In his new video for “State of Need,” Joseph Wayne Miller wrestles his demons.

Now that the fat former dinosaur has been carved, the Cowboys have lost in embarrassing fashion, and the Mad Max-ian wars for retail discount dominance have been fought, a check can be placed next to each of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions. The starting gun has been fired, and the holidays just keep rolling. The Big Day looms just weeks away. But fear not. As the autumn brisk gives way to winter’s chill, the local scene is far from going into hibernation. Local artists are still cranking out new music with the efficiency of Santa’s workshop, with tracks being dropped into our earholes as if they were delivered by the Fat Man himself. The snowball just keeps rolling into the New Year, too. 

In keeping with the theme, countrified crooners Sam Mason and Songbird Jones have just released a collaborative EP of Christmas-inspired tunes. The first single from Lonestar Christmas II, “Christmas Cookies,” debuted last week. With a cover featuring a tatted-up Santa smoking a cigarette, the rootsy rockers lean hard into a blue-collar, twanged-up take on the season.

Last week saw a slew of artists of all stripes dropping new singles like so many snowflakes out of the wintery imaginations of children. Former War Party frontman Cameron Smith’s nom de rock project, Sur Duda, properly released “No Sleep,” the first new Duda tune since 2017’s much-celebrated Paper Knife. The song, which was included on Dreamy Life Records’ annual-ish compilation, Group Therapy, Vol. 5, teases Total Distortion, Duda’s upcoming sophomore album. Another track that appeared on the comp was also released as a proper single by young indie-poppers Ting Tang Tina. “D-D7” will also be featured on the four-piece’s forthcoming follow-up to last year’s Love Is Trippy, due out in January.

Modern Lights

Wry and witty singer-songwriter Joseph Wayne Miller released an amusing video for “State of Need,” in which he is wrestling, WWE-style, a much larger nemesis. The tune is an engrossing, danceable ballad produced with the help of synthpop guru Samuel Culp (Yokyo). Fort Worth singer-songwriter Cody Lynn Boyd recently released “Down by the River,” a moody Black Heart Procession-esque dirge.  Indie guitar slinger Drew Gabbert (Missing Sibling, Fate Lions) recently had an album of atmospheric sound design leap out of his subconscious. Glymmur mixes Western-style guitars, synths, and sound effects to evoke what Gabbert calls the balance of the “serenity in my life and the war between my ears.”

Saturday will see a pair of laudable woman-fronted groups debut new tunes. Dream-pop five-piece Big Heaven will offer the closed-eye-sway-inducing “Someone Else.” A summery swimming pool-themed vid will accompany the single to add some warmth to the December frost. Smoke-filled nightclub soundtrack purveyors Hightower will have a new three-song EP out that day as well. “Magnolia” is its first single.

Later this month, a highly anticipated hip-hop collaboration between two of the city’s premier MCs will finally see the light of day. Smooth, smoke-fueled hippy rapper Wrex and veteran wordsmith Dru B’ Shinin are just about ready to drop Bruce Leroy, a co-op that guarantees to glow as much as The Last Dragon, the ’80s kung-fu/blaxploitation film from which the project draws its name. Additionally, soulful singer-songwriter Daryel Sellers has a new rock band backing him called The Turners. Look for “I Might,” the group’s debut single, before the New Year.

The blizzard of new music doesn’t end with the ball drop on the 31st either. Producer Joe Tacke (Mean Motor Scooter) just wrapped up albums for hooky rock North Richland Hills-based Josh & The Jet Noise, and the quirky, eclectic Bruce Magnus. The erudite MC known as The.Naaman’s long-awaited debut album, The Albatross, is scheduled for a Valentine’s Day release.

Spurred on by a thumb injury that kept him from playing guitar for a bit, Darren Miller (Ox Combine, Boozy Moods, Tame … Tame and Quiet) dusted off some synths and created a moody, atmospheric darkwave project, Anafell Lights. Underground label Sinkhole Texas, Inc. recruited Miller’s new music for a soon-to-be finished split EP with Great Unwashed Luminaries, a fellow label alum.

With fingers drumming on the table, we’re still anxiously awaiting the debut album from noisy electro-psyche-dirgers All Clean. Singer/guitarist Zach Edwards said he’s hoping for an early spring release. The due date may just line up with the sophomore album from garage-revivalists Picnic Lightning.

Add to this a plethora of polished singer-songwriters like Jessie England, Wayne Floyd, Van Darien, and Aubrey Wallace, all of whom have new wares just over the next hill, and 2020 is looking to be every bit as stacked as this, the last year of the 20-teens, has been.