1998 Houston Press Music Awards Nominees

Nomination: Best Metal/Hard Rock;
Best Rap/Hip-Hop
Sound: Metal, rap
Time logged: Two years

Etc.: After claiming victory last year in the Best Rap/Hip-Hop category, the Aftershock posse is back again, and this time they're upping the ante with an additional nomination in the Best Metal/Hard Rock category. What they've been doing in recent months is as much a mystery as how to handle their music. Best just to call it metal, call it hip-hop or settle for founding member Lee Leal's apt summation: "bad-ass songs."

Aftershock performs at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Iguana.

Allen Oldies Band
Nomination: Best Cover Band
Sound: The name says it all
Time logged: More than a year

Etc.: It doesn't feel right talking about the Allen Oldies Band without addressing fellow Best Cover Band nominees the El Orbits. After all, they're kindred purveyors in the nostalgia game. Both acts include founding members of the long-running RC Cola support group, Banana Blender Surprise (Allen Hill and David Beebe), and each chooses from among the most vintage ingredients. If there is a key difference between the two outfits, it's in song selection: The El Orbits take a more subtle, Texas-centric approach to their set lists, while the Allen Oldies Band isn't as bound by regional sentiment. Most important, though, both groups aren't so much about the music as they are about a fulfilling leisure lifestyle -- of which Monday-night bingo at the Satellite Lounge is a crucial part.

The Allen Oldies Band performs at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Velvet E.

Bamboo Crisis
Nomination: Best Industrial/Noise
Sound: Dark, moody, tweaker fare
Time logged: 11 years

Etc.: Flickers of success on the alternative dance charts haven't spoiled Bamboo Crisis in the eyes of its tight-knit local following. And although they aren't the most visible band in town, their vaguely European Goth/industrial slant is both club-savvy and intelligent. At once brooding and booming, Bamboo Crisis never loses sight of the bottom end -- rock bottom. You've been warned.

Bamboo Crisis performs at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Iguana.

Beans Barton and the Bi-Peds
Nomination: Best Underground
Sound: Classic rock and classic freaks
Time logged: 12 years

Etc.: If you haven't seen them yet, let's just say it's never too late to exercise those sensory-overload receptors. His on-stage aura somewhat akin to a white-trash Captain Beefheart -- or maybe Puff the Magic Dragon on crank -- Beans Barton must be experienced to be inhaled (or something to that effect). With an act that could be described as redneck etiquette meets art-school camp, Barton could only have continued his little brouhaha for 12 years in a place as freak-friendly as Houston. In less tolerant cities, he'd have been run out of town by now, rather than lionized (well, sort of). Inspired nonsense.

Beans Barton and the Bi-Peds perform at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Bighorn Saloon.

The Basics
Sound: Latino roots rock
Time logged: Ten years

Etc.: Within Houston's blossoming rock en Espanol scene, the Basics are members of the old guard. Seasoned by a decade's worth of experience on stages of every shape, size and locale, the Basics' Tequila-spiked cantina rock blazes without incinerating its historical reference points -- which range from Ritchie Valens and Santana to Los Lobos and Austin's True Believers.

The Basics perform at 8 p.m. Sunday at McElroy's.

Blue October
Nomination: Best New Act
Sound: Music to accompany inner turmoil
Time logged: Two years

Etc.: Blue October certainly earns our vote for the moodiest band on the local music landscape. Then again, commuting between San Marcos and Houston week after week to rehearse and perform could leave anyone cranky and a bit out of sorts: Only one Blue October member -- its bass player -- actually lives in Houston full-time. Regardless, it's a trek the group's founders, Justin and Jeremy Furstenfeld (both Houston natives), have had to endure more and more frequently, especially now that Blue October's torridly literate art-house rock is going over so well with the Fitzgerald's crowd. Imagine that, a Fitz's favorite that isn't punk, ska or a combination of the two. Maybe the scene has taken a turn for the better.

Blue October performs at 4 p.m. Sunday on Shepherd Plaza Outdoor Stage.

Bozo Porno Circus
Nomination: Best Industrial/Noise
Sound: Sadomasochistic soundtrack fodder
Time logged: Seven years

Etc.: Lords of Acid's over-the-top synthetic grind and perverse sexuality not enough for you? Sample the Houston version. Sponsored by a local fetish-wear store, Bozo Porno Circus is a supergroup of super-freaks who thrive on audience participation. Here's the twisted equation: Intense cacophony plus ghoulish coed band members scantily clad in leather and spikes equals one outrageous display. Use your imagination for the rest.

Bozo Porno Circus performs at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Iguana.

Texas Johnny Brown
Nomination: Best Blues
Sound: Blues guitar
Time logged: More than 50 years

Etc.: About all you need to know about this upbeat Houston blues veteran is in the name. Texas Johnny Brown and the Quality Blues Band is the perfect encapsulation of what this guitarist does best: homegrown blues with an emphasis on craftsmanship. Of course, there's also the enticing historical footnotes provided by his work with Bobby "Blue" Bland," Amos Milburn and Junior Parker. Here in the present, Brown recently released Nothin' But the Truth, the first solo album in an on-and-off career that spans five decades. You could say it's taken that long just to settle him down long enough to sit still in the studio.

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