OOOH AAAH, CHECK OUT my new digs! After two years of slaying you with my astute musical taste, I feel I’ve arrived! Here begins our new journey together…

If you don’t know me already (which, mostly, why would you?), the name’s Ashley and on top of my responsibilities at dear Out There, I a) am a Seattle-based music publicist, b) promote concerts up and down the west coast, c) was born and raised in (and still have my hands all over) Spokane and d) have become synonymous with the word “Wig” (Google it).

I know what you’re thinking. What nerve, I have!, you say, to write about music in Spokane while not living here! Fair, but though separated now by a 300 mile distance from my hometown, I maintain a near-constant awareness of it and its inhabitants. For one, I’ve been writing your reviews for you. (Ha!) And two, I’ve represented and/or booked a handful of your local musicians (won’t say who, none of the relationships were long-lasting—snicker, snicker). In my, let’s say safely, three years of working within Spokane’s music scene, I’ve learned a lot, and should be totally qualified to comment, as I’ll prove to you in the coming months. Stick with me.

One thing I’ve learned about Spokane is that its climate—both literally and figuratively—is always changing (I spent two weeks in that snow, athankyou.). The music scene is no exception to that trend. Just ask ISAMU “SOM” JORDAN, formerly of the Spokesman-Review, now a freelancer for the Inlander, host on KYRS, and curator of his new pet project, TheSomShow.com. “I’m doing my best to hold the megaphone for local music,” he said recently of his continuing dedication. “If I have an opportunity to make a positive impact in that regard—whether through posting a MySpace bulletin, writing in the local press, or volunteering at KYRS—I’ll take it.”

For four years, Jordan has been giving out awards to the leaders of Spokane’s musical pack (dubbed “Sommys”), and this year, though the change in his own personal climate, he’ll maintain tradition, with a twist. “I’ve always been able to build on the energy of [past] Sommys by getting passionate people involved—more judges, presenters, artists, etc,” Jordan said. “The natural progression is putting it to an online vote, so the event really does belong to the public.” The Sommys will be handed out February 13 at the Blvd with surprise musical guests.

The Sommys are a nice barometer for what’s happening in Spokane, and, fittingly, the nominees reflect those most active in the scene. Cyrus Fell Down (up for Band of the Year and Best Live Performance, and my brand new PR client—full disclosure) venture to Seattle this month for the annual EMP Sound Off! competition on February 28 (former participants include Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, The Globes). Birds of a feather Karli Fairbanks and Kaylee Cole (both up for Singer/Songwriter) share a brief tour about the Northwest at the beginning of the month, and Fairbanks will follow it with a performance at Empyrean on Valentine’s Day. Space Age Fur (Best New Artist, whose frontman at a recent show reminded us of gone-but-not-forgotten Seaweed Jack) play Caterina on February 15 along with Godbear (Best Rock).

And since we’re on the subject of notables, it’s worth sending a hearty congrats to HOCKEY (featuring Spokanite Brian White and his fellow Gonzaga grad Anthony Stassi), who this month will head out on their first European tour, with support from labels Virgin (in the UK) and Capitol (US).

There’s more to come, dear reader, so please be in touch. Bands/artists, keep me in the loop. Readers, let me know your thoughts. We’re in this together. Talk to you soon.

CD OF THE MONTH

PAST LIVES
Strange Symmetry (Suicide Squeeze)
What’s better, having your favorite band together still, or gaining the two bands that come from its split? If you were a Stone Temple Pilots fan (as I was/am), then, sure, you’d favor the original (Army of Anyone, are you kidding me? Velvet Revolver, omg!). But after careful consideration, I’m inclined, in the case of Blood Brothers, to give up the oldie in favor of its new counterparts: Whitney/Votolato’s Jaguar Love, and Henderson/Gajadhar/Blilie’s Past Lives. By all accounts, Morgan’s wail is nasally as always (which I actually always sort of dug over Johnny, if we’re bein’ honest), and the music that accompanies is frantic, yet melodic, dancey, perhaps more easily digestible than the back-catalog.