Daft Punk won't be there, that's for sure, but fans of quality music and heatstroke have plenty to anticipate in Sasquatch's lineup, even if House of Blues is savvy in knowing its Northwest audience precludes many adventurous risks. KEXP-approved indie bands and singer-songwriters abound, and hip-hop fans are thrown exactly two bones— Common Market and Blue Scholars, the latter rightfully moving up to the mainstage this year. Sunday's mainstage offers Beck, Jamie Lidell, and Pretty Girls Make Graves; Friday's pairing of NIN and TV on the Radio packs a wallop. But we all know what these bands sound like, so here are our picks from the sticks (aka the Wookie and Yeti stages)—now ready your tape decks and iPods for the drive!
Deadboy and the Elephantmen (Wookie, 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 26), "Blood Music," We Are Night Sky (Fat Possum).
The stripped-down duo of former Acid Bath member Dax Riggs and chanteuse Tessie Brunet conjure Deep South blues like a more charming and even less polished White Stripes.
Bedouin Soundclash (Wookie, noon Saturday, May 27), "Money Worries," Sounding a Mosaic (Stomp).
These young reggae rockers have already been splashed on mag covers in their native Canada, and the relaxed vibe of this track, a Maytones cover featuring Vernon "Maytone" Buckley, shows why. Produced by Bad Brains' Daryl Jennifer, the disc goes perfectly with summer and sens.
Architecture in Helsinki (Wookie, 1:20 p.m. Saturday, May 27 ), "Do the Whirlwind," In Case We Die (Bar/None).
Eight Australians and one hell of an absurd name: While their pop may be pretentious, it's also a lot of fun. Operating like a collective of split personalities, each song finds them making a racket in a unique musical universe.
Slender Means (Yeti, 3:15 p.m. Saturday, May 27), "Van Gogh," Neon & Ruin (Mt. Fuji).
Resolving to "use history as a guidebook, rather than a crutch," this local band of music-scene veterans is only three years old but channels the rock spirit of 30 years ago, with results that'll make their mothers proud.
The Village Green (Yeti, 2:10 p.m. Sunday, May 28), "Let It Go," The Village Green EP (Hidden Peak)
Like Slender Means, Portland's the Village Green display their love for the Kinks front and center, but with more snarl and affectation. Infectious as it gets, when vocalist J. Nicholas Allard boasts, "I've got so much rhythm now," there's no disagreeing.
Heavenly States (Wookie, 2:40 p.m. Sunday, May 28), "Look and Listen," Black Comet (Baria).
The California threesome are busier than your average rock stars to be. Besides their recent full-length, they've just released the film Borderline, which documents their attempt last year to be the first U.S. rock band to play Libya. Cheers to a less tense, Northwest vacation.
Sasquatch Music Festival Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., George, 206-628-0888, www.hob.com. $55 per day. All ages. Gates open at 11 a.m. Fri., May 26–Sun., May 28.