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More Words of Thanks, for Kendrick Lamar and Superb Local Videos

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When Rocks Off recently polled our contributors about the music-related things they're thankful for this year, we unforgivably neglected a couple of folks who sent theirs in. Our apologies.

Jef With One F: As Rocks Off's resident hermit and the father of a young child, I don't get out much in the local music scene as much as I would like. There is one thing, though, that I am very pleased with, and that is how many bands have finally started concentrating on making outstanding music videos. Hell, this year we even had an HPMA for such things.

We had things like Featherface's "I Saw You Dancing," which was a Lynchian nightmare of beautiful brutality and dance. I still say it tops 90 percent of the national-level acts' videos that I've reviewed here. Or how about Jennifer Grassman's haunting ode to old hotel ghost stories?

Then there was Peloton, who redefined how people make basic performance videos and managed to turn tired tropes into a suckerpunch of genius in "Kim Deal/Kim Gordon." The Live Lights had "Highs of Low," Orents Stirner made a seven-minute acid trip, and just overall it has been an exceptional year for the art of the music video in Houston. Here's to seeing if 2013 can top it.

Rolando Rodriguez: I'm thankful for Kendrick Lamar. He made me excited about mainstream hip-hop again by bringing intellect, meaning, depth, originality, and nostalgia back to this segment of music in a really beautiful way. His album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, is so multidimensional in its offering and inventive. It's a kaleidoscope of his Compton reality -- a soundtrack to rising from a dark place of violence amidst the intriguing contrast of bullets blazing under palm trees.

The album is so sincerely California, and that's the accomplishment if you think about it. Lamar breathed life and revived a very tired West Coast sound that tried repetitively to make a comeback to the masses. My theory is he sat down and said, "I'm going to make a better album than The Chronic." I think he genuinely tried. He didn't succeed. He was missing Rodney King, the makings of a race war and some riots. But damn it if he didn't make a valiant effort.


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