Sometimes when things look slowest, like this week, that's good reason to go out anyway. You never know what might be lurking out there - just not Rick Ross and friends, which remember is canceled. For example, this week's list is 100 percent local, or people rooted enough in Houston to make it part of their holiday travel plans.
The Eastern Sea, Second Lovers Fitzgerald's, December 10
This is a nice semi-local double bill to start off the week. Rocks Off found Austin crew The Eastern Sea's Plague maybe a little wan when it was released in July, but now it's starting to get to be year-end list time (yay!). Sometime between then and now, we stumbled across Houston native Matt Hines and friends' suite of delicate and melodic indie-pop on our iTunes, and upon further listening it seems more like a prime candidate for one of 2012's top sleepers. So there you go.
Tis the season, so Monday the Sea is pushing brand-new album First Christmas, which tacks on the originals "This Is Christmas" and "First Christmas" to some familiar holiday standards. Joining them is Second Lovers, whose Wishers, Lovers and Liars, we can tell you, is already at least one of our writers' favorite local albums of the year. Stay tuned for lots more...
Hamamatsu Tom, Mikey & the Dragz, John Wesley Coleman Mango's, December 11
Rocks Off has every reason to expect this early-week garage-rock outing from locals Hamamatsu Tom and Mikey & the Dragz to be completely noisy and sloppy. We certainly hope so. Joining them is John Wesley Coleman of Austin's Golden Boys, which should up the ruckus quotient considerably.
Little Joe Washington Boondocks, December 11 The last couple of times Rocks Off has run into the elderly, elven dreadlocked local bluesman, he's had a few CDs in his pockets he's selling called Now and Then. Little Joe says there's some stuff recorded in 1961, when Washington would have been around 22, and we are dying to get our hands on a copy. In the meantime, he might have some at his regular Tuesday Boondocks gig; even if not, he'll lift your flagging holiday spirits.
The Mastersons McGonigel's Mucky Duck, December 11
Another 2012 album deserves some year-end Americana consideration is the Mastersons' Birds Fly South. The New York group led by Houston native Chris Masterson and wife Eleanor's set came out on New West in March, and Rocks Off found it "closer to the Jayhawks' tortured but melodic folk-rock than some sappy country-duets album." We'll stand by that.
Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge, December 13
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Ahh... perfect. Our last "albums from 2012 you should remember" pick, in this particular blog anyway, is for Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man's Bridges & Bayous, which was released all the way back in May. "We move from one side to the other as we grow up, we start moving around the city, we move around with our families, people move out of the house and move on," Gaitan told Rocks Off. "I was focusing on a city in motion, where bridges and bayous are part of our lives." See the whole article at this link.