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Six weeks ago, the Sasquatch Music Festival lineup was released to much fanfare. Like all festivals, some hated the lineup while others loved it. For the more levelheaded, it appears to be a very balanced lineup with a deep undercard. From here on out we will be underscoring the lesser-known Sasquatch artists by highlighting a different artist each week. Beyond delving into each artist’s bio, sound, etc., we will attempt to give some insight into what will make their performance at Sasquatch so amazing.

The past several weeks we’ve covered Sasquatch artists who by and large only perform their own material. This week, we’re taking things in a drastically different direction. In 2005, Brian Shimkovitz, a recent graduate of Indiana University and an ethnomusicology major, spent a year in Ghana on a Fulbright Scholarship. While in Ghana, Shimkovitz acquired a number of cassette tapes of local artists.  On his return to his home in Brooklyn, Shimvokitz launched a blog to share the tapes with his friends. That blog, Awesome Tapes From Africa, is now one of the premier sources for “world” music on the web. Along with the blog, Shimkovitz now takes his show on the road, Djing with cassette tapes, as well as running an Awesome Tapes From Africa label. Last week, we spoke with Brian about his live sets, the label, where to look for awesome cassettes in Los Angeles (Little Ethiopia), and most importantly, if he’s excited to play at Sasquatch. Brian was incredibly helpful in making this interview happen and provided us with articulate, well-thought out answers. Brian also recently moved to Berlin so let’s show him a little love stateside. Read the entire interview after the jump and be sure to bookmark Awesome Tapes From Africa.

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Five weeks ago, the Sasquatch Music Festival lineup was released to much fanfare. Like all festivals, some hated the lineup while others loved it. For the more levelheaded, it appears to be a very balanced lineup with a deep undercard. From here on out we will be underscoring the lesser-known Sasquatch artists by highlighting a different artist each week. Beyond delving into each artist’s bio, sound, etc., we will attempt to give some insight into what will make their performance at Sasquatch so amazing.

If you are a Seattle native, attend or attended the University of Washington, or have spent anytime at house parties in the University District, chances are you have seen Beat Connection play at least once in one form or another. The duo, originally made up of Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger, have been DJing and performing for around three years now and built an impressive level of notoriety in the Seattle music scene. Since their days on the UW party circuit, the band has gone through quite a few changes. In 2010, Jordan and Reed released their debut, the Surf Noir EP, with the help of friends Jarred Katz and Tom Eddy, both now members of the band. The EP quickly became a hit and Beat Connection began to play at various clubs and venues around the city. Eventually the blog world took notice and the EP took off. The band, now at four members, signed with UK label Tender Age and are currently prepping an album for a 2012 release date.
While their output to this point has been fairly minimal, the Surf Noir EP was an excellent debut and sounds even better live. Beat Connection’s sound falls somewhere between Beach House and LCD Soundsystem. That’s a ridiculously wide net to throw, but the band has shown that they can carry the torch for both driving punk-addled dance music and unassuming, tropical tunes. Reid and Jordan’s DJing days shine through on tracks like “In The Water” and their remix of Cosmic Revenge’s “Memories.” You can also tell that Reid and Jordan have spent some time on the decks based on how well Surf Noir flows. As good as each individual track sounds, the EP sounds remarkably smooth and complete from start to finish. As fun as the dance-floor oriented tracks are, the majority of Surf Noir gives off a completely different mood. Tracks like “Same Damn Time” and “Theme From Yours Truly” have a youthful vulnerability about them that belies the struggles of growing up.

Coming back to their penchant for rowdy live shows, Beat Connection should excel at Sasquatch. One of the few bands in the dance tent, they will most likely get an early time slot, but based on the crowd at Capitol Hill Block Party, people will come out for the show. It’s easier said than done, but Beat Connection just make people dance. It’s exultantly unpretentious dance music and it’s nearly impossible to hold back from jumping into the mass of sweaty kids. Beat Connection will be playing in the Banana Shack over Memorial Day weekend.

