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Scattered between Bayou Place, lower Main Street and the Toyota Center district, you could say Sunday's Houston Press Music Awards showcase is as big as downtown Houston itself. Your feet will be thanking the god of your choice for the free rides between venues provided by SuperShuttle; ours already are.

And although we wish, of course, that there was enough time and space for every last one of this year's nominees to perform, the 52 who are should be more than enough to give even the most bewildered neophyte or smack-­talking skeptic a stiff dose of what a diverse, fertile scene we've got here. There's tribute bands and seasoned jazz singers, aromatic reggae and zesty zydeco, intelligent indie-rockers and relevant rappers, ferocious metal and soothing folk, pissed-off punk and tear-in-your-beer honky-tonk. And that's just a thumbnail.

No matter your own personal taste, we're pretty sure you'll find something among the following capsules that rubs your ears the right way. But for the $10 price of a wristband (available at all venues), take a chance on somebody you've never heard before too. You may well come away raving — we always do. Click here to cast your ballot. Chris Gray


2009 Houston Press Music Awards


Dean's Credit Clothing
(316 Main)

Glenna Bell (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: Folk

Sweet-as-pie songstress Glenna Bell is a welcome addition to this year's HPMAs, crooning her way into the horse-loving hearts of Midtowners. Bell sings with an infusion of Johnny Cash-style aesthetics blended with some Tammy Wynette syrup and a shimmy-shake of Bible. The Houston Chronicle named Bell's latest record, 2008's The Road Less Traveled, the best local album of the year. Brandon K. Hernsberger


Ozeal & the Eulypians (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: New Act, EP/7-inch (Ozeal & the Eulypians), Underground Hip-Hop

This local band is a soul-fusion quintet with a clear tilt towards earthy hip-hop, poetry and existentialism — we wouldn't be surprised to learn the members know all the words to A Tribe Called Quest's "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" and Sun-Ra's "Calling Planet Earth." At once instinctive and cerebral, Ozeal's vocals have the same sleepy charm as Spearhead's Michael Franti, except you don't feel like you're being chastised for being dumber than he is when you listen to them. Shea Serrano

The McKenzies (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: EP/7-inch (The McKenzies),Indie Rock

As tight as the tightest spandex in that one fastidious hipster's closet, the McKenzies are putting the crackle back in H-pop, giving the local indie scene the clapping sounds it's needed for a while. They compare themselves to Weezer when Weezer was good, but even that's not saying enough. Along with the other 2009 Indie Rock nominees, these local kids made good are transferring the balance of indie power in this fair state north to south. Brandon K. Hernsberger

B L A C K I E (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: LP/CD (Wilderness of North America), Songwriter, Local Musician of the Year, Misc. Instrument (PA), Underground Hip-Hop

Part of the new wave of confrontational kids to come out of the Chemical City (Pasadena, duh), B L A C K I E has been pulverizing the crowds that surround him and his array of samplers for over the past year. The boy doesn't know how to use a stage, digging into the assembled masses à la old-school hardcore. He embarked on his first national tour this summer, hitting up the East Coast with his own grim and morose noise-inflected suburban tales, and is currently working on new slabs of music in hopes of a fall release. Craig Hlavaty

Metavenge (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Guitarist (Anthony Cruz Jr.), Male Vocals (Cruz), Metal

Metavenge scares us. Why, you ask, would a group of metal kids, some not old enough to buy porn, do that? Metavenge has speed-metal locked down, and the trio hasn't even taken its first sip of legal booze, that's why. The thrashers sound as if they would have opened for Anthrax in 1985; tracks like "Time To Kill" ooze riffage like blood coming out of a tear in a body bag. Craig Hlavaty

Flying Saucer
(705 Main)

dUNETX (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: Drummer (Kevin Tate)

Big beats, fuzz-laden guitars, steroidal muscle and a droll sense of humor have made ­dUNETX one of Houston's most beloved — and underexposed — bands over the past dec­ade. These guys have always rocked hard and partied harder, making it a mystery why their rocking power-pop hasn't caught on with a much wider audience. William Michael Smith

