The Best of the Tiny Fonts in Sasquatch!’s 2015 Lineup

Twelve acts to round off your Memorial Day weekend at The Gorge.


This weekend, America celebrates Memorial Day and the hippest acts in the game converge upon Seattle for Sasquatch! Music Festival, a four-day festival of music and comedy. This year, headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Modest Mouse, Sleater-Kinney, and The War on Drugs, but it’s those daylight bands, the ones down at the bottom of the flier in the smallest lettering (yes, this festival’s lineup poster has the same size font top to bottom, but you get the point), that hold the whole thing together and fill out your weekend to remember — or, depending on how you spend your nights, one that you won’t be able to. Rain or shine, these are the best of the Tiny Fonts at this year’s Sasquatch.

sasquatch2015 The Best of the Tiny Fonts in Sasquatch!s 2015 Lineup

Acapulco Lips

Saturday, 2:00 p.m., Uranus

With all the gritty garage rock that has being making its way into the indie mainstream in the past few years, from Thee Oh Sees to any number of Ty Segall’s projects, it was only a matter of time until surf rock got its own punk makeover. Acapulco Lips is one of the many local Seattle bands on the Sasquatch lineup this year (hey, there’s a novel idea!), and though it might be a little chilly for catching waves in the Puget Sound, their brand of surf punk deftly navigates low-key psychedelia and slyly updated 1960s pop a la Hunx & His Punx.


Monday, 2:00 p.m., Yeti

You might recognize Jenn Ghetto’s voice from Seattle chamber pop darlings Carissa’s Wierd (if you could hear it through the whispered production). When that band broke up in 2003 and some of her fellow musicians went off to start Band of Horses, Jenn took the moniker “S” and started making gorgeous, heartbreaking music on her own. Her latest album, Cool Choices (on Hardly Art), is her fourth as a solo artist and captures her artistry brilliantly, letting her voice shine through with fantastic production by Chris Walla. It spans the gamut from indie rock to electropop, though the stark “Losers” that kicks the album off is most emotionally affecting.

Diarrhea Planet

Saturday, 5:05 p.m., Yeti

Nashville six-piece Diarrhea Planet has been steadily rising to the top of the guitar rock world for a few years, carried in no small part by the wave of their label Infinity Cat, the project of brothers Jamin and Jake Orrall of JEFF the Brotherhood. But where their friends Jamin and Jake reduce their rock ‘n’ roll down to the barest essentials, Diarrhea Planet gleefully relishes excess. Their four guitarists outnumber even Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the band puts them to good use, filling out their straightforward garage rock sound with a wall of distortion and interlocking harmonies.


Sunday, 6:15 p.m., Bigfoot

Noel Gallagher called them the “best new band in Britain.” While the quartet from Kettering, England might not be the most innovative band on the planet, they make better, more textured, more lush psych rock than most of their forebears. Their debut album Sun Structures is a walk through the ’60s, touching on everything from The Byrds to The Zombies, but with an attention to detail that the flower children and paisley princes could never manage. The harmonies are gorgeous, the production is sublime. Temples are exactly the kind of band that belongs on a stage at a big, outdoor festival, and while it might not be Woodstock, Sasquatch will be a great place to see the still-young band in their element.


Sunday, 6:25 p.m., Yeti

The good news about Sasquatch is that if you’re into psychedelic garage rock, there’s plenty to go around. The bad news is that they cruelly scheduled Quilt at the exact same time as Temples on two different stages. Take your pick! The trio met at art school in Boston and since have become a staple of the lengthy Mexican Summer roster. Their particular corner of the psych world is more closely aligned with the Velvet Underground or even Jefferson Airplane, but with the grit and jangle of The Animals. A tough choice between US and UK for Sunday evening.


Monday, 3:30 p.m., Bigfoot

Hailing from pretty much the middle of nowhere in south-central Wisconsin, PHOX makes exactly the kind of beautiful, delicate, layered, pop-driven folk that you’d expect from the stark Midwest. It doesn’t hurt that they recorded their debut full-length at Justin Vernon’s home studio in Eau Claire. While the band is a wonder to listen to in their own right, it is vocalist Monica Martin that really steals the show. Her smoky smooth voice makes PHOX so much more than just another midwestern folk band, pulling them in the direction of Feist-y indie pop as banjos and Telecasters plink away just beneath the surface.

