SELECT title FROM cont_articles WHERE id='' LIMIT 1 Santa Fe Reporter

Morning Word: Clinton Supports Immigration Reform

Candidate says Congress needs to provide a path to citizenship

Morning WordWednesday, May 6, 2015 by Peter St. Cyr
It'sonly May, and we’re already on the path covering the 2016 presidential election. That, plus weather and entertainment news from around the state.

It's Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hillary Clinton says immigration reform should include a clear path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Republicans have said any measure has to start with stronger border security.

The Associated Press has the story. 

She only announced her candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, and now Carly Fiorina is coming to New Mexico to headline the state GOP’s Silver Elephant Dinner.

Matthew Reichbach has details. 

Santa Fe police officers finally have the right forms to issue civil citations for small quantities of marijuana possession.

Julie Ann Grimm has the scoop.

Robert Redford told Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales that the opportunity to slow down the impact of climate change is “shrinking.”

Read it at the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

Record rain in eastern New Mexico caused some severe flooding in Clovis.
"We sunk a police car over at the mall,” Clovis Police Chief Steve Sanders said. “That’s where the car flooded, trying to help someone that was already in the flood. We used our MRAP [armored vehicle] to recover seven different victims who were stranded in the rapid moving water and flooded streets.”
Read it at the Clovis News Journal.

A funnel cloud was spotted in Roswell during an afternoon storm on Tuesday.
See it here.

More than a dozen Northern New Mexico health clinics are in line to get $4 million in federal grant money.

A few days after Lyft announced it was pausing its operations in New Mexico, Uber, another ride-sharing company, says new Public Regulation Commission rules are “unreasonable.”

Albuquerque City Councilors have approved an ordinance to promote equal pay for women. The measure, called the Pay Equality Ordinance, gives businesses seeking city contracts incentive to offer equal wages to both men and women. A weighted preference will be given to firms that hold a "pay equity business certificate" issued by the city’s Office of Diversity and Human Rights.

A second review released by City of Albuquerque auditors confirms Taser deal was “greased.”

A national survey shows that 70 percent of Americans favor body cameras for police officers.

Fans of the late Doors rocker Jim Morrison are working on plans to save the Albuquerque home he lived in while he attended Highland High School.

A Santa Fe firefighter was on the The Price Is Right, one of our favorite television game shows. Jeffrey Maestas won an outdoor kitchen island. After winning a wheel spin-off, Maestas lost the big showcase round.

More than 140 Smokey and the Bandit enthusiasts will pass through Tucumcari this week as they head “East Bound and Down” to Dallas, taking part in the eighth-annual Bandit Run.
David Hersey and Dave Hall came up with the idea to hold the original run as a re-enactment of the 30-year anniversary of the journey portrayed in the film Smokey and the Bandit, that starred Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and the late Jackie Gleason.

Sports reporter Geoff Grammer gets the video award of the day. He posted a time-lapsed video showing the ground crew removing a rain tarp at Isotopes Lab. It was so fascinating we watched it twice.

The Beat Goes On

SFR’s 2015 Local Music Issue

FeaturesWednesday, May 6, 2015 by Enrique Limón

nd they said it couldn’t be done. Last year, tying in with the hubbub of SFR’s 40th anniversary, we decided to bring an old friend back into the spotlight—our local music issue. It was first conceived in November 2003, and given its not-so-stellar response, became a one-hit wonder. Looking to celebrate our city’s thriving local music scene, we brought it back for a rousing encore.

It included remembrances by local music figures on their hell sessions and their musical crushes, an exploration of the region’s metal scene and, in keeping with the theme, 40 local CD reviews. That could have been a fine curtain call. But resting on laurels has never been our style.

Santa Fe is a true music town. As residents, we’re fortunate to have ample opportunities offered on the daily to wet our lyrical whistles and get those Tevas, cowboy boots or Docs a-tapping.

Inside these pages, you’ll find a fitting tribute for the unsung heroes of the live gig world, sound guys; a lo-fi radio whodunit where you get to play detective and a dissection of singer-songwriters’ muse, all served with a sizzling side of DJ Bacon.

Did we mention the reviews? This year, we extended the invitation to all New Mexico-based acts. The response was overwhelming, and the best 50 or so made the cut. Check those out.

Sure, you can track all the acts in our supersized Inside Track on their Facebook, Bandcamp or SoundCloud pages or, better yet, catch them live for the full experience.

If you haven’t noticed by our cover, we infused this issue with a distinct retro feel, a throwback to when attending a concert was a life event, not something you did in front of a screen. When you waited in line to get your hands on your favorite band’s album or cassette instead of streaming it. When ticket stubs were the only memento you’d need and music, raw music, filled your veins, guided your trips and flecked your widest smiles. Rock on.

Inside Track

Ho-hum no more! Supersize your summer playlist and enjoy this ultimate locally sourced mixtape

Inside TrackWednesday, May 6, 2015 by Rob DeWalt

50 Watt Whale

Splashes of West African folk, funk, classic rock and (yes) cowpunk showcase the instrumental versatility of this core three-piece, which brings numerous Santa Fe guest spots to its debut. Horn-heavy opener “Shop Like a Mormon” sets the relatively upbeat and humorou s tone of the 10-track album, but it’s in the slower interludes where things go vocally awry. Harmony parts, such as those on the almost-vaudevillian “Tofu for Two,” veer away from each other in anticipation of something that never really surfaces. Still, the album is an excellent meditation in blending styles in a way that doesn’t sound contrived. (Rob DeWalt)


Though Arcane may have intended to create an original amalgamation of prog-rock, jazzy pop and upbeat psych, Foundations crumbles under odd production choices, a baffling number of effects and utterly sloppy vocals. Songs like “Cosmic Traveler” sound like garage dad-band fare, and the dumbfounding stab at reggae on “Jamaica Rain” comes so terribly close to unintentionally hysterical that not even the confusingly mixed back-and-forth vocal panning can serve as a distraction. There are moments that come frustratingly close to strong interspersed throughout the album—the opening of “Western Skies” provides a stoney, Pink Floyd kind of vibe—but the bottom line is that the whole thing sounds like some dudes were let loose in a music shop’s pedal effects section and thought it might be cool to see how many they could incorporate into one bizarre and unfocused set. (Alex De Vore)

The Barb Wires
Rough Cuts

“Funny church this one is,” Barb Wires songwriter Jim Almand says between songs. It’s impossible to separate some recordings from where they were recorded. Anyone who’s ever visited the biker-packed Mine Shaft Tavern in Madrid on a Sunday afternoon will instantly be transported back inside the wooden saloon while listening to this album. Recorded live on a pair of microphones, Roughs Cuts weaves together roadhouse blues, Southern jam rock and dark folk. Make no mistake, this is no straight-ahead blues pablum. In the hands of Almand (acoustic guitar), Tim Arnold (electric guitar) and Randy Clark (mandolin), the music is freewheeling, harmonious and a bit odd—much like Madrid itself. Rough Cuts is surprisingly accessible and decidedly unpretentious. (Todd E Lovato)

