Northwest music fans anticipate the announcement of the Sasquatch Music Festival's lineup with the kind of fervent impatience with which Catholics await the selection of a new pope (though maybe with less smoke). And just as with Catholics, there are those who are elated and those who feel let down. What about a Latin American pope? Why not a young one? Where's Radiohead? What about Amy Winehouse?

Fans of Vampire Weekend, Santogold and the Feral Children might feel a little ripped off here, but there's clearly a lot to love this year, from old guys like R.E.M. and the Cure to relative upstarts like Battles and Yeasayer. And there's no denying that this is the biggest Sasquatch ever, with three full days of music and a new palette of entertainment that includes comedy, performance art and film.

Go see why the Gorge in George (or Quincy) was recently named one of the best live music venues in the country. Just bring sunscreen. And an umbrella. And a snowsuit. You never know.


The Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge * George, Wash. * May 24-26 * Tickets: $76.50/day * Visit

Industrial Electronic
Sunday, 1:00 * Mainstage
Joe Fro, Paul Wolinski, Rob Jones and Simon Wright love playing live. Their shows are chaotic. Pulsating electronica, maniacal drums, glitchy looping and chainy guitars create their overall industrial sound. Some have gone so far as to describe them as indescribable, and that despite the unhappy sounds, their live shows leave the listeners feeling charged up. Touring this month with the Cure, these guys from the U.K. are testing the limits of their listeners' senses. (Elizabeth Strauch)

Eccentric Pop
Sunday, noon * Mainstage
The profile quote on the MySpace page for "Awesome" says, "Making Time for Happy Shit Since 2004." Sounds about right. Will you make time for happy shit this weekend? "Awesome" and its seven members blend live performance on a "bazillion" instruments (horns, guitar, banjo, theremin, whatever else) with performance art for a show that might really rock the mainstage if there are enough people there on Sunday at noon. (Joel Smith)

Math Rock / Experimental
Monday, 5:55 * Wookie
With chameleonic debut Mirrored, NYC's Battles threw Alvin and the Chipmunks, Kraftwerk, some serious funk and about 15 different time signatures into a blender and left it on for a few months. The resulting pur & eacute;e? Delicious. It's nearly impossible to properly describe Battles to someone who hasn't heard them before (or even someone who has): Just go see them. (Jeff Echert)

Gypsy Spectacle
Saturday, 2:10 * Mainstage
Beirut is 22-ish-year-old New Mexican Zach Condon plus a bunch of other people playing beautiful, horn-driven, Eastern European-influenced indie folk music. Sounds weird, and it is. Beautifully so. Songs like Gulag Orkestrar's title track sound like the overture to a public beheading. "Elephant Gun," from last year's make you feel like you're being lifted off the ground on a wave of pure light. At a Balkan wedding. Nice. (JS)

Rock & Roll
Sunday, 5:25 * Yeti
Seattle trio the Blakes (sexy brothers Garnet and Snow Keim on guitar, bass and voice; slightly less sexy Bob Husak on drums) are one version of the ideal band. Scrappy and boozy like the Replacements, bluesy like early Stones, and poppy like the Kinks, the Blakes nevertheless aren't a nostalgia act: They just embody the reckless spirit of cool-guy rock. (Andrew Matson)

Sunday, 2:05 * Mainstage
Geologic is a purebred "conscious" rapper (that means he hates ideological sameness enforced by society/government, is obsessed with "the struggle," and believes in hip-hop as a culture). DJ Sabzi produces the beats, and his style is slo-mo-tidal-wave dramatic. It's heady music, but after signing a deal with famous indie-rap label Rawkus last year, this Seattle two-piece hit the road hard, and they move bodies and minds. (AM)

Alternative Rock
Saturday, 8:45 * Wookie
After the Pixies broke up, bassist Kim Deal formed the Breeders with her twin sister, Kelley. Where Pixies leader Frank Black's solo career has been half-genius and half-mediocre, the Breeders' crunchy, narcotic pop is -- against all odds -- still vital. Expect to hear tracks from the band's outstanding '08 album, the Steve Albini-produced Mountain Battles. (AM)