Runaway Sun (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Blues

Buoyed by the ambling fretwork of lead guitarist Daniel de Luna and singer Andrew Karnavas's burly, bluesy come-ons, Runaway Sun could be described as mild baby-making music. Standout track "Stoplight" conjures crumpled sheets and tossed pillows on the floor, and on a solitary night drive the song seems to get even slinkier. Karnavas's warm vocals are the real ladykiller here, edging straight into John Mayer territory without getting all sappy. Full-length The Bridge, following up last year's four-song Runaway Sun EP, is due later this summer. Craig Hlavaty

Kristine Mills (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Local Musician of the Year, Female Vocals, Jazz

Kristine Mills has been singing jazz around Houston since the late '90s, but has finally begun a recording career, with three albums since 2007. Her latest is bossanovafied, a collection that includes some of her own compositions. Mills's bluesy voice is capable of the hottest torch songs or the subtlest nuance. William Michael Smith

Sean Reefer & the Resin Valley Boys (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Bassist (Jack Schulz), Country

Houston's answer to Wayne Hancock, rockabilly hillbilly Sean Reefer is a party waiting to explode. Whether he's channeling Hank Williams or Johnny Horton, Reefer brings honky-tonk hard, fast and loud, just like it's supposed to be. The band does well with its pot songs, too, having won best country song in the 2008 Global Marijuana Music Awards. William Michael Smith

D.R.U.M. (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: World

D.R.U.M. hardly exists solely within the realm of "world music." There's plenty of acoustic alchemy going on, marrying African rhythms to just about everything else, but D.R.U.M. approaches music not from the standpoint of constant combination, but one of musical continuity. More often than not, one idea or motif flows seamlessly into the next instead of being layered on top. This musical style unto itself is in abundance on brand-new LP LOVETERNALIGHTRUTHEALINGROWTHAPPINESS. Nicholas L. Hall

Hard Rock Cafe
(Bayou Place, 520 Texas)

Nosaprise (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: Song ("Intervention"),Underground Hip-Hop

Since releasing his stellar debut album, Grown Folks Music, last summer, Nosaprise has assuredly risen through the ranks of underground Houston MCs. (He and cohort Fat Tony are locked in an unspoken but understood battle for the top spot.) Nosa's nasal flow effortlessly skirts across all manner of backbeats — slated for August, his LP Horseshoes and Hand Grenades houses the rock-centric "Start Today" — and gives instant gravitas to any playbill bearing his name. Shea Serrano

Beetle (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Cover/Tribute Band

The Continental Club's Thursday happy-hour Beetle shows have become virtually institutionalized. Happy throngs pour onto the dance floor to the sounds of "Love Me Do" and scream along at the top of their voices to "Eight Days a Week" or "I Am the Walrus." Beetle is a bona fide happening, a homemade Houston hootenanny Sgt. Pepper would certainly approve. William Michael Smith

The Small Sounds (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Roots Rock/Americana

Thank God for The Small Sounds. This sextet of seasoned H-Town musicians is part of a growing contingent reclaiming country from the slickly sweet Nashville nonsense, with a sound that hearkens back to its early days when the loosely defined genre included mountain music, bluegrass, early rock and roll stylings and a whole grab bag of folk influences. The band is currently hard at work on the follow-up to last year's eponymous debut LP. Nicholas L. Hall

Katie Stuckey & the Swagger (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Country

2007 HPMA Best Female Vocalist Katie Stuckey has all the chops to be an alt-country diva and, were it not for her day job, she'd probably be playing more gigs and gaining a wider following. With her band the Swagger, Stuckey finds her grooves partly in modern country and partly in old-school honky-tonk shuffles. It's a charming, workable combination. William Michael Smith

