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So This Is The New Year, And I Don't Feel Any Different: NYE Madness! [12/31/2008 11:28:00 AM]:
Okay, so the above's not entirely true. Yep, it's about to be a new year, but rather than just shrug it off and wonder what the fuck the big deal is like I usually do (I'm The Gloomy One of my particular couple, if you couldn't guess), I'm attempting to look at the State of the World in as philosophical and hopeful way as I can muster. I want, want, want to believe that everything will magically turn into puppydogs and candybars and roses as soon as Dubya finds himself locked out of the White House, but anybody in their right mind knows that's one hell of a pipedream. I find myself hoping the world will become incrementally better, at least, recognizing that it's gonna happen slowly and with a fair amount of pain along the way. I mean, sure, I've got a job right now, and that's very cool, but there're no guarantees with an economic collapse (although a realtor friend forwarded me some interesting statistics that make H-town look like a much safer place to be than many hipper, cooler places).

So, for my own personal outlook towards The Big Oh-Nine, I'm aiming for some guardedly hopeful optimism -- that's about what I can do right now. In the meantime, this New Year's Eve promises no end of earthly-ish distractions, with some gems scattered amongst the ridiculous pile of swanky par-tays and overpriced meals. Here's what looks good to me (although, lamer that I am, I'll be making a quick appearance at the 'hood NYE shindig our partying neighbors are having & then chilling at home while the ball drops; this is what happens when you have a 4-year-old who needs her sleep, sorry...):

B L A C K I E/Time Machine Veterans/Giant Princess/The Mathletes/The Riff Tiffs/Darwin's Finches/Ghormeh Sabzi/The Tontons @ 1816 Calumet (free!)
First up is the Indiehouston.org New Year's bash at 1816 Calumet (no idea what building it is, sorry, although it sounds like a house party of some sort a couple of blocks from the Caroline Collective), which features a ton of good folks, particularly the awesomely excellent Mathletes, who do probably great goofy-strange pop that I'm currently forcing on various coworkers and friends. There's also Giant Princess, whose garage-y rock dropped my jaw the one time I've seen 'em, the "holy fuck, he's everywhere" grime-hop madman B L A C K I E -- not hatin', just hoping he's not oversaturating The Scene -- and the ever-great Riff Tiffs, whose spun-out psychedelic crunch is just the thing for ringing in what'll hopefully be a very different year.

On top of those, there's also Time Machine Veterans, which I hear features members of Young Mammals, Giant Princess, and the Wild Moccasins, and the slinky-cool psych-soul of The Tontons, who I think get to play first. The Tontons crew will also be filming their set, so if you wanna get your "hey, ma! I'm in a video" jones out, there you go. Best of all, though, the whole party's free, free as a bird, including a free keg (although BYOB if you show up late & it's floated). Doors open at 8PM, show starts at 9PM. (Show up at 7PM to be in the video.)

Ladyheat/Electric Attitude/The Backalley Sluts/Hops/Sara Van Buskirk/DJ Wayniac @ Notsuoh
Just when you think Notsuoh is dead & buried, yes, it lurches back to life. (Thanks, Santa!) And this is a good way to celebrate the venue's continued existence, as both the two headlining bands, Ladyheat & Electric Attitude, are pretty dang cool. I was skeptical of both, I'll admit, but after finally hearing some Ladyheat tunes & seeing Electric Attitude play with The Gold Sounds a while back, I'm coming around. Raw, garage-y, glam-y rock + get-down, Stones-ish swagger.

Tody Castillo @ Rudyard's
One of the best pop-rock songwriters in town, hands down. He'll be rocking in the New Year solo at Rudz, and seeing as he doesn't play all that often these days, I'd check him out. Can't wait for the new album...

Sideshow Tramps/Guy Forsyth @ Dan Electro's Guitar Bar
I keep meaning to see the Tramps, but I always seem to miss 'em somehow...argh. This should be an entertaining show; go to Dan Electro's while you can, because the club will be closing for a few weeks as for January 2nd. They're planning to reopen on January 15th, after hopefully fixing up & renovating the place. Dan E's apparently suffered quite a bit of damage from the wrath of Ike, so if you feel like helping out and can paint, float drywall, wield a hammer, etc., they could use your help -- contact Bob at "bobcat" at "danelectrosguitarbar dot com" or 713-862-8707 (you'll have to leave a message).

The Flamin' Hellcats/Little Brother Project/The Octanes/The Blue Threads @ Bubba's Bar (6225 Washington)
Damn, I'm glad the Hellcats are back around again; their presence alone makes this a good deal. Heard good things about the other three bands, too.

Blaggards @ Brian O'Neill's (5555 Morningside; 10PM)
A bit more on the low-key end of things, but still good (and the Irish are rarely ever really low-key); I can think of many, many worse ways to ring in the new year than hanging out in a pub and listening to one of the best, wildest Irish folk bands in town. (Think The Tossers or The Pogues, and you'll get the idea.)

Defend The Ghetto (sixth-ever final show) @ Lexington House
No, I don't really have a clue where this is -- the only "Lexington House" I know of is/was the old Sprawl House, and I'm fairly sure the bulldozers took it down a few years ago. As for Defend The Ghetto, I never saw 'em when they were around previously, but they're pretty legendary in these parts, so... The show supposedly starts at 11:20PM, but it could be a complete and total hoax, so buyer (er, show-goer) beware).

There're your options, folks -- that is, unless you feel like hanging out with the over-Botoxed and too-trendy at one a' them "real" NYE parties. Your choice. There's more going on later this week, but I'll post about that later on, eh?

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