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Your Guide to the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase

Great local bands, one awesome evening.

Your Guide to the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase

For the silver-anniversary Houston Press Music Awards Showcase this Sunday, August 4, we pulled out all the stops. We prevailed upon some perpetual nominees who had missed the past few showcases to give it another shot, but we're also proud to have several nominees ­playing their very first HPMAs. Either way, we think you'll like the results.

From country to rap, pop to metal, these are 45 of the finest bands and musicians (plus one special guest) Houston has to offer, and we're honored they're playing an event with our name on it. See HPMusicawards.com for ticket information; until the day of the show, a wristband good for admission to all eight venues all afternoon long is a cool $10. CHRIS GRAY

BEN'S BEANS

1302 Dallas, bens-beans.com

4 p.m.: YELBA HEATON

Nominated in: Best Latin Act

Known onstage as simply Yelba, Yelba Heaton tackles everything from country to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" with her signature "Latin Twist." The Nicaragua­-born singer fronts the aptly named Yelba's Variety Band with a versatility that has given her one of the area's most crowded booking ­calendars. CHRIS GRAY

5 p.m.: THE TRIMMS

Nominated in: Best Male Vocals (Dillon Trimm), Best Guitarist (Adrian Martinez), Best Drummer (Gabe Bravo), Best Traditional Rock

The Trimms are up for a bucketload of awards in large part because they're one of Houston's most solid rock bands. Their shows are an amazing mixture of perfectly chosen covers and punchy originals that call up the energy of modern acts like Nico Vega, like a bomb that constantly explodes through the entire set. JEF WITH ONE F

6 p.m.: LA SIEN

Nominated in: Best Latin Act

Bragging on Houston's cultural diversity, this time we're not talking about food or a cool place to visit on the weekend. La Sien is a young Spanish-rock act doing some beautiful things with gorgeous vocals and fluid instrumental prowess. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

7 p.m.: KRISTINE MILLS

Nominated in: Best Pop Act

If you find it hard to stop listening to Kristine Mills once she opens her mouth, you're not alone. The singer-songwriter's recent pop-­oriented album, asYETuntitled, is her fifth, and she shows no signs of slowing down. Though she's known for her upbeat personality that will bring joy to any crowd, Mills's intensity as a performer is what lingers. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

8 p.m.: CARETTA BELL

Nominated in: Best Soul/Funk/R&B

Last year Caretta Bell skated into the Best Music Video category with a glossy gem called "Growing Painz" that showed off the impressive range of her whispery soul voice. Her music is a light brand of classic R&B that can always bring the mood to a sexier level, but still with a sweetness that keeps the whole thing from turning overt. JEF WITH ONE F

9 p.m.: THE GRIEVOUS ANGELS

Nominated in: Best Local Recording (Grievous Angels), Local Musician of the Year (Libby Koch), Best Female Vocals (Lainey Balaiga), Best Folk/Americana

As soon as you hear the Grievous Angels, you discover what you didn't know you were missing on mainstream country radio — an ­Americana-rooted trio of strong female voices backed by fiddle, acoustic guitar and steel guitar. Don't be surprised if you find yourself two-stepping with your honey soon afterward. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

DIRT BAR

1209 Caroline, dirtbar.com

4 p.m.: BEETLE

Nominated in: Best Cover/Tribute Act

Even if you had a Tardis like Doctor Who, where would you go see the Beatles? The Ed Sullivan Show? Looking up at the Apple headquarters rooftop concert? Well, you don't have a Tardis, but Beetle offers the next best thing, tracing the early club days through Abbey Road every Thursday at the Continental Club. JEF WITH ONE F

5 p.m.: BORN AGAIN VIRGINS

Nominated in: Best Traditional Rock

Born Again Virgins mean business when it comes to noisy, sweaty, glorious rock and roll. From front man James Red's searing vocals to badass (girl) guitar guru Adria LeCrone, the Virgins are all razor-sharp edges and balls of steel without losing any musicality. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

