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Rip It Out

The coming year in Houston recordings.

Runaway Sun: The bluesy Americana-rockers plan to release a series of digital singles this year, starting with the horn-heavy ballad "Song for You," says front man Andrew Karnavas. In an effort to get all four members to write songs, each of them can introduce any song he wants at practice for two months at a time, "a way for us to explore the band's writing possibilities from all angles," Karnavas offers. They also plan to record an acoustic EP at No Label Brewing Company on February 7, an event open to the public.

Meanwhile, Karnavas's kids-oriented project, Andyroo, will release the album Color Your World and perform for the second time at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Some Nerve: This hardcore group formed in late 2012 and expects to release its 11-song debut full-length during the first quarter of 2014. Mixing punk-rock roots with skills that reflect most of the members' metal/progressive-rock backgrounds, the band says the album was recorded "completely DIY to completely preserve the musical ideas of the band without any outside influence."

The Suffers: After becoming an elite Houston band in 2013, the Suffers are hard at work trying to top themselves. Singer Kam Franklin says they're still prepping the first full-length album they hope to release in the second half of this year. "As the songs come together, we will continue to drop singles," she allows. Much sooner will come a video for their most recent single, "Gwan."

thelastplaceyoulook: The bruising, anthemic and bearded quintet has just issued a new EP, Rip It Out, due on iTunes in late January. It's their first significant release since 2009 LP See the Light Inside You. Guitarist Derek Young says TLPYL is also planning to release a series of videos for covers such as "Man of Constant Sorrow," Stereophonics' "Maybe Tomorrow," Eric Church's "Drink in My Hand" and whatever else their Kickstarter donors have suggested.

The Tontons: The soulful rockers' first full-length LP since 2009's The Tontons, Make-Out King and Other Songs of Love, is due February 18, with a release show set for March 1 at Warehouse Live. They've been accepted into SXSW, and recently Rolling Stone premiered the first single, "Magic Hour." Things are happening.

"It was definitely a very difficult album for us to record," says guitarist Tom Nguyen. "It took several months between tours, and I think that shows on the album. It's a very honest record. Originally, there was no concept for the album, just a couple of songs, but I think it all came together."

Venomous Maximus: Gregg Higgins, singer of this much-tattooed doom-metal crew, says to look for the followup to 2012's Beg Upon the Light, Firewalker, in the summer. "The subject matter is about the sun, so we are trying to release it to match the season it's about," he explains. "On this record we tried to do everything the opposite. The last record was about being in the dark — this record is about illumination and flames!"

"We really wanted to go after some of the biggest influences in rock and roll and tackle epic songs," he adds. "When I was young, I never thought I would be in a band that would be playing music like Fleetwood Mac [and] Alice Cooper, as just megabands of that era. But that's what we are going for."

The Wheel Workers: Steven Higginbotham says his socially conscious, melodic indie-rockers' third album is in some ways a continuation of last year's Past to Present. Some songs on the new one just weren't developed quickly enough to make that one, he says.

"It's also looking to be a pretty uptempo effort, with some of our most frenetic, intense material to date," Higginbotham adds. "The sociopolitical content is still very much present, but there will also be more songs of a personal nature."

Wild Moccasins: At last, the Moccasins are all set to release their sophomore New West album, the groove-laden art-pop of 88 92; it's due February 4, with a release on February 8 at Numbers with Young Mammals, Young Girls and DJ Bagheera. Whereas singer/guitarist Cody Swann says its predecessor, Skin Collision Past, reflected how his and partner Zahira Gutierrez's actions affected other people, 88 92 — an appealing synthesis of New Wave acts like Talking Heads and contemporary electronica-pop — is about the way others have affected the couple.

The title track comes from Swann's memories of his mother's stay in a psychiatric hospital: "My mother was required to create a password for visitors to enter the floor and chose '88 92' as hers," he says. "The numbers themselves are mine and my brother's birth years combined."
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We Want the Airwaves

Grudge Match
Houston's two rap stations aren't playing nice.

Brando

A growing nastiness is brewing between Houston's longstanding rap-radio standard-bearer, KBXX 97.9 The Box, and the recently reformatted KKRW 93.7 The Beat. However, much of the venom has come from the new station.

The latest salvo in Houston's brand-new radio war came on January 7, barely a week after 93.7 switched formats from classic rock. Trae Tha Truth, Houston rap's leading outlaw thanks to his 2009 banishment by The Box, had a song of his played on the radio.

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