This past Memorial day weekend I had the extreme pleasure of attending the best music festival the northwest has to offer. I am, of course, talking about Sasquatch. Beginning last year Sasquatch was upgraded from three days to four, and this was my first trek since the change. My initial thought of a four day festival was that it would be overwhelming. That come Sunday night I’d be dying to sleep in a real bed, take a hot shower, and stay off my feet for the next three days. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. The Gorge was shining over the weekend and the weather couldn’t have been better. Sure, it’s not as hot as the desert in Indio, or Grant Park in Chicago, but remember, that’s a good thing. During the day we saw plenty of sunshine with temperatures in the high 70s; I couldn’t have been happier. Night time actually got cold so there was no trouble sleeping in, either. The excellent temperatures during the day and the 7 plus hours of sleep each night left me feeling plenty energetic for a long weekend. By the time Monday ended, I didn’t want to go home, and right now I already miss it.
By: Justin Pitts
* * *
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys have a long history together. First meeting when mere children, the two began a friendship in high school that has lasted through the ups and downs of a once struggling and unknown band called the Black Keys. Many would be surprised to hear that the Black Keys released four full length albums and one demo before reaching the top of the charts with the critically acclaimed Brothers LP. In fact, they were so off the radar the two had to dip into their own pockets to sustain a tour. Despite their struggles, the Black Keys have managed to adapt to the cruel world of ‘the business of music’ and finally reach success. But at what cost?
There are some fantastic artists playing Sasquatch this year. Here are just 8 tracks from some of my faves.
1. Gary Clark Jr. – Bright Lights
2. The White Stripes – I’m Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman
3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood
4. The Walkmen – We’ve Been Had
5. The War on Drugs – Best Night
6. Silversun Pickups – Comeback Kid
7. Beck – The New Pollution
8. Explosions in the Sky – Postcard from 1952
Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 AM for $315 including all fees and camping! See you at the Gorge!
Last night was the annual Sasquatch launch party and, just as in years past, it did not disappoint. The headliners were all big surprises as Jack White, Beck, and Bon Iver take the main stage. Notable others include: St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, Pretty Lights, Explosions in the Sky, Shabazz Places, SBTRKT, The Helio Sequence, The Shins, Silversun Pickups, The Walkmen, Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs, and many, many more.
Needless to say, this year’s lineup is on the same caliber as years past, and a sell out is surely expected. Grab tickets while you can. They go on sale February 11th @ 10 AM.
I would copy the entire lineup from Sasquatch’s website… but they are seeing a ton of traffic now and I can’t even pull up their homepage.
Here is a condensed version from Stereogum.com
Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, Pretty Lights, Tenacious D, The Shins, Beirut, Girl Talk, The Roots, The Head & The Heart, Portlandia, Feist, Silversun Pickups, Metric, Explosions In The Sky, The Joy Formidable, Mogwai, Nero (DJ), M. Ward, John Reilly & Friends, Childish Gambino, St. Vincent, The Civil Wars, Jamey Johnson, Little Dragon, Tune-Yards, Wild Flag, Blind Pilot, Wolfgang Gartner, Beats Antique, Apparat, The Walkmen, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Mark Lanegan Band, Spiritualized, Blitzen Trapper, The Cave Singers, Shabazz Palaces, Fun., Grouplove, Tycho, Sbtrkt, Strfkr, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Deer Tick, Imelda May, Alabama Shakes, Dum Dum Girls, The Helio Sequence, Kurt Vile, Cloud Cult, We Are Augustines, Ben Howard, Here We Go Magic, Zola Jesus, The War On Drugs, Shearwater, Cass McCombs, Active Child, Trampled By Turtles, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Araabmuzik, Star Slinger, L.A. Riots, Com Truise, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, I Break Horses, Walk The Moon, Dry The River, Allen Stone, Pickwick, Hey Marseilles, Gary Clark Jr., Purity Ring, Electric Guest, Yellow Ostrich, Nobody Beats The Drum, Coeur De Pirate, Lord Huron, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Beat Connection, The Sheepdogs, Hey Rosetta!, Said The Whale, Howlin Rain, Gardens & Villa, Felix Cartal, Craft Spells, Vintage Trouble, Poor Moon, Black Whales, Gold Leaves, Greylag, Awesome Tapes From Africa Thee Satisfaction, Dyme Def, Fresh Espresso, The Physics, Sol, Metal Chocolates, Grynch, Spac3man, Don’t Talk To The Cops, Scribes, Fatal Lucciauno, Fly Moon Royalty, Katie Kate
There is an inherent amount of added difficulty choosing the top tracks of the year. With album picks, the choices get narrowed down quickly once you take out any filler tracks and/or sub-par material. However, tracks are short and there are different metrics when looking for a great one. I’ve found that most all of my favorite tracks are ones that I disregarded altogether at first. These are the ones that, after several listens, come back to your mind and get stuck there like a virus. The only cure? More listens.
