2016 Houston Press Music Award Nominees Now Up

hpma2016crop-nov3Yes, it’s true — the list of nominees for this year’s Houston Press Music Awards has been released. Hang on…3, 2, 1, okay there we go — cue the complaints about the new format, gripes about deserving bands being overlooked, diatribes about how it’s all pointless anyway.

Look, folks: the Houston Press is, at this point, in pretty much an impossible position. They can’t please everybody, and yet, we all seem to think they should, somehow. So we complain that Band Z didn’t get nominated and oh god they’re so badass it’s unfair, or hey it’s all just a self-congratulatory pile of bullshit anyway so why bother.

And y’know what? Those gripes are valid, to a point. It’s a given that you tend to see a lot of familiar names each year — although I would argue that that’s partly because, y’know, good bands don’t generally suddenly become shit (Metallica from the mid-’90s to now excepted). They’re the ones the writers for the Press cover most, so they’re the ones said writers tend to like, and therefore they’re the ones that come to mind when nomination time rolls around.

Here’s the reality: writers can’t write about everybody. They — we — just can’t. Every writer I know has their own bunch of favorite bands, and yeah, those get a lot of focus. I mean, c’mon; I’m guilty of it with regard to Jealous Creatures, The Wheel Workers, and a host of other bands.

As for the “self-congratulatory pile of bullshit” charge, well, sure. The same could be said of any awards deal like this; the same gets said of the Oscars and Grammies every single year. But who cares? If you recall, there was a brief-but-loud clash between one unfortunate HP writer and a whole bunch of Houston music makers, writers, fans, & whatnot (me included) over whether the scene here really is as awesome as a lot of us seem to think it is.

In my view, we do have an amazing music scene here. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it’s pretty great, and it keeps getting better. So to me, the HPMAs, while pointless in the grand scheme of things, are a chance to celebrate that greatness. Does it mean anything to anybody who’s not from here? Nah, probably not. But who gives a fuck? Wasn’t that part of the backlash against that HP article, that we, as Houstonians, should not give a fuck how we compare to elsewhere? That was part of my personal reaction to it, at least.

So the HPMAs, while also not perfect, are cool because they shine a bright spotlight on at least a part of the Houston music world. To me, there’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

Now, as for the new category scheme…okay, yeah, it’s a little odd. I’m fairly sure I spit out my drink the first time I saw the “Woke” and “Sexytime” categories. But really, the new list of nomination categories makes no less sense than some of the categories past, like the whole “Roots Rock” category, which grew to encompass pretty much anything countryish that wasn’t country but never really described bands like Buxton or Second Lovers or Finnegan very well.

Also, I’m coming around to the new categories because they force you to actually think about it a little more. In the past, when I saw a genre-type category, I could be fairly sure what names would show up in there. Breaking away from that means that the people doing the nominations had to think outside those genre boxes, and in an era where bands mash together five different genres in a single song, that’s progress.

The result is that I’m seeing some names on the list that I haven’t seen real often, like Jack Freeman, MNYNMS, The Escatones, & Snooty Garbagemen, for a few. That is also progress.

Speaking of the nominees themselves, along with predictable (and, yes, worthy) nominees like The Suffers, Deep Cuts, Young Mammals, Venomous Maximus, Funeral Horse, The Wheel Workers, Free Radicals, The Suspects, & B L A C K I E, I’m seriously psyched to see some of the names, particularly Jody Seabody & The Whirls (who are fucking amazing live these days), Only Beast, We Were Wolves, Oceans of Slumber, Dollie Barnes, JERK, Days N’ Daze (a resounding yes to them being in the “Woke” category), Giant Kitty, Black Kite, Say Girl Say, Fiddle Witch and the Demons of Doom, Frog Hair, VODI, The Wiggins, Nathan Quick, Adam Bricks, & Sandy Ewen. And that’s just for starters.

Of course, there’re names I’d have liked to see on there, too, but hey, that’s how it goes. Some years you win, and some you don’t — if you didn’t see somebody you think should be listed, then hey, go over here and nominate ’em in the Reader’s Choice category, nominations for which close on Monday. Kudos to those who made it on the list, either way.

Voting will start this coming Monday, November 7th, and runs through Friday, November 18th, and the actual awards ceremony will be on Thursday, December 8th, at the 8th Wonder Brewery.

Now for the full list, wacky new categories & all, with links where I can find ’em:

LIVE

BAND FOR DRINKING

BAND FOR DANCING

HEAVY/ANGRY BAND

SEXYTIME

WOKE

WEIRD

MORE PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT…

STALWART

NEWCOMER

MAD GENIUS

LYRICS

SINGER

RAPPER

DJ

PLAYER

THEME NIGHT

FESTIVAL

VENUE (SOUND)
* 5,000 seats or less

BOOKING

ARTWORK

FAN

 

Okay, so in that last category there, “Fan,” yours truly somehow got nominated, despite being a total damn slacker these past couple of years. I’m touched, truly — I was absolutely not expecting to see my name in there.

At the same time, though, I feel compelled to urge people to vote for somebody who’s not listed, SCR photog/writer, Yes, Indeed!/Madness on Main organizer, and all-round superfan Jason Smith.

Jason’s the guy who’s always out and about, bouncing from one show to another, promoting bands both in articles and by booking them at his festivals; me, I’m just a boring old guy who listens to stuff, writes about it (sometimes), then hangs out with his kids. I’m not trying to put on false modesty here or anything — if it weren’t for Jason, Space City Rock would’ve died of neglect a few years ago, seriously. Jason‘s The Man, not me.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now — don’t forget to vote starting next week, both for this and for, y’know, that other election/award-type thing that’s going on.


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