Crushing Rocks: Smith & Cyrus

TO START THE MONTH, fall and column off just right, the KNITTING FACTORY has a week of shows worth mentioning (a “craziest week EVER!” kind of week, in fact). September 2, Band of Horses. September 3, Marilyn Manson (“second” show added on August 31). September 5, Modest Mouse. And then for good measure, Michael Franti & Spearhead the next week. WHAT? Color me impressed.

And there’s more! Due to the constraints of a monthly column and limited space (those are called “excuses”), two key albums flew under the radar over the past couple of months, both of them very much important to the power and diversity of the Spokane music scene, and both of them totally fitting for fall listening.

The much-anticipated sophomore album from Pullman-by-way-of-Spokane-ers CYRUS FELL DOWN arrived in July. Radar has the epileptic energy and spark of the band’s manic live shows, albeit with a hint of restraint (necessary for disc form, we imagine), and with greater focus and confidence than that first release, Damn, Dude, Damn (oh, that title…). As frontman DAVID PLELL takes his quirky charm way, way far away to Japan for the next few months, Radar can serve as local fans’ hold-over until more of the band’s brand of ca-razy can ensue at venues near and far. Highlights include show-favorite “Church Clothes,” along with “I was a wreck avoiding a wreck involving the road” (mouthful!) and “Men Wrestling” (eye-brow raise!).

For something entirely different, JOEL SMITH’S The Filibuster was released in August at a show at the Masonic Temple with KARLI FAIRBANKS. Like Fairbanks, Smith has woven himself into the fabric of Spokane’s music family by becoming a friend and proponent of his fellow musicians, and involving himself in the music of others. Excellent examples of community-building they both are. Smith’s music itself is refreshing and lyrical and sing-songy and lovely. Check out the title track on his MySpace and I’m confident you’ll want to hear more. To boot, the artwork is also top shelf (!!!).

Smith takes part this month in one of my favorite Spokane mainstays, PIG OUT IN THE PARK. Not really one for crowds, or really for greasy food, I can’t help but be drawwwn into the atmosphere at Pig Out. The music line-up is always quite a crap-shoot, but there are definite highlights this year in Smith and his Hands of Plenty (September 4), OIL OF ANGELS, KAYLEE COLE and COOL STACK (September 5), and local salsa hot-shots MILONGA (September 6).

Still more music finds its way to lovely downtown Spokane as part of SUSTAINABLE SEPTEMBER, with help from Community-Minded Enterprises. Sustainable Uprising will take place on September 12 after the Main Street Fair, 8-11pm on Main between Browne & Division. The event, geared toward youth, will feature music, fashion, film and art, as well as hands-on projects/all-kinds-of-awesome. I couldn’t confirm anything in the way of line-up by press time, but recommend you keep an eye on it as the event nears.

And last but not least, the good ol’ boys in Seattle’s THE BLAKES return to Spokane on September 25 at the Blvd. Did you know that drummer BOB HUSAK attended Lewis & Clark for a couple of years? Ask him about being picked up by his head by a football player. F’real. (Early shout-out to awesome Portland band THE DEAD TREES who play October 4!).

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