Versecity (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Rock

Listeners could be forgiven for mistaking Versecity for any number of MTV bands; Hoobastank and Stone Temple Pilots both come to mind when tracks like "Believe" or "Keep Your Distance" pop up on the player. Smart and highly commercial, this band has breakout potential, especially if it can find a sound that is truly its own. William Michael Smith

House of Blues downstairs
(1204 Caroline)

Dominique (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: R&B/Funk/Soul

Good Girl Blues, Dominique's recently released debut, reveals a lot about this sultry neo-soul singer. Ostensibly a reference to the effect of raw sexuality on those more inclined to coyness, it also aptly describes Dominique's musical approach. As a singer, she prefers the slow burn of a sultry, understated sound, leaning heavily on jazz phrasing and conjuring up images of languidly rolling about the top of a piano in a smoky bar. Nicholas L. Hall

Zydeco Dots (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Zydeco

Thanks in large part to the tireless work of local writer Dr. Roger Wood, Houston remains a hotbed of zydeco, and the Zydeco Dots are still No. 1 in the hearts of the people. The Dots come roaring into this year's HPMAs rightly owning the crown, toting with them a long line of impressive recordings and collaborations and every HPMA zydeco win except one. Going strong for more than 20 years, the Dots make sounds that own stages. Brandon K. Hernsberger

I N D I G I N I S (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: World

Indiginis manages to blend tradition and modernity, weaving a reggae sound that is at once strident continuation and striking interpretation. At times heavily influenced by dub, the group shines in its wily use of space in framing a song — it knows that music comes from not just what you play, but what you don't. Indiginis subscribes to both the ascetic minimalism of dub and reggae and the music's spiritual elements. Nicholas L. Hall

Umbrella Man (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Songwriter (Nick Gaitan), Bassist (Gaitan), Misc. Instrument (Robert Rodriguez, accordion), Roots Rock/Americana

Nick Gaitan's (Octanes, Billy Joe Shaver) latest project is hard to pigeonhole, and that's a good thing. Much of the material swings in an old-school country way, but there are always elements that take bits of the "country" out of the songs. "Country-soul" probably comes closer than any other category one might assign to Umbrella Man's music, but the mix also includes interesting swatches of blues, gospel and Cajun stomp. William Michael Smith

Moodafaruka (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Latin Traditional

"Nuevoflamencoworldfusionglobalgroovengypsysurfmusic" is a bit of a mouthful, so genre-bending musical explorers Moodafaruka have settled on the more nebulous, but less tongue-twisting, "World Fusion." Over the past decade, guitarist Rom Ryan has led a revolving cast of Houston musicians playing everything from African drums to Eastern European lap harps, bending to suit styles from Flamenco to New Age-inspired electronic dance tracks to trancelike mood pieces. Nicholas L. Hall

House of Blues Bronze ­Peacock (1204 Caroline)

Heptic Skeptic (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: Local Musician of the Year (Kam Franklin), Female Vocals (Franklin), R&B/Funk/Soul (Franklin), World

Heptic Skeptic re-formed this January and is now working on an album of original material. Listeners can be forgiven if names like Erykah Badu or Lauryn Hill pop into their minds when they hear Heptic Skeptic's slinky, wah-wah-laden reggae beats and Kam Franklin's silky, soulful vocals. Jazzy tracks like "Better Than You" should give the band a broad appeal across several genres. William Michael Smith

Karina Nistal (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Latin Contemporary

Here's the list of Houston's Latina hip-hop MCs of consequence: Karina Nistal. That's it. Though Nistal seems to be drifting more and more toward a house-music base as of late — not entirely unexpected, nor entirely a bad thing — few can argue that when she unleashes her natural inclination to make Spanish hip-hop, anyone in town is better. 2007's boom-bap-esque track "Vivendo" and pseudo-Reggaeton dance track "Trabajalo" remain flagship songs for Houston's budding Latin-roots hip-hop genre. Shea Serrano

LL Cooper (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Roots Rock/Americana