Indie Rock
Monday, 3:30 * Mainstage
One of the eternal triptychs of the Pacific Northwest indie scene graces Sasquatch with its presence. Along with fellow pillars Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie, the Boise band is legendary in certain circles and just pretty damn well-known in the others for combining messy guitar pop with Doug Martsch's familiar bleat. We're crossing our fingers for a Mike Jones guest appearance. (JE)

Sunday, 3:15 * Yeti
Emcees: Gatsby idolizes Ice Cube and writes the hip-hop column for The Stranger; Judas can freestyle all night. DJ: TilesOne usually doesn't make mistakes. Secret weapon: hilarious all-around b-boy Bruce Illest Massive Monkees breakdance crew. Seattle crew Cancer Rising is hip-hop's fundamentals, mastered. (AM)

Monday, 4:40 * Wookie
With members having spent time in Seattle garage-punk mainstays Murder City Devils, Hint Hint and Pretty Girls Make Graves, the Cave Singers are a bit of a puzzle. Playing straight-up Woody Guthrie-style folk that sounds like it was lifted directly from the 1940s, however, makes the puzzle seem to fit together. Unexpected given their pedigree, but not at all unwelcome. (JE)

Y'all-come Choral
Monday, noon * Yeti
Remember those kids who used to sing rounds on the bus together? They were only hoping to sound like the Choir Practice. These British Columbians are genuine musicians, culled from other moderately successful bands (The Gay, Limblifter) to perform original choral arrangements, sounding a little like a beefed-up Von Trapp Family Singers. Refreshingly, doesn't concern itself too much with the blend. You'll probably want to join in. (ES)

Indie Rock
Sunday, 3:10 * Mainstage
With a smattering of influences from all over the musical map, Fullerton-based Cold War Kids ruled the online circuit for a good while on the strength of their debut, Robbers and Cowards. The attention was well-deserved -- the band's bluesy, piano-driven sound is accentuated by an excellent sense of tension, space, and nervous energy. (JE)

Old-School Punk
Sunday, 4:20 * Yeti
Punk isn't dead. It's just been twisted into a hideous shadow of its former self, and the Cops, from Seattle, aim to provide a little emergency resuscitation. Sounding like the bastard children of the Kinks and the Buzzcocks, the Cops combine the best British forms of dub, reggae, and all-out balls-to-the-wall punk. You know, the kind that existed back when Pete Wentz was still crapping his diaper. (JE)

Mystery Beats
Saturday, 6:00 * Wookie
We don't know much about Crudo except that it involves singer Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Dillinger Escape Plan) and hip-hop producer Dan the Automator. (Also, that it's an Italian raw fish dish.) But we're willing to go find out. (JS)

Forefathers of Goth
Sunday, 10:00 * Mainstage
The Cure is releasing a new track every month until September, when their new record drops. So 'Squatch offers a sneak peek at what's going on in frontman Robert Smith's bipolar little head. For a band that invented goth rock, the Cure is surprisingly poppy ("Friday I'm In Love"). Now Smith is pushing 50, but his carefully tousled hair and color-free wardrobe still seem to speak to youth everywhere. (Ted S. McGregor Jr.)

