By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Formed in 2003, Sevrin puts out a sound that isn't straight Maiden-type head-banging metal. There are plenty of touches of alternative sounds reminiscent of Korn and Incubus in this quartet's mix. "This is great!" said singer Sam Ammash seconds after nabbing the trophy. "I know we've had some lineup changes recently, but the fans are behind us. And it's great to know we're still supported." Ammash added that Sevrin has been playing "nonstop" shows in Houston for the past several months since taking an extended hiatus. Finally, he noted, they hope to have out soon their first full-length effort. "We're planning on going in the studio in September for real and getting the whole record done by early next year," he added. "And it will be worth the wait, believe me." -- B.R.
Best Jazz: Drop Trio
Drop Trio has a problem: They have to figure out which one of the three will get to keep the Houston PressMusic Award statuette. "I'm the only one who actually lives in Houston, so I should have it," said drummer Nuje. Bass player Patrick Flanagan thinks maybe they should play Rock, Paper, Scissors for the honor. Since keyboardist Ian Varley didn't attend the awards ceremony, he didn't get a vote.
But figuring out where to store their awards is a small thing compared to getting Houston audiences to jazz performances. Nuje said the group chooses to play jazz, which might be the least marketable genre, "because we like to think. It's complicated, it's certainly the most expressive kind of music, it's the most fluid. It changes every night, there's so much improvisation. We understand the music we play has a limited audience, but we're fine with that." -- O.F.A.
Best Alternative Rock: LoneStar PornStar
Singer Greg David Stegman was excited after the PornStar win. "We've only been together three years and have won this the last two years in a row, so we're real excited about that."
"I've only been with them for the last two years, so it's really great for me, because I'm batting a thousand," deadpanned DJ J.Rod. "Basically, I think they couldn't have done it without me."
During his acceptance speech, Stegman thanked the Houston Band Coalition, an organization that he said is making positive changes in the local music scene. "Everybody in it is supportive of each other. We've been members since 2004, and we feel like the coalition is a tremendous factor in the growth of Houston's music scene. They're making things happen. So, of course, they are always at the top of our list of people to thank."
Asked to confirm the rumor that each of the LoneStar PornStar band members was required to appear in an adult movie before joining the band, DJ J.Rod, despite his obvious porn stage name, hesitated and then said, "You're going to have to buy me a lot more beers before you can get me to answer that question." -- O.F.A.
Best New Act: Million Year Dance
The theatrical and mystical rockers of Million Year Dance were terse and enigmatic when they accepted their award. "We'd like to dedicate this to Steven, who can't be with us," said singer Jonathan Welch, whose vocals are downright amazing. The band's shows incorporate Eastern religious imagery, potted plants, incense and soon, they say, puppets too. -- J.N.L.
Best Drummer: Paul "Falcon" Valdez
A product of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts jazz program, Valdez defines the word "impeccable" behind the kit. You've heard all those drummer jokes: "What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? A drummer." Not Valdez, a true musician behind the kit and a master of the Jim Keltner/Pete Thomas school of skin-bashing. Tody Castillo, one of the many musicians in town to enlist his services, says, "He brings that big ol' bag of percussion with him and his rock drum set. And what he does works -- he's never back there doing stuff just because he can." -- J.N.L.
Best Record Store: Soundwaves
It took something tantamount to an act of God -- the actual closure of the store -- but Cactus Music and Video did not win this category as it had every year but once. Not that Cactus's shuttering stopped many of you from voting for it anyway -- 150 or so of you did so even though the store is now nonexistent, which was enough to place it in second place in the final tally. Thirteen of you wrote "n/a," 44 of you stumped for Best Buy and Wal-Mart, and 24 of you voted for "the Internet" or specific Web sites. Data like that makes us truly depressed about the future of bricks-and-mortar music retail. -- J.N.L.
Best Female Vocalist: Lisa Novak
Houston has yet to see what will come of Lisa Novak's effort to raise her status from a local favorite to national icon. Novak is in the studio working on her latest release while trying to capture the attention of label bigwigs who might be interested in her enticing blend of acoustic pop and alt-country. This is Novak's second straight year to take the award for Best Female Vocalist, but that shouldn't be surprising to the fans who have continued to join her at her regular gig at the Big Top every Tuesday. -- Dusti Rhodes