One month ago, the Sasquatch Music Festival lineup was released to much fanfare. Like all festivals, some hated the lineup while others loved it. For the more levelheaded, it appears to be a very balanced lineup with a deep undercard. From here on out we will be underscoring the lesser-known Sasquatch artists by highlighting a different artist each week. Beyond delving into each artist’s bio, sound, etc., we will attempt to give some insight into what will make their performance at Sasquatch so amazing.

Seattle has long been known for its tendency to foster some of the biggest musical talents of the past several decades. Maybe it’s the rain, maybe it’s the attitude, but something about the city seems to create artist after artist brimming with promise. That being said, Seattle has not always been known for its hip-hop, and this may be because Seattle’s rappers tend not to fit the mold of a nationwide hip-hop stereotype. Today, we focus on two such norm-defying hip-hop artists, both of whom will be gracing the Seattle-hip-hop-focused Maine Stage at Sasquatch: Grynch and Sol.

The first, Grynch, is (in all honesty) probably the shortest rapper in the world. Name every physical characteristic you would expect a rapper to possess, and Grynch will defy nearly every one (known as the Ballard King, Grynch can be spotted driving a silver ’86 Volvo station wagon). His stature, however, does not detract from his talent. He has been releasing promising material since the mid-2000’s, and like other young Seattle rappers, he has been fortunate enough to fall under the wing of artists such as Geo of the Blue Scholars. Grynch will be releasing a new album, Perspective, on Friday, and judging from the tracks he has shared thus far, it’s shaping up to be a very respectable endeavor. Read a short review of the album by Larry Mizell Jr. in The Stranger right here. Check out “So Far,” featuring Brother Ali and Shaprece, and produced by Jake One, right here:

Next up on the Sasquatch preview list is Seattle rapper Sol, a gangly UW grad who is relatively new on the Seattle hip-hop scene, but is nevertheless making a splash with his low-key, conversational flow and relatable lyricism. His most recent release, a full-length album titled Yours Truly, is more introspective and sophisticated than his previous efforts, and it is an enjoyably cohesive record. The album was funded entirely through a Kickstarter campaign, and it reached #1 on the iTunes hip-hop charts nationwide. Sol’s live shows are high-energy and undeniably fun, and he will certainly be a valuable addition to the Sasquatch lineup. Check out the music video for “2020” right here:

Grynch and Sol have been collaborating on occasional tracks for the last few years, and tend to make appearances on stage at each others’ shows, which will most likely be the case at Sasquatch. Here, check out a few of their most successful collaborations:

These two artists comprise only a fraction of the Seattle hip-hop talent that will be making an appearance at Sasquatch. The Maine Stage will bring us many great undiscovered hip-hop acts from around the Northwest. As the weeks progress, we will continue to bring you more coverage of the Maine Stage artists, as well as other Sasquatch artists in general, so stay tuned.

Update: Check out Grynch’s brand new album, Perspective, right here.

Photo from facebook

Three weeks ago, the Sasquatch Music Festival lineup was released to much fanfare. Like all festivals, some hated the lineup while others loved it. For the more levelheaded, it appears to be a very balanced lineup with a deep undercard. From here on out we will be underscoring how great the undercard is by writing about a new Sasquatch artist every week. Beyond delving into each artist’s bio, sound, etc., we will attempt to give some insight into what will make their performance at Sasquatch, a truly unique festival, so amazing.

So far in our Sasquatch artist previews, we have unintentionally covered solely artists that will be performing in the Banana Shack aka the Dance Tent. While this blog does trend towards the electronic and hip hop side of the musical spectrum, our goal is not to hem ourselves into any genre boundaries. Again, this week, we are covering an artist performing in the Banana Shack. Also again, this week’s artist, Little People, does not fit into the traditional confines of a dance act. Our first two artists, Com Truise and Tycho, plie their trade for Ghostly International, but our love affair for the label ends here.

Little People aka Laurent Clerc is a Swiss artist by way of London. Clerc is one of the few artists who have managed to stay under the radar, although he has built a following through untraditional means. Clerc released his first album in 2006, titled Mickey Mouse Operation, but has stayed relatively silent since its release. Rarely agreeing to participating in interviews (I only managed to unearth one) and only sporadically releasing material, Clerc has instead gained a following through listeners discovering his music on iTunes and internet-radio station Pandora. Since Mickey Mouse Operation‘s release, the album has steadily risen up the iTunes electronic charts and Clerc’s profile has risen accordingly.