Indie Folk
Saturday, 5:25 * Yeti
Erstwhile Seattle balladeer David Bazan retired his Pedro the Lion moniker, choosing to concentrate on his solo career. And yet a rose by any other name would still reek of the combination of faith, politics, and sex -- of insecurity and doubt. Bazan has abandoned most of his musical melancholia, but the lyrical message hasn't changed much -- the world is irrevocably screwed. (JE)

Moody Rock
Saturday, 1:30 * Wookie
Music blog Ear Farm called Dead Confederate one of the top bands to watch in 2008. But they spent most of their write-up simply talking about how provocative the name of the Georgia-based quintet is. Perhaps because the music is... a little boring? It's moody, psychedelic rock with a touch of Nirvana. Not the best investment for a festival afternoon. (JS)

Indie Rock
Sunday, 8:15 * Mainstage
Death Cab front man Ben Gibbard lorded over Seattle's rock scene last year, scoring the About A Son Kurt Cobain movie and curating the Sea-town edition of the Burn to Shine DVD series. He and his band are unofficial presidents of Northwest indie rock, a nation state defined by earnest vocals, watery guitar delay, and skitter-snare lead-foot drums. For the beard-and-glasses set, DCFC = classic home-style comfort rock. (AM)

Scruffy Pop
Monday, 12:20 * Wookie
Delta Spirit formed when the rest of the band met eventual lead singer Matt Vasquez busking on the streets of San Diego. That's about right. Vasquez sounds like he's been screaming over passers-by for years, and the band is pleasantly frayed about the edges. They're beating trashcans for percussion, the piano's a little out of tune. It's an exuberant good time. (JS)

Pop / World
Saturday, 12:55 * Mainstage
Hailing from Los Angeles, Dengue Fever combines psychedelic acid rock with the disparate vocals of Chhom Nimol, a Cambodian pop singer crooning in Khmer. The effect is altogether weird, slightly disconcerting at first, but ultimately freakishly addictive. While other affluent kids adopting world music styles may get all the attention, Dengue Fever's got gobs of authenticity going on. (JE)

Indie Rock
Saturday, 4:45 * Wookie
Vancouver's Dan Bejar -- he who truly is Destroyer -- has included more self-reflexive references and layered meanings in his songs than perhaps any other musician alive today. Comparisons to Bowie are apt -- both in vocal style and abundance of metaphor -- and Bejar's musical style, though somewhat mellowed recently, is dreamy, complex, and rich. If you're patient with his self-indulgence, you'll be adequately rewarded. (JE)

Monday, 11:30 * Mainstage
The formula: three bad brothers and one veteran producer, all from the Seattle area. Young emcees Fearce Villain, Brainstorm and S.E.V. only rap about how they are the coolest guys in the world but bring an unbridled enthusiasm to their raps (and stage show) that makes unabashed arrogance endearing. The beats, by DJ/producer Bean One, range from slick electro to old-fashioned boom bap. (AM)

Indie Carnival
Monday, 9:00 * Mainstage
We don't know what they mean by this "U.F.O. show," but we don't really care. The Lips always bring it, whatever it is. Their performance at the end of a hail-pelted day at Sasquatch two years ago was enough to make tens of thousands of people forget that their socks were still wet: human hamster ball, confetti guns, alien Santas, comic book superheroes and, at the center of it all, Wayne Coyne's big, youthful exuberance. (JS)

Saturday, noon * Mainstage
You've heard similar sounds before: echoey, elongated lead vocals, backed by tight harmonies and an alt-country flair with hints of classic rock. Yet Fleet Foxes offer something uniquely enjoyable in how they make their music move. These five Seattleites strive to make each instrument melodic -- be it guitar, dulcimer, toms or piano. It's a rich sound that ebbs and flows, and when the other instruments fade out, the remaining vocals are other worldly. (ES)

Monday, 6:05 * Mainstage
If you already know that there ain't no party like my Nana's tea party, and that people on the street are getting diseases from monkeys, you are clearly one of the millions who have glommed onto New Zealand's Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement this past year. These two blend comedy with music, traveling across multiple genres, utilizing McKenzie's naturally poppy sound and Clement's deep, sexy voice for awkward lyrics. (ES)

Monday, 8:30 * Wookie
In an effort to please both their electronic and rock leanings, this two-man Austin band performs funky grooves peppered with electronic wallops. Frontman Aaron Behrens has drawn comparisons to Freddie Mercury and Prince, and Ghostland's live show last year was an energetic combo of past influences, gyrating stage presence and futuristic beats. (Katie Peifer)