Larry Cooper moved to the Hippie Riviera on the north side of Lake Travis last year, but he'll always be a hometown boy. Fronting his band LL Cooper, he has a rootsy, straight-ahead style that reflects his raising in nearby Decker Prairie outside Houston on Highway 249. Armed with the brand-new LP Tucson, the follow-up to his earthy Old Hardin Road Store, Cooper is set for another busy year. William Michael Smith

Peekaboo Theory (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Rock

Now three years old, Peekaboo Theory is still an incessantly exciting band. This year's debut full-length, Sy~3nc3 & Pr( )gr@m5, did nothing if not up the ante from the smattering of previously available cuts. What makes PBT a band to watch is that there are actually several Peekaboo Theorys: the one that takes its cues from dance beats and electronic instruments; the hard-rock version; the subdued indie metaphysical incarnation; the dub-tastic space band; and the turntable-fueled rap-rock group. Nicholas L. Hall

Sideshow Tramps (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Misc. Instrument (Geoffrey Muller, saw), Roots Rock/Americana

Over the years, Sideshow Tramps' live shows have become more and more frenetic — they're like some drunken Grand Ole Opry pickers with too much white lightnin' at their disposal. The past year has seen the Tramps getting out of town more, widening their exposure to places far outside the Loop, but the Montrose-centric collective keeps making some of the best roots-rock in town. William Michael Smith

House of Blues Concert Hall
(1204 Caroline)

thelastplaceyoulook (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Song ("Don't Make It So Easy"), Drummer (Andy Moths), Male Vocals (Nava), Rock

Somehow, despite being one of the finer mega-rock bands in the city, six-year-old quintet thelastplaceyoulook continues to operate outside the national limelight. Houston is still recognized first and foremost as being a "rap city," but if these guys keep churning out massive-sounding hits in the mold of the crushing "Don't Make It So Easy" (from LP See The Light Inside You, which should absolutely be in your iTunes library), soon it might not be totally inappropriate to suggest otherwise. Shea Serrano

Mechanical Boy (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Song ("She Does"),Guitarist (Michael Regino), Bassist(Chris Applegate), Rock

In a land of indie-bred kids and DJing dance-crazed fiends, there seems to be no place for just plain old alternative rock — which Mechanical Boy sees as a challenge. Rather than assuming some false shroud of humility, the hooks of MB's dance- and pop-inflected songs are as big as the band's ambitions. With Michael Regino's commanding guitar riffs and Tim Anderson's outstanding vocals, Mechanical Boy has all the components for grown-up success. Kim Douglass

Los Skarnales (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Drummer (Pat Kelly),Latin Contemporary

Beloved Houston institution and multiple HPMA winner (most recently for Best Punk last year), Los Skarnales has been giving ska a muscular Latin makeover for a solid decade. Felipe Galvan's vocals are wonderful on songs like "Una y Otra Vez" and "Perdida," but there's also the band's skillfully crafted musicianship and that inimitable horn section. Though most people haven't thought much about ska since the '90s, Los Skarnales continue pumping new life into the genre. Kim Douglass

Isis Houston
(1010 Prairie)

Born Liars (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: LP/CD (Ragged Island), Punk

Born Liars front man Jimmy Sanchez has had his hands full keeping his bluesy-rock brainchild together this year. First Beau Beasley and Josh Wolf from fellow HPMA nominees No Talk and Homopolice took over on guitar and drums, respectively. Then Beasley split and BC of Welfare Mothers took over the reins. All this was in the midst of Sanchez unleashing his latest collection of raucous rock and roll, Ragged Island, on local audiences. But isn't that the kind of haphazard attitude you'd expect from a Best Punk nominee? Dusti Rhodes

Ryan Scroggins & the Trenchtown Texans (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Keyboards (Ryan Scroggins), World

