Sam Miller is the combined whole of so many strange and disparate influences. You can hear Tom Waits, pre-cigarette-and-glass-croon. You can hear The National in the deep slow delivery of each line. You can hear Patrick Wolf and Perfume Genius in the theatrical presentation of everything combined. This is Andrew Lloyd Weber turned indie-rock, a song told not just in the musical composition, but in the atmospheric delivery. Sam Miller isn’t your guitar-and-stool singer-songwriter entrancing the crowds of your local granola-lovin’ coffee shop, Sam Miller is a man with a big, gothic vision and “You Need To Hear It” is the first, epic realization of that vision.
I carelessly left my computer at home in San Francisco this weekend and my parents, East Germans I’m sure of it, are reticent to allow me to download “virus harboring” software on to their brand new computer. Thus, I’ve sifted through the last few weeks of music I’ve shunted to the side with the “reserved for daily choice” sticker on it to find a selection of videos that made my nipples hard and my neck hairs stand on it.
Perfume Genius, with his wispy voice and delicate lyrics already has me in a fairly constant state of tear duct explusion. You mix that with Neil Young’s “Helpless” and I’m doing that uncomfortable sob where snot is pooling in your hands and you feel like you might puke.
This was captured at some recent concert of his in some place dark, and I love when he asks the audience to sing along. He’s just so nervous:
The National’s new video looks like a sneak peek for some teen heart throb magazine. But “Terrible Love” is such a goddamn great song that I find myself fascinated by the slightly boring clips of them walking and talking to fans and yelling and such. Sometimes it just confuses me. They’re playing in a bank and on a bridge with people filming them, but that’s not in this video. I’m confused, somebody hold my hand and pat me gently on the toosh.
And finally, the black and white mish-mash video that is Deerhunter’s “Helicopter”. This album has been weakening my knees lately, thus this video, as one note as it is, stands out with vibrancy.
From the beginning of Day One of Sasquatch! Music Festival, I felt like I was always engaged. The one-two mainstage punch of Seattle’s Shabazz Palaces and then Minneapolis’ Brother Ali, was just the right bolt of energy to lead into the festival. Unexpectedly throughout this traditionally rock and indie-rock weekend, hip hop garnered some of the biggest responses.
Though I hadn’t heard of her prior, the U.K.’s Laura Marling felt as if she fit right in the pocket of what’s happening in the Northwest’s female singer-songwriter scene, among emerging acts like People Eating People, Kaylee Cole, Kelli Shaefer, Hooves and Beak. She’s definitely someone who I’ll be digging into the past catalog of. Shortly after her set, bar none of my favorite bands currently, Portland’s Nurses, were back in the saddle. After a bit of a break they’re now focused on working on newer material they’ll be turning into the next wave of interplanetary space pop. To see a band who just last year at this time was existing largely at local house shows represented one of the many happy progressions the weekend was characterized by.
In 2008, the National were scheduled to play an early afternoon set on the Sasquatch! mainstage but due to border issues were rescheduled to the smallest stage late evening, in what was to be a steadily increasing rain. Frown. To see them this time around fill the billing they deserved under fair skies in front of a massive and appreciative crowd was a feeling of the world finally being in balance. Yes, I am shamelessly a National superfan, but it felt another tangible fulfillment of the slow progression toward greatness I’d been expecting to be more evident for some time now. Of a band having become a force unto themselves.
Vampire Weekend’s must faster progression to popularity was in full evidence as they followed the National on the mainstage, delivering probably the best set of the day. Their pairing with My Morning Jacket as headliners was curious, particularly given the high energy and quality of the set that Vampire Weekend gave to the crowd prior. MMJ’s fairly strong opening couldn’t offset the obvious difference in approaches of the two band’s and resulting reactions. My Morning Jacket’s songs came out plodding and introverted in comparison to Vampire Weekend’s quick, catchy melodies, and almost comical stage presence. I think someone might be challenging for default festival headliner in 2011?
Portugal. the Man ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ::: Photo by Josh Lovseth
The Lonely Forest (5:40 at Yeti Stage) ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Here’s your annual glance at the schedule I’ll be trying to keep at this year’s Sasquatch.
Saturday May 29th
Hit the road early on Saturday because one of Sasquatch’s most unmissable sets is the first of the fest.
12:05 – Shabazz Palaces – Main Stage
1:55 – Mumford & Sons – Wookie
2:25 – Nurses – Yeti
3:00 – Portugal, the Man - Wookie
3:30 – Tad - Main Stage
4:05 – Edward Sharpe& The Magnetic Zeros - Wookie
4:30 – Aziz Ansari - Rumpus Room
5:10 - The Posies - Wookie
5:40 – The Lonely Forest - Yeti
6:20 – Miike Snow - Wookie
7:00 – The National - Main Stage
7:30 – The Hold Steady - Wookie
If you’re beat or want to save energy for the rest of the weekend, head to the campground or hotel after the Hold Steady. If not, stick around for the following big name acts who all put on solid live sets.
