Here they are, folks. You nominated 'em, we mulled 'em over and sorted out the stuffers, and now the 2009 Houston Press Music Awards ballot is set. Normally Rocks Off would say something cute like read 'em and weep, but since we've been listening to almost nothing but '80s hard rock and new bands that totally sound like '80s hard rock (Low Man's Joe, The Answer, Charm City Devils) for the past couple of days, we'll just say this: Eat 'em and smile.
Just kidding. We know this is serious stuff, and seriously, congratulations to all the nominees. For a laugh, we threw in one nomination per category submitted by someone who Just Doesn't Get It. Let the second-guessing start... now!
Nominees: B L A C K I E, Wilderness of North America; Bun B, UGK for Life; Hayes Carll, Trouble In Mind; Little Joe Washington, Texas Fire Line; Born Liars, Ragged Island; Young Mammals, Carrots
Notes: This category was the most fun to choose and most difficult to narrow down, and the one that makes me happiest I'm ineligible to vote. Hayes Carll's alt-country blockbuster and Bun B's heartfelt Pimp C valediction versus the venerable Little Joe, late-night garage creepers the Born Liars, B L A C K I E's fuzz-clouded thinkbomb and Young Mammals' lovable psych-pop? A toss-up if there ever was one.Get a Clue: "Carrie Underwood," "Meet the Beatles," "Rush Live in Rio"
Best Local EP/7-inch
Homopolice, "Assfucker"; McKenzies, "McKenzies"; News on the March, "Glory Be!"; Ozeal & the Eulypians, "Joyful Struggle"; Benjamin Wesley, "Geschichte"; Wild Moccasins, "Microscopic Metronomes"
The Homopolice's leather-clad S&M ravings crash a party where Benjamin Wesley speaks shadowy truths, the Eulypians' jazzy hip-hop has everybody dancing and the three-headed "H-pop" hydra grins from ear to ear. Another tough one.
Get a Clue:
• Best Local Song
Nominees: American Fangs, "Le Kick"; Hayes Carll, "Bad Liver and a Broken Heart"; Mechanical Boy, "She Does"; Miss Leslie & Her Juke Jointers, "Between the Whiskey and the Wine"; Nosaprise feat. Kam, "Intervention"; The Last Place You Look, "Don't Make It So Easy"; Benjamin Wesley, "Have You Ever Died?"
Notes: Could have easily had twice this many nominees. An iPod shuffler's dream.Get a Clue: "In Da Club"
• Best New Act
Nominees: BOLT; Cavernous; Hollywood FLOSS; Muhamid Ali; Neon Collars; Pasadena Napalm Division
Notes: Maybe the category that best shows how fertile, regenerative and degenerate the present Houston scene really is. Good luck.Get a Clue: "Blaggards"
Nominees: B L A C K I E, Hayes Carll, Nick Gaitan, Miss Leslie, Nosaprise, Benjamin WesleyGet a Clue: "Producer"
• Local Musician of the Year
Nominees: Beau Beasley; B L A C K I E; Hayes Carll; Kam; Kristine Mills; Little Joe Washington
Notes: A cross-section of Houston's best musicians - and busiest. Beasley and Kam are both in too many bands to count, Carll spent the entire year on tour, Mills released two albums and Little Joe, who only bounced back from near liver failure, should be here every year.Get a Clue: The tool who wrote "noon" in every category
• Best Guitarist
Nominees: Anthony Cruz Jr., Metavenge; Kelly Doyle, Three Fantastic; Adam Martinez, Tontons; Michael Regino, Mechanical Boy; The Mighty Orq; Little Joe WashingtonGet a Clue: "Neil Young"• Best Bassist