Indie Rock
Saturday, 6:30 * Yeti
An offshoot of Band of Horses that outdid the parent company with their self-titled debut, Seattle's Grand Archives is a veritable avalanche of potential. Former equine Mat Brooke produces a lush musical world buoyed by his powerful voice, while grand, sweeping strings and haunting melodies abound. If you prefer your horses with a bit less country gravy, Grand Archives is the desired dish. (JE)

String Pop
Saturday, noon * Yeti
The other "grand" band on the schedule for Saturday, Grand Hallway plays lush, orchestral, often piano-based pop. A little Elliot Smith, a little Fiona Apple even, they're also a little Maldives, Sleepy Eyes of Death and Voyager of One -- all bands from which they draw their members. (JS)

Indie Pop
Sunday, 2:35 * Wookie
It's an inevitable fact: If you write melodic pop with a punk edge and heavily political lyrics, you're going to be compared to Ted Leo. The Heavenly States, out of Oakland, consider this a compliment, and you should, too. With Motown background vocals, a violinist, and a barreling freight train full of energy, you ain't stopping the Heavenly States. (JE)

Garage Rock
Monday, 2:10 * Mainstage
Leading the vanguard of the garage-rock revival in the early days of the decade, Sweden's Hives held their own with juggernauts like the White Stripes by sticking to their rhythmic blues-rock guns. With their boundless vigor, ridiculous on-stage antics and near-dopey desire to please the crowd, seeing them will be one of the best decisions you make. (JE)

Whisper Folk
Sunday, 2:10 * Yeti
Tillman's solo show at the Shop a couple of years back was underwhelming. Cripplingly shy stage presence, combined with a seemingly endless string of plodding, whispered songs made for a snoozefest. But his recordings are much stronger and more dynamic. If he brings a band, you're in for a treat. (JS)

Monday, 7:00 * Wookie
Jamie Lidell's new album, Jim, represents a shift for the British-born, Berlin-based producer and loop master from fast, frenetic, manipulated beats to pure, sweet songs. Jim extends the feel of the last album's "Multiply" with one catchy, quirky, bright-eyed soul tune after another. Whether Sasquatch will see him doing the one-man-with-a-table-of-electronics performance or singing with a band is unknown. Either way, the funny, charming, energetic Lidell -- who has tapped Spokane's own James Pants for tour support in the coming months -- is a force of nature. (JS)

Saturday, 3:15 * Yeti
Musically, Seattle's Joshua Morrison fits pretty comfortably among that school of hushed, whispery singer-songwriters that includes Elliot Smith, Sam Beam and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. But unlike a lot of other introspective writers, Morrison has seen something beyond his own navel: He just served three years in Iraq. The album he's produced upon return, Home, is utterly haunting. (JS)

Alt-Country (like, Canada)
Saturday, 3:40 * Wookie
If Kathleen Edwards were American, she'd likely be in the pantheon of young alt-country greats -- people like Ryan Adams and Neko Case. But she's Canadian. Which means she doesn't really get the same press down here, nor nearly the kind of radio play that drove singles like "Six O'Clock News" to such success in the Frozen North. Her Canadian-ness also means she writes tender, heart-breaking songs about hockey. Go figure. (JS)

Strange Pop
Monday, 5:25 * Yeti
Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground is actually three guys from Seattle -- plus a lot of special guests, including frequent appearances by string players -- making weird, experimental music that sometimes sounds like Gypsy jazz, other times recalls Sgt. Pepper and still other times flashes you back to a really weird salvia trip. (JS)

Post-Rock / Experimental
Monday, 6:30 * Yeti
Seattle's Kinski makes epic sound experiments that would compel some Sonic Youth songs to bat their eyelashes, reapply their lipstick and send a drink the band's way. Equally at home with smooth atmospherics or crunchy, crushing guitar work -- equally suited for active academic dissection or sitting back, getting high and spacing out -- Kinski is a damn fine capstone on the Yeti's local lineup. (JE)

