Crushing Rocks: Check It Out Dot Com

Just over five years ago, I started a music-themed website called The Wig Fits All Heads. It lasted four years, got me into countless shows, gave me an opportunity to speak to inspiring folk, and, quite honestly, turned me into the music publicist I am today (and, actually, really is responsible for me meeting BFF-Patrick Kendrick… and thereby ACTUALLY introduced me to SPOKANE MUSIC…Whoa). I covered Spokane as often as possible—we wrote about Coretta Scott, Matthew Winters, La Cha-Cha, and we even had a pseudo-local celeb contributor at one time in Anthony Stassi. I always wished, though, that we could have covered it more, given it its due. And it was this year at our five year anniversary that I became aware of CHECKITOUTMUSIC.COM.

Check It Out Music (shortened to CIOM) is literally covering EVERYTHING music-related in Spokane. Don’t believe me? Their homepage right now as I type features Miranda Lambert at Coeur d’Alene Casino, Coldplay at the Gorge, and a recent rave about Caterina’s Campfire Series. I’m not sure how a three-person team manages to cover all that they do—but shoot! They’ve been hitting the blogging HARD and have news about shows happening EVERYWHERE. Coverage skews toward the positive, and there’s always room for improvement, but I’m inclined to give Andrea, Matt and Jason huge pats on the back, because coverage at the rate they’re producing it, on a scene the size of Spokane, is tough, and I’m totally impressed so far.

“A lot of people whine about how there is nothing to do in Spokane,” founder Andrea Williams told me via email. “Holy Cow! Do they ever get out? We can find a show almost every night… Plus the selection is good enough that we can choose what we want to see and a lot of the time it includes touring acts. So far it’s been a blast and we can only hope it gets better.”

Fans of being appreciated, the scene figureheads reciprocate the love. Of the trio, Caterina’s Kendrick said, “People so great, if we rolled out the red carpet for them they would probably bring a vacuum!” (Oh, wit!).

Welcome, crazy-awesome, new-sign-of-growth branch of the Spokane music scene!

Next, in the interest of keeping up on things—literally AS we were going to print for July, I learned that LUKE BAUMGARTEN (the subject of last month’s column) had received serious honors from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Congrats to him!

Honorary Spokanite PETER MURRAY (OTM historians will remember him from a little piece called “Seaweed in Seattle,” from the early ’06 era, as the owner of a kitty-carrying Suburban, and Gonzaga pal of the previously-mentioned Stassi) returns on August 29 at Empyrean for a show with his new band, JOHN HEART JACKIE, featuring Portland singer/songwriter Jennie Wayne (who attended college with Joel Smith! Many school connections!). The music is beauuutiful. A new EP entitled Women & Money will be for sale, along with a great set from the Shook Twins.

And lastly, another quick August 29 shout in honor of someone who basically WAS the majority of my PRE-Wig years, and whose birthday I celebrated with an exhibit on his life (replete with books, photos, and captions to each… geeky, yes) in my parents’ basement for severrral years: Michael Jackson. The hero of my musical life would have celebrated 51 years, and little Ashley ages 3-13 would have kicked me had I not mentioned it. Seeing as I’ll be in Spokane that weekend, perhaps me and the ‘rents will turn on a little “Billie Jean” in MJ’s honor…


The Firey Furnaces
I’m Going Away (Thrill Jockey)
I love me a good musical duo. I love the childhood BFF-duo (Two Gallants), I love the married-duo (Mates of State, and occasionally Viva Voce), I love the dating-duo (Matt & Kim date, right? I hope so), and I even love the gimmicky-duo (but who doesn’t love the White Stripes?). So perhaps it’s no surprise that the Fiery Furnaces, the duo made up of brother/sister team Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger have long-been on my list of “get around to catching up on” bands. Translation: I used to listen to, lost track of, but still want to listen to… them. The new album put them back in my head. It’s slick in a way that the FFs have never been before. It’s accessible, and truly great. A fantastic introduction to the band if you need one, and a great summertime listen overall.


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