6 p.m.: ATHOUSANDCOLOURS

Nominated in: Best Traditional Rock

Strong male vocal harmony doesn't happen in every band, but it's what AThousandColours seems to do best. The relative newcomers' sound somehow feels bigger than Houston, making it hard to believe they've only released two short EPs, The Come Around and the newer The River. It doesn't feel like enough. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

7 p.m.: AMERICAN FANGS

Nominated in: Best Local Recording (American Fangs), Best Local Music Video ("Pomona"), Best Modern Rock

American Fangs has always put out quality music videos, usually just a lot of rocking, some girls and a good time, but the band knows how to produce really professional work. Presumably shot on the same trip out to California where Fangs guitarist Nik Slimp was attacked by a man who told the police he was a vampire, the video for "Pomona" shows the band hitting Hollywood sights and playing under a burnt orange sunset on a rooftop. American Fangs keeps it simple and high-energy but with an oomph most others can't pull off. JEF WITH ONE F

8 p.m.: VENOMOUS MAXIMUS

Nominated in: Best Local Recording (Beg Upon the Light), Best Metal

It's been a good year for Houston metal albums, and Venomous Maximus's Beg Upon the Light might well be the best in the crop. Introducing Insect Warfare's Beau Beasley on organ brought in a dynamic Deep Purple-ish feel, but don't let that fool you. Beg Upon the Light is aggressive as all get-out, and "Moonchild" might be one of the best metal songs in Texas history. JEF WITH ONE F

9 p.m.: THELASTPLACEYOULOOK

Nominated in: Best Modern Rock

thelastplaceyoulook's raising funds on Kickstarter for a sorely needed new tour van drew some ire from locals, but it worked; the group hit the road and returned with their first new music since 2009's See the Light Inside You broke nationally. It was tough, but TLPYL has become a band capable of making their living on the road — which their high-octane pop-rock chops make so much easier. JEF WITH ONE F

HOUSE OF BLUES — BRONZE PEACOCK ROOM

1204 Caroline, hob.com/houston

5 p.m.: DJ IPOD AMMO

Nominated in: Best Rap DJ

Having DJ iPod aMmo open up your rap show/party/any gathering should be mandatory. He's easily one of Houston's chillest DJs, with a Dre-to-Kanye range and a broad set of musical bridges that can calm crowds down or stir them up into a dancing frenzy. This solid cat will never leave you hanging for a good groove. JEF WITH ONE F

6 p.m.: NICK GREER & THE G'S

Nominated in: Best Soul/Funk/R&B, Best Keyboards (Nick Greer)

While most hip-hop artists strive for the perfect laptop beat, Nick Greer is busy pounding his piano keys. True, it's not uncommon to hear a piano loop in a genre that sprang from jazz and blues, but Greer taps into a market yet to be fully pioneered. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure: He needs only one song to get your attention. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

7 p.m.: DOUGHBEEZY

Nominated in: Local Musician of the Year, Best Solo Rapper

Doughbeezy may well harness inertia — that mysterious force some say is the most powerful in the universe — better than any other musician in the city. The man never seems to stop, doing more than 40 shows a year at bigger and better venues all the time. "Break It Down, Roll It Up" is well on its way to being a modern Houston-rap classic, and at this speed, the "Southeast Beast" may very well own an empire before long. JEF WITH ONE F

8 p.m.: THE NICEGUYS

Nominated in: Best Local Recording (James ­Kelley), Best Rap Group

The Niceguys are among those rare artists who actually practice what they preach, with delicious beats and perfectly intertwining vocal deliveries. Last year's James Kelley is easily one of the best hip-hop albums to drop in Houston in recent years, and a little help from the likes of Slim Thug and Bun B never hurts. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

9 p.m.: FAT TONY

Nominated in: Best Solo Rapper

Fat Tony has been working hard since 2005 to get to where he is now, and now is a pretty good place for him. Brand-new album Smart Ass Black Boy has drawn the attention of publications like XXL and cracked CMJ's hip-hop charts while Tony has appeared at various festivals including NYC's 4 Knots and Canada's upcoming NXNE. No surprise, then, that Fat Tony has become one of Houston's best-known and most respected rappers. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