Sunday, 7:15 * Wookie
Brighton's Kooks write undeniably catchy Brit-pop in the best vein imaginable -- the kind of songs with guitar hooks you can't get out of your head, but that never top three minutes. More Thin Lizzy than the Arctic Monkeys, the Kooks are a retro throwback, but they're also a throwback that scored a slot opening for the Rolling Stones. What have you done lately? (JE)

Monday, 3:35 * Wookie
The Little Ones make a big, poppy sound using something they call the "Rule of Feet," which dictates that each of their songs must make them move their feet. Wethinks the Seattle quintet will move yours, too. This stuff is catchy as hell. (JS)

Saturday, 6:50 * Mainstage
If the weather holds, the most sublime experience to be had at the 'Squatch will be seeing the daughter of a Tamil Tiger perform "Paper Planes" -- the floatiest, heaviest snap-rap song ever created -- and pantomiming its wordless chorus of gunshots. The song is bigger than all of us. It is a world anthem and seeing it live will change your life. (AM)

Sunday, noon * Yeti
Regulars at the Tractor Tavern (Seattle's alt-country Mecca), the Maldives have nothing to do with the island republic in the Indian Ocean and everything to do with good new-fashioned American alt-country. (JS)

Prog Rock
Monday, 7:15 * Mainstage
Psychedelic, complicated, progressive, jazzy and more than a little self-indulgent are all accurate descriptions of the Mars Volta, one of the offshoots of legendary band At the Drive-In. While their predecessor's heights will be difficult to reach, the Mars Volta brings prog to a whole new scale with their highly improvisational live show, which is unequivocally not to be missed. (JE)

Beats and Keys
Sunday, 6:00 * Wookie
One of the many husband-and-wife duos in indie today (think the Rosebuds, Cloud Cult, No-Fi Soul Rebellion), the Mates are Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner -- he on drums, she on every kind of organ and synthesizer. The result is, yes, kind of sweet, but also kind of awesome. They sing in close harmony over tinny, highly danceable beats. Now if only they'd birth somebody to play bass. (JS)

Monday, 1:05 * Mainstage
Costa was a skateboarder in Huntington Beach until he shattered one leg in an accident. No surprise, then, that when he turned back to the guitar during recovery, he started producing the kind of crisp, punchy pop that would've fit right in on The O.C. And we don't mean that in a derogatory way. (JS)

Sunday, 6:50 * Mainstage
Michael Franti's brand of multicultural, politically conscious world beat might have fit better nestled between Beirut and Ozomatli on Saturday, but it could also bring some flavor to Sunday night's mainstage, bookended by the Presidents and then Death Cab and the Cure. Wherever they put him, Franti and his mellow vibe will get heads bobbing. (JS)

Indie Rock
Saturday, 8:15 * Mainstage
Loud and raucous, Modest Mouse, the Issaquah-born band led by Isaac Brock, has been putting out music for more than a decade. In recent years, they've become less noisy (much to the chagrin of early fans) in favor of poppy riffs that have made them mainstream and rich. Brock is wonderful to watch live -- as long as he's not too drunk. (Jacob H. Fries)

Hard to Pinpoint (see below)
Monday, 2:10 * Yeti
Don't trust the "Crunk/A cappella/Freestyle" tag on their MySpace page. This Seattle outfit is more like "Southern-Fried/Funk/Grateful Dead Homage." If that means anything. (JS)

Sunday, 12:30 * Wookie
Sasquatch is a quick stop on the Morning Benders' current tour with the Kooks. This past year, they've opened for a handful of other buzzing bands (Yeasayer, MGMT) and that buzz is appropriately rubbing off on them. The Berkeley band borrows a bunch of instrumentation from the Beach Boys, the Beatles and Neil Young, with unisons that give a huge nod to the Shins. Catchy stuff, as pop should be. (ES)

