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Christmas in July

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

Lone Star PornStar
Best Alt Rock

www.lonestarpornstar.com

When not filming "live porn every day," this six-man band of funksters bludgeons H-town ears with a blend of rap and rock. Now endorsed by "Halo Custom Guitars" and "Chop Shop Custom Drums," the guys left band names "The Vertical Smiles" and "Large Breasted Bed Thrashers" on the (presumably) DNA-coated cutting-room floor before deciding on their current moniker. The boys are closer than actors prepping for double penetration close-ups -- they all got tattoos on the same day, and members Phil and Gregg share a birthday. LSPS is a "proud member" of the "Houston Band Coalition," which they credit for helping local acts "work toward a common goal" and "support each other." -- BM

Kemo for Emo
Best Pop-Punk

www.kemoforemo.com

These guys' latest disc is called I'd Rather Have a Broken Neck, and if you can relate to that, you'll probably dig "one of the only remaining pop-punk bands" in a Houston scene they see as overrun with hardcore and metal. They claim that radio play is in their near future ("Just request us on your radio station of choice via e-mail or phone"), and if they couldn't play music, they'd join the circus, but "only if we work with the bear on the bike." -- Scott Faingold

MorningsideDRIVE
Best Alt Rock

www.myspace.com/msd

Sure, they play music full-time (no day jobs here!), they opened for Avril Lavigne and did a showcase at the Whisky in L.A., but what really makes this band tick? Well, they fantasize about being "rent-a-cops" if the music thing doesn't work out, but the guys in MorningsideDRIVE aren't about to start worrying now. After all, they claim, they've never played a bad show, with every gig registering as "tube-u-ler." Now if only they would stop being "mistaken for Hootie & the Blowfish." -- SF

Molly & the Ringwalds
Best Cover Band

www.theringwalds.com

If you love the '80s the way VH1 does, you'll think cover band Molly & the Ringwalds are, like, totally way rad to the max. You'll love their awesome renditions of stuff like the Human League's "Don't You Want Me," Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf," and Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy," and you'll, like, totally have a cow when they bust out with Nena's "99 Luftballons" in, like, East German or something. -- JNL

The Handsomes
Best Rock/Pop

www.thehandsomes.com

Packing 'em in on the Continental strip in the 3700 block of Main and in the Lounge on Montrose are two fortes of this party-hearty, occasionally ska-tinged rock band that promises to "finally record at the end of this summer." "Slow death" would be their lot in a world without tunes, and the band claims to have not had any trouble naming themselves. "The Handsomes seemed to fit us perfectly," they claim. The band hates being labeled a band of "law students" and being mistaken for a cover band. "We have poppy original songs, so people mistake them for covers sometimes." -- JNL

Verizon Wireless Theater
(all ages)
520 Texas, 713-230-1600 5 p.m. Caliente
6 p.m. Silverleaf
7 p.m. Michael Haaga's Plus and Minus Show
8 p.m. Dan Dyer
9 p.m. Houston Rap Showcase with Slim Thug, Bun B, Devin the Dude and more
10:15 p.m. Lit Caliente
Best Salsa/Reggaetón/Latin Pop

www.diazmusicinstitute.com

This youth orchestra and perennial Latin favorite is always on the lookout for new members "who are not afraid to work hard, and enjoy entertaining the audiences." Those audiences are preferably found at "outdoor festivals or far away." Being regarded as children can sometimes make for undignified requests. For instance, one time "a promoter wanted the band to march down a hill to a performance site wearing white and waving flags." We bet this sort of thing never happens to [insert most appropriate local Anglo nominee here]. -- SF

Silverleaf
Best Alt Rock

www.silverleafband.com

The big winners of 2004 made their way into the hallowed pages of Vanity Fair this year. (It was an ad, but still.) Silverleaf let it be known that they'll play "anywhere that'll have us," which has led to them playing an Astros game, a frat-party show "on the back of a horse trailer" and a private party for a group of nudists, "and not the good-looking nudists." That's what we call dedication. -- SF Michael Haaga
Local Musician of the Year; Album of the Year (The Plus and Minus Show), Song of the Year ("If and When"); Best Male Vocalist; Best Guitarist (Kelly Doyle); Best Drummer (Brian Davis)

www.michaelhaaga.com
www.theplusandminusshow.com
www.ieorecords.com

A previous winner as the leader of the death metal band dead horse, Haaga, who leads in nominations this year, was recently reborn as a modern pop-rocker whose debut album has drawn comparison to everyone from "the Shins" to "the Flaming Lips" to "Todd Rundgren." "I enjoy struggling," says the former member of the Demonseeds and Superjoint Ritual of his attachment to music, before lapsing into pidgin Spanish to describe another of his loves: "Mi amore Topo Chico agua fria y aguacate burritos... No habla español..." Haaga echoes many here when he says there are both "a lot of talented musicians" in Houston and "not enough promotion put into shows," and while his advice to "make music for your heart and soul, not your wallet" may sound like a platitude, it's one that he obviously takes seriously. -- JNL

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