by Anthony Stassi and Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & n case you don't know, the RAWK FINAL FOUR is an annual competition among 20 high school-age bands from the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area. In the past five years, it has developed a reputation as a good platform for young, not-yet-established bands to inject themselves into the local scene. The finals this Saturday will decide this year's winner.
A quick run down of the competing bands: (1) To No Avail is a young, regionally acclaimed growl-metal band from Rathdrum, Idaho. (2) Fires of Scottsboro is a local hardcore, scream-metal band (not to be mistaken for growl-metal). (3) Blak Curtain is an AC/DC-esque classic rock band from Spokane. (4) BEAF is a local Christian-rock band that took home second place in last year's competition. (5) The Gutterballs are a pop-punk-ska group from Deer Park. There will also be a guest headlining performance by Seattle folk-rockers Manchester.
-- ANTHONY STASSI
RAWK Final Four at the Service Station on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7 pm. Tickets: $8; $10, at the door. Call 466-1696.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & C & lt;/span & helsea Seth Woodward and MATTHEW WINTERS are complete BFFs who have decided that their respective musical ventures should "tour nonstop from now on." Together, until the end of time.
Sunday at the Spread, Winters' solo project and Woodward's band PAPER MACHE will take that first fateful step, a simultaneous CD release. Though Woodward had retail success previously in a little emo outfit called Coretta Scott, these albums will be firsts for both Winters and Paper Mache.
Winters, who is all about crafting hard-edged lyrics around soft-strummed acoustica, is calling his album Under Your Skin Like Splinters while Paper Mache's Debts To Pay is an ode to Dust Bowl folk chic (which is so hot right now).
The gig will also kick off a two-month tour climaxing (though not culminating) with three days of gigs amid the madness of South by Southwest. The buddy system is the only way to do that festival, trust us.
-- LUKE BAUMGARTEN
Paper Mache and Matthew Winters with Nathan Corder at the Spread on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 pm. Tickets: $7. Call 456-4515.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & n the past couple of months, Platform Booking's been luring relevant bands on the rise to the area's smaller stages. The best example is the imminent Thermals show at CenterStage. And on deck for next Tuesday at Mootsy's is Washington, D.C. vaudeville "steam-punk" act THE CASSETTES.
Their sound is a m & eacute;lange of old and new, reflecting their aged influences (Al Jolson and Elvis Presley) but indicative of trends in the bizarre mash of genres that has erupted out of the collision of the indie and folk scenes. Both Tapes 'n' Tapes and Norfolk & amp; Western are obvious, though only tangential touchstones. The Cassettes' unmistakable sound is partially the result of their love of quirky instrumentation. You might recognize the accordion and bicycle horn, but I doubt you'll know what to think of the dude waving his hand over a box with antennas for the whole show. That's called a theremin. Peep it.
-- ANTHONY STASSI
The Cassettes with Seaweed Jack at Mootsy's on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 10 pm. Tickets: $5. Call 838-1570.