Milo Greene

Saturday, 2:25 p.m., Bigfoot

Milo Greene describes itself as a “cinematic pop band,” a label that makes sense once you settle into the tunes. At first listen, they just sound like another folky pop band, but when you let the gorgeous vocal harmonies and intricate instrumentation wash over you, you realize that this is the movie Noah Baumbach keeps trying to make. Milo Greene is, fittingly, from Los Angeles and no doubt owes some of the credit for their beautifully expansive, cinematic sound to their surroundings. They’re taking a trip up the coast for the festival and are a perfect sunny day band to be hitting the stage Saturday afternoon.

Hiss Golden Messenger

Sunday, 5:05pm, Yeti

North Carolina ensemble Hiss Golden Messenger makes the kind of easy-going country-rock that, if not for the production value, could easily have come from your grandparents’ record collection. The project of M.C. Taylor (whose past bands include angular hardcore outfit Ex-Ignota), Hiss Golden Messenger marries the poetic intimacy of the singer-songwriter tradition with the modern sound of alt-country bands like Wilco or Lucero. Taylor’s voice has the warbly, cigarette-tinged character of a 1940s honky-tonk crooner, but with the backing of his band which includes, at various instances, members of Megafaun, Mountain Man and more, the sound is closer to that of a young Tom Petty — full of the heartened twang of the South, but not overcome by it.

Kate Tempest

Sunday, 4:00 p.m., Yeti

At just 29, Kate Tempest has a resume that would make even Yeezus himself pause. Tempest is not just a rapper, but a poet and playwright, and an award-winning one at that. She received the Ted Hughes Award in 2013 and has been hailed by everyone from The Guardian to The Huffington Post as one of the best and most significant writers to come out of Britain in some time. She’s even had a piece commissioned with the Royal Shakespeare Company, over which The Economist raved, “Rarely has the relevance of Shakespeare to our language, to the very fabric of our feelings, been expressed with quite such youthful passion.” As for her music, it is driving and sparse, with her constant flow of ideas the main focus, delivered through a thick, halting London accent, a la Mike Skinner’s The Streets. She’s performed at Glastonbury before, but Sasquatch should be a big break for her here in the States.

Hanni El Khatib

Monday, 2:05 p.m., Sasquatch

Do you ever wonder what Cage the Elephant would be like if they could write more than one good song per album? Or what the Black Keys would sound like if one of them had owned just one Stooges record growing up? If so, Hanni El Khatib would like to have a word, just as soon as he’s done smoking the tires of his Trans Am in the parking lot. A first-generation immigrant of Palestinian and Filipino parents, Hanni hurtles through ass-shaking bad boy rock ‘n’ roll at a breakneck pace. His latest release, Moonlight, is more groove-laden than his first few offerings, slowing things down to a sexy, midnight ride with the top down. It’s a shame he won’t be playing later in the day, but his performance will be worth making your way to the main stage well before Future Islands tunes up.


Monday, 1:20 p.m., Bigfoot

Another local Seattle band, THEESatisfaction takes trip-hop and mixes back in all the sounds that the genre was borrowing from in the first place: hip-hop, R&B, and soul. The results are lush, atmospheric, and utterly unique. Members Stas Irons and Cat Harris-White had their big break with a guest track on Shabazz Palaces’ 2011 record Black Up that led to a record deal from Sub Pop. Fans of anything from D’Angelo’s Black Messiah to Zero 7’s The Garden will find something to love when they take the stage early on Monday afternoon.

Bishop Nehru

Friday, 7:30 p.m., Yeti

In an era where the Odd Future crew have taken the hip-hop world by storm, it’s no longer so strange to see a teenager rapping with the best of them. But where Odd Future is obsessed with the dark and dangerous, 18-year-old Bishop Nehru is a kind of old-school cool. His flow is relaxed, his lyrics clever and delivered with a grin. His tracks are chopped jazz samples, full of mellow marimba tones and moody trumpets. Even his stage name exudes this chillness: half inspired by Tupac’s character in Juice, half by Jawaharial Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister that was allied with Mahatma Gandhi. And there’s always the question: Will his friend and collaborator MF DOOM make an appearance on the stage at Sasquatch?