DJ Sun The Flat, December 23
Now that some of the well-deserved publicity surrounding the release of DJ Sun's first-ever full-length release, One Hundred, has subsided a little, his true accomplishment on the disc seems even more impressive. In the span of 70 minutes, Sun pours his 20-plus-year career as one of Houston's most in-demand DJs into a seamless work that never lulls, never lags and maintains an unshakably mellow groove throughout.
But then, One Hundred's intricately laid-back latticework should come as no surprise to anyone lucky enough to have met the man; as 2013 starts winding down, it's looking more and more as a worthy Local Album of the Year contender. Among his multitude of weekly gigs, Sun's long-running residency at the Flat, "Rocksteady Mondays," is probably the most chill environment to glimpse this true turntable craftsman at work. CHRIS GRAY
Free Radicals AvantGarden, December 23
Free Radicals is both Nick Cooper's revolving-door ensemble that at any given moment could be playing free jazz or Latin funk, and also Cooper's ongoing testimonial to how much he digs being a member of the Houston music community. He has so much experience at this point that he has very much become a one-man hub of that community.
In 2012, Cooper brought that same kind of musical civic pride to the Radicals' first albumin several years, The Freedom Fence, and then in July watched it win a well-deserved Houston Press Music Award for Local Album of the Year. The group's weekly jam, wherever it may be, is a true local-music institution. For a while it's been at AvantGarden, a local-music institution of its own, and follows David Dove's avant-music showcase They, Who Sound -- still another. CHRIS GRAY
Thunderado Continental Club, December 25
Thunderado doesn't play here that often because of Hunter Perrin's limited availability (he lives in L.A.), but they're definitely worth catching at the Christmas-night Continental residency that reaches its 11th year this time around. Houston native Perrin, a Yale-trained classical guitarist who spent several years in John Fogerty's band, and his mates have concocted a distinctive sound that mingles swamp pop, surf-rock, Americana and Bo Diddley-style R&B, and often showcases Perrin's considerable six-string talents.
Second LP Hilltop Sister was released about this time last year; on Wednesday they'll play one set of originals and another of covers from Cash to the Kinks. Opening is David Beebe + 3, the El Orbits/Banana Blender Surprise linchpin turned Marfa politician's lounge-R&B combo. With David Beebe + 3. CHRIS GRAY
More shows on the next page.
Nick Greer & the G's The Corkscrew, December 26
Nick Greer & the Gs are a musical force to be reckoned with, intent on forging their way to the top of the Houston music scene. At the Houston Press Music Awards showcase in August, they got the crowd dancing, snapping their fingers and crooning along to their infectious melodies. Sporting green suspenders and striped pants, Greer kept to his keyboard and microphone while the Gs behind him danced in unison.
"We are here to intimidate and inspire change," Greer said of his band back in June. If they keep performing that way, the G's already well on the way to accomplishing both. MATTHEW KEEVER
Luther & the Healers The Local Pour (1952 W. Gray), December 26
If you're not privy to Houston blues staples Luther & the Healers, it's about time you were. They're mainstays around here for a reason, namely soulful vocals; howling guitar licks; and a thick, steady bass groove. Experts at their craft, the Healers incorporate the sounds of blues hotspots like Memphis or Chicago with ease. Their faithful crowd is rarely seated, but prefers dancing around to King Floyd covers and flirting with the band. ANGELICA LEICHT
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