HPMA 2012 Showcase

One night. 11 venues. 55 minutes.

Grievous Angels (8 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Americana

"Two lawyers walk into a bar," begins the joke on Grievous Angels' Web site. The punch line is three-part country-folk harmonies you can't fake, between soul sister Debbie Forrest and real sisters Lainey Balagia and Libby Koch. Gram Parsons perched on their shoulder, the Angels debuted at a late-2011 Bastrop wildfires benefit; now a five-song EP is in the works. CHRIS GRAY

Chase Hamblin (9 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Pop Artist, Best Male Vocals

Chase Hamblin's debut EP, A Fine Time, remains one of the finest recent pop compositions by a Houston artist. Formerly of Penny Royal, the vagabond Hamblin mixes modern indie songwriting with shades of European folk settings to craft a timeless sound delivered through his infectious voice. JEF WITH ONE F

1201 Caroline

Brompton (5 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best New Act, Best Drummer, Best Bassist

Netting three nominations before your first EP is even out is pretty impressive. Built on the beastly backs of drummer Brian Moore and bassist Jeremy Molinas, Brompton has an early-'90s hardcore sound as timeless as it is brutal. Look for big, mean things from them in the years to come. JEF WITH ONE F

excuseMesir (6 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best New Act, Best Song, Best Male Vocals

Not even a year old, excuseMesir is rising faster than a loaf of bread with too much yeast, with Hayden Wander's bass and voice as powerful and soothing as your grandfather reading the family Bible. Their HPMA-nominated "Siren Song" recalls the Allman Brothers with its complexity and down-home attachment to a jam-country sound. JEF WITH ONE F

Alkari (7 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best CD/LP/EP

Alkari delivered new album Blackout Falls in grand style this past May, creating a wealth of love within the Houston scene by hosting a free release show with 11 other bands. The album is at turns chaotic and lush, smacking of early-'00s Brit-rock — worth a spin for the My Morning Jacket faithful. CRAIG HLAVATY

Matt Harlan (8 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Folk

The word "troubadour" gets thrown around about any kid with an intense beard and a guitar case in his car. Matt Harlan, though, is the real deal. A wide-traveling, storytelling man who can spellbind with his low-key style and stark production, Harlan is like a prairie wind in ­human form. No one tells it like he does. JEF WITH ONE F

The Mighty Orq (9 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Blues, Best Other Instrument, Best Guitarist, Best Bassist

The Mighty Orq and crew make unpretty, salacious blues-rock more suited to a bar fight than pitching woo. That's a compliment. This world-traveling quartet is now a decade old and has been playing icehouses and darkened corners in bars all over Texas and as far away as Germany, where they recorded a 2011 live disc. CRAIG HLAVATY

1311 Leeland

Steve Krase & the In Crowd (5 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Blues, Best Other Instrument, Best Guitarist, Best Bassist

Steve Krase paid his dues playing harmonica with recently deceased local blues giant Walter "The Thunderbird" Price for some years. Primarily a covers band glued together by longtime area bassist Sparetime Murray, the guys in the In Crowd regularly hit all the usual blues joints in town, handling themselves like the dedicated veterans they are. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

D.R.U.M. (6 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Reggae/Ska/Dub

Already winners of 14 HPMAs in various categories, Divine Rhythm United Motion is Houston's most solid world-music act, and no festival is complete without an appearance. But the message of the music is really D.R.U.M.'s defining attribute; no other local band is more likely to unite an audience in primal brotherhood. JEF WITH ONE F

Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws (7 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Zydeco

In 2011, the first-ever Zydeco Music Awards gave Step Rideau the Centric trophy for longevity. The Louisiana native, and Houstonian since the mid-'80s, has built an international reputation for boogie-down zydeco on eight albums up to 2010's Like Never Before. Most weekends he's at one area festival or another, and we're glad he's at ours. CHRIS GRAY

Espantapajaros (8 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Rock, Best Guitarist,

Best Drummer

Led by Argentine guitar whiz Pablo Espantapajaros, this scorching rock outfit originally included his brother Mariano. It's one of those well-kept secrets so typical of the Houston music scene. Formed in Buenos Aires in 1996, a Houston act since Pablo moved to Houston in 2006, Espantapajaros never stopped with its blazing, run-you-over style of psychedelic overamped rock. The 2010 release Following the Star didn't get near the attention it deserved. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Zydeco Dots (9 p.m.)

Nominated In: Best Zydeco

One of the longest-running, most financially successful bands in Houston history, Zydeco Dots do so many private events the public rarely has a chance to catch their spot-on Gulf Coast grooves. These guys can do this in their sleep and have won enough HPMA awards to open a trophy shop, but they just keep on rockin'. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

1201 Fannin

The Journey Agents (5 p.m.)

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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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