HOUSE OF BLUES — CROSSROADS STAGE

1204 Caroline, hob.com/houston

4 p.m.: JUNIOR GORDON BAND

Nominated in: Best Local Song ("Big"), Best Local Music Video ("Big"), Local Musician of the Year (Junior Gordon), Best Male Vocals (Junior Gordon), Best Country

Sad ol' songs about your dog dyin' and your wife leavin' are lost on Junior Gordon, who is all about country music with an energetic, upbeat and at times quite funny vibe. Known for his onstage antics as much as his music — think stage-diving, bar-hopping and c-rapping from sheer excitement (country rapping, for you newbies) — he's nothing if not a good time. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

5 p.m.: LITTLE JOE WASHINGTON

Nominated in: Best Blues

No other Houston bluesman is as captivating as Little Joe Washington, who creates pure blues-funk magic with the intensity and dexterity of a kid half his age. The dirty guitar licks and gruff, salt-of-the-earth voice emanating from his tiny dreadlocked frame make Little Joe a worship leader, zydeco master and grandfather of soul all in one. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

6 p.m.: SECOND LOVERS

Nominated in: Best Folk/Americana

Despite folk music's rising popularity on today's pop charts, Second Lovers isn't jumping on some bandwagon. Instead, the indie-pop-­infused sound of debut LP Wishers, Dreamers & Liars holds up against any competition, and new two-song EP New Mexico could really put the group on the map. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

7 p.m.: ZYDECO DOTS

Nominated in: Best Zydeco

Zydeco Dots have been getting nominated for (and winning) HPMAs for about as long as the awards have been around. The band fetches a pretty penny for private engagements these days, so our showcase is always a convenient chance to see some Grade-A Gulf Coast party music on the cheap. CHRIS GRAY

8 p.m.: JUSTIN VAN SANT

Nominated in: Best Country

Justin Van Sant has a personality as big as that twangy voice of his and charisma that makes him hard to ignore. Between his twinkling baritone and the savory steel guitar behind him, a Justin Van Sant concert is a good ol' Texas-country good time. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

9 p.m.: MIKE STINSON

Nominated in: Best Songwriter, Best Country

A craftsman of a songwriter capable of both great wit and poignancy, Mike Stinson has raised the bar for local troubadors since moving here in 2009. His brand-new album, Hell and Half of Georgia, puts a rockin', ­radio-friendly sheen on some damn fine turns of phrase. CHRIS GRAY

HOUSE OF BLUES — MUSIC HALL

1204 Caroline, hob.com/houston

5 p.m.: FEATHERFACE

Nominated in: Best Local Music Video ("I Saw You Dancing")

Featherface's "I Saw You Dancing" video was a home-shot masterpiece, directed by Randall Hopkins, which follows a ballet dancer left stranded in a zombie apocalypse. Accosted by a lone ghoul, the girl tries to calm his rage by dancing, only to break down crying at the futility of reaching something beautiful inside her attacker. It's an unforgettable and daring piece of ­cinemaudio. JEF WITH ONE F

6 p.m.: THE SUFFERS

Nominated in: Best Reggae/Ska/Dub, Best ­Keyboards (Patrick Kelly)

With their soulful yet upbeat amalgam of jazz, reggae and ska, The Suffers are a force to be reckoned with. An all-star Houston band of sorts, they were born with some bragging rights but live up to the hype thanks to lead singer Kam Franklin's mesmerizing vocals and a ­massive-sounding mix of horns, guitars and percussion. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

7 p.m.: WILD MOCCASINS

Nominated in: Best Local Song ("Gag Reflections"), Best Pop Act

Wild Moccasins know a thing or two about how to wow a crowd with indie-pop cuteness. An abundance of synthesizer dances along with co-­leaders Zahaira Gutierrez and Cody Swann giving their his-and-hers vibe an '80s-pop twist and a cheery enthusiasm. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

8 p.m.: THE TONTONS

Nominated in: Best Pop Act

Last year MTV deemed the Tontons buzzworthy around the time they played the POP Montréal festival, confirming what local fans of their excellent psychedelic jazz-pop have long known: Asli Omar and her guys could finally be the band that makes the world listen to Houston's uniquely weird brand of indie brilliance. JEF WITH ONE F

