Christmas in July

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

Carolyn Wonderland
Best Guitarist (Scott Daniels)


Even a move to Austin has not dried up the endless supply of Press Music Awards that Wonderland and her band collect just about every summer. Since she still gigs here regularly, we always invite her back; well, there's that and the fact that she just plain cooks on stage. Her bluesy, country-fried, zydeco-stomping roots rock -- worthy of comparisons to both vintage Little Feat and Los Lobos -- would be welcome anywhere. She's toured with Buddy Guy, jammed with Bob Dylan and sung the national anthem at Sturgis Bike Week. How can you tell a girl like that she can't play here, just 'cause she spends six or so days a week in Austin? And Scott Daniels, the astoundingly amazing guitar player nominated, still lives here. -- JNL

Mercury Room
1008 Prairie, 713-225-MERC

4 p.m. Flying Fish Sailors
5 p.m. deSangre
6 p.m. Chrome 44
7 p.m. Guy Schwartz and the New Jack Hippies
8 p.m. Bojones
9 p.m. Los Skarnales

Flying Fish Sailors
Best World Music

These "whacked-out folksters" play with "mind-blowing dexterity" to crowds at the Texas Renaissance Festival in Plantersville and Houston's own Continental Club. Their newest offering, Poke You in the Eye, touches on "themes familiar to Fish fans" like "coffee and cats" and, of course, "songs about the sea." The band asks that you "let your hair down, loosen your shirt and get yourself a big jack of stout" before throwing yourself headlong into something called "the jig pit!" -- Brian McManus

Best Rock en Español

Crowds at "Fitzgerald's, Engine Room and Meridian" have frequently had their minds blown by deSangre when they've showed up expecting to hear "Mana" or "Caifanes." The rock en español outfit plays music "because it gets us laid!" adding that "no one ever gets laid collecting stamps or building ships in a bottle." The boys feel there's "lots of great talent in Houston" and urge you to "keep an eye out" for their CD available "late this year." When not banging chicas calientes, the God-fearing bandmates join hands in "prayer before every show." ¡Ay, Dios mio! -- BM

Chrome 44
Best Alt Rock

According to Chrome 44, playing music is "the best job in the world." They are pleased to hone their craft in Houston, which has, in their estimation, "the best scene [they] have ever been apart of." A part of that scene is former dead horse member Michael Haaga, who suggested the band's name. They're finishing up recording their full-length album, which is being co-produced by none other than Pushmonkey's Howie Behrens. One misconception plaguing the band is that they "are not friendly." It's not true. They love to "talk to everyone" but say "some of us are pretty shy at times and people read that wrong." -- BM

Guy Schwartz and the New Jack Hippies
Best Jam/Improvisational Rock

Guy Schwartz and his huge revolving cast of New Jack Hippies "play all types of American music." Nashvillian Billy Block dubbed them "Texas's premier blues-rock hippie jam band," and Schwartz's partnership with guitarist and songwriter Roger Tausz stretches all the way back to the Nixon era. Over parts of the last four decades, Schwartz's bands have opened for and/or performed with everyone from Duran Duran to Muddy Waters, Scarface to U2, while his songs have been recorded by Gloria Edwards, Relayer, the Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra, Kinky Friedman and Little Joe Washington. Don't expect mindless noodling from these artists of the groove; this is "a well-rehearsed jam band." -- JNL

Best Drummer (Louis Messina)

The name Bojones is a tribute to Aerosmith, one of the favorites of this very young power trio, two-thirds of which (drummer Louis Messina and his twin brother, Chris) come from one of Houston's most prominent musical families. (Father Louis and older brother Jeff operate huge concert promotions company the Messina Group.) But don't expect to hear an unadulterated facsimile of the bluesy arena rock of Beantown's biggest musical export. Bojones also draws inspiration from everyone from the Mars Volta to the Clash to Neutral Milk Hotel to Sigur Rós, and that mix produces "an impressive traverse of progressive rock and melodic pop." -- JNL

Los Skarnales
Best Rock en Español; Best Male Vocalist (Felipe Galvan); Best Bassist (Nick Gaitan); Album of the Year (Pachuco Boogie Sound System)

"A new guitar player," the purchase of "a humungus bus" and an upcoming "tour with the Toasters and Skankin' Pickle" compose the big news in el mundo de Los Skarnales. As is "some top-secret-type stuff that should be out by the end of the year," "a collaboration of sorts with two songs from Skarnales, two songs from the I-Gents and a lot of other surprises." They rank anywhere they gig in Mexico City as their top draw, but their favorite place to play is "anywhere that's real personal and intimate with [their] audience" and has the requisite amount of smoke, beer and shakin' booties. They've got mucho amor for "people that actually still like to go see live shows" and "can see the bigger picture and realize when you're trying to do something" but hate "people that work at live venues who don't give a fuck about music, the scene or our hometown. At certain venues it seems like the attitude from the people who work there is 'I just wanna go home!' That's BULLSHIT!" -- JNL

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