Our Favorite 2013 HPMA Showcase Discoveries

As in years past, Rocks Off asked our writers covering the HPMA showcase to tell us the act they like best that, until Sunday, they'd never seen before.

Photo by Groovehouse
American Fangs
I caught American Fangs for the first time Sunday night, and came away impressed by how polished they sounded. They talented five-piece played tight as hell, no doubt sharpened up by a bit of serious touring. They sounded like pros ready for a much bigger stage, tucked away as they were into a dark corner of Dirt Bar. Somebody get these guys on the Warped Tour. NATHAN SMITH

Photo by Groovehouse
Caretta Bell
To be completely honest, I had no idea who Caretta Bell was as I walked to Ben's Beans late Sunday afternoon. She was one of the few artists performing whom I'd never seen live. Since I was in dire need of a second wind anyway, I walked into the coffee shop, ordered a latte and proceeded to just about spit it out as Ms. Bell began to sing.

Self-described as soulful, sultry, sexy and sassy, she proved herself all four as well as resilient and resourceful. Her drummer may have been a no-show, but the crowd inside Ben's was happy to clap the beat for her, and she and the remaining members of her band didn't miss a step. MATTHEW KEEVER

Photo by Marco Torres
Doughbeezy was in unfamiliar territory: a 7 o'clock rap show on a Sunday night. He must have known House of Blues holds Sunday gospel brunches, because he almost seemed to request permission before launching into "Head," which is all about getting some. Head, that is. Soon enough, his never-miss-a-syllable flow got a small Bronze Peacock Room crowd hyped with "Wake & Bake" and "F_CK YOU," call-and-response jams about rolling smoke and telling folks to fuck off, respectively. Now that's more like it.

His set was shorter than I hoped it would be, but it was banging and showed why the Southeast Beast has the right people paying the right kind of attention to what he's doing. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

Photo by Marco Torres
Rumor has it that Doughbeezy is one of Houston's best up-and-coming rappers. After hearing much ado about the local spitfire, he did not disappoint, especially considering the half-empty (or half-full?) venue. Despite a set that ran shorter than expected, he rhymed with lyrical lethality, making up for his brief set with inventive coverage of the standard sex-drugs-and-guns script, cleverly whipping together metaphors such as, "My flow a $100 bill; you just the change in the couch."

Further amplifying his signature were his minimalist, snare-heavy beats, reminiscent of the '90s, when ballers rocked gold grills and bald fades. I now see why he is nominated for two HPMAs this year. ALTAMESE OSBORNE

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Technically there are 2 vowels in FLCON FCKER, lol.  He and CHNNLZ killed it at the afterparty.  These guys thrive in dark places with projectors!   

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