SA Sound: The best SA band you’ll never see? 

TOY STORIES We all know the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program, which every year collects, well, toys for children in need during the holiday season. Lisa Morales (of Sisters Morales fame, now a well-established solo artist and producer) has been doing her own TFT event for 12 of the last 13 years, and the next one’s coming on Wednesday, December 11 at Sam’s Burger Joint ($10 or a new unwrapped toy, 6:30pm, 330 E Grayson, (210) 223-2830, samsburgerjoint.com). Morales will perform with Robyn Ludwick and Shelley King (Good Girls With Bad Intentions) and “maybe” with her own band. The rest of the lineup includes Augie Meyers, Ruben V, Patricia Vonne and Michael Martin, Ernie Garibay’s Cats Don’t Sleep and more. But this year two other similar benefits take place around the same time, so you’ll have plenty opportunities to partake in charity:

The 1st Annual Double E Radio Toy Drive, hosted by Los Tovares keyboardist and former KEDA DJ Eloy “Double E” Espinoza will also take place December 11 at the Cadillac Bar ($5 or an unwrapped toy, 5pm, 212 S Flores, (210) 223-5533, cadillacbarsanantonio.com). The lineup features Grupo Texas Heat, Los Tovares and others, in an event that will also celebrate the launching of DoubleEradio.com.

Lastly, the 210 Local Music Podcast Toys for Tots event will take place on Saturday, December 14 at 502 Bar ($7 or $5 with one new, unopened toy donation or free with two, 7pm-2am, 502 Embassy Oaks, (210) 257-8125, 502bar.com), and the lineup is terrific: Jimmy Dasher, Matthew Charles, Punk Soda, Matt Adler, Bekah Kelso, Laura Marie, Ila Minori (fka Erica Gutiérrez from Ledaswan), Langton Drive and the Black Market Club.

GLEESON: THE BEST SA/ATX BAND YOU’LL NEVER SEE? “The album leaves the strong impression that the very best of Gleeson is probably still to come,” wrote former Current music and film editor Jeremy Martin about Gleeson’s 2009 The Very, Very Best of Gleeson debut, adding that “closing number ‘January,’ which gloms funereal gospel to a hesitant piano-and-strings composition, suggests these guys are only going to get stranger, i.e., more awesome, in the next 15 years.” It only took them four years for a follow up, but Gleeson II is absolutely, insanely badass. It’s an epic double vinyl (also available on CD and at gleeson.bandcamp.com/album/gleeson-ii) of pure Southern alt pop-rock where each track is dynamite and every vocal harmony can melt a rock. The problem: these SA/Austin dudes apparently have no idea of what they’ve done (or they do, but don’t care). According to Dr. Raúl Vela III (the SA guitarist and father of drummer Raúl Vela IV), Gleeson is not planning to do any concerts. It’s like they just accumulate song after song, record them properly and just forget about it until the next album. But I will take none of it, so listen, Ty Chandler (of Austin’s Saratone and Milton Mapes and the author of all but two songs) and the other members (Michael Crow, Channing Lewis and Joel Mullins): 502 Bar or Sam’s. Concert. Like, tomorrow. Songs like these you just can’t leave behind.

BEKAH KELSO’S DOUBLE BILL The indefatigable Kelso (who has just released a wonderfully creepy version of “Frosty the Snowman,” which you can hear here) will do two benefits on December 14: the abovementioned TFT event at 502 and the Rockin’ For Rover event to benefit the SA Humane Society at Sam Ash (noon-4pm, 25 NE Loop 410 Ste. 110). Kelso plays at 1 p.m. and Henry Brun’s Latin Playerz (Latin jazz) follows at 3 p.m., and all you need to get in is a cash donation and/or one or several items on the Humane Society’s wish list, which you can find on the event’s Facebook page under “San Antonio Humane Society Donation Event at Sam Ash Music.”

NINA IS LONELY Girl in a Coma’s frontwoman Nina Díaz started her solo tour December 4 in Kansas City, but she’s stopping home for a short set at Hi-Tones on Friday, December 13 ($3, 621 E Dewey), days before she heads out to Dallas. Lonely Horse opens at 10:30 p.m., and at press time I couldn’t reach Nina, so her repertoire is a mystery. All I know is what GIAC manager Faith Radle told me: “It’ll be just Nina and her guitar/loop station,” Radle said. “We should have lots of new things coming up for her in 2014.” No pressure, Nina, but we’re expecting great things.

The rest of GIAC is busy as well. Drummer [and Nina’s sister] Phanie Díaz and bassist Jenn Alva are starting a side project named Fea (“ugly” in Spanish). “It’s an all girl group saluting riot grrl, Tex-Mex style,” Alva told SA Sound. “We might have a guitarist, but this band will have four members all together. We are in search of a singer that can sing in Spanish and English.” Girl in a Coma, however, will continue. “GIAC has not broken up,” said Alva. “We are slowly writing a new album, but [in the] meantime Nina has her solo album ready and will record [it] the beginning of [2014].”

Send your local music scoop to SASound (at) sacurrent.com

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