HPMA 2012 Showcase

One night. 11 venues. 55 minutes.

People often ask how we choose the nominees for the Houston Press Music Awards. The truth is, it's all you. We won't let a metal band stand for Best Folk, for example, but the names you see on this year's ballot were put there by Houston Press readers. And despite the inevitable complaints, we like it that way.

For one thing, a big thing, letting the readers drive the nominations keeps the HPMAs current. Even more than other big cities, the Houston music scene always seems to be in a state of flux. For every artist who jumps at the opportunity to move somewhere else, five more show up in their place. Others get busy with the rest of their lives and virtually disappear; others play one show and are suddenly the talk of the town; still others are on our ballot every single year. But they all get here the same way — by sparking the admiration of our readers, as in local music fans.

Our main job, then, becomes verifying who is both still Houston and still active. That's both easy and maddeningly difficult. But what it reveals every year is an astounding breadth and diversity of talent that even the so-called "music cities" across the country would be hard-pressed to match. Just look below.

That talent, more than 50 local artists scattered across 11 downtown venues, makes up Sunday's Houston Press Music Awards showcase. See ­ for all the other details you could ever want to know, and then come out to see what you may have been missing...but our readers haven't. CHRIS GRAY


1204 Caroline

Glasnost (5 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Electronic Act

Houston electronica tends to be dark and spooky, but Glasnost's beeps and boops are much more upbeat. Hard at work on a new album, they've cut down their shows a bit, just another reason to make it a point to see them when they land the mothership and bust out their viral synths. JEF WITH ONE F

H.I.S.D. (6 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Rap Group, Best Local Music Video

Smooth, mellow, occasionally ostentatious but never uninteresting, H.I.S.D. has rated near the top of the list of local rap groups for the past five years. Their most recent album, The Weakend, created a whole entire new vernacular around the theme "Space up," or to gain knowledge. H.I.S.D. also created an actual comic book as a supplement. Spaced. SHEA SERRANO

Otenki (7 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Modern Rock, Best Local Music Video, Best Male Vocals, Best Guitarist, Best Bassist

With five nominations this year, it's clear that Otenki is building something very big in Houston — their video for "Ghosts," set in a warehouse while a comely blond thrashes in her sleep, has topped 20,000 hits. Bassist "Sneaky" Josh Tenorio adds an oomph that makes Otenki unique, with lines of understated brilliance. JEF WITH ONE F

The Niceguys (8 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Rap Group

The Niceguys are a rap group that combines East Coast braggery with Southern-tinged atmospherics. Simple enough, but each one of the group's elements (DJ, MC, producer) is among the very best in the city at his particular job. Never out of sync, the Niceguys have rained hellfire on everyone for the past two years. SHEA SERRANO

thelastplaceyoulook (9 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Modern Rock

Imagine modern radio as something worth listening to, then imagine thelastplaceyoulook. The five-piece's main-stage slot at this spring's Buzz Fest could make them this year's Modern Rock favorite. Accompanied by a stellar live video, single "Band to Save Me" is reason alone to love them, as singer Nava croons a sad call for salvation through music. JEF WITH ONE F


1204 Caroline

Electric Attitude (5 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Soul/Funk/R&B,

Best Drummer

Reigning HPMA Soul/Funk/R&B winner ­Electric Attitude took last year's trophy with a combination of hard-rock drive and pure sex groovitude. Now they're trying again. Blake Shepard's voice is destined to accompany many future orgasms, but Best Drummer nominee Michael Hatter never misses the opportunity to swagger a song along at a slinky pace. JEF WITH ONE F

David G. Cortes (6 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Songwriter, Best New Act

According to his Web site, the much-traveled David G. Cortes is finishing the recording of his first 20 songs for an upcoming debut album, Time Away. Whether in English or Spanish, for the most part Cortes works an airy sound that tends toward bossa nova with a supper-club feel. It's light on the ear, mostly mellow and easily digestible. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Justin van Sant (7 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Country

Newcomer Justin van Sant is this year's "Texas country" entry in the Best Country field. His earnest youngster epistles about girlfriends, football and other topics in the Bocephus/Pat Green genre are mostly looking for a party and a tub of beer. There are also times when it seems like van Sant has heard a whole lot of Van Halen. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

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Nine Minutes won't be playing the HPA showcase (we still hope to win in the category of Best Punk/Hardcore/Garage category--you can vote for us here: but you can see us play the day before, August 4th as part of the Houston SunBurn! We play the main Engine Room stage at 9:30 p.m. Maybe other hardcore bands will have you banging your heads at 70 mph; Nine Minutes tops out the speedometer!


HoB? Highway robbery - no thank you...

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