By Chris Gray
By Corey Deiterman
By Jef With One F
By Chris Gray
By Rocks Off
By Rocks Off
This year's Houston Press Music Awards take a less-is-more approach. Yes, we are down a dozen or so bands from our peak year last year, but we have a stronger band-for-band lineup. And better still, this will be our most physically compact showcase since the days when the event was held at Shepherd Plaza. Gone from previous years are the Bayou Place venues, so there will be no more sweltering treks from the Market Square/Main Street area. This year, all the festivities will be held in a few square blocks.
And what festivities there will be. From old classics like the Hollisters and the Hunger to awards newbies like the Riff Tiffs and Whorehound, from rockers like Chango Jackson and Dizzy Pilot to rappers like Gritboys and Cl'che, from DJs like Ceeplus and DJ Sun to folkies like Lee Alexander and Hayes Carll...You get the picture. This is the only event in town where the Houston music scene in all its myriad forms is condensed and concentrated. It's also a great chance to check out some new venues and scope a few old ones. This year, the Office and Jefe make their debuts as official venues, while past experience should inform you that good times are always to be had at places like St. Pete's Dancing Marlin, the Mercury Room and Boaka Bar. And for the first time in years, we're letting local bands take center stage -- the Hooters Market Square outdoor stage will play host to Bojones, Los Skarnales, Tody Castillo, Million Year Dance, the Hunger and the Hollisters. All in all, our event is the one day of the year in which Houston at long last has its Sixth Street or Deep Ellum -- a central area with lots and lots of laid-back bars featuring live bands. It's the one day of the year when you can leave your shiny shirt and heavy attitude at home. And for me, it's Christmas in July. Come on down and see for yourself. -- John Nova Lomax
Name: Tanya Nolan
Nominated in:Best R&B
Personnel:Tanya Nolan (vocals)
Galveston-bred Houston soul chanteuse Nolan has an interesting A to Z of covers: Everything from Alicia Keys to ZZ Top, with lots of Earth, Wind & Fire and Mary J. Blige in between. But one style of music doesn't fit in her "eclectic, timeless rendition of forgotten soul," and that is "Satan-worshiping music." Right now, she's happiest playing the lower Westheimer night spot Martinis N More, but one day, en route to becoming "a legend in the music industry," she dreams of landing a gig in "Times Square, New York."
Name: While You Were Gone
Nominated in:Best Emo/Post Hardcore
"We play rock n roll" is the motto of this young, female-led screamo band. "Don't hate!" A cut above the pack of aggressive emo bands, the usual screamed vocals are coupled here with Misty Gray's pretty pipes, creating a rough-velvety dynamic most bands of this ilk lack. Also, there's no shortage of humility in the While You Were Gone camp: "We are a band just trying to do something heartfelt and original," they say.
Name: The Jonx
Nominated in:Best Indie Rock
Last year the Jonx released The Return of the Death of the Legacy of the Revenge of the Jonx. It's got to be a pretty good CD to deserve such a long, confusing title. The Jonx just may have pulled it off. The trio lists the Clash, the Police and Jimi Hendrix as its main influences, but don't underestimate them. Their listening choices aren't all that narrow. If guitarist Stu Smith could take only one CD on a desert island, he'd take The Far East Suiteby Duke Ellington. Given their demonstrated fondness for playing with words (and people's heads), it may or may not be true that the band got its name from the indigenous language Yaghan, where the word means "rock" or "large pebble." There are reportedly only two Yaghan speakers left in the world; we can't check on that. It's also pretty difficult to check on whether or not Eriq Fancypants, of the Squishees, really does attend every Jonx performance. Mr. Fancypants was unavailable for comment at press time.
Name: The Legendary KO
Nominated in:Song of the Year ("George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People")
You know about regular knockouts...What makes for Legendary KO? "Good, truthful, hard-hitting hip-hop music," says this Houston hip-hop duo, an island of conscience in a sea of bling. Last year, their post-Katrina single "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People" emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed singles to come from H-town in recent memory, but don't expect that to move them any closer to their stated goal: "To quit the day job once and for all." (The song was strictly a free download -- they made no money from it.) "Laffy Taffy" and "The Engine Room" get the gas face from these loving disciples of A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Others they send props to include Warehouse Live and locals like V-Zilla and Hustle Skwad.