When he's not tattooing at West Alabama's Secret Tattoo or working with the scaly green denizens of the Houston Zoo, Ryan Scroggins fronts this chill rock-steady outfit. Since his days in Los Skarnales, Scroggins and his Hammond organ have been ripping up Houston ska crowds with his own brand of plinky atmospheric sounds. The Texans' self-titled 2007 LP was a 15-song sonic odyssey through sticky reggae and muted dancehall. Craig Hlavaty

CHangoMan (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Latin Contemporary

At once funky and trippy, CHangoMan's rock en español (and rock en inglés!) spans an arc from Spanish pop to old-school garage-rock. Tino Ortega and his mates continue to push all sorts of boundaries — with brains and with muscle. And much like predecessor Chango Jackson, CHangoMan is as popular south of the border at it is here. William Michael Smith

The Mighty Orq (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Guitarist (The Mighty Orq),Bassist (Westside Johnny), Blues

Ever since The Mighty Orq put his Resonator aside and 'lectrified his act, the guitarist has become known for a blues-rocking wall of sound that recalls another little band from Houston, ZZ Top. Deep-fried Southern rock grooves, snarling leads and layers of rhythm soaked in gin and swampy humidity made Orq's late 2008 release To the Bone an earful. This eponymous power trio has biker bar written all over it, but will be touring Germany this fall. William Michael Smith

Buxton (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Male Vocals (Sergio Trevino), Roots Rock/Americana

Buxton's sparkler-happy Americana has been emanating out of Houston's indie incubator in La Porte for a while now. Breezing by like a baby Wilco ("Doctor) or the dusty little brothers of Ryan Adams ("Jackalope"), the quartet concocts four-minute jangly country-rock odes better than some men three times their age. Each track smells of gunpowder, Lone Star tallboys and worn-in pearl-snap shirts. Let's just hope that when these boys score that Austin City Limits episode in a few years, they save some tickets for us. Craig Hlavaty

(308 Main)

MELOVINE (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: Metal

Metal is for buildings, right? Not for ears, and not for headphones and certainly not for itty-bitty stages. "Come again?" says MELOVINE. The city made of metal is getting real metal from this four-piece Galveston transplant, hard-rocking the living shit out of equilibriums all over town. It's loud, kinda-sorta catchy, delectably simplified and here to stay. Best Metal seems as stacked as ever this year, but if MELOVINE isn't the last band standing, don't blame Ike. Brandon K. Hernsberger

The Snake Charmers (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Blues

The Snake Charmers, while not exactly throwbacks to the austerity of Delta bluesmen like Robert Johnson, take a refreshing step back to a time when the music was not so dominated by flashy fretboard technique. The Charmers' music is both more formulaic and more organic than contemporary blues, breathing life into standard structures through Marie Angell's throaty, husky workouts. The band's judicious instrumentation provides embellishment without hemming the songs in or weighing them down. Nicholas L. Hall

Mitch Jacobs Band (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Country

Former Romeo Dogs front man Mitch Jacobs put out one of Houston's best roots-rock albums last year, Jukebox Music. It brought Jacobs kudos from as far away as England and, as with many Americana/roots releases, more European radio play than in the U.S. Nonetheless, no record fully captures the energy and attitude of Jacobs's live show, which, with songs like "I'm an Alcoholic," gets as close to Blasters territory as any local band Houston's got. William Michael Smith

The Tontons (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Female Vocals (Asli Omar), Guitarist (Adam Martinez), Indie Rock

Tontons singer Asli Omar has a captivating, dominating voice similar to Karen O's, Debbie Harry's or Sade's. Although her blues- and jazz-instilled vocals are usually the first thing that grabs listeners, Adam Martinez, Justin Martinez and Tom Nguyen more than hold their own behind her. One of Houston's hottest bands — if not the hottest — the Tontons released their self-titled full-length this week. Kim Douglass

Blaggards (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Misc. Instrument (Chris Buckley, fiddle), Rock