8:30 – Vampire Weekend – Main Stage
9:00 – Nada Surf - Wookie
10:00 – My Morning Jacket - Main Stage
The Local Natives (1:30 at Wookie Stage) ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Sunday May 30th
12:00 – Dinosaur Feathers - Yeti
* Great Second Option: Caribou – Mainstage
12:30 – Langhorne Slim – Wookie
1:30 – Local Natives – Wookie
2:15 – The Long Winters – Main Stage (for a few songs, hopefully new & old before heading off to …)
2:35 – The Tallest Man on Earth – Wookie
3:20 – They Might Be Giants – Main Stage
4:15 – Avi Buffalo – Yeti
5:20 – Freelance Whales - Yeti
5:50 – The xx – Wookie
6:25 – Vetiver – Yeti
7:00 – Girls – Wookie
7:30 – Fruit Bats – Yeti
8:15 – Dirty Projectors – Wookie (and hope they play “Stillness is the Move” 1st because…)
8:30 – Pavement - Main Stage
9:45 – Public Enemy - Wookie
Japandroids (5:10 at Wookie Stage) ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
Monday May 31st
12:55 – Mayer Hawthorne - Main Stage
* Great Second Option: Past Lives - Yeti
2:00 – Phantogram - Yeti
2:20 – Seattle Rock Orchestra – Wookie
3:00 – Fresh Espresso – Yeti
* Great Second Option: Drive By Truckers - Main Stage
3:25 – Quasi – Wookie
4:05 – Telekinesis – Yeti
4:30 – Dr. Dog – Wookie
5:10 – Japandroids – Yeti
5:40 – The Mountain Goats - Wookie
6:15 – No Age – Yeti
6:50 – Camera Obscura – Wookie
8:05 – MGMT – Main Stage
8:20 – The New Pornographers – Wookie
And while there are other acts after that … most of us have to go to work back on the Western side of Washington (or further) the next morning, so I say, see you later Sasquatch and drive home safe!
We just walked through the door from the Sasquatch line-up announcement party featuring Fresh Espresso, Atlas Sound, and Surfer Blood. More on the party soon, but here’s what you’ve all been waiting for: the line-up and it’s a doozie. We’ve bolded the bands we’re most excited about, as well as the (few) local bands who made the Sasquatch cut.
My Morning Jacket / Massive Attack / Pavement / Ween / Vampire Weekend / MGMT / Band of Horses/ The National / LCD Soundsystem / Tegan & Sara / Broken Social Scene / Passion Pit / Deadmau5 / She & Him / Public Enemy / Nada Surf / The New Pornographers / The Hold Steady / The xx / Dirty Projectors / OK Go / Drive By Truckers / Kid Cudi / The Long Winters / Minus the… Bear / The Mountain Goats / Quasi / Camera Obscura / Fruit Bats / Brother Ali / Midlake / Dr. Dog / Caribou / Simian Mobile Disco / City & Colour / No Age / The Temper Trap / Vetiver / Miike Snow / Portugal. The Man / Telekinesis / Mayer Hawthorne / Why? / Girls / Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros / Wale / The Lonely Forest / Japandroids / Boys Noize / Yacht / Freelance Whales / Laura Marling / Patrick Watson / Past Lives / Cymbals Eat Guitars / The Low Anthem / The Very Best / Phantogram / Neon Indian / Nurses / The Tallest Man on Earth / Fresh Espresso / Mumford & Sons / Jets Overhead / tUnE-YarDs / Shabazz Palaces / Fool’s Gold / Morning Teleportation / Z-Trip / Dam-Funk / Hudson Mohawke / The Middle East / Local Natives / Avi Buffalo / Booka Shade / A-Trak / Yes Giantess / Craig Robinson / Rob Riggle / Garfunkel & Oates / Luke Burbank
More will be announced the closer we get to May and the Gorge, but that’s one hell of a start Sasquatch!
Youtube also has a bevy of fan clips of new songs that’ve debuted over the shows in the last few weeks. Below we’ve featured an incomplete recording of an unnamed song (maybe titled “Blood Buzz”?) from a recent Montreal performance that’s got a classic National feel to it.
Bon Iver performs “Flume” with The National and Shara Worden on 5/3/09
Did you happen to make it to New York City last week for the Dark Was the Night live concert at Radio City Music hall? No, I didn’t either. But a few of our twitter friends were there, and “Flume” had everyone drooling.
Below the fold find another Bon Iver and National performance of a song from the comp titled “Big Red Machine.”
I just bought this t-shirt. Two of them in fact. Starting today, the ever clever National have put it up on their merch page. I think it is downright genius. And while it may be a bit premature to call him “Mr. November” just yet, in democratic fashion the National are donating all proceeds to the Obama campaign so you can be ready when the time to rub it in the face of your Republican friends arrives. I am literally counting the days.
If you just examine the name, it really does seem like a good match. But if you listen to the content actual song, the meaning of the shirt and name might change entirely for you. A sampling of lyrics:
“The English are waiting and I don’t know what to do, In my best clothes”
“I’m the new blue blood, I’m the great white hope”
“I won’t fuck us over, I’m Mr. November”
“I used to be carried in the arms of cheerleaders”
It’s too bad such a good title does not make a good campaign victory song. All sorts of political things could be construed from those lines. Things Barack might think are contrary to his message. Attitudes the McCain camp would love to pin on Obama. If the Obama campaign can’t embrace the lyrics of the song, hopefully they can embrace the gesture.