Bill Palmer
Under Endless Skies

Under Endless Skies opens strong with “Gold,” a song that sounds almost like George Harrison and Nirvana joined forces to write a country-rock love anthem. It’s cool enough and sets the overall tone well, but Palmer has plenty of bar-rock jams found throughout the record, like “Inferno” or “Mask.” However, the local troubadour truly shines in the quieter spaces that explore more universal themes or feelings of self-doubt and deepening love. “Every mistake mounts like a debt that I can’t pay,” he says on “Will You Run,” and it makes him seem more accessible or, at the very least, like someone we can relate to. Universal experiences and thoughts expressed well are (or should be) one of the ultimate goals of art—like “Will You Run” or “Smoke”—and they always become the stuff of legend. The production is flawless thanks to Frogville Records’ world-class amenities and Palmer’s own songwriting prowess, but if there’s any real downside, it’s in wanting a few more stripped-down tracks and a little less 101. (ADV)

Bird Thompson
Now Here This

Equipped with an acoustic guitar, musician and author Bird Thompson offers up world-weary and easygoing rock that harks back to the golden era of the singer-songwriter ’70s. Producer Chris Ishee offers a polished rock ensemble backdrop to Thompson’s introspective but at times pitchy baritone. Thompson’s strongest moments are his most intimate and stripped of the backing band, as on “Light in Your Eyes,” which features some keen harmonies from Shannon Thompson. With seven out of 10 songs clocking in at longer than 4:30, the album puts heavy emphasis on multiverse lyrical passages and instrumental solos, often to the expense of the listener’s attention span. Melodic and meandering, Now Here This will appeal mostly to the generation of fans who grew up with folk rock. (TEL)

Boomroots Collective
Ceremony Sessions

When an album kicks off with a track titled “Weed Fi Smoke Up,” there’s little questioning the type of musical journey one is about to embark on. It’s worth taking. Vocalist-guitarist Circumference 360, vocalist Aezrock and dancehall artist Mr. Kali blend conscious hip-hop and driving, progressive reggae on this infectious 2013 head-bobber, steeped lyrically in 505. While vocally strong, especially on the Kali front, the album also boasts a tight ensemble of rhythm players that keep a consistent groove weaving seamlessly throughout.(RDW)

Brian Mayhall
Making a Fire

Folks seem divided when it comes to electronic dance music, but when it’s made by one-third of iconic local trio D Numbers, one ought to at least pay it some attention. Mayhall keeps it sweet and listenable, from the pleasantly bouncy opener “Slow Mo” all the way through the 10-minute opus closer, “Making a Fire.” Production is crystal clear and crisp, and though the deceptively simple beats may shrug off the easy syncopation of the 4/4, Mayhall always keeps it accessibly dancey. Former Santa Fean Lily Taylor makes some surprising yet excellent vocal guest appearances on tracks like “Abundance,” and it pulls us into a more introspective space which, if past claims from Mayhall that electronic music can elevate the listener to places of spiritual bliss are true, is welcome. If there is one caveat to Fire, it is that it probably isn’t an entry-level release for those who don’t already love a DJ, but every last song falls perfectly in line with local imprint Mesa Recording’s high desert techno aesthetic and—perhaps coolest of all, and unlike lots of DJs across the globe—features some actual live instrumentation. (ADV)

Carrion Kind
The Collapse of All to Come

While metalcore poseurs freely roam the earth, diluting and cheapening everything bands like At the Gates and Death worked so hard to bring into the forefront of musical consciousness, it’s good to know Carrion Kind is out there, fighting valiantly to slay the notion that metal has become little more than a labyrinth of needless sub-genrification and illegible logos. Collapse is a beast built on the tried-and-true fundamentals of blast-beats, shredding riffs, wide-ranging vocals (how Jayson Grace goes from a shriek to the guttural with such ease is anyone’s guess) and guitarist/songwriter Augustine Ortiz Jr.’s encyclopedic love of the genre and insane chops. Say goodbye to discernable time signatures on tunes like “Shattered, Broken and Defaced” and welcome the beauty and brutality of “Programmed to be Unforgiving.” Carrion Kind may operate within the familiar—for metalheads, anyway—but they do have a few tricks up their sleeves in terms of groovy riffs and mathematical prowess. (ADV)

Dave Tutin
The Story of It All

Tutin offers up 12 tracks of inward-gazing, melodic and articulate acoustic singer-songwriter rock—a sound that explores compelling sonic territory while never straying too far from its blues and folk roots. Equipped with a top-notch studio ensemble (that includes Jacy Oliver, Peter Farrell, Mark Clark and Ben Durfee), Tutin pays tribute to the ghosts of Mississippi John Hurt and Robert Johnson in “If the Blues Ever End,” sings about life’s unexpected little purgatories in “The Thunderbird Hotel” and honors Zimmy in “The Way of the Road (for Bob Dylan).” The album is polished, beautifully packaged and well executed, but I couldn’t help but wonder how these songs would sound stripped of some of their production bombast. As is often the case with songwriters who come into the seemingly limitless realm of a studio environment, the vocals sound detached from the music and sometimes secondary. Fans of folk-that’s-not-afraid-to-rock will enjoy this sullen record. (TEL)

David Berkeley
The Fire in My Head

In these very pages, we have likened Berkeley to a Nick Drake meets Jeff Mangum-esque songwriter who has perhaps grown weary of a nomadic lifestyle that results from constant touring. These words ring true enough, but there is an absolute earnest quality to Berkeley’s tales of deep love, home found within family and all things sad and joyous that simply cannot be understated. Fire is surprising in its nonmainstream aesthetic, the perfect marriage of Jonah Matranga indie and Bonnie “Prince” Billy emo/country. It almost seems to have been created to lure hipsters away from the phrase, “I like most every kind of music except country.” It could be his work as a novelist that aids in Berkeley’s emotive imagery, or maybe he’s just the kind of guy who has a lot to get out of his head; either way, this record is fucking brilliant. (ADV)

David Geist
Inside the Flame

We’re pretty sure there is no other musician living around here with an entire music space named after them, but pianist David Geist has accomplished this (at Pranzo) and oh so much more. He is a fixture, a local icon to those in the know and someone who deserves a listen from those who don’t. Here is a man who honed his skills in the pit on Broadway for shows like The Lion King and in the writing process with titans like Stephen Sondheim. Inside the Flame is a bit of a departure from his previous work of reimagined show tunes and standards and may be the first time Geist has shared so many original compositions. There’s a strange ease to these complicated pieces and an almost neoclassical undertone among the obviously Broadway overture-influenced pieces. A love of theater and appreciation for fine piano work might be mandatory, and Geist probably won’t be able to count on brand-new fans. Music lovers who long for the golden era of theatrical music, however, will find themselves uplifted, moved, excited, overwhelmed and ultimately riveted. After all, it may be easy to separate a man from his accomplishments, but the proof of his pedigree is found within the music, and it is unmistakable. (ADV)

