By Jef With One F
By Bob Ruggiero
By Corey Deiterman
By Marco Torres
By Angelica Leicht
By Angelica Leicht
By Charne Graham
MC Caption says the greatest misconception about his underground hip-hop group, Studemont Project, is that it takes itself too seriously. "We do take creating music seriously, but we are not conservative, stone-faced individuals," he says, adding that they "throw crazy movie quotes off the dome frequently, get amped for three-on-three basketball, and participated in an underground kickball league." The defending champs in the Best Hip-hop/Rap category dig listening to the Mars Volta, Diverse, Cursive the Doors and Miles Davis, performing at the Proletariat and checking out the "many talented undiscovered artists" on the local scene. But the cliquishness of the same scene annoys them.
"A truly synergistic pop/jazz/funk melting pot" is what the Buddhacrush say they cook up, a stew enlivened by "spicy rhythms, imaginative wordplay and a sincerity of sound crafted on real instruments." They strive "to be both hip and overwhelmingly honest" in delivering "challenging pop music." The sextet hopes to keep it downright fun, while also being thought-provoking but not pretentious.
Best Rock en Español
DeSangre's manager, Raul "DJ Woo," answered for these rockeros, reporting that their most noteworthy feat is for the band to "stay together." Though most of the fans of these metal merchants are Hispanic, Woo says the majority of their CDs are sold to gringos. The band wishes there were more community in the music scene here. According to Woo, "Houston is a cultural pit" where people prefer to stay at home. He believes local commercial radio stations contribute to this malaise: "They don't play the better music that exists; instead we our crushed to death with the one or two songs the corporate bands put out per month."
St. Pete's Dancing Marlin
300 Main, 713-227-1511
4 pm Rapture
5 pm Skyblue 72
6 pm Dubtex
7 pm Molly & the Ringwalds
8 pm Deep Ella
9 pm Silverleaf
Best Salsa/Merengue/Latin Pop
About three years
A five-piece Latin variety band with a decidedly non-Hispanic lineup, Rapture has been around for three years. Somehow, group leader Henry Banrevi, an ethnic East European gypsy, landed in Venezuela and fell in love with Latin music. A few years later, he stopped off in Monterrey, Mexico, and fell in love again, this time with a singer named Norma who eventually became Mrs. Banrevi. The two later moved to Houston, where Henry joined Mango Punch. Banrevi eventually split to form his own Latin band, Caribe, with Norma taking lead vocals. When audiences kept asking for American pop tunes between the cumbias and merengues, Banrevi changed the group's name to Rapture and added some Pink Floyd and Gloria Gaynor to his book of Paulina Rubio and Gloria Estefan songs. The group, which also includes Paolo Castagnoli and Eric Brown, is working on its first CD, a collection of Latin originals. -- Olivia Flores Alvarez
Zweback, who "sweats for a living" as a Bikram yoga teacher, also sings and pounds drums. Of her new band Skyblue 72, Zweback says Stevie Wonder serves as the chief inspiration, alongside the Police, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell and Miles Davis. Zweback adds that she'd "go insane without music," and says that the largest crowd she has ever played for was "probably the millions of imaginary faces in my bedroom. Those shadows are spooky!" Not to worry, though, for she also adds, "My therapist says I'm progressing nicely." The band's only recording so far is a three-song EP produced by Robbie Parrish, a man the band "hearts."
About three years
"Urban reggae from Space City" is Dubtex's pithy way of describing themselves, and "Selena's Dead" and "O.J. Did It" are two band names they rejected. Favorites of the band include U2, Burning Spear, Sizzla, Public Enemy and Bad Brains, so don't go expecting a bunch of overly familiar reggae tunes -- these guys are creators, not dilettantes. "Just 'cause you're screaming all the titles from the Legend collection at us" doesn't mean you'll get to hear "Jammin'" or "Satisfy My Soul." They list "realness and diversity" as their favorite things about Houston; "people who call themselves promoters' and do nothing of the sort" get what rappers Third Bass used to call "the gas face." And they claim that they are "honestly quite possibly the freshest sound you've heard in at least ten years."
Molly & the Ringwalds
Best Cover Band
About four years
"Moody synths, loud guitar solos and hot girls with big hair" help this '80s-only cover band conjure the Decade of Greed. The Ringwalds don't shy from "playing the Go-Gos, Van Halen and Young MC back to back, with a little Madonna and Gary Numan thrown in for good measure." Equal parts "wacky banter" and "musicianship," Ringwalds shows are "events" full of "bacchanal pleasures" such as "free nachos."
Best Alternative Rock
About four years
"Postmodern U2" and "Live with a hint of English rock sensibilities" are two descriptions of these alt-rockers, whose album Last Year's New Thing is, they claim, "a diverse collection of power-pop songs showcasing big hooks and catchy melodies." In concert, the band claims to "move effortlessly from heavy, guitar-driven tunes to eloquent, compelling ballads." In short, "a Deep Ella show leaves an indelible impression on each listener, which can only be overshadowed by their next Deep Ella experience."
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