I'm just one guy, but I really do try to get around to as many musical topics as I can in a given year (and before you fire up your emails and Facebook statuses about how I didn't pop by wherever-the-hell to check your totally bitchin' band do mid-tempo rock-lite versions of whatever it is you're callin' music, just stop). Of course, like everyone, I have my preferences, and the things I think are cooler than others—but I digress. The point is this: Lots of music stuff went down this year in much cooler ways than friends texting all like, "Hey dude, wanna go see the same old bands play same old songs we saw them play three years ago?"
Early in the year, sax-a-mo-phonist Chris Jonas blew me away with jazzy weirdness (and dudely niceness) with his trio. We basically learned what jazz was really all about. Also that month, the New Mexico Platinum Music Awards kicked off and taught us all a thing or two about how people who've done it for a long time are somehow automatically better than everyone else. We also met metal label King Volume Records and I totally got to interview Frank Zappa's keyboard player, Don Preston.
Love-month meant collaborations between pianist/composer Grisha Krivchenia and all-around culture champion Tara Khozein, who crafted songs about the plight of refugees. I also hear they're wrapping up the recorded versions right around now. I also spent a pleasant half-hour on the phone with Donavon Frankenreiter (who I thought I'd hate and didn't) and partied with Vanilla Pop.
March came in like an emmer-effing lion as I not only had my wisdom teeth yanked, thereby thrusting me into a psychedelic world of acceptance (gross), but promoter Jamie Lenfestey turned 50, I got to interview both Griffin Goldsmith from Dawes and change-music-forever-er Moldover, and I met Paris Mancini (aka PSIRENS)—which was perfect because she totally moved into my old apartment, making my life so much easier!
Simon and Garfunkel danced in our heads (Google it if you really don't know) as Pete Williams of The Sticky explained his Staples Singers connection, Canadian one-man pop-punk explosion Rosedale gave me a call and Santa Fe ex-pat Trevor Bahnson brought his new band, Whiskerman (and their sitar) to town to record a live album at The Kitchen Sink Studios. It was also, sadly, the first we started hearing that downtown venue Skylight might be in trouble.
This was the month everyone on Facebook counted down their top 10 concerts, and SFR counted down the top 10 cool music-related things that were happening. Los Angeles' Campfire Cassettes won my heart, producer to the stars (and also rocker and roller) John Kurzweg and I became best friends and AMP Concerts won a big fat $25 grand to put on shows (like Meat Puppets … which ruled … really hard). I also spoke with Stephen Pope of Wavves and then totally went and saw Wavves with my buddy Jasper and was like, "Hey Jasper, Wavves is totally a great rock band." And he was like, "Totally."
Summer was in full swing and everyone was like, "Where does one buy an AC?" on Facebook while sane people were like, "At fucking Target or something!" in their minds. Sex Headaches made a triumphant garage-punk return and Branden & James brought pop to the Vanessie set. Your old pal Alex hung around the offices of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival chatting with Artistic Director Marc Neikrug, and Benzo III explained his roots as toaster player and relative of the inimitable Joe West. Best of Santa Fe came out, too, with INCREDIBLE artwork from local artist Nico Salazar. People really hated my guts on Facebook around then, which made my beard grow. Kisses.
Bands returning apparently became a summer thing as Mark Williams resurrected his utterly weird and fully full-on excellent nerd-rock band, Treemotel. I finally interviewed Sam France of Foxygen only, like, a billion years after I interviewed Jonathan Rado (also of Foxygen), learned of the healing power of singing with 7th Wave Singers and spent oh-so-much time bothering Luke Carr and Caitlin Brothers for a pretty nifty cover story on Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand (who were kind enough to let us debut a song from the new album on our site). D Numbers also made a bit of a comeback when co-founder Brian Mayhall returned from the sunny beaches of Mexico, where he now lives, for a Santa Fe Bandstand performance, and I got to talk punk with Fraser (like Cher) of Scotland punk act Murderburgers. Man, that was a busy month. Also, it was still hot in my house.
Oh man, that September, right? Right. K.Dutch appeared with sincere and cerebral hip-hop, William Cashion from Future Islands spoke about bassin' it up (his dad emailed me, too, to say thanks, which was adorable), Noise for NOW kicked everyone's asses with appearances from TV on the Radio and Fleet Foxes among MANY others—and its creator Amelia Bauer told us more about how it raised money for the National Organization for Women—and I totally filled space during a too-busy week with a throwaway column about covers (though we can all agree that Ellen Page cover of Beck was alllllllright).
October brought in talented ladies and non-binary performers with the first-ever Santa Fe version of the annual Albuquerque-based music festival Gatas y Vatas at Ghost while sometimes-local singer-songwriter Liv Lombardi came back with new songs and new ideas. Sacramento MC Mr. P Chill regaled us with his initiation into hip-hop, and totally recognized my Rentals jokes, too, and no matter what that dude who commented on our website for that piece says, it's true that P Chill fully hates Trump. Womp-womp.
We're barely even out of the most Wyclef Jean of months, so you'll recall that Cloacas' Johnny Bell forever changed the Banjo with his side project, The Visitors, drag queen Bella Gigante explained herself and I finally had a chance to listen to ppoacher ppoacher and Chicharra releases from local label Matron Records. That was an alright month, especially since I got, like, two entire days off.
Which brings us pretty much to right now. Already this month we've mourned the loss of venues like Skylight and The Underground (which we seriously hear is about to reemerge with some kind of something-or-other, if it hasn't already) and celebrated 15 years of Electrovibe Events. Even as this roundup is being written, we're counting down the hours till the release of guitarist Nathan Smerage's new album.
'Twas a pretty good year indeed, and with info about upcoming shows from Talib Kweli, Portugal. The Man and Snail Mail, we … wait, those are all Meow Wolf shows. OK, that's cool and all, but what're the rest of you getting into? Anyone? Aw, you'll figure it out. Just lemme know next year when you're ready to talk.