Eryn Bent
In the Gray: An Anthology 

As long as we’re all being honest, it’s all at once impressive and unsettling that Eryn Bent would release an anthology. Yes, it’s true that she works very hard and has a staggering amount of material, but isn’t this usually the kind of thing musicians do further into their career? Regardless, just like most double albums, there are winners and losers among the 30 songs. Bent is at her best when she reaches into the tragedy of her own experience and goes whisper-quiet. She’s not so great when she attempts vocals that sound like she is forcing emotion or when she wades through lyrical groaners like, “When I’m around you I melt/I should have asked you how you felt.” All the same, she has proven a prolific if not terribly original Americana-meets-soft-rock singer-songwriter. Don’t expect an epiphany, but In the Gray sure would be a great accompaniment for your next breakup. (ADV) 

Flamingo Pink!
Grace & Ease

There’s a lot to be said for Megan Burns’ dramatic and emotional songwriting style when she breaks out her acoustic guitar and goes it alone, but the new indie-synth direction she dove into with last year’s It’s Our Job to Know We’re Dinosaurs proved that even when she’s evolving, she can get the point across. The new songs are more confident and layered than past keyboard-heavy tracks we’ve heard from Flamingo Pink!, and when Burns breaks out multitrack vocal harmonies with herself, it’s downright beautiful. She deftly avoids the pitfalls of today’s faux indie-kid obsession with Korg-driven hipster-synth garbage for seven endearingly lo-fi tracks that seem to be the natural progression of her newly minted experimental side, and although she may not have written the book on how to dabble in electronic composition, if she holds onto her trademark vocal style and continues to probe nontraditional means of musicianship, great things are bound to happen. (ADV)

The Wind, It Grew Legs 

Melissa Gail Klein knows how to find the proper backup for her bluegrassy Americana tunes. Folks like Ben Wright, Greg Butera and Paul Feathericci pop up to help out with guitar, pedal steel and drums, respectively, but it speaks volumes about Klein that she would be the standout aspect on Wind. In a genre where female vocalists tend to sound the same, Klein’s phenomenal voice sounds unlike anything else you already know, and she goes even further by being a great lyricist who can tap into a youthful innocence while projecting a wise worldliness. Plus, she plays the banjo, so yeah, suckers—it’s good. If there is even any complaint possible, it’s that this release is an EP, and we want more. (ADV)

Hidden Whale
I’m With the Band

Hidden Whale’s debut takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to serious musicianship by cooking up silly themes and conveying them through funky rock beats, jazzy bass lines and some of the catchiest vocal melodies of all time. Topical tunes like “Cell Phone” point out our society’s weird tech obsession, while the super-funk-meets-lounge-act jam “Medication Time” recalls the later work of the Aquabats and actually contains a timely, sad-but-true portrayal of prescription drug abuse. And what else would you expect from the mind of the Gluey Brothers’ Jim Goulden and his insanely talented wife, Angela Gabriel? The drag may be that Hidden Whale’s penchant for novelty music is best experienced live, and saving the overtly serious songwriting—which seems much more sincere—for closing track “Rollin’ With the Punches” is disappointing. If that’s the tip of the iceberg, show us what else you’ve got! The bottom line, however, is that it’s fun, and that’s really the point, right? (ADV)

High Diver
High Diver

Bands like Hum and Duster proved that there’s a place for soft beauty within the realm of heavily distorted rock jams, and the newly formed High Diver (comprised of St. John’s College students) takes this concept to exciting new places with their eponymous lo-fi debut. Droney in nature and brimming with subtle nods to blues-rock, poppy metal, ’90s alterna-rock and beyond, vast ballads form amid the fuzzed-out avant-garde movements. This shit is the reason college kids were put on this earth: to form bands that forge new styles from well-worn territory, and to distill the coolest parts of their influences into new sounds. It would be great to make out the vocals, which sadly never happens, but if one has to choose between discernable lyricism and unearthly killer jams, the latter should usually win out. (ADV)

Human 2 One
Under a Tree

Recorded in a spare room in the Santa Fe home of singer/guitarist Chris Courtney, this 14-track album of folksy ballads speaks volumes to the power of the pared-down male duo—an endangered art form in more mainstream acoustic circles. Courtney and guitarist/vocalist/songwriting partner Derek Todd Fisher sing a lot about the abstract concept of harmony here, and they definitely nail it from a vocal perspective. Delicate and focused finger work on dual six-strings adds a certain Simon and Garfunkel-ness to the proceedings, while a few clumsy flute interludes distract from the album’s otherwise-infectious lazy-Sunday, early-’70s feel. (RDW)

Indigie Femme

Tash Terry (Diné) and Elena Higgins (of Samoan/Maori descent) are back with their fifth studio album, and their soothing voices are as strong as ever. Expertly produced and engineered by Grammy-winning producer Larry Mitchell, Justify finds the duo ditching much of the indigenous-instrumental flavor found on past releases for tamer American-folk arrangements. Switching instrumental formulas may seem risky, but it shows just how protean these two artists truly are. As always, themes of loving the earth and each other abound. For the uninitiated, this album is a perfect entry point to the band. (RDW)

JQ Whitcomb and Five Below
Tales of Enchantment

If you wish to enjoy this record, you must fall into a very specific category of music fan. That is to say that even though Whitcomb and crew are all clearly stellar musicians with a knack for breezily enjoyable fare, anyone who hasn’t done their jazz homework will find it hard to get into the swing of things. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve managed to skirt the mind-numbing irritation of free-form noodling (which is really more for the player, right?) or the sadness of saccharine-sweet elevator bullshit—though “Enjoy the Silence” comes awfully close—it’s just that you really have to be a jazz person to get the most of these tunes. Now, if long-form songs, familiar melodies and serviceable structures are high on your list of album priorities, Tales was made for you. Think of it as your “Break Glass in Case of Jazz Emergency” record for when the albums from guys who already did this a million times over have all mysteriously gone missing and you’ve just gotta get your trumpet on. (ADV)

Jack Lorang
Triennial Discography

Shoegaze lyrics and drugged-out late-night guitar arrangements take front and center in this compilation, which draws from three previous releases by this Taos indie folkster. Although delivered in a laconic, delicate manner, Lorang’s lyrics share a vivid and bittersweet perspective on life and nature as recounted by the lonely drifter. Fans of ’90s grunge rock and lo-fi indie folk of all eras will gravitate toward this hodgepodge. (TEL)

Jeronimo Keith Band
Jeronimo Keith Band 

Here is the challenge with creating convincing blues music in 2015: How does one produce a sound that pays tribute to a time-tested form in a way that avoids the pitfalls of a genre that has become riddled with clichés and platitudes? The Jeronimo Keith Band seems to have found an answer that works for them, and it’s a sound that works well for the listener of the band’s debut self-titled album. The answer is diversity. Released earlier this year, the eight-song effort explores a variety of subgenre blues, ranging from train shuffles and swing blues to Southern and alternative rock. As one might expect, Keith’s electric guitar propels the tunes with nimble and melodic dexterity, and his contemplative lyrics (“Try to stay strong by writing a song/Don’t care if I’m doing it wrong”) reside nicely on top of the mix. Jess Sussman (drums) and Jesus Cabrales (bass) anchor the band with journeyman-like competence. This record won’t create any new converts among those who view contemporary blues through a jaundiced eye. But in the hands of the Jeronimo Keith Band, the venue-shaking, roots-rocking tradition of straight-ahead American blues-rock remains nicely represented in Santa Fe. (TEL)