As cheesy as that may sound, it’s true. We’ve all had a song stuck in our heads before, but the truly great ones get embedded, begging for another listen.
Thus bringing me here. My favorite tracks of last year. Some of them came easy, others were hidden away in my iPod, deserving more attention. As with my top albums of 2011, I try to have a little variation, and to avoid picking the albums’ top single. There is no order to the list, simply a compilation of great songs. Enjoy.
Reptar – “Rainbounce”
Reptar was a new discovery for me this year. I can thank turntable.fm for leading me to this great track. A cross between dance, light punk, and pop, “Rainbounce” is an extremely catchy tune with multiple variations in both tone and style. During their recording phase, Reptar received help and input from indie producer Ben Allen whose history includes work with Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, and Matt & Kim. These sounds are most apparent in this song through the use of dense synthesizer loops and changing tempos.
Amidst a year filled with financial uncertainty, political hurdles, and overseas turmoil, a plethora of fantastic albums arose. We had the much awaited Jay-Z/Kanye album, some rookies returning with highly anticipated sophomore albums, and some oddballs that seemed to come out of nowhere. Assigning a number rank to any album is a tedious task in itself. We could sit and debate why one album is one rank higher than the other for hours. To avoid that whole process I have listed my top albums of 2011. They are in no special order.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Pains) won me over early with their self-titled album some months ago. They excel in creating a gritty, stripped down, muddy sound that is laced with simple, cheesy lyrics. Belong expands on this sound even further by making great use of former Smashing Pumpkins producer, Mark Ellis. If you are fan of the Smashing Pumpkins then you are familiar with their grungy, almost torn distortion that reigns throughout their entire catalog. Ellis helps the Pains create a similar sound of their own that further adds depth to contrasting sounds of a dainty synthesizer and over-simplified drums.
Highlights: “Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now”, “Strange”, “Belong”.
Destroyer – Kaputt
Don’t let their name fool you, Destroyer is just one of many recent bands to bring back brass instruments to indie. The main weapon of choice, the saxophone, livens up the album and makes for great relaxing background music. Mixed into the ensemble are perfectly placed warm guitar solos, along with some variation between backup singers.
Highlights: “Chinatown”, “Savage Night at the Opera”, “Kaputt”.
Ah Coachella… The eclectic, hip, sweaty, lose-your-mind party in the desert. Arguably the best music festival in the United States; a true ‘playground for adults who love music’. Usually around this time every year unappeasable hipsters gather on internet forums to debate what act is worth the Coachella Headliner title. But this year was different. When in several years past the lineup released around MLK weekend, this year we got a late Christmas present: A very early official Coachella lineup poster. My mind literally exploded when hearing the news (literally). As I heard the news, I dropped everything at work and rushed to the nearest computer to spend the next half hour diligently scanning each band soon to perform at the polo fields.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed at first. The Black Keys headlining? Really? That’s almost as bad as say… Kings of Leon… But I digress. As Spotify blasted my ears with terrible ads this morning, I came to the realization that there is a multitude of amazing smaller acts this year. Simply put: the undercard of this lineup is stellar. Sure, Radiohead will put on an unforgettable show, as will Dre and Snoop. But the most memorable moment of Coachella isn’t going to be Thom Yorke seizing up on stage to “Lotus Flower”. Nor will it be thousands of Black Keys fans whistling to ‘Tighten Up’. If you are able to recall anything from the blur that is Coachella, it will be how you had a surprising amount of fun at a band you barely knew.