Continuing with our year-end panorama, Rocks Off asked our contributors a simple question with a not-so-simple answer: What was your favorite local album of 2012?
ALEXA CRENSHAW: Whatever I say here, I'm going to want to take back shortly because there's so much good stuff out there, y'all. Although they haven't released an album this year, I ran across one of Listenlisten's tracks which lead me to stream their  dog LP a bit. listenlisten's folk is simple, yet scenic. [If a 2010 record became someone's favorite in 2012, we're not going to quibble -- ed.]
COREY DEITERMAN: Buxton's Nothing Here Seems Strange is the culmination of the sound the La Porte natives have been pursuing for years now. It felt like we waited on this one forever. I talked to the guys in the band repeatedly and the question that was always on the tip of my tongue was "when will there be a follow-up to A Family Light?" The answer was always, "when it's finally done."
Well, the New West Records debut from our folky indie-rock band has proven to not only be worth the wait, but delivers on the all promise shown by their earlier releases. Combining the members' disparate influences (from Nick Cave and Wilco to Bjork, Converge, and Circa Survive) to form a cohesive whole, it's not only a great album but all the work that went into the production has made it one of the best sounding releases of the year as well.
CORY GARCIA: excuseMesir were my big discovery at the Houston Press Music Awards, but there was a problem: they didn't have an album for me to listen to constantly. Luckily, they rectified that soon after with the release of With You In Mind, fully capturing the the mix of Kelsey Lee Brand's vocals and the jazzy math-rock playing of the rest of the group that won me over in person. Honorable mention to Bang Bangz who would easily win a "Best Local Release to Listen to While Driving Around at Night" award, if there was one, for their self-titled EP.
CHRIS GRAY: I am going to choose Milton Hopkins' & Jewel Brown's eponymous CD that came out on Austin's Dialtone Records back in May, just to remind all you kids out there -- he said, shaking his cane from the front porch -- that there is a scene out there far, far away from Mango's, Walters and Fitzgerald's. (All places I love, bless their hearts.) These two seasoned Houston R&B performers poured about a century's worth of experience, give or take, into an album of what we call "grown folks' music," and it's good. Really fuckin' good.
JOHN SEABORN GRAY: A tie between Benjamin Wesley's Think Thoughts and Second Lovers' Wishers, Dreamers & Liars. Think Thoughts is full of heart, smarts and insane creativity; nothing else sounds quite like it. Wishers, on the other hand is the quintessential good old-fashioned folk rock album. Perfect for the car ride home from the bar.