Jessie Deluxe
Jessie Deluxe, Vol. One

The novel resurgence of straight-fucking-rock that came in the form of post-hipster nonsense bands like Jet was a real heartbreaker, and the world cried out desperately for something they could down beers and smoke cigarettes to. This may finally be that record. Jessie Deluxe seems to have found this glorious middle ground that exists someplace between dirty Southern riffs, the fast-living thrill of the late ’80s Sunset Strip and Hole (if Courtney Love ever had a clue about what counted as punk-fucking-rock). This lady has range, both vocally and musically, and can get you dancing with a song that grooves, like “Whiskey,” or just as easily give you a reason to cross your arms and angrily bob your melon with “Dummy Dust.” “I Tried to Warn You” all but announces a teenage fascination with PJ Harvey but is still made all her own as she takes the vocals lower than you’d think she could while keeping it sexy. Hell, this whole damn record is sexy. (ADV)

Jim Almand
I’ll Call You

Americana/country solo artist Jim Almand doesn’t play in Santa Fe terribly often anymore, which is a damn shame. As a guitarist, vocalist and lyricist, Almand shines on I’ll Call You. Complex finger-picking rhythms meet with harmonious forefront flourishes and minimal banjo plucking. The sounds of gospel vocals transition into what seems to be Almand paying respects to his heroes, like on the Bob Dylan-esque Dylan Thomas tribute number “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” or the Orbison-meets-Ronstadt piece “The Likes of You.” Almand can subtly showcase how fantastic a harmonica sounds when in the right hands, and the crisp production on this varied work seals the deal—you need this. (ADV)

Jim Shearer, Celeste Shearer, Darrell Fitzpartin, Dena Kay Jones and Laura Spitzer
Haunted American Suite

New Mexico is, reportedly, a hotbed of supernatural activity. Thus, it seems fitting that this release of neoclassical compositions, written and performed by musicians currently or formerly involved with New Mexico State University, would explore the themes of the afterlife. It would surely be cliché to call the music haunting, but there is an other-worldly sound to the movements and instrumentation and a chilling, soft beauty—perhaps a paean to respect of the dead—that seems to reach out and place an icy hand on your shoulder. At home in a cavernous concert hall or as a whisper-quiet soundtrack moment in the horror movie you’ve just seen, Haunted American Suite rings true to classical foundations while perfectly encapsulating the exhilarating thrill of the ethereal beings who shake off this mortal coil. (ADV)

Karen Marrolli
Twilight Songs 

Fresh off the heels of The Homestead EP, Karen Marrolli returns with Twilight Songs, a four-track collection of adult-contemporary lullabies. In the hands of Frogville Studios’ mixmaster Bill Palmer, chamber pop instrumentation—piano, cello, acoustic guitar and Marrolli’s voice—offers up a sound that is sparse yet sonically complete and dynamic. Marrolli’s voice is a rare and beautiful bird: vibrato-charged, richly contralto and choral in nature. Admittedly, many of the same qualities that make Marrolli’s music beautiful, at times, come across as a bit cloying and melodramatic when overapplied, particularly during the moments when Marrolli’s mellifluous vibrato is layered on top of itself. But as the title suggests, this is lush, starry-eyed stuff that packs enough melody and romantic energy to soothe even the most savage of beasts. (TEL)

KrayZe Soriano

Hailing from Albuquerque, rapper and beatmaker KrayZe Soriano is a man on the rise. “I went from hundreds to making grands/I went from rollin’ in a Kia to rollin’ Benz,” he raps on the lone verse of “I Went from Bagz to Richez.” KrayZe creates club-banging music that is rich in reverberated synth stabs, four-on-the-floor kick drums, dubstep-inspired sub-bass and tempos laid back enough to suggest copious amounts of herbal assistance. KrayZe’s vocal delivery is as equally blunted. KrayZe’s shit is pretty raw. Many of his rhymes proclaim that he’s an artist on the rise, but he could also be metaphorically admitting that he’s an artist still in development and in need of some polish. This is underscored by no formal album release (that I could find), a lack of a website, a pretty sloppy SoundCloud page that contains double song entries, poorly mixed material and most importantly songs that lack catchy hooks or, in some cases, any hook whatsoever. Haters gonna hate, but I am a newly converted fan of KrayZe Soriano. Keep an eye on this rapper from the south as he continues to amass a following and hone his craft. (TEL)

Melissa Christopher
Running Masters 

Visions of Melissa Etheridge dance in our heads during Christopher’s passionate 12-bar blues delivery on “Darkness,” and here’s where things get weird: It’s not terrible. Electric blues-wanking ranks pretty high on the most bafflingly overrated of all musical genres and generally ruins two perfectly wonderful musical styles simultaneously, but the ache and tenderness conveyed by Christopher’s vocal work somehow cancels out these feelings. God damn, does she shred, too. Guitar parts manage to avoid predictability, and her band nails super-catchy backup vocals with ease. Throw in the Chrissie Hynde-meets-Traveling Wilburys-esque country groove of “Running,” and you’ve got a solid two-song EP that may not speak to everyone but stands head and shoulders above its contemporary competition. (ADV)

And My Edges 

Of all the projects Ben Wright is involved with (see page 18), Mi might be his most varied and interesting. As an instrumentalist and DJ, Wright is surely among the most talented guys around, but when he merges his love of live music and electronic composition, an eclectic and moving mélange is produced. “Ocean Ave.” particularly stands out, with off-kilter guitar plucking and some of the most satisfying synth sounds you’ll ever hear. Certain corners of the record sound more aggressive than previous works from Mi (I’m looking at you, “Ogallala and the Time After”), but if the goal is to wrap up multiple styles into one neat package, it’s hard to complain or see how it could get any better. (ADV)

Octaveleven (EP)

Ditch everything you think you hate about rock/jazz fusion and come sit next to Santa Fe outfit Octaveleven. The 11-year-old brainchild of keyboardist-songwriter Philip L Maddux, this trio, which also includes percussionist Ben Durfee (CassoVita, As in We) and bassist Paul Wagner, is poised to release its debut instrumental EP this summer. Crammed with über-mathy arrangements and Durfee’s signature double-kick madness, the four-song affair is short on individual riffs but tall on collaborative technical prowess. If you’ve ever lost yourself in a rhythm breakdown of a Rush song, you’ll lose your goddamn mind in this release. (RDW)

Out of Context
Zen Noir

Out of Context is an apt name for this act, and Zen Noir sounds like the atmospheric background effects of certain black metal bands were divorced from the more musical aspects. The results, which are described as an electric guitar choir, are alarming at best and unlistenable at worst, a sort of confusing journey through ambient sound-sculpting that may be enjoyable live—or while high—but, as a record, come across as a series of sounds that are created without a plan. High Mayhem is known for more eccentric releases, and certainly this album could be described as such, it’s just that these are noises, plain and simple. Just noises. Now, there are impressive names found throughout the roster of players (Jeremy Bleich, Ross Hamlin and Carlos Santistevan, to name a few), and though the noise-rock set or people who’ve matured past the need for musical music might fall in love with Zen Noir, if it’s songs you’re after, this ain’t that. (ADV)