Although Blaggards are certainly game for a traditional Irish number, even their moments of unabashed nostalgia are fueled by rock muscle. "Stout Irish Rock" is not merely a slogan or clever pun, but a pretty damn literal interpretation of Blaggards' sound. The fiddles fly, the rhythms are punched-up jigs and the guitars are as loud and insistent as those of any bar band anywhere. And who does bar bands better than the Irish? Blaggards meet their ultimate test next spring, when they tour the Emerald Isle. Nicholas L. Hall

Red Cat Jazz Café
(924 Congress)

Elaine Greer (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: Female Vocals

It seems almost criminal that Elaine Greer hasn't snagged Best Female Vocals yet. Her sultry pop swoon was born and reared on Houston's indie stages, and with this year's Making Plans and Going Places EP, Greer finally debuted her richly layered transformation on record. Jenny Lewis/Gillian Welch-inspired instrumentations sway along with a more pointed, though evidently still heart-searching, Greer. Here's (selfishly) hoping she never finds her Prince Charming. Dusti Rhodes

Dixie Trahan (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Country

Texas transplant Dixie Trahan merges the sound of classic country with the more immediate, radio-friendly slickness of contemporary Nashville. Just glance at her set list, which pairs classics like Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" and Rosanne Cash's "Seven Year Ache" with more modern fare like Keith Urban and the Dixie Chicks. Trahan's originals ply similar waters, featuring sweet and sultry singing that works as well in a jazzy vernacular as a straightforward country twang. Nicholas L. Hall

Free Radicals (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Drums (Nick Cooper), Misc. Instrument (Jason Jackson, saxophone), Jazz

Free Radicals is a band without a readily identifiable genre. There's jazz, yeah, but isn't "improvisational jazz" a sort of paradox? Social causes and "Food Not Bombs"-style injustice solving don't escape the Radicals' sound, one not easily forgotten or dismissed. It's as original as it is big, and with over 50 revolving players on various projects, Free Radicals is as big as they come. Watch yourself, jazzies. Brandon K. Hernsberger

Caretta Bell (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: R&B/Funk/Soul

Caretta Bell is a neo-soul artist, which means earthy, sweaty, less syncopated jazz-funk. But more than that, she is a singer — a true-to-life, unquestionably talented, no-Autotune-necessary singer. Bell's debut, Love's Eye View, pranced all across the notion that Houston R&B singers were not to be taken seriously, and Keith Sweat, Mos Def and Bell Biv DeVoe have all called on her to open their shows. What more needs to be said when the guys who sang "Poison" ask you to open? Shea Serrano

Plump (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Drummer (Doug Payne), Misc. Instrument (Jason Jackson, saxophone)

Plump could be nominated in any number of categories — Best Funk, Best Jazz, Best Jam, etc. These hippie-chic wanderers traverse the South with a brand of fan-friendly foot-stompers that might just make your apathetic arms twirl like fleshy hula hoops, snatching for hydroponics in the confetti-flavored sky. The group's most recent album, I Like the Idea of Chance, was released early last year. Brandon K. Hernsberger

Rocbar (Bayou Place, 530 Texas)

Benjamin Wesley (5 p.m.)

Nominated in: EP/7-inch (Geschichte), Song ("Have You Ever Died?"), Songwriter

He may play bass with hip-hop punks Tha Fucking Transmissions, but Ben Wesley's solo stuff sounds like he's AWOL from snowy indie darlings Fleet Foxes. This year's ­Geschichte EP has been haunting our music player since we got our hands on it in February. Live, Wesley somehow manages to make every single noise by himself, methodically killing it on every single instrument he jumps on. And there are legion. Craig Hlavaty

Tha Fucking Transmissions (6 p.m.)

Nominated in: Male Vocals (Cornbreadd)

Tha Fucking Transmissions might best be described as a clusterfuck, but in the best possible way. It's one of those "let's throw this shit together and see what happens" affairs that actually works. With a chopped-and-screwed blend of Third Coast hip-hop, vaguely psychedelic hard rock and ball-of-fire front man Cornbreadd, on paper it sounds like a colossal train wreck. It works because it makes you listen on edge, just waiting for shit to start flying apart. Nicholas L. Hall

Skeleton Dick (7 p.m.)

