Hayes Carll's Burlesque Circus and Sideshow Freakout House of Blues, December 28
Singer-songwriter Hayes Carll's songs are populated by widescreen people of oddity and quirk, so it makes total sense for him to put his own special twist on the holidays. At Friday's House of Blues free-for-all, Carll will be joined by good friends Corb Lund and Houston's Craig Kinsey, along with what is sure to be a cast of beauties, weirdos and whoever else is in the audience. Hell, make a long weekend of it and follow Carll and company to Austin and Dallas; just call in sick until after the Super Bowl. CRAIG HLAVATY
Omotai, From Beyond Walters, December 28
Following Omotai's 2010 Peace Through Fear EP, the trio's new album Terrestrial Grief (right) is made up of 11 one-point, grinding metal courses that make more noise than you would think humanly possible from just three people. Be sure to catch opening slow-burners From Beyond, whose stone-y The Color Out of Space EP was released earlier in December. Watch for an interview with Omotai later on this morning. CRAIG HLAVATY
Winter Wonder Glam With Dead Roses, The Wiggins and Hamamatsu Tom, Rudyard's, December 28
The old, weird Houston scene -- somewhere both the music and people who made it could be hazardous to your long-term health and short-term prospects of making it to work the next day -- is almost gone, replaced by an ambitious generation of bands that prefers social networking and playing it safe. Maybe that's for the better; probably not. Dead Roses, Hamamatsu Tom, and the Wiggins, however, all play punk-ish songs full of cantankerous feedback, off-putting noise and withering sarcasm, meant to impress no one except those who get it. Does that make them throwbacks or just smart? CHRIS GRAY
Kendrick Lamar Warehouse Live/House of Blues, December 29
Hands down the hottest rapper of 2012, Compton's Kendrick Lamar had to schedule two shows in one night just to meet the demand among his mushrooming Houston fan base. Not a trash-talking braggart like so many of his contemporaries, Lamar is instead a heavy-lidded ladies' man whose gift for witty introspection makes him a distant cousin to Houston's own Devin the Dude.
Anointed the "new king of the West Coast" last year by titans Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and The Game, Lamar made his proper debut on the grainy, melancholy good kid, M.A.A.D City, an instant smash upon its late-October release. Both shows are sold out at this point, but watch @WeScoreMore on Twitter for possible giveaways and other updates. CHRIS GRAY
Adolescents Fitzgerald's, December 30
Old-school Cali punk meets new-school Houston punk as spiky '80s greats the Adolescents and Youth Brigade swing through town, picking up the young, pissy and (natch) tattooed American Heist along the way to open a few Texas gigs. The Heist are set to have another big year of recording and touring themselves. Think of this show as your New Year's Eve pre-party. You might as well go into 2013 already hung over, right? CRAIG HLAVATY
FIVE OTHER SHOWS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
Big Freedia: Come to see New Orleans' queen of bounce music, and you might well wind up onstage with her. Listen for rump-shakers from last year's Azz Everywhere and this year's Boyz Noize/Spank Rock-tweaked "Nasty." (Fitzgerald's, December 28)
The Beans: Local quartet's eponymous debut isn't even out yet, but already carries a whiff of Heartless Bastards and Alabama Shakes. (Cactus Music, December 29, 1 p.m.)
Josh Abbott Band: Lubbock honky-tonkers had one of the biggest albums on the Texas music circuit this year with Small Town Family Dream. (Mo's Place, Katy, December 29)
Festivus for the Restivus: This freaky-sounds event headlined by Mr. Peabody comes advertised on Facebook with a proclamation from some Hopi elders ending "We are the ones we have been waiting for." No glass containers. ("The Silo," 4601 Clinton, December 29)
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Freddie Gonorrhea and the Gunz: Free punk show featuring one of the funniest band names we've heard in a while, along with Wreckage Squad, Braindead, Moral Distrust and Brain Wash. Sounds like a blast. (Dean's on Main, Sunday 30)