HPMA Bands Reflect Houston's Diversity and Drive

Photos by Marco Torres
The Suffers
Houston Press Music Awards Concert
Featuring Electric Attitude, thelastplaceyoulook, the Suffers & the Tontons
Warehouse Live
August 7, 2014

The beautiful thing about Houston music has always been how it mirrors our city. It's a little disorderly but uniquely diverse and bursting with energy and soul.

Thursday night at Warehouse Live, the Houston Press Music Awards Concert delivered an eclectic reminder of the strengths of our local scene, with four 2014 nominees (two of them winners Thursday) who were focused and determined to put on a show worth seeing.

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The 2014 Houston Press Music Award Winners

Graphics by Monica Fuentes
Note: this article has been amended to include the Best Drummer winner. Our apologies to Nick and the Suffers for the omission.

We know it's early/late -- as a matter of fact, brand-new HPMA winners the Tontons are rocking out at Warehouse Live at this very moment, but we just couldn't wait another minute to share the results of this year's Houston Press Music Awards with you. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, and check back in a few yours for a full recap of Thursday's festivities.


The Tontons, Make-Out King & Other Stories of Love


"I'm From Texas," Doughbeezy

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HPMA New Act Nominees Tout Their Gateway Venues

Categories: HPMA

Photo by Arturo Olmos
The Beatles had Liverpool's Cavern Club. For Bruce Springsteen, it was the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. Too many bands to count got their start at CBGB.

Every new music act needs a place to play its music, that first friendly space where it may unveil its brilliance to an unsuspecting world. This year, seven acts are vying for the Houston Press Music Awards' Best New Act tomorrow night, so we asked them which local venues have proved most supportive of their early efforts.

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HPMA Nominees School Us On Reggae & Ska

Categories: HPMA

Graphics by Monica Fuentes
I love all music, but admit some genres draw the short straw when it's time for me to tune in. Reggae and ska are a couple of those styles I'd like to know more about. Who better to ask than the proficient artists in this Houston Press Music Awards category to help expand my playlists beyond Bob Marley and Streetlight Manifesto?

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$12 for HPMA Ticket, Drink & T-Shirt

Categories: HPMA

Graphic by Monica Fuentes
Haven't bought your tickets the Houston Press Music Award concert yet? We'd say what are you waiting for, but it turns out you've been waiting for this. From now until Tuesday, we're adding some value onto the ticket: a drink on us and souvenir HPMA T-shirt.

Not bad, right? Remember, the concert is Thursday, August 7 (two weeks from today) and features HPMA nominees the Tontons, the Suffers, thelastplaceyoulook and Electric Attitude. Advance tickets are on sale now for $10, but those don't come with these extras.

Sign up here. Hope to see you there!

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The Houston Music Hall of Fame Class of 2014

Photo by Marco Torres
DJ Sun
There's an old saying in the music industry that you have your whole life to make your first album but six months to a year for your second. This is almost the reverse. Last year, when we started the Houston Music Hall of Fame to salute the 25th anniversary of the Houston Press Music Awards, the whole thing went from concept to finished product in about six weeks. This year we had an entire year to think about whom to induct.

That made it tougher in some ways, and easier in others. We kept our original rule of inducting only people who are still at least semi-active, but we expand our scope to include a former Houstonian still very much going strong at age 75 and a venue owner who is now a sort of godmother to two or three generations of local musicians. Other than that, our five inductees have little in common aside from the fact that their talents have seldom drawn widespread acclaim until now.

Besides the household name who last year put a song on the charts for his seventh straight decade, that is. But it is now our distinct pleasure to induct DJ Sun, Grady Gaines, K-Rino, Walters Downtown owner Pam Robinson (profiled separately) and Kenny Rogers into the Houston Music Hall of Fame.

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Walters Owner Pam Robinson Hangs Tough

Categories: HPMA, In Print

Photo courtesy of Zack Robinson
Pam Robinson is not going anywhere.

The outspoken owner of Walters Downtown -- and now an inductee into the Houston Music Hall of Fame -- has felt better, true. Recently her doctors discovered that the experimental drug that had been attacking her cancer was going after her heart just as aggressively. She had been on the drug since late April, and had even been able to give up the wheelchair she had been using since beginning chemotherapy last summer. But within just a few days of going off it, her pain was already coming back with a vengeance.

"By Monday I'll probably be screaming at MD Anderson," Robinson told Rocks Off a couple of weeks ago in Walters's small office. "I'm not real happy about it, but it was killing my heart, so I had no choice."

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HPMA Bassist Nominees Pick Best Bassists Ever

Categories: HPMA

Photo by Ian D. Keating/Flickr Commons
One nice thing about the Houston Press Music Awards is the opportunity it provides to root into the brains of Houston's more acclaimed musicians. Here's a ready-made list of folks with music-filled brains, ripe for the picking. But with so many nominees in so many categories, where to start and what to ask?

I figured I'd start in the simplest fashion, by asking people who play the instrument I'd play -- if I weren't sadly void of all musical talent -- about their influences. So here are this year's Best Bassist nominees reflecting on their bass-playing heroes, the bottom-enders who are the tops in their eyes.

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UPDATED: The 2014 HPMA Write-In Nominees

Categories: HPMA, On the Road

Graphics by Monica Fuentes
UPDATE (Monday, 2 p.m.): See new voting ballot info in third-to-last paragraph.

It's been an interesting week. Rocks Off would like to thank everyone who participated in last week's write-ins for the 2014 HPMA ballot. It says a lot that even after their favorite local artists were left off this year, fans cared enough to speak up for them and tell us we were wrong.

Of course we expected some criticism of our revised nominating process. But we still felt it was an improvement on the previous system, which sometimes rewarded acts as much for their self-promotion skills as the actual music they made, and excluded some deserving artists who were simply not interested in dancing to that particular tune.

That's why the people we asked to participate this year were the most knowledgeable about the local music scene that we could think of (and who wanted to participate; ultimately all but a couple of people we asked did). Furthermore, they are, in our opinion, all people capable of being as objective as possible about a survey that hinges on the use of the word "best." They will also all stay safely anonymous.

So that's our story and we're sticking to it. But like we said last week, it was never our intention for this whole thing to be a one-way street.

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UPDATED: The Best Acts Not on the 2014 HPMA Ballot Are...

Graphics by Monica Fuentes
UPDATE (Tuesday, 9 a.m.) to clarify a few reader questions about the write-in process.

(Wednesday, 10 a.m.): also updated in re: duplicate voting.

When Rocks Off announced the 2014 Houston Press Music Award nominees last month, some readers were taken aback by our new method of choosing the nominees. This time we asked a carefully selected panel of music-scene insiders for their suggestions, rather than relying on the public to choose the nominees as in years past.

We stand by our decision, because we know everyone on our committee follows the Houston scene closely and passionately. We trust their judgement implicitly, and think each and every one of the 2014 HPMA nominees deserves a spot on the ballot. But the last thing we wanted to do was to shut out our readers from having any say in the matter. Hardly.

That's why this morning, it gives Rocks Off great pleasure to announce the creation of a HPMA write-in category.

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