Rocks Off Gives Thanks For Health, Houston, Better Sound and... Raffi?

Allowing ourselves to become dangerously sentimental, Rocks Off polled our regular contributors to ask them the one music-related thing they're thankful for this year. We'll stop before we cue up Dido.

Chris Gray: Besides being grateful to be here at all -- in a way that, an all-too-short time ago, I was most certainly not -- I am thankful to be working with all the people from whom you are about to hear. Of course it's not all sunshine and roses (how could it be?), but I am proud of all their work on this blog, and proud to have them here. I find that their enthusiasm for music, especially the local scene, has a way of renewing my own just when it's starting to flag.

A close second is that local scene I just mentioned, which may never, ever get the kind of credit it deserves -- which I also find to be its most endearing attribute. May it ever be underestimated, and may those who do always be pleasantly surprised when they do found out how much it has to offer. A distant third is my iPhone, because this year I finally discovered (to my bank account's peril) exactly how easy and fun it is to download music from iTunes. This is, I shit you not, how I became a proud Little Big Town fan.

Brando: Spotify. It's taken what was already great about Pandora and made it even more accessible thanks to mobile capabilities as well as the playlists. Feels like I'm back in high school trading playlists with people.

Christina Lynn: I think I am gonna go with Florence and the Machine. Not only do I love Florence's voice, but I respect the fact that she admits who her influences are but doesn't copy them verbatim. To me, she is a lot like the rockers of the 70s and 80s.

Creg Lovett: I'm thankful that Chuck Roast is now hosting in-store performances at Vinal Edge (239 W, 19th St.), and that the Pain Teens are reuniting at Fitzgerald's the day after Thanksgiving.

Corey Deiterman: The one music-related thing that I'm thankful for this year is that I got the opportunity to see so many amazing shows. From seeing my favorite band, At the Drive-In, reunited and playing a tiny club in Austin, to seeing a 78-year old Leonard Cohen perform for three and a half hours with more energy and passion than some 18-year-olds, to watching the Flaming Lips rip through Dark Side of the Moon at this year's Summer Fest, and to seeing Cloud Nothings coming into their own as one of the best bands at this year's SXSW, it's been an absolutely amazing year for shows.

Craig Hlavaty: This year I am thankful a) That I have my boss Chris Gray back. He was indisposed this time last year and he was greatly missed; b) Aside from that, I am thankful that Houston got so many great shows these past 12 months to cover, like Swans, Paul McCartney and Glen Campbell, among many others; and c) Lastly, I am supremely gracious to live in Houston, which should go without saying.

Matthew Keever: This year (and every year, for that matter), I'm thankful for live music. This year especially, I'm glad to see that, in spite of a sound ordinance that threatened to snuff out the scene has failed to do so. Shows may begin and end a little earlier these days, but blood is pumping through the veins of the Houston music scene. And for that, I'm very grateful.

Nathan Smith: After catching my first show at the Engine Room in quite a few years over the weekend, I think I'm most thankful for the excellent sound systems and sound people around town. Not terribly long ago, cruddy sound was a regular irritant at some of the better clubs in this city, but sound engineers have stepped their game up in the last several years in venues large and small. Now, the bad nights stick out!

Cory Garcia: Although my feelings on it are complicated due to some recent revelations about how much artists make from streaming services, I still fall on the "thankful" side when it comes to Spotify. Sure, most sounds are only a Google/YouTube search away, but when I want nothing more than to look up a song that someone just recommended to me it's my first, and usually best, option. It's helped me discover some great acts I would have missed and saved me wasting money/bandwidth on things that are horrible.

Shea Serrano: I'm glad Delo made Mucho Caliente and The Niceguys made James Kelley and Undergravity made Underdawgs From Undergravity and The Outfit, TX made Starships & Rockets and Dustin-Prestige made Plaid and Dante Higgins made Rhymes For Months and Trae made Tha Blackprint and Doughbeezy made Blue Magic and KAB made Bully On Da Beat and Slim Thug created Thug Thursdays and that Rob Gullatte made Abortion and Le$ made 50 tapes and Killa Kyleon made WTTFF and that Larro called Propain during his interview on The Box. And about 1,000 other things.

Alexa Crenshaw: I'm thankful for good music, the goosebumps-inducing kind. I'm thankful for bad music too, the make-you-want-to-throw-your speakers-out-of-the-window kind. Variety is a beautiful thing, and isn't smashing things fun? I'm also thankful for the Internet, as it provides me with the means to discover and indulge in countless amounts of music without ever having to get out of bed.

That being said, I'm thankful for Internet radio. I found myself tuning into local stations more than ever this year such as KTRU and Coog Radio, too, all while multitasking on my trusty laptop (which I'm thankful for too).

Lastly, I'm thankful that trusty cheap tape converters are still readily available. My vehicle was downgraded this year to a 1999 Honda, which is fully equipped with a tape player. My little tape converter ensures I can listen to more than the adorable Raffi tape I found in this car when I purchased it (which admittedly I'm thankful for too).

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