Nominated in: Punk

When Skeleton Dick jumps into a song of Descendents-inflected pop-punk, the uninitiated may think they're in for a girl-anxious romp. But the lyrics, about pooping and STD-ridden families visiting the clinic together like some sort of porno-riffic Brady Bunch, may give you a twinkle in your deviant eye. Or maybe you'll just leave the venue to go home, light a candle and cry in a closet. Don't look at us; you guys are the sick puppies who nominated them. Craig Hlavaty

Fat Tony (8 p.m.)

Nominated in: Underground Hip-Hop

Dirty is to messy as crazy-cool style is to Fat Tony. Playing somewhere in Houston almost every night (or it sure seems like it), he's no newcomer. What makes Tony so great aren't his beats or his rhymes — though they are something to listen to — but his style and delivery. There's nothing sloppy about his flow; it's clear-cut and even, so not a single word can be missed. Also, he doesn't demand his audience give him respect, or even ask. Instead he proves why he deserves it, and it's surrendered to him. Kim Douglass

Spain Colored Orange (9 p.m.)

Nominated in: Misc. Instrument (Eric Jackson, trumpet), Keyboards (Gilbert Alfaro), Indie Rock

Spain Colored Orange belongs to the new school of pop music, independent but still so damn happy. What makes this band stand out, however, is its penchant for the psychedelic music of yesterday. On songs like "Cheap Thrills" or "Who Am I," the sudden burst of a trumpet may be unexpected but definitely doesn't go unappreciated. Multiple HPMA winners in 2006, SCO finally released the long-gestating Sneaky Like a Villain earlier this year. Kim Douglass

Mosaic (Bayou Place, 520 Texas)

Dirty Honey (10 p.m.)

Nominated in: DJ Night

DJ Brett Koshkin's monthly "Dirty Honey" sounds like a gritty soul-drenched jukebox, doused with a gallon of the best funk of the past century and set ablaze by the fiery voice of Mr. James Brown. The first Saturday of each month at Boondocks, (former Press music-listings editor and sometime contributor) Koshkin lays down 45s the likes of which haven't been heard since Brown pummeled the Apollo way back in the '60s. He forgoes the tame, sanitized fare of oldies radio for the kind of jams that had joints dripping and babies being made between silky sheets. Craig Hlavaty

Squincy Jones & Dayta (11 p.m.)

Nominated in: DJ, DJ Night

You won't find a DJing duo more effective at effortless cool than Squincy Jones, originator of the critically acclaimed Nintendub series, and partner Dayta. (Yes, he took his name from the Goonies character.) The Speakerboxx twosome, who officially end their reign of Thursday-night terror at the Mink's Backroom this month, show positively no regard for genres as they mash together everything from hipster '80s music to Gorilla Zoe to Dragonforce, almost always tying them to an unexpected hip-hop core. Shea Serrano

Gritsy Showcase (12 a.m.)

Nominated in: DJ Night

Contrary to popular belief, Gritsy is not an actual band, it's a Dubstep party crew, complete with a revolving lineup of DJs (Suraj K, SDFOne and Squincy Jones are regulars; headlining DJs are flown in from various parts of the world) and MCs (Kam Franklin being most noteworthy). Dubstep is essentially what you get when you play a little electronica mixed in with house and drum and bass through huge speakers. When done right, it feels like you're being punched in the chest, except you like it. Shea Serrano

Ceeplus Bad Knives (1 a.m.)

Nominated in: DJ

Ceeplus is Houston DJ royalty. For more than a decade now, he's been mixing his wildly eclectic brand of deck music, and at times seems like he could grab any four records from any four genres and time periods and mix them together without even really trying. On 11 Song Disco, available as a free download on Cee's MySpace page, he even manages to make disco cool again. Shea Serrano

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