9 p.m.: BUXTON

Nominated in: Best Folk/Americana

Lately Buxton has been in Athens, Georgia, demoing tracks for the followup to 2012's local hit Nothing Here Seems Strange. Whatever new black magic they're bringing back to town, Buxton's folk-rock with garage-band balls makes them more and more interesting as they ­mature. JEF WITH ONE F

10:15 p.m.: GIRL IN A COMA

Nominated in: Special Guest

San Antonio's Girl In a Coma have already cultivated a devoted Houston fanbase with a potent blend of '90s riot-grrrl punk and jangly '80s alt-pop, seasoning it to taste with their ­Alamo City Latina roots. They've also picked up a pretty badass patron in one Joan Jett, who signed the trio to her Blackheart Records in 2007; last year's Exits & All the Rest is their latest acclaimed album. CHRIS GRAY

MKT BAR

1001 Austin, mktbar.com

5 p.m.: QANDA

Nominated in: Best Male Vocals (Jordi Baizan), Best Traditional Rock

Qanda comes in both equally talented and interesting forms, the acoustic duo of Jordi Baizan and Andy Zipper and the full band also featuring Mark Dulworth and Dustin Wolfe. Either way, and with just two albums, Qanda has found a way to prove that not all rock is wasted on the young. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

6 p.m.: BANG BANGZ

Nominated in: Best Electronic Act

Bang Bangz are on the vanguard of Houston's latest electronica comeback. Channeling Portis­head and Massive Attack, the group's debut self-titled EP was a mysterious siren song, but this year's LP Red City is full-on ambient ­nirvana. JEF WITH ONE F

7 p.m.: FREE RADICALS

Nominated in: Best Jazz

It's hard to believe, but Free Radicals have been together in Houston for almost two decades. They remain the city's most consistently reliable act, always able to deliver their blend of Latin, jazz, ska and even rap twice a week all over town. To call them the hardest-working act in Houston wouldn't be a stretch. A sprawling 23-song ode to the power of borders and walls that required almost 50 guest musicians to accomplish, last year's Freedom Fence deservedly walked away with the HPMAs' Best Album. JEF WITH ONE F

8 p.m.: MIKEY & THE DRAGZ

Nominated in: Best Garage/Punk/Hardcore

Luckily, Mikey and The Dragz seem to know that organ solos are rad. Their grungy garage-rock is not only organ-heavy, but gritty where it needs to be. The throaty vocals and fuzzy guitars channel the raw sound of '60s rock but with a uniquely modern edge. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

9 p.m.: DJ SUN & RESOLUTION

Nominated in: Best Club DJ/DJ Night

If nothing else, this was the year DJ Sun — constantly busy but never terribly prolific — finally gave Houston his first album-length release, One Hundred. The longtime host of KPFT's Soular Grooves keeps things low-key, eschewing harsh sounds for music suited to relaxing in the poshest of places. "Ten," featuring Skyblue72's Jessica Zweback, is brilliant aural story­telling that stretches to epic length as it creates a Zen-like trance state. JEF WITH ONE F

PETE'S DUELING PIANO BAR

1201 Fannin, petesduelingpianobar.com

4 p.m.: OCEANS OF SLUMBER

Nominated in: Best Local Recording (Aetherial), Best New Act, Best Bassist (Keegan Kelly), Best Drummer (Dobber Beverly), Best Metal

Oceans of Slumber has exploded onto the Houston metal scene like the hounds of hell, and debut Aetherial makes an amazing introduction. Imagine if a woodchipper could hit things, and you get an idea of the heavy hits Dobber Beverly adds, while singer Ronnie Allen and the dueling guitars dance between progressive and operatic. JEF WITH ONE F

5 p.m.: ANOTHER RUN

Nominated in: Best Modern Rock

Blending parts of rock, indie-pop and soul, Another Run make working the way they do look and feel fun and easy. Catching the band live is like finding a favorite pair of pants you thought had gone missing: It just feels right. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

6 p.m.: THE HATES

Nominated in: Best Garage/Punk/Hardcore

If you just moved here, you might need The Hates explained to you. Christian Kidd has been the face of Houston punk for more than three decades, hobnobbing with the greats who pass through and releasing a string of albums that embody year-zero punk. Be sure to read Kidd's newly released autobiography, Just a Houston Punk. JEF WITH ONE F

7 p.m.: THE MANICHEAN

Nominated in: Best Modern Rock

The Manichean are arguably Houston's most artistically diverse and interesting band, offering a strangely accessible mixture of shoegazey rock and avant-garde strangeness. They recently encored their live performance of 2012 LP LOVERS at Alley Theatre for yet another critical success, and their video for "Leopards" topped our list of 2012's 25 greatest music videos. Cory Sinclair and Justice Tirapelli-Jamail craft a one-of-a-kind rock experience. JEF WITH ONE F

8 p.m.: CHASE HAMBLIN & THE ROUSTABOUTS

Nominated in: Best Pop Act

One of Houston's most consistently HPMA-nominated pop masters, Chase Hamblin now sports a full-time backing band in the Roustabouts. This past year, he finally released the followup to 2009's Fine Time EP, the Britpop-inspired LP VAUdeVILLE. The group's bigger sound makes for a punchier new direction without losing that honky-tonk acid-gospel sound Hamblin's fans already love. JEF WITH ONE F

9 p.m.: LOS SKARNALES

Nominated in: Best Latin Act

Pack a little Latin, ska, swing, rockabilly, punk and reggae all together, throw in, oh, about 20 years of experience in the Houston music scene and you've got Los Skarnales. Their infectious, vibrant sound and supercharged live energy have built Skarnales one of Houston's most loyal followings. ­ANGELICA LEICHT

RESERVE 101

1201 Caroline, reserve101.com

5 p.m.: JEALOUS CREATURES

Nominated in: Best Traditional Rock

Jealous Creatures' 2013 album Bazooka is already on the short list of top alt-indie rock releases of the young decade, with the kind of feminine kick you used to see on '90s MTV before it got shooed away for being so dangerous. Do I dare compare them to Poe? I freakin' dare. JEF WITH ONE F

6 p.m.: FLCON FCKER

Nominated in: Best Electronic Act

Not everyone can handle experimental instrumental tracks, but not everyone has heard ­FLCON ­FCKER. Since his emergence, the laptop artist has mesmerized Houstonians with his ability to build, create and perform nearly inexplicable sounds. But this isn't some religious experience gone haywire — just a testament to the bizarre power of experimental music. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

7 p.m.: RECOVERY ROOM

Nominated in: Best New Act, Best Keyboards (Matthew Buehrer)

Recovery Room has been together for only a little more than a year, but plays with the certainty of a band much older. Their sound often feels veiled in darkness, drawing from the likes of Deftones and HIM. Some might be afraid to walk that line, but Recovery Room does so with enough grace and skill to stand out among Houston's bustling music scene. ­ALYSSA ­DUPREE

8 p.m.: ELECTRIC ATTITUDE

Nominated in: Best Soul/Funk/R&B

If you know anything about Houston funk and soul, then you know Electric Attitude. The band's eclectic mix of jazz and disco consistently gets the bodies shaking, and you couldn't find a better group of laid-back cats willing to sweat out the brass and thunder of a good solid rhythm line. With brand-new CD Skintight & Solid Gold, they're a Houston dynasty in the making. JEF WITH ONE F

9 p.m.: NICK GAITAN & THE UMBRELLA MAN

Nominated in: HPMA alumni

Captained by 2010 HPMA Musician of the Year Nick Gaitan, the Umbrella Man makes the most perfect Gulf Coast jukebox you could imagine, something loaded down with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Cookie & the Cupcakes, Flaco Jimenez and lots more. Giving it that extra kick is squeezeboxer Robert Rodiguez, whose cumbias and waltzes keep the dance floor hopping. CHRIS GRAY

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2 comments
R.T.  Castleberry
R.T. Castleberry

Is this the Music Awards or Stripper Awards? Because it if it's music, this is a really stupid, sexist magazine cover.

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