The Proxemics

Despite being a one-man band, the Proxemics’ Alex Neville manages some serious layers throughout his indie-rock songsmithing. And he is varied for it. Take a song like “a soft opening” and compare its more traditional structure (laced with some of the coolest bridge work since…ever) to an off-the-wall, psych-laden shredder like “traction,” and it’s clear Neville has big ideas that he’s culled from across the rock ’n’ roll spectrum. Cells presents similarly to later Cursive records like Happy Hollow or that certain something Modest Mouse used to have before they decided to get boring, but Neville also has this unique, gravelly vocal work going for him. He’s a songwriter who knows the value of quiet versus soft and how, when done properly, they inform each other well. Throwback breakdowns recall classic rock anthems, and it is notable that the whole damn thing is a lesson in how guitarists don’t need to noodle in order to write mathy or complex things. Plus, there’s his passion, and that isn’t always easy to come by. (ADV)

Public Address
One Two Three 

Would it be taken the wrong way to say that Public Address’ One Two Three EP sounds almost like a new age release? It’s not that you’ll hear it playing in a yoga studio per se, and the usual beats-meets-samples structure is there, but there is also a sort of spiritual chantlike foundation lurking just underneath the façade of every song. And though the four songs and one remix, courtesy of Doubting Thomas, might be a testament to decent production and nontraditional beatsmithing, the songs are generally too minimal to offer up anything beyond a curious listen before moving on to find tunes with a little more going on. (ADV)


First things first, the art for this record is absolutely amazing. Seriously—look at it! It’s too bad, then, that Repetitardz seem unable to nail down a cohesive style. Are they out to write acoustic-y love numbers, or do they want to get into surf-shred punk tunes? We wish it were entirely the latter, because when they’re good, they’re great. Unfortunately, they seem to want to be funny, which is also too bad. Goofy is usually fun for a listen or two, but sincerity always trumps silly and gives the listener something to connect with. All the same, Stuporstar does rock hard when it chooses to; we just wish that’s where the jams would stay full-time. (ADV)


Heavy, heavy rock meets Mother Earth in Rockfox’s debut eponymous album—the brainchild of artist/writer/musician James Fox and Nosotros founder Randy Sanchez. Fret-scorching guitar riffs and bonecrushing double-kick drums seamlessly blend with Fox’s terra-themed and indigenously informed lyrics, which are made even more impressive by the singer’s impressive, vibrato-laden voice. Best known for his Cuban tres work in the Latin band Nosotros, Sanchez is actually a metalhead at heart, and he lets it fly on Rockfox, offering virtuosic lead guitar and masterful drum programming. Fans of ’80s thrash and ’90s alternative metal will want to sink their teeth into this one. Side note: This was my 6-month-old’s favorite album. He bounced around in his Jumparoo with a wild glint in his eyes throughout the entirety of the record. (TEL) 

Lost & Found

Hats off to Rumelia for delving deep into the world of Balkan folk music with respect for tradition and unparalleled skill (and also without succumbing to the hipster nonsense of acts like oh, I don’t know—Beirut). Everything here is gorgeous and steeped in what must be an almost obsessive attention to detail from the first ladies of local world music. Lost & Found has something for just about everyone to love and comes with the added benefit that, for most of us, these songs sound completely new, no matter how old they may actually be. It’s hard to convey how phenomenally well-played the instruments are throughout this record, but we can summarize it by giving 50 points to Gryffindor for multi-instrumentalism and about a bazillion more for authenticity. (ADV)

Salt for Knives
Conglomerate of Misery

Diehard NM metal fans are perhaps familiar with the names Frank Green (ex-Grinkai) and Augustine Ortiz Jr. (Carrion Kind), who converge on this five-track ear bleeder, along with vocalist Teodoro (TJ) Ortiz. A definitive death/groove slant to the low-tuned proceedings treats listeners to plenty of Ortiz Jr.’s slappy, staccato bass and Green’s crunchy guitar prowess and studied guttural vocals, while TJ’s voice lends two closing tracks a serious slab of angsty, almost hardcore-punk ethos. Natural-sounding (mostly) digital drums are programmed by Ortiz Jr., also the album’s producer. It’s short, sweet and typically perfectionist fare from this devoted bunch. (RDW)

Sattva Ananda
Chiznickens Remixed

Fresh off last year’s Breakdancing Jellyfish, the local DJ takes a crack at remixes, with excellent results. Everything here is a little more accessible to the DJ layperson but every bit as technically proficient for those who follow the medium. Ananda grooves his way through nine head-bobbing tracks with elements of hip-hop, space funk and the roots of house, techno and beyond. Though it may be preferable to check the jams live while sashaying across a dance floor, Ananda’s carefully crafted production speaks volumes about his work ethic and makes for one of the more original DJ releases we’ve heard this year. Admittedly, that’s not saying a lot, but if you find your toes tapping to music you don’t usually jive with, you don’t question it. (ADV)

Could Have Moved Mountains

We open with “Birth,” a waste of track space that uses synth to….uh, actually, what’s the point of this number? It makes one wonder where the fucking metal’s at, but just when you want to skip the damn record altogether, you are suddenly ass-deep in the crushing sounds of the rest of it and wondering how low these dudes have tuned their guitars. From there, we are given a tour through a veritable metal trope checklist that Sleeptaker does well (if not originally). Luckily, there are groovy head-bumpin’ moments and some serious shredding guitar bits that narrowly avoid wanking for chugga-chugga brilliance—but only by so much. Fans of Botch or Between the Buried and Me (or a million other bands who’ve released a million other records that sound exactly like this) will probably have heard this noise before; people new to metal will have their faces melted off and their brains blown the fuck up. (ADV)

Stephen Beeson

Stiff drum machine beats, gravelly vocals and liberally applied electric guitar riffs make up the sonic landscape of Opus, an album that plays out like a concept album for a spiritual vision quest gone terribly awry. Beeson’s liner notes extol the bounties of the natural world: “I went to my church in the forest. The elements of nature healed me.” But given these organic topics, the tone of the music is surprisingly sinister and unnerving: Layered minor-scale electric guitar licks fill every open space, chord changes modulate into unexpected and dissonant places and Beeson is not afraid to let out a lycanthropic ululation at any given whim, as is the case in the 7-minute-plus and seemingly never-ending “Where the Moon Goes.” Opus is a claustrophobic, indulgent, eclectic bedroom project that is creative and ambitious but wildly challenging to the listener. (TEL)

Strange Magic
Endless Summer

If you spent the late ’90s and early-oughts at shows in the Railyard or Warehouse 21, the new solo project from former Mistletoe and Cherry Tempo frontman Javier Romero probably won’t surprise you. And that’s a good thing. Romero has always had a knack for writing songs that fall someplace near the early days of indie, but through a John Lennon-meets-Jeff Lynne lens. The man has a gift for sweetly harmonizing guitar parts and concocts vocal melodies so totally perfect, you’ll almost be jealous of his ability. Standout tracks like “Lavender Seahorse” could very well appear on an album from the criminally underappreciated Polaris while holding onto Romero’s well-established sensibilities, and if you hear a cooler or catchier song than “A Sunset in the 70s” this year, we’d be surprised. Romero has toiled in relative obscurity long enough, and Endless Summer needs to be in your rotation immediately. (ADV)