DownloadLittle People – Mickey Mouse Operation (Half of Album)

Over the past year or so, Clerc has began to tour, most recently supporting Emancipator on his Winter tour, as well a stops at Re:Generation Festival and several other US tour dates. Clerc’s slow acceptance of the spotlight, along with the rise in popularity of his debut album, appears to be in anticipation of his second album, set to drop this Spring.

It is difficult to judge Clerc’s sound, as he has stated that he wants to move away from the sample based trip-hop sound that dominated his debut and move towards a more organic sound. Mickey Mouse Operation ranged from Emancipator-esque orchestral pieces dominated by strings and dusty percussion to more repetitive, hip hop oriented beats. Emancipator is a good comparison for Little People’s debut, but so is Endtroducing era DJ Shadow. In my opinion, no instrumental album will ever touch Endtroducing in terms of innovation and technical proficiency, but Shadow’s fingers are all over Clerc’s debut.

Little People will most likely have a late afternoon set in the Banana Shack after the house DJ performs (DJ Anjali was great last year), and barring a massive popular breakthrough in the coming months, will be playing for a pretty sparse crowd. Despite this, Clerc will undoubtedly put on an excellent show, and will serve as a nice break to the ravey-er dance acts that will dominate the Shack.

Photo via Facebook.

Seattle underground hip-hop favorite Fatal Lucciauno dropped his new EP, The Message, earlier this week. The 11-track EP is produced entirely by Seattle’s brilliant Jake One, and his incredible beats and samples blend effortlessly with Fatal’s low-key flow. Fatal Lucciauno will be among the Seattle hip-hop artists to perform at Sasquatch! music festival’s new Maine Stage in May. The EP is available for stream and free download right here, via Bandcamp:

Photo courtesy of The Stranger.

Seattle avant-soul goddesses THEESatisfaction recently signed to Sub Pop, and will be among our most-anticipated Sasquatch 2012 artists this coming May. They are definitely worth a listen. Today, they released a new track off their upcoming album,  awE NaturalE, due out on March 27th. Listen to and download the track over at The Fader.

THEESatisfaction also has quite a few upcoming tour dates, so hopefully you’ll be able to catch them live:

THEESatisfaction 2012 Tour Dates:
02/18 – Seattle, WA @ Town Hall
03/09 – Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo Gallery
03/13-18 – Austin, TX @ South by Southwest
03/27 – Seattle, WA @ Easy Street
03/29 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
04/04 – Nantes, FR @ Stereolux
04/05 – Amiens, FR @ La Lune Des Pirates
04/06 – Lille, FR @ Aeronef
04/09 – Lyon, FR @ TBA
04/11 – Angers, FR @ Chabada
04/12 – Tours, FR @ Temps Machine
04/13 – Poitiers, FR @ Confort Moderne
04/15 – Madrid, ES @ Festival Electronica
04/17 – Lisbon, PT @ ZDB
04/20 – Bristol, UK @ Start the Bus
04/21 – Glasgow, UK @ Arches
04/23 – Brighton, UK @ Hope
04/24 – London, UK @ White Heat
05/25-28 – George, WA @ Sasquatch! Music Festival

Via.

Photo by Madeline Feig

Earlier in the week, we wrote about the Sasquatch website malfunction that revealed a few acts from the lineup. Before the entire lineup is released tonight, we have another bit of information that leaked out when the website glitched. While this news is completely unconfirmed, several reports have articulated that this years festival will have an all Northwest hip hop stage called the “Maine Stage.” This is in line with confirmed reports that the festival will have a fifth stage, although the name is highly questionable. Probably a reference to hip hop slang, but who spells it that way? They really couldn’t have come up with a better name? Anyways, like the name or not, this is great news. The lineup leak included Grynch, Dyme Def, THEESatisfaction, Sol, Fatal Lucciano, Fly Moon Royalty, and SPAC3MAN, so if the stage is real, it is shaping up pretty well. Check out Guerilla Candy’s take on the stage, and their insights into the “Macklemore effect.”