Jeff Southard is one of those people who, without much recognition, quietly holds major influence on the scene around him. An avid member of the Tacoma music scene, Southard has contributed on a number of occasions by helping to record and mix albums by Makeup Monsters, the Nightgowns and Paris Spleen - among others. He's been referred to as the "fifth Nightgown" by members of the band. If you see him around at shows, which you inevitably will, he always looks kind of run down. He works himself into the ground at his day job, so he can afford to remain such an integral part of Tacoma music. - Rev. Adam McKinney
Early Jucifer meets Scream Club meets, um, a bunch of other things that make Olympia such a beautiful place to discover new music. Hard to pin down, which I like. Emcee Heady Leonne and crew caught the immediate attention of Greyskul's Onry Ozzborn recently and were invited to play his upcoming CD release show. It's hard to ignore shit that is good. Leonne has a solid singing voice. What she lacks in pure rhyme skill she makes up for with perfectly crafted weirdness and ingenuity. It's hard not to use the word cute. It could be dangerous to have Nightfox in the same town as K Records. - Paul Schrag
Dude's been around. There's no doubt. A one time owner of Wrecking Ball Records - the old-school Tacoma label that represented the likes of Tramps of Panic, Those Who Dig, Katie's Dimples, Zeke and Deflowers - Thurmon has probably organized more festivals and rock shows than most of us have been to. These days, along with plenty of other pursuits (including last year's first annual Tacoma Craft Beer Festival), Thurmon is taking charge of the rejuvenated Music and Arts in Wright Park - which makes a lot of sense, considering he's been involved with the moderately iconic Tacoma summer tradition since damn near the beginning. Experience counts in Tacoma, and Thurmon has it. - Matt Driscoll
Especially in Olympia, it's hard to give just one person credit for something. You usually just end up leaving a lot of deserving people out. That said, Northern in Olympia - our Capitol's new, exciting home for all ages music and art since May of '09 - definitely deserves recognition for becoming a major player in the local scene, and since we have to choose a person to bestow credit on, it might as well be Mariella Luz - who's kind of in charge. In association with the Olympia All Ages Project, Luz - with her firm K Records connections - and Northern have created a space of endless possibilities - and regular, jaw dropping music. - MD
I know, I know. He's got a lot of love lately. But Xperience is doing things that shouldn't be ignored. He can sing. He can rap. He makes some juicy beats. He writes some potent-ass rhymes. And he has a new album coming out that is going to redefine some shit. I hope. The new record - William the VIII it's called - is just plain enjoyable to listen to. It's strange enough that you know where it came from (Olympia), and chock-full of the man's talents. It's diverse: sometimes delightfully, jarringly so. There's no reason why XP shouldn't be on your list. - PS
The Den at urbanXchange has quickly become one of the most exciting places to see local music. Not only is it one of just only a few places to host all-ages shows, it frequently features the freshest and most creative bills anywhere in the area. Julie Bennett, owner of urbanXchange, is certainly to be credited with transforming the used clothing store and tea café into something much more vital to the tapestry of Tacoma music. Also to be credited is Alease Frieson, the Den's new booker. She says she has big plans to expand the Den's horizons and help it to find a wider audience. - Rev. AM
Love him or hate him, you can't argue with the influence Hell's Kitchen has had on Tacoma's viability as a music community - and much of the credit for it goes to Hell's Kitchen headman, Ken "Flash" Connell. Tacoma through and through, a former guitarist for metal punk local legends Portrait of Poverty, and a one-time owner of Mother Records, Flash has done his time in the 253. While the Kitchen's punk rock and metal aesthetic may not encapsulate Tacoma's music scene as thoroughly as it once did, it's still hard to argue the important roll Hell's Kitchen has had in giving Tacoma something to build on. - MD
Renee Timmer provides, for the Tacoma music scene, a fountain of boundless enthusiasm. A perennial attendee to just about every show in town, Timmer is also an invaluable word-of-mouth machine. She acts as cheerleader for the Tacoma music scene, which is a role often sadly taken for granted. Even as we, citizens of this fine city, occasionally fall into our patented slumps of self-pity and defeat, Timmer stands astride the glower and helps raise us back up by our bootstraps, unfazed and ever-present. She has also been known to contribute to the scene as drummer for Battersea. - Rev. AM
You know him from the Nightgowns, or Friskey, or maybe just (what at least seems like) his daily trek from his apartment in the Stadium District to the infamous practice space below the USA of Yesterday Motors on St. Helens. (I speak from experience, having watched Brunette make the trip too many times to count while smoking cigarettes outside the Volcano's old downtown office.) Basically, you know Brunette from Tacoma. Aside from his music playing skills, Brunette - literally - seems to have his hand in every release this town births. He might be kind of quiet, but without Brunette Tacoma would be a far less interesting place. - MD
I tried to talk to the General about these albums I keep hearing about. They're coming from all accounts. But mid phone call, I hear some kind of sexy voice say, "You have to use both hands."
"I'ma have to call you back. I'm watching 2012 and giving this girl a massage," Wojack tells me.
Guess we'll have to wait. - PS