Thieves & Gypsys
Chasing Giants 

One of the more promising bands to come out of Santa Fe, Thieves & Gypsys avoids the sophomore slump with Chasing Giants, courtesy of frontman Jared Garcia’s innate ability to write a great fucking song. Shadows of the Strokes or even Talking Heads do shine through from time to time, but there are also refreshing yet retro doo-wop moments that pop up and prove that sometimes a killer flourish is better when you keep ’em wanting more. Much of the credit goes to drummer Adam Cook’s phenomenal ability to simultaneously keep perfect rhythm while making the drums worthy of attention in their own right, but it’s in how the trio meshes well as a unit that might just be the ultimate draw—especially in a town where musicians insist on letting everyone know they’re a big deal. (ADV)

Various Artists
Mesa Remixed

Growing local imprint (and brainchild of Paul Feathericci, Ben Wright and Brian Mayhall) Mesa Recordings offers up their impressive roster of artists to other talented songsmiths for new arrangements of previously released tunes. You might have to be an existing Mesa fan to be overly excited for this one, kids, because those of us who didn’t have an intimate knowledge of the songs to begin with couldn’t tell you what the difference is. Kudos are in order for certain Mesa songs and artists in their utilizing of actual instruments and for songs that seem to be less about the dance floor and more about actually listening and digesting the material. You do have to wonder exactly who this album is meant for, if not the artists themselves to feel important, but perhaps it’s a cultural thing, and a good remix is a good remix is a good remix…and so forth. (ADV)

Venus and the Lion

V&L is probably getting sick of being referred to as “young” musicians, but the quartet that blasted out of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design is absolutely that, which only makes their songwriting all the more impressive. Absinthe is somehow riffy and classic rock-y and funky all at once, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’ve got Maggie Johnson’s gritty yet flawless style onboard. At four tracks, this is absolutely a great debut EP, but the operative word here is “debut.” It’s easy to tell you’ve got a first record from inexperienced college kids, and though there’s little doubt Venus and the Lion will grow and evolve and release something unbelievable down the road, the production on Absinthe is not quite there and leaves a lot to be desired. Other than vocals, the whole thing comes with a strange muffled quality that isn’t fair to the carefully crafted guitar, bass and drum work. Still, if the endgame of music love is seeing your favorite bands live, that’s actually the preferable way to experience Venus and the Lion. They’re fantastic live, that much is true, but when it comes to picking up albums, you might want to hold out until their sophomore effort—you can bank on it being superior. (ADV)

We Drew Lightning

More outsider ethereal tunes head our way from the High Mayhem-affiliated duo of Roland Ostheim and Michael Smith, and they’ve proven yet again that they’re geniuses. There’s a beauty to six that comes across in both the quiet slow builds and the almost-jazzy heaviness of the soundscape they’ve created. It is the sort of thing that might appear softly in the background during a hard-to-recall dream that plays in slow motion, an amalgamation of musical styles—from rock to punk to shoegaze to jazz—that one might assume would fight each other for attention but that ultimately make so much sense together as one composition that the lack of vocals no longer becomes a consideration, and you’re so glad there aren’t any track breaks to muck up the experience. Keys from Aaron Jenks sound amazing as well, but the interplay between Smith and Ostheim is well-known to many a Santa Fean and the true draw of this fantastic release. (ADV)


When a super-band of local metal champions forms, there is almost no doubt it’s going to slay, and given Yar’s roster of musicians from bands like Torn Between Worlds and Obelisk, superband is not going too far. That’s a lot of pressure but a notion that is backed up and then some by Yar’s self-titled debut EP. It’s like a history lesson in thrashy metal that holds on to the more punk rock aspects found in the early days of the genre while headbanging headlong into the underground highlights of right now. All the usual metal qualifiers like “brutal,” “crushing” or “ferocious” can be assigned to Yar, but it’s imperative to experience these three tracks firsthand. Fans of Slayer, Exodus or Ratos de Porão—this motherfucker is for you. (ADV)

Pieces by Marcos

Credit card? You got it! In search of the mind that brought us “Dakota is a Frito”

Music FeaturesWednesday, May 6, 2015 by Alex De Vore

Thirty-three-year-old Warren Langford now lives in Seattle, but he was once an important part of Santa Fe’s music scene. His band, Nectar, was an awesome example of gothy synth-punk in the vein of the Faint, and he helped shape the sadly defunct punk rock scene alongside so many in the late ’90s and early 2000s. These days, Warren has a problem, and he needs Santa Fe’s help to locate a young man responsible for one of his favorite pieces of local music history. But first, let’s go back a bit.

“I’m pretty sure it was summer, 2001-ish, and my friend Liz Prince and I were on our way to Santa Fe Baking Co. and saw a yard sale sign off of St. Francis,” Langford recalls. “We spotted a Talkboy in a box labeled ‘50 cents,’ and both of us thought it was a pretty good deal for the device made famous in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”

Indeed, the must-have Christmas item of 1993, Tiger Electronics’ Talkboy was desperately wanted by anyone who had seen Home Alone 2. In the film, Macaulay Culkin reprises his role as young Kevin McCallister, this time forgotten and abandoned in New York City and once again outwitting the bumbling burglars played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. In a genius-caliber marketing scheme present throughout the movie, Kevin uses the Talkboy’s ability to slow down or speed up playback in order to fool adults and rack up a gigantic room service bill while making Tim Curry look like a fool. It was awesome, and anyone who is in their mid to late 30s will probably recall the device in question lovingly. Langford’s Talkboy, as it turned out, contained a surprise in the form of a tape inside the machine.

“We were amazed to discover that a young boy who identifies himself as Marcos recorded an almost-30-minute-long radio show in which he was the DJ,” Langford says. “He announced each track by name; [it’s] adorable, and if he recorded this when the Talkboy was released, I’d imagine he’s about 30 now.”

"I’ve been asking every Santa Fean I know if they know a Marcos around 30 years old."

The show sounds like brief forays into Muzak, according to Langford, and has titles like “Clouds,” “Reggae” and “Office.” There is a brief interlude when two other young kids tape over the show with repeated mutterings of, “Dakota is a Frito,” but our intrepid hero carries on immediately afterward.

Since that day in 2001, Langford has been trying to find Marcos, to meet and reunite him with his musical time capsule, to no avail. Now he’s hoping for your help, dear readers.

“I’ve eliminated all the Marcoses I know, and I’ve been asking every Santa Fean I know if they know a Marcos around 30 years old,” he tells SFR. “There are two other names mentioned on the tape—the aforementioned Dakota and someone named Leo—and I would guess that they’re siblings or cousins. I’ve exhausted my Googling capabilities, and apps like Shazam and SoundHound yield false or zero results; as generic as they are, I really have come to love the pieces, [and] they get stuck in my head all the time.”

