece with the infectious and well-crafted hooks on their breakout release, 2011’s What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? If you hate fun, you could hate on the band for not developing or maturing, but who cares—this is English guitar-rock radio fodder in the same vein as the Arctic Monkeys, and it’s spirited and catchy and you’ll forget about it tomorrow. Come of Age is front-loaded with winners, including the adorably apathetic “No Hope” and the bouncy, sassy “Teenage Icon,” whose excellently corny chorus begins “I’m no teenage icon / I’m no Frankie Avalon.” After that there’s a lull of three or four clunkers, then the dark stomper “Bad Mood,” driven by competing riffs—and then I don’t remember, because I was too busy bobbing my head and tapping my foot. —Kevin Warwick

Grizzly BearCredit: Tom Hines

Grizzly Bear
Red Bull Sound Select Stage

Grizzly Bear‘s music has always been a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster, structurally speaking—at any moment it might jump suddenly into a mood-shifting bridge, an unexpected harmony, or a jarring tempo shift—but for their most recent album, Shields (Warp), they made that kind of collaged construction integral to their creative process. Rather than work with material written independently by one member or another (as they have for previous albums), they wrote all ten tunes as a group, a bit at a time. The sort of ethereal passages that leavened the abstruse parts of 2009’s Veckatimest are mostly gone, and so are some of the heavenly vocal harmonies, but despite the contrasts within each song—clean strummed guitar up against underwater noise, moments of repose exploding into tightly controlled frenzies—the overall impression is more coherent and forceful than ever. —Peter Margasak

Vampire WeekendCredit: Alex John Beck

Vampire Weekend
Bud Light Stage

The Vampire Weekend of their self-titled 2008 debut was essentially a really good ska band with a heavy African influence, which they had an annoying habit of playing up in what was supposed to be a clever juxtaposition with their intensely WASP-y image. The Vampire Weekend of this year’s Modern Vampires of the City (XL) is one of the most brilliant bands in pop music in 2013. It’s a wildly ambitious album, touching on not only African dance music and ska but also rockabilly, psych pop, contemporary R&B, and vintage Bay Area hip-hop—the latter on standout track “Step,” which re­imagines a Souls of Mischief song as an emotionally conflicted meditation on aging and also happens to be catchy as hell. —Miles Raymer

2 ChainzCredit: Wealth Rangers

2 Chainz
The Grove

One of my favorite things about hip-hop is that personality will always override talent. A prime example of this is 2 Chainz, real name Tauheed Epps (and formerly known as Tity Boi). 2 Chainz is not technically a good rapper. His flow is kind of awkward, his references often fall flat, and sometimes he just comes off straight-up silly (“She got a big booty so I call her Big Booty“). But what Chainz lacks in skill, he makes up for with his gigantic, magnetic persona—I’d be hard-pressed to think of another rapper who’s reached so many corners of the pop-culture landscape so quickly. It’s nearly impossible to turn on the radio and not hear 2 Chainz throwing down a verse of his high-energy party rap—he even appeared on a Fall Out Boy track earlier this year—and his massive popularity has brought him all the way to Lollapalooza. Sure, Chainz can’t spit like, say, Danny Brown, but he’ll without a doubt bring enough ratchet energy to Grant Park to turn the whole thing into a massive party. —Luca Cimarusti

The CureCredit: Andy Vella

The Cure
Red Bull Sound Select Stage

I mean, it’s the Cure. You can love them or hate them, but if you’ve had any contact whatsoever with the counterculture since punk’s early days, you’re familiar with their music and with their status as the high priests of eternal teenage melancholy. The two Cure records since 2000’s Bloodflowers haven’t made much of a splash, but discounting them still leaves a massive catalog that includes whip-smart postpunk, intensely bleak goth soundscapes, lush orchestral pop, Hendrix-level guitar shredders, and occasional detours into madcap antique psychedelia that have produced such sui generis classics as “Lovecats” and “Close to Me.” As much as Robert Smith’s ur-goth image as a big-haired chronic moper may overshadow them, his band’s achievements have few equals in modern pop, despite all the eyeliner-caked imitators who’ve tried. —Miles Raymer

See our reviews of bands playing on:

Friday · Saturday · Afterparties

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