Saturday, 4:20 * Mainstage
For a chunk of last year we had the National on continuous playlist rotation for about six months. It wasn't the six immediately after the album came out, though. Took about nine months to warm up to them at all -- to even enjoy what we were listening to. That dour molasses baritone, delivered over propulsive rhythms, has few reference points to latch on to, but once you do, it's a come-to-Jesus moment. (Luke Baumgarten)

Indie Pop
Saturday, 5:25 * Mainstage
If Neko Case saunters onstage with this B.C. supergroup's lineup (consisting historically of A.C. Newman and Destroyer's Dan Bejar), it will be unequivocally the best performance of the entire festival. Collectively, they play catchy, baroque pop with each major vocalist taking turns showcasing their tunes. The addition of Case's vocal cords (which are nothing short of divine instruments) will turn this into something sublime, even perfect. (JE)

Acoustic Rock
Saturday, 12:30 * Wookie
A redhead with dreds. English. Robot references. Dream-catcher songs. The name "Newton." Simply describing Newton Faulkner challenges a bunch of stereotypes. But his straightforward acoustic pop-n-rock -- with "slap-tap-bass" guitar stylings -- has made him some headway in Europe and the States. (See his cover of Massive Attack's "Teardrop.") If you're into mellow optimism, it'll be a nice way to ease into the first day of Sasquatch. (ES)

Indie Rock
Saturday, 7:15 * Wookie
Will Sheff, the frontman for Austin's Okkervil River, is a master lyricist whose voice constantly teeters on emotional breakdown. Weaving together dark narratives and metafictional commentary, the band embraces a kitchen-sink mentality, bringing in mandolins and Wurlitzers to accompany more standard fare. Plus, they turn a song about poet John Berryman into a cover of "Sloop John B." You can't ask for much more than that. (JE)

Saturday, 3:15 * Mainstage
That Ozomatli was invited to the festival last year was a bit of a surprise. Though the huge, multi-ethnic L.A. band's eponymous 1995 CD was great -- a dynamic, potent blend of hip-hop, Afro-beat and Latin street music -- they've been fairly unremarkable since. That they were invited back again this year is downright perplexing. Last year's set was pleasant but a little boring. (JS)

Indie Rock
Monday, 2:30 * Wookie
Pela's a five-piece from Brooklyn that plays sometimes delicate, sometimes propulsive indie music. Big rock chords are used sparingly. They prefer nicely picked guitar lines that recall Bloc Party, a toned-down Arcade Fire and, occasionally, U2. (JS)

Sunday, 5:25 * Mainstage
Though not nearly at the level of ubiquity that they enjoyed in the '90s, Seattle's POTUS is still leveraging their unique brand of kitschy lyrics and simple, enjoyable melodies to great effect. Always quirky and often tooth-meltingly saccharine, the band has reformed fully and is on their way to what they hope will be a genuine revival. Still, bringing back Sir Mix-A-Lot couldn't hurt. (JE)

Alt Rock (Since Before It Was Cool)
Saturday, 10:00 * Mainstage
The boys from Athens, Ga., are back with the legacy-saving Accelerate, hailed by critics as among their best records ever. We're not willing to go quite that far, but Peter Buck is pumping out loud, screeching guitar chords again. Sasquatch offers a home crowd for Scott McCaughey, a Seattle icon (founder of the Minus 5) who has toured with R.E.M. for 15 years. (Ted S. McGregor Jr.)