Langford has been interviewed on Seattle’s Hollow Earth Radio, and his band Pure Moods even covers one of the songs, but Marcos himself remains a mystery.

“I’m a big fan of found footage, both audio and video, and both mysteries of ‘Who is Marcos?’ and ‘Where does this music come from?’ are enticing to me, to the point that it’s been a big part of my life,” he laments. “Mostly I just want to meet the guy to thank him, ask him about all the circumstances surrounding the tape’s creation and see what he’s up to now.”

So help us out, Santa Fe. You can hear the show in its entirety below. See if it sounds familiar, or ask any Marcos you’ve ever met if they once recorded a radio show on a Talkboy. We want to find this guy and speak with him ASAP. Any information can be sent to

“I wonder how he’d react to discovering some dude has been obsessed with this radio show he made on a toy tape recorder 20-plus years ago,” Langford concludes.

Let’s find out.


Think lyrics just happen? Don’t be an ass

Music FeaturesWednesday, May 6, 2015 by Todd E Lovato

The earliest-documented song is widely considered the “Seikilos Epitaph,” a Hellenistic-era set of lyrics and notation engraved on a tombstone that explores the ephemeral nature of life and the unflappable hand of time: “While you live, shine/Have no grief at all/Life exists only for a short while/And time demands its toll.”

Some 2,000 years later, multiplatinum recording artists Big Sean and Nicki Minaj intoned, “Ass ass ass ass ass ass ass/Ass ass ass ass ass ass ass/Ass ass ass ass ass ass ass/Stop!”

Fortunately for the patrons of local music, Santa Fe’s resident singer-songwriters’ lyrics have more in common with the old school and are informed more by the, let’s say, subtle and nonliteral elements of traditional songcraft and less by the anatomical musings of modern pop. (Although, I admit, I can’t get the “Ass” song out of my head.)

It got me thinking, how do some of our resident songsmiths compose their music? Here are some highlights from said musicians, in their own words:


David Berkeley
“I keep a journal of words and phrases that I collect from books or conversations. Melodies often come first, as I’m sitting with a coffee and a guitar before anyone else is awake or as I’m pedaling back up Old Santa Fe Trail. I wrestle with lyrics, sometimes for months, trying to perfect the image world, trying to avoid the obvious rhymes.”


Joe West
“I have no idea of how to write a song. I’m just lucky enough to stumble upon one from time to time.”


Chris Abeyta
“A lot of times I write a poem, or I get a hook and I put that into a poem, then I just put it to music. Some songs come quickly, and others just sit there, or I have to work them out with a band. Other times, it might be a musical pattern that I just happen to be picking on my guitar.”


Sean Healen
“I pay attention and document my melodic and lyrical ideas so I have a stash for daily use. I like to paint with words and allow for abstraction, so the listener can draw their own conclusions. I’ll draw inspiration from strong coffee, a fire in the woodstove, sitting in my boxers—I pick up my guitar and the song begins.”


Jono Manson

“I don’t have any formula in particular, and I take song ideas however I can get them. The initial seed can be a melodic idea, a simple riff, a story or just a clever song title. Sometimes I write the end of the song first and work backwards from there! I also have numerous co-writing partnerships, and no two of these are alike. I never throw anything away.”


Stephanie Hatfield

“I love to write sitting cross-legged on the floor in the middle of a sunny room, early in the morning with a cup of coffee. My songs often start with lyrics that have either been written in a flurry of personal emotion or as an unloading of a particularly vivid dream. In my 20s and the first half of my 30s, I had more than my fair share of romance and drama, and therefore lyric material. As I have—ahem—matured, I rely more heavily on imagination, empathy and other people’s stories.”


Nacha Mendez
“I have a couple of ways I write a song. The first starts with an idea then a chord. I like to take my time. The basic chord structure comes together after many hours and many weeks of strumming. The vocal melody usually emerges in my car and after I’ve heard a recording of the basic idea a gazillion times.”


Miriam Kass

“Writing music is a flowing process for me. I generally start out by finding a chord progression that evokes emotion in my creative self. Then I start singing, and the melody and lyrics naturally form at the same time. It’s like I connect to a space beyond my body where my mind can’t control the flow of music.”


Maggie Johnson
“I like to pull inspiration from dreams that I’ve had. I love creating stories around certain images and using melodies to portray different emotions. I also daydream a lot. Moving my hands while I’m thinking helps me come up with different concepts and melodies. I don’t know why, but the movement seems to drive to my voice into places that I wouldn’t have been able to come up with if I was just sitting still.”

The Sound and the Fury

Hey musicians, you couldn’t do it without these guys. Not well, anyway

Music FeaturesWednesday, May 6, 2015 by Alex De Vore

There’s an Internet-famous quote from punk legend/spoken word artist/writer/thick-neck owner Henry Rollins about sound techs that culminates with, “They were there hours before you, building the stage, and they will be there hours after you leave, tearing it down. They should get your salary, and you should get theirs.” Indeed, the oft-overlooked yet vital members of any stage show, sound guys and gals, are just about the only people without whom a show could not run. Some go to school for it, while others have an innate knack. Some are musicians, and others just love the idea of working with music. The one thing they all share is that they work tirelessly to create impressive feats of audio engineering for far less money than the average performer, and they do so with very little appreciation. Well, no more, because we’re highlighting three local sound engineers who do a kick-ass job at all times.

People like Jacy Oliver of Potion Productions. You might know him better as a member of metal bands Fallen Hope and CassoVita, but Oliver has spent years cultivating a customer base for production work and performing sound duties at live shows.

“I’m helplessly attracted to the raw power of sound,” he says, “the unique energy that occurs when a particular song is performed on a particular day for a particular audience.”

Oliver says that it’s easy for a sound tech to feel underappreciated, but moments of gratitude from bands that enjoyed his work make it all worth it. Still, he has advice for anyone who performs live:

“Really, what it’s all about is making the musicians feel their music is in good hands…but seriously, thank your sound guy.”

Or take Augustine Ortiz of audio company Kronos Creative. Ortiz is a musician, promoter, producer/engineer and all-around rad guy, and he has worked hard to build a reputation as a dependable and talented sound tech.

“Like a lot of things, I got into it out of necessity, [and] early on it was a great opportunity to learn and work with mentors,” Ortiz says. “Being a person who thrives under stress, I enjoy it.”

Ortiz describes live audio production as a completely different beast than studio recording and thinks of himself as more of a “guerrilla-style” sound guy. Still, his ethics speak for themselves, and he encourages any young folk interested in breaking into the biz to remember that “the most important thing is to care about what you are doing and work as a team with the talent to make you all successful.”

Ultimately, however, there is no finer example of a local sound tech who loves what he does than James Lutz at Warehouse 21 (full disclosure: I work at W21 but will not promote any event in these pages). Lutz works innumerable hours, both tending to the live performances and calibrating the world-class equipment in his off time to keep it running optimally. In a word, the effort he expends is bonkers.

“I was first introduced to live sound at Warehouse 21 in 2011, when I had an internship that gave me the opportunity to shadow the techs doing shows,” Lutz says. “Eventually, I had lessons with Jacy Oliver that led to a certification to work as a solo tech for concerts there, [and] in that first year, I really fell in love with it.”

Lutz also works as a producer for Warehouse 21’s Eli Farmer Recording Studio and produces Ground Zero, the teen center’s bimonthly radio production. One might think that so much work would come with the occasional gripe, but Lutz holds no negative feelings.

“When the artist is onstage, there’s a lot of pressure, and it’s no surprise that once in a while, they might get frustrated, but I’ve been really blown away by the overwhelmingly positive interactions with artists,” he says. “They’re always glad to know the guy at the board is on their side, and if music is the emotional language, being in a position where I can facilitate the communication from artist to listener is extremely rewarding.”

As for those who would follow him in the world of tech, Lutz offers this simple advice: “Loud doesn’t mean better.”

Words to live by.

Six Degrees of DJ Bacon

‘Multifaceted’ doesn’t even begin to describe him

Music FeaturesWednesday, May 6, 2015 by Alex De Vore

Sure, there are plenty of musicians splitting time between multiple projects in Santa Fe, but one man stands out in his ability to create brilliant original music, maintain session work excellence and add that certain je ne sais quoi to his backup appearances. You know him from D Numbers, the Santa Fe Revue and the Santa Fe All-Stars and as the new musical director for arts collective Meow Wolf. You know him as a killer multi-instrumentalist, a father, a friend and a tremendously kind human being. He is Ben Wright. He is DJ Bacon. He is everywhere. These are just some of the projects he’s an integral part of:

1. Santa Fe Revue (guitarist)
“Joe West has been on hiatus for a year-plus, but when he decided to do something different, there were still a handful of gigs on the books. Being professionals, we wanted to keep the work, and that was the beginning of this new phase sans-Joe. We’ve been kind of this ghost band playing covers and trying out soul, and all of us take turns doing vocals. The vibe with Lori Ottino, Karina Wilson, Margaret Burke and Arne Bey is just awesome. I think it sounds great with Joe and without Joe.”

2. Drastic Andrew (guitarist/producer)
“There are elements of the Stones and Neil Young and maybe even a little Phish…I operate as the producer and help with the arrangement as we develop new songs. Andrew MacLauchlan is an unusual songwriter—totally unique. We’re really starting to gel, and it has turned into this rock project, which I didn’t see coming. It started as this quirky country thing, but it’s so cathartic now to turn up the electric and rock out. Most other projects, I play acoustic. The one thing is that it isn’t easy to play as a rock band and get a lot of shows here. We rock the Cowgirl when we play there, but it’s not the easiest fit.”

3. D Numbers (multi-instrumentalist/producer/composer)
“We aren’t super-active as a band right now, but we are as a label. Mesa Recordings and D Numbers are two different sides of the same three guys. We’re constantly meeting and checking out demos, so it takes a lot of time and energy to keep things moving the way we want. We’re getting more submissions all the time and really bolstering the Mesa catalog to create a solid lineup of music that’s in line with our aesthetic, which is a lot more particular than we originally thought. Our next big project is a selection of remixes from our catalog to date. We gave the tracks to producers and composers we’ve met over the years and got so many fabulous remixes.”

4. DJ Bacon (producer/composer)
“Bacon is my DJ act, and it’s good for me to keep the project running, because it keeps my ears to the ground. I like to know what the current styles are, and in DJing, it can be challenging because there’s a lot of sameness to electronic music, but when you find those great jams…it’s good to stay on top of what’s relevant.”

5. Meow Wolf (musical director)
“Currently, I have about 150 clips that range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and they will all be playing randomly throughout the new Meow Wolf space. The challenge is to make it last for the long haul, as in years or decades. That’s where self-generating elements are important. The content can keep on being generated as well, and certain spaces will feature other artists. The design is still coming together, but mostly my MO is to have it be this living composition that can also feature my favorite local producers and composers.”

6. Detroit Lightning
“It’s a Grateful Dead cover band, and it’s turned into this totally popular and extremely fun project. At first I thought, ‘Are we really gonna do this?’ but I changed my tune on that. There’s this nostalgia and culture built up around the Dead, and to help people access those memories has been amazing. Not only that, but the ethos of the band and the way they played, it was reckless, and they were always pushing the boundaries of improvisational music, and there are a lot of Dead Heads in Santa Fe, so I really just try to do that justice.”

Street View


Street ViewWednesday, May 6, 2015 by SFR
It’s not a new fountain, but an epic downtown flood caused by a burst valve.

Send shots to or share with #SFRStreetview for a chance to win free movie passes to the CCA Cinematheque.

7 Days


7 DaysWednesday, May 6, 2015 by SFR


Yet we’ve seen better fights for the last chimichanga at Allsup’s.



Come on, writes spokesman, we didn’t give you guff when you called him the “major.”



First Tony’s Rentals and now this? Bad news for the other apostrophes.



City now reportedly leads nation in “screens per capita,” but we’re still short on sidewalks.



Meanwhile, TV news reports he’s active on Twitter.



Which means you can also rat out neighbors and businesses at 955-4222.



Narcissism? Nah. It’s just good light.

Money and Infamy

'Welcome to Me' does well with its complicated subject

YayWednesday, May 6, 2015 by David Riedel

If you won $86 million in a lottery, what would you do? If you were Dave Attell, you might buy a chocolate factory and staff it with large-breasted hookers. If you’re Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), you might pony up the money to host a talk show about your life, called Welcome to Me.


The thing about Alice is that she suffers from borderline personality disorder. If you’re as unfamiliar with BPD as the average viewer is (myself included), it only takes a quick Google search to see that some of the symptoms are intense anger, irritability, self-harm, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and indiscriminate sex.


So that’s what Welcome to Me tackles. After Alice buys her TV show—by the movie magic of being in the right place at the right time, she finds a down-on-its-luck network—and turns her life into a spectacle, you have to make a choice: Is the movie making fun of Alice, or is it criticizing reality TV for taking advantage of vulnerable people? Or both? Or something else entirely?


The truth is that Welcome to Me lies somewhere in the hinterlands. It treats Alice’s condition seriously while also allowing the kinds of cringe-worthy laughs that were the hallmark of the English version of The Office. Take the many re-enactments Alice stages on the show. She hires actors to play her and other people (she uses their real names, and they’ve almost always wronged her) and then barges onto the stage, disrupts the scene and sends the actors, confused, scurrying.


As if the lawsuits resulting from those slanders aren’t enough, there’s the time she decides to neuter stray dogs live, on the show (she was a veterinary assistant at one point). Despite performing the procedures well, that’s the last straw for her producer and station owner, Rich (James Marsden).


That sends Alice into a tailspin that changes the course of the movie from uneasy comedy to uneasy drama, and it’s here that BPD stops being played for laughs and turns into a serious condition. It’s difficult to tell just what the filmmakers think of Alice (other than love for their own creation), but it’s clearer what they make of Rich, his brother Gabe (Wes Bentley), who’s sleeping with Alice, and the other people who round out the network (including Jennifer Jason Leigh as a producer who hates Alice’s show and Joan Cusack as a technical director).


It all could be an