If a recent Bandstand performance tells us anything, it’s that roots-rockin’, blues-esque alt-country duo

has grown tighter and cooler over the last couple years. Seriously, Santa Fe, if you don’t love this band, you’re obviously nuts.

According to frontman Todd Lovato, he and drummer Erik Sawyer are now incorporating subtle electronics into their live show, and these elements will make their way onto the next record. On top of that, the pair is working with producer Howard Wulkan’s Cinder Cone label on licensing and distribution, so things have never looked brighter.

And since Lovato is both a musician and employee of

, he has seen the local scene through both sides. Thus, there was no choice but to chat about the scene and learn what things drive the talented young man crazy...

Bands and club owners who don't take the initiative to submit events to local media

There are people in Santa Fe whose whole job is to publicize what things are happening, and most of them just don’t do that. If you’re a club owner, there’s even less of an excuse. Musicians claim lack of support from local media, but they don’t promote themselves.

People who complain that the music entertainment at Zozobra should be "traditional"

I love mariachi, baile and all that, and I learned this music from my grandmother, so it’s close to my heart. But you can’t just freeze a culture in time, and people have to be accepting of modern artists. If Zozobra is a community event, it should serve the entire community.

When people ask bands to perform for free because "it's good exposure"

I’m not playing for the exposure; I’m playing to sustain what I love most in life. Asking me to play for free is like saying you don’t value what I do. I have no problem with donating time to worthy causes, but don’t pawn it off as exposure.

I can't perform more music with fellow Santa Fe bands I like

There is a lack of dedicated venues/stages, and what happens is that it’s hard to put together a bill with three or four bands. Instead, you have to occupy one night by yourself in some tiny room, and the scene splinters.

People who complain about covers but spend 50 bucks at the bar

Spend $45 at the bar and pay your cover! I’ll tell people if they pay the cover, I’ll buy them a drink…if that’s what it takes.

"Mustang Sally"

To me, this song has come to represent all the clichés of a stagnant nightlife and the complacency of learning three chords, a scale and nothing else.

Policy-makers and residents who think people can't enjoy beer responsibly

From that weird cage during Fort Marcy ball games to not allowing beer concessions at public festivals, it’s weird to assume most people can’t drink reasonably. Like it or not, alcohol sales are key to a sustainable nightlife music model.

Bands that don't take advantage of Albuquerque

Albuquerque has a lot to offer Santa Fe bands, and I know for a fact these promoters want our bands down there. I hear people claim our town is an untapped pool of talent, so prove it!

Poorly recorded drums on locally produced records

GarageBand made it so easy for everyone to record, but there are certain things production-wise that show off amateurism, and one of those is poorly recorded drums. There are pros like Andrew Click and Jono Manson who prove that studios are so worth it.

Everyone thinks they're a DJ

They’re not.

No men in my Zumba classes

I’m sick of being the only guy at those things, and it does wonders for your performance moves.

Musicians who complain about the Santa Fe Bandstand

Just ’cause your band wasn’t invited doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. Anyway, it’s a service for the people, not for the bands.

Audience members who ask me to play Neil Diamond or Jimmy Buffet


Music Under the Mesa with Todd & the Fox and Felix y los Gatos

$30. Saturday, Aug. 3

Mesa Baja. Rowe, NM