Nominees: Chris Applegate, Mechanical Boy; Beau Beasley, Homopolice; Nick Gaitan, The Octanes/Umbrella Man; Jack Schulz, Sean Reefer & the Resin Valley Boys; Westside Johnny, The Mighty Orq; Rozzano Zamorano, Yoko Mono/Rozz Zamorano GroupGet a Clue: "Bill Murray"• Best Drummer
Nominees: Nick Cooper, Free Radicals; Pat Kelly, Los Skarnales; Andy Moths, The Last Place You Look; Doug Payne, Plump; Kevin Tate, dUNETXGet a Clue: "Toto"• Best Keyboards
Nominees: Gilbert Alfaro, Spain Colored Orange; Zahira Gutierrez, Wild Moccasins; Mlee Marie, Hearts of Animals; Ryan Scroggins, Ryan Scroggins & the Trenchtown Texans; Jade Simmons; Pamela YorkGet a Clue: "Piano"• Best Miscellaneous Instrument
Nominees: B L A C K I E (PA); Chris Buckley, Blaggards (violin); Eric Jackson, Spain Colored Orange (trumpet); Jason Jackson, Plump (saxophone); Geoffrey Muller, Sideshow Tramps (saw); Robert Rodriguez, Umbrella Man/Los Pistoleros de Tejas (accordion)
Notes: We'd take out a second mortgage to see these people, with those instruments, get onstage somewhere and jam.Get a Clue: "Bob Dylan"• Best Male Vocals
Nominees: Tim Anderson, Mechanical Boy; Cornbreadd, Tha Fucking Transmissions; Anthony Cruz Jr., Metavenge; Justin Nava, The Last Place You Look; Cody Swann, Wild Moccasins; Sergio Trevino, BuxtonGet a Clue: "Kristine Mills"• Best Female Vocals
Nominees: Elaine Greer; Zahira Gutierrez, Wild Moccasins; Kam; Leela James; Kristine Mills; Asli Omar, Tontons
Notes: Do the ladies run this motherfucker? Damn right they do. Fierce.Get a Clue: "Adam Hill, Los Skarnales"• Rock
Nominees: Blaggards; The Favorites; Mechanical Boy; The Last Place You Look; Peekaboo Theory; Versecity
Notes: Eliminating Alt-Rock this year didn't eliminate the fact that Houston audiences like their rock heavy. And hard.
Get a Clue: "Ozzie Osbourne"• Blues
Nominees: Texas Johnny Brown; The Mighty Orq; The Snakecharmers; Runaway Sun; Little Joe Washington
Notes: Note nearly as heavily voted as Rocks Off expected. Is Houston losing steam as a blues town at long last?Get a Clue: "dunno"• R&B/Funk/Soul
Nominees: Asidasoul; Caretta Bell; Dominique; Leela James; Kam; Neon Collars
Notes: On the other hand, Houston is enjoying a bumper crop of funky divas right now. Good stuff.Get a Clue: "Mary J. Blidge"• Zydeco
Nominees: Brian Jack & the Zydeco Gamblers; J. Paul Jr. & the Zydeco Nubreeds; Step Rideau & the Zydeco Outlaws; Zydeco Dots
Notes: The least-voted category, by far. It pains Rocks Off to think this venerable - and indigenous to Houston - genre may have to be retired next year, but maybe that's for the best. Clifton Chenier (who got one vote) is turning over in his grave.Get a Clue: "any"• World
Nominees: D.R.U.M.; DubTex; Heptic Skeptic; Idiginis; Ryan Scroggins & the Trenchtown Texans; Space City Gamelan
Notes: One lone vote for Space City Gamelan's Indonesian exotica kept this from turning into "Best Reggae."Get a Clue: "Stevie Nicks"• Jazz
Nominees: Drop Trio; Free Radicals; Kristine Mills; Pamela York; Rozz Zamorano Group
Notes: A healthy bunch. Jazz in all its many forms and flavors.Get a Clue: "Kenny G," "Maroon 5"• DJ
