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A festival fit for Bigfoot himself

Fri., May 28, 2004

Coming off the heels of last year’s ultra-eclectic lineup, this year’s Sasquatch Music Festival roster reads like an all-star compilation of the top bands in the Seattle indie-rock scene, and indeed the nation.

With representation from Seattle’s infamous Sub Pop label, the biggest regional draws are sure to be The Shins and Postal Service at Sasquatch, which takes place Saturday at the Gorge Amphitheatre. Other highlights include Built To Spill, The Long Winters, The Decemberists, Sleater-Kinney, Donavon Frankenreiter, The New Pornographers, Thievery Corporation, and hip-hop act The Roots, who played at the Big Easy on Wednesday.

Even though singer Ben Gibbard’s true band – Death Cab For Cutie – isn’t playing Sasquatch this year, two of his other and most notable projects will occupy The Gorge stage this weekend: Postal Service and The Long Winters.

With a lighter sound that relies more on organs, brass and strings to give it wings, The Long Winters are produced by fellow Death Cabby Chris Walla and featured Gibbard’s talents on the latest release, “When I Pretend to Fall.”

But Gibbard made bigger ripples when he joined Dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello for the electronipop masterpiece “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan,” included on Dntel’s 2001 full-length “Life Is Full of Possibilities.”

The collaboration eventually led to Postal Service, adding another notch to Gibbard’s band resume, which lists such reputables as Pedro The Lion, Kind Of Like Spitting, and The Revolutionary Hydra.

The members of New Mexico’s The Shins have recorded 10 records together over the past decade (under several names) and played acclaimed tours with the likes of Modest Mouse, but they have only recently begun collecting big-time props for their catchy blend of indie-rock with post-punk aesthetics and nods to Brian Wilson-esque pop.

With swarming guitar riffs and calculated keyboards as their signature, they’re known for wildly deviating from studio work in their live sets.

Boise’s premiere alt-rock trio Built To Spill is a juggernaut of strong songwriting and frantic musicianship.

Founded by songwriter Doug Martsch (Treepeople), Built To Spill sacrificed some of the band’s indie allure for pop accessibility when it signed with Warner Brothers Records in the mid-90s, dividing its long-loyal fans in the process.

Existing somewhere between rock, dub, psychedelia, Latin and electronic music, Thievery Corporation seeks to make electronic music that isn’t cold and synthetic, but bleeds with feeling. Emo-electronica? Not quite. But the latest release, “The Richest Man In Babylon,” is a bold bridging of the two.

Donavon Frankenreiter is a surfer who loves to play music.

His motto: “The surfing keeps me alive, and the music keeps me grounded.”

The California native lived a surfer’s dream during his teens, getting paid to ride the waves while sponsored by Billabong. Although he still surfs every chance he gets, Frankenreiter is also an accomplished guitarist who is inspired by (you guessed it) surf tunes.

His debut, released this month, was recorded in Hawaii and produced by Jack Johnson.


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