Classical Guitar / World
Monday, 4:40 * Mainstage
Taking the technical skills that so pervade the metal genre, Rodrigo y Gabriela emigrated from Mexico City to Dublin, where they transposed their talents to classical guitar work and busking. They play at a blistering pace, expanding and transcending the limitations of their instruments and cover all sorts of songs you'll definitely recognize - from "Stairway to Heaven" to Metallica. (JE)

Indie Pop
Sunday, 4:45 * Wookie
Being in everything from Zune ads to The O.C. soundtrack may catch you flak from the hipster crowd, but Rogue Wave's Teflon sound is beyond reproach. On the wings of their latest record, Asleep at Heaven's Gate, the Oakland band manages to make indie pop sound like the Hundred Acre Wood -- slightly folky, slightly dreamy, but mostly full of sweet, sweet honey. (JE)

Indie Pop
Monday, 3:15 * Yeti
A deft personification of Seattle indie pop, Say Hi combines the quirky, plaintive vocal stylings and clever lyrics of Eric Elbogen with breezy, quasi-Postal Service electronica and more traditional indie pop melodies. It bears mentioning that Say Hi's fourth record is a concept album about vampires and Star Trek. If you're so jaded that you can't appreciate that, we're truly sorry. (JE)

Sunday, 6:30 * Yeti
Sera Cahoone's associated with the Band of Horses/Grand Archives group -- Seattle musicians who all used to play together and now all record for Sub Pop. Cahoone makes beautifully straightforward country rock with by-the-numbers arrangements and orchestration, but it is her air of stoic resignation that impresses most. She is a proud bearer of eternal country sadness. (AM)

Saturday, 1:05 * Yeti
Nick Delffs sounds like he doesn't really want to be in the Shaky Hands. The frontman for the Portland quartet has a voice that's slurry, reedy and disinterested, in a most interesting way. The rest of the band plays sloppy, poppy music like they really care. (JS)

Indie Rock
Monday, 4:20 * Yeti
The name "Siberian" seems pretty apt (even though, c'mon, guys, Seattle winters aren't that bad). Theirs is the cold, droney, sometimes almost machine-like strain of indie rock. Big guitars doing little lines, then soaking the songs in sound. (JS)

Indie Rock
Sunday, 8:45 * Wookie
Portland's Stephen Malkmus has been an indie icon since his glory days with Pavement in the 1990s. He's been trying to break from those shadows ever since. This year, he and the Jicks emerged from a three-year period of quiet with a new album, Real Emotional Trash. With electric guitar closely following his vocal lead, he still knows how to make it sound gritty and deliberate, at times a bit hollow, with occasional Beatles-esque riffs. (ES)

Indie Pop
Sunday, 4:15 * Mainstage
The novelty of Tegan and Sara (identical twins) hopefully has worn off by now -- the ladies should be known for their exceptional songwriting skills, rather than the whims of genetic roulette. Splitting their time between Montr & eacute;al and British Columbia, the pair has a siren-like pop lure that's hard to resist. Expect them to stick around for quite some time. (JE)

Indie Folk/Blues
Monday, 1:25 * Wookie
Thao Nguyen has the dangerously likeable vocal quality that often gets used in TV commercials: quirky, sultry, bright. Now based in San Francisco, Nguyen got signed with the KRS label after sending tracks to Laura Veirs. That propelled her to mini-stardom, and now, with her album We Brave Bee Stings and All, she's proving she's much more than an early-afternoon Wookie show. (ES)

Saturday, 2:10 * Yeti
Punchy, clappy, ding-dingy, strummy sounds are what make Throw Me the Statue fun. The band is well loved in their Seattle habitat (drawing a gazillion comparisons to the Shins), and TMTS fans are keeping a close eye on them as they gather due recognition -- especially with songs like "Lolita" off their debut album, Moonbeams. What a lusty, pouncy, sexy time for you. (ES)

Hip-Hop/Butt-Rock Techno
Sunday, 1:05 * Yeti
There's some noise about their using a Game Boy as a sequencer, and seeing Seattle group Truckasauras certainly involves other fun surprises. Drummer or digital pads? What funny video will the guy who plays the VCR show? Wonder away, but know the real treat will be the hard-as-nails music, a unique treatment of hip-hop that hits like a Mack truck and sounds like Castlevania. (AM)

Johnny Cash
Saturday, 4:20 * Yeti
Vince Mira is a 16-year-old Latino kid from Federal Way who thinks he's Johnny Cash. 'Nuff said. (JS)

Big Rock
Monday, 1:05 * Yeti
The Whalebones say they recorded their EP, Morning Man, "in a cabin and in the basement in the soggy green Pacific Northwest." Sounds like they used the isolation to their advantage, taking the time to (we suspect) double, triple or quadruple the guitar and vocal tracks. If their live show sound is half as big and fat as the recorded one, it'll blow your hair back. (JS)

Sunday, 1:30 * Wookie
Guided by the triplet-heavy undercurrent of post-punk on the opening tracks of their second album, What Doesn't Kill Us, WMMF visits as many musical places as an Austin band could go, maintaining catchiness without abandoning the genre. Their sound pulls together an assortment of others (most notably Spoon), and their live shows throw in some fun electronic notes and create a terrifically unified sound. (ES)

Garage Rock
Saturday, 2:35 * Wookie
Formed in indie rock mecca Athens, Ga., the Whigs take a garage-rock approach, drawing influences from both obvious touchstone the Replacements and a host of Southern bands, producing a nice blend of country twang, Westerberg-style vocals and genuinely enjoyable guitar rock. Rollicking choruses and catchy melodies abound -- consider yourself warned. (JE)

Indie Pop
Sunday, 3:40 * Wookie
The White Rabbits' debut, Fort Nightly -- with its ancient piano, frenetic energy, and excellent rhythm -- garnered the NYC band comparisons to (and touring slots with) the Walkmen and Spoon. Appropriately, one of the best debuts in recent memory is paired with one of the best live shows around, with plenty of vivacity to spare. Do not doubt the power of two drummers. (JE)

Indie Pop / World
Monday, 12:10 * Mainstage
Vampire Weekend's got nothing on these guys. Following that buzz band's philosophy of combining traditional Western pop structures with rhythms from musical styles all over the globe, Yeasayer slinks around melodically like fellow New Yorkers Grizzly Bear, with about as much weirdness. But the power of blog-favorite cut "2080" ("Yeah! Yeah!") cannot be denied -- it will drill into your brain. (JE)

Sasquatch's history of including non-music performances has been pretty hit and miss. David Cross hosted it by himself in 2004. They apparently gave up in 2005 and 2006. Last year, they tried to re-energize the non-music scene by having three comedians each host a stage throughout the weekend. But Sarah Silverman reportedly went home sick, and Aziz Ansari and Michael Showalter were scarcely seen.

This year, however, Sasquatch is investing heavily in other entertainment, offering about eight times as many comics as last year, including members of the famed Upright Citizens Brigade. They're also including a performance-art piece called "Recession" by the Seattle School troupe and screening the world premiere of the Flaming Lips' much talked-about, long-anticipated, possibly delightfully awful sci-fi film, Christmas on Mars. (In the Movie! Tent on Sunday.)

Stop by the Comedy! Tent throughout the weekend to catch Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Eugene Mirman, Tim Meadows, Horatio Sanz, Matt Walsh, Rich Fulcher, Jerry Minor, Sean Conroy, Matt Besser, Brian Posehn, Morgan Murphy, Reggie Watts, Andy Haynes, Kevin Hyder, Aziza Diaz, Derek Sheen, Andy Peters, Marc Maron and "Recession." Most will do multiple performances. Big guns like Showalter and Ian Black are doing just one. -- JOEL SMITH

Spokane Symphony Masterworks 1: The Return of the Symphony @ Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox

Sun., Sept. 19, 3 p.m.
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About The Author

Joel Smith

Joel Smith is the media editor for The Inlander. In that position, he manages and directs and edits all copy for the website, the newspaper and all other special publications. A former staff writer, he has reported on local and state politics, the environment, urban development and culture, Spokane's...