Nominees: Ceeplus Bad Knives; DJ Sun; Grrrl Parts; Squincy Jones & Dayta; Dave WranglerGet a Clue: "Trance"• DJ Night
Nominees: Dirty Honey (Boondocks); Gritsy (various); Noise Thursday (Escobar); Speakerboxx (The Mink); Texas Dub (Avant Garden); Underworld (Numbers)
Notes: The very first ballot Rocks Off looked at nominated "Friday." We're still laughing.Get a Clue: "None"• Metal
Nominees: Golden Axe; Metavenge; Melovine; Pasadena Napalm Division; Whorehound; World's Most Dangerous
Notes: From Golden Axe's hammer-of-the-gods theatrics to Metavenge's Kill-'Em-All thrash and World's Most Dangerous' Southern roar, Houston's metal scene is thriving.Get a Clue: "KISS"• Punk
Nominees: Born Liars; Dead Roses; Flamin' Hellcats; NO TALK; Skeleton Dick; Something Fierce
Notes: Great year for punk, and a tough category to narrow down. Keep it coming.Get a Clue: "is cool"• Hardcore/Noise
Nominees: A Dream Asleep; Battle Rifle; Black Leather Jesus; Cop Warmth; Future Blondes; Homopolice
Notes: Fun fun fun 'til daddy takes the earplugs away.Get a Clue: "KTRU"• Indie Rock
Nominees: Balaclavas; McKenzies; Spain Colored Orange; Tontons; Wild Moccasins; Young Mammals
Notes: Veterans Spain Colored Orange hold fast against a high tide of utterly charming, thoroughly unique young bands.Get a Clue: "NONE"• Instrumental/Experimental
Nominees: Caddywhompus; Female Demand; Inner Lights; Motion Turns It On; Jade Simmons & Robert Reynolds (Room 101); Two Star SymphonyGet a Clue: "My dog Heiki plays squeaker toys"• Mainstream Hip-Hop
Nominees: Bun B/UGK; Devin the Dude; Scarface; Slim Thug; Paul Wall; Z-Ro
Notes: 'Nuff said.Get a Clue: "EMIEMN" (sic)• Underground Hip-Hop
Nominees: B L A C K I E; Fat Tony; H.I.S.D.; Hollywood FLOSS; Nosaprise; Ozeal & the Eulypians
Notes: See Metal. A pleasure - and nightmare - to curate.
Get a Clue: "noon" again• Latin Traditional
Nominees: Mango Punch; Moodafaruka; Los Pistoleros de Tejas; Norma ZentenoGet a Clue: "Gloria Estephan"• Latin Contemporary
Nominees: Chango Man; Espantapajaros; Los Skarnales; Karina Nistal; Yoko Mono
Notes: Significantly better voted than its Traditional counterpart.Get a Clue: "Bebel Gilberto"• Cover/Tribute Band
Nominees: Allen Oldies Band; Bare Necessity; Black Dog; Beetle; Cold Shot; Picture Book
Notes: Houston looooves its cover/tribute bands, and it shows. One of the most-voted genre categories.Get a Clue: "REO Speed Wagon"• Country
Nominees: Johnny Falstaff; Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers; Mitch Jacobs Band; Sean Reefer & the Resin Valley Boys; Katie Stuckey; Dixie Trahan
Notes: Honky-tonk ain't dead yet, y'all.Get a Clue: "Dolly Pardon," "more cowbell"• Folk
Nominees: Lee Alexander; Glenna Bell; Come See My Dead Person; Robert Ellis; Flying Fish SailorsGet a Clue: "That folk dude"• Roots-Rock/Americana
Nominees: Buxton; Hayes Carll; LL Cooper; Sideshow Tramps; Small Sounds; Umbrella Man
Notes: Tooth and nail.Get a Clue: "Houston Symphony"
Voting for the Houston Press Music Awards begins with our July 2 issue and continues through the Music Awards showcase July 26. Winners will be announced July 30 at Warehouse Live.
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