Other than a little recent sampling, I haven't really listened to any of these records this year. Seems I might be out of touch locally.
10. The Tontons: Golden (via Bandcamp)
"Golden," the title track from the Tontons' latest EP, wowed almost everyone in Houston ... with its pulsating hookiness and lead singer Asli Omar's fist-shaking, Debbie Harry-biting sensuality.
9. Cop Warmth: Die Slow (via Bandcamp)
Continuing in the proud tradition of Houston noise legends like Don Walsh and his Rusted Shut, Cop Warmth's newest ain't pretty, but it doesn't mean she isn't worth a good, lusty, long look.
8. Titan Blood: Titan Soul (a couple via Bandcamp)
"Weird Territory" and "I'm a Goon" sounded like the long-lost debut salvo from a speed-addled Detroit garage-rock band in the late '60s, just as the aural tides were changing.
7. Sideshow Tramps: Revelator
The musical palette on the Sideshow Tramps' full-length Revelator ranged from Django Reinhardt gypsy to grease-stained and scuffed rock and roll, all while keeping two feet entrenched in a sound that can only come from the Bayou City.
"Tramps and Freaks" [in a backseat] from Revelator (2011)
Nothing streaming online. Check out the band's website or their MySpace.
6. Something Fierce: Don't Be So Cruel (via Bandcamp)
The tracks are equal parts slow and methodical — an adventuresome task for Fierce — while other entries echo what made you a Fierce fan in the first place five years ago.
5. Poor Pilate: Poor Pilate (via Bandcamp)
What sucked us in about Poor Pilate on record was the loudness it possessed, perfectly cacophonous without being grating... [M]eet your backyard Leon Russell-lovin' heroes.
4. Ryan Scroggins & The Trenchtown Texans: Folk Devils and Move to the Country
One was geared towards Lee Perry freak-dub and an antique shop full of noise (Folk Devils) à la The Clash's Sandinista!, while Move to the Country was a more straightforward set from the Trenchtown Texans.
No streaming for either album, but some demo's up at MySpace.
3. Roky Moon & BOLT! American Honey (via Bandcamp)
Honey found the band coming ever closer to perfecting their now-signature, party-ready sound. There's Meat Loaf in "Hot Saturday Night," David Bowie in "Monster" and Andrew Lloyd Webber in "The Lioness."
2. Balaclavas: Snake People (a couple via Bandcamp)
On Snake People, the band front-loaded everything we loved about Holiday: bombed-out guitars, dubby electronics and a dash of trance... they are simply the most mature, fully realized band in town.
1. Robert Ellis: Photographs
The young Ellis is barely in his mid-twenties and already showing signs of being a lifer, getting compared to John Prine and George Jones.
Full album preview is still streaming at Paste Magazine.