Yr. (Pre-)Weekend: The Small Sounds + The Orbans (Reviewed!) + The Literary Greats + Soul Asylum + More

Heading into one heck of a New Year’s weekend, I have to say — neither Friday nor Saturday are slouches, if you check the schedule — but tonight, Thursday, December 30th, is looking pretty great all on its own. Here goes:

The Literary Greats/The Orbans @ Walter’s
Fans of rootsy pop-rock, you’ve got a painful choice to make tonight: you can either hit Walter’s and catch awesome, smart band The Literary Greats, or you can roam on over to The Continental Club for The Small Sounds (keep reading for more about them).

And sadly, after finally getting ’round to listening to Fort Worth-dwelling openers The Orbans, I have to say that I’m leaning towards the show at Walter’s. The band’s album When We Were Wild has practically soared up towards the top of my personal top-10 of this past year, I swear. Check out the full review over here.

Besides, The Greats themselves rule — last year’s Ocean, Meet the Valley was fairly incredible, and I still grab for the crew’s first album and spin it endlessly in the car. These guys write songs like I wish I could write songs. And hey, they’re working on their third album now, which promises to be great…

The Small Sounds/Beetle @ The Continental Club
Damn…it’s been too, too long since I waxed enthusiastic about aforementioned local roots-rock/-pop boys The Small Sounds. Ever since I first listened to the band’s self-titled debut, I’ve been thoroughly and truly smitten — they play countrified roots-rock like it’s meant to be played, with a ton of heart, a boatload of restraint, and some awesomely unforgettable choruses.

They’re currently hard at work on a followup, which is good, good, good news; expect it to bowl you over sometime early in the new year. It’s gonna be a good year for rootsy pop coming out of H-town, I swear.

Soul Asylum @ House of Blues
Yeah, yeah, whatever — look, forget “Runaway Train” ever existed and shrug off the Singles cameo by frontman Dave Pirner (and, um, ignore 1990’s And the Horse They Rode In On entirely, if you could). Beyond that stuff and the backlash that followed, everybody forgot that Soul Asylum were actually a pretty great rootsy, slightly punkish band.

Need proof? Check out 1988’s Hang Time, which includes the badass “Sometime to Return” (and the knowledge of which I owe to beleaguered Rice radio station KTRU). Hell, Grave Dancers Union‘s not a bad album, either — if you can name a rock album with a heavier, rawer intro track than “Somebody to Shove” that hit it really, really mainstream-big in 1993, well, you’re lying. (Sorry.)

Plus, yours truly actually ended up seeing the band live back in the mid-’90s, and believe it or not, they were pretty awesome live.

Runners-Up:
Chase Hamblin @ Khon’s
Sideshow Tramps/Pistoleros de Texas @ Fitzgerald’s
24-4-A-Cure Kick-Off Party, featuring Scratch Vocals & The Elroys @ Firehouse Saloon (7PM-2AM)
Burn The Boats @ Rudyard’s


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