Christmas in July

Six dozen of Houston's finest bands for a mere $7

DJ Sun
Best DJ

There aren't a lot of DJs on the Houston scene that can say they started out life in the Netherlands, and maybe this background has something to do with DJ Sun's unique sensibility: He's equally likely to name-check Bob Marley, Portishead and Freddie Hubbard. The man is making a living with his music (with a CD in the works from the Swedish Brandy label), but if he had his way, he'd split his time between Houston and Jamaica. -- SF

Sean Carnahan
Best DJ

"Air, water, food, shelter, music." These are the five things that matter most to DJ Sean Carnahan, and you can wager that if the other four weren't necessary to physically sustain life, music would rank higher. Carnahan is a little miffed at folks who think in DJ clichť i.e., folks who believe that "all DJs scratch, we all love requests, and talk like something out of Yo MTV Raps. -- SF

Andy "Champa" Moore
Best DJ

Nobody knows the wild stuff a guy like Ultra DJ Spinoff champion Moore has seen. For instance, the time when "people were having sex in the middle of the dance floor while I rocked the house and ten or 15 people danced around them." Hedonistic scenes out of Satyricon aside, this local favorite (and 20-year vet) is in the game for only the purest of reasons: "I've got to share the love!" -- SF

M Bar
402 Main, 713-222-1022

4 p.m. Studemont Project
5 p.m. Bring Back the Guns
6 p.m. Clouseaux
7 p.m. Luxurious Panthers
8 p.m. Tody Castillo
9 p.m. Fondue Monks

Studemont Project
Best Indie Hip-hop

Heights-born and -bred hip-hop crew Studemont Project -- previous winners of the Best Hip-hop award in this shindig -- has an eclectic set of influences: "Salvador Dali, Miles Davis, Mati Klarwein, John Frusciante, [and] Houston." That blend helps them come up with what they call "aesthetic noise." Avenue of the Observatory, Studemont Project's new EP, will be out shortly. -- JNL

Bring Back the Guns
Best Indie Rock

Bring Back the Guns front man Matt Brownlie says Houston's obscurity is both its blessing -- "we get to do some really weird shit because no one's watching," stuff he describes as "really honest, unique music" -- and its curse. "On the other hand, for those of us who are actually interested in doing this sort of thing for a career, the total lack of aforementioned 'industry' here makes things tough." Brownlie is definitely in it for the long haul -- he says he's been making music since he was four and that there is no "what else" to do in this life. The last time this band played this event they were called Groceries; Brownlie urges those who haven't seen them since then to look back in. "People who haven't seen us in a couple of years probably have a very different idea of what we are. Things have changed. Drastically." -- JNL

Best Jazz; Best Bassist (Jay Brooks); Best Guitarist (Kelly Doyle)

That they "actually played a show with all members" present is first and foremost among tiki-lounge-exotica ensemble Clouseaux's most notable achievements, says singer Tomas Escalante, and that is a big deal when you learn that there are about a dozen members in the band. Escalante adds that the band is working on a sequel to their first full-length CD, Lagoon. In a perfect world, he goes on to say, people would stop thinking that "we play ska and are from New Orleans." -- JNL

Luxurious Panthers
Best Roots Rock/Rockabilly

Bassist Buddy Demon and single-monikered front man Ford are the two surviving original members of Houston's top straight-ahead rockabilly band. The band has a sense of humor (their song "I Drank Every Beer" parodies the Man in Black's "I've Been Everywhere"), the requisite reverb-laden instrumental chops, and a few surf, swing and blues influences that reflect their Gulf Coast abode. -- JNL

Tody Castillo
Song of the Year ("Independence Day"); Songwriter of the Year; Best Rock/Pop; Best Drummer (Paul "Falcon" Valdez)

Part-time Cactus employee Tody Castillo is well positioned: His own excellent melancholy pop-rock CD was the store's top seller for a couple of weeks running right after its release. Castillo admits that he sometimes wonders if the whole music thing was a big mistake, but hastens to add that "There is nothing else" for him right now. He loves Houston's "friendly" vibe and "excellent venues," including "Rudyard's, the Mucky Duck, Continental Club, Onion Creek, Stag's Head and the Harp" but wishes that more local bands were doing "showcases, festivals, et cetera." And he's a baseball fan: "Astros por vida," he says. -- JNL

The Fondue Monks
Best Bass Player (Rozz Zamorano)

Don't call the Fondue Monks a Doors cover band; it pisses them off. Nearly a decade and a half of rockin' has earned the fellas the right to be a little testy, especially considering their steadfast policy of "never selling out or changing our sound for the record industry." They continue to play music for the best reason going: "It helps in wooing women." They have also lived out one of the most memorable scenes from This Is Spinal Tap in real life. "At the House of Blues in New Orleans we got lost in a maze of backstage hallways and couldn't find our way to the stage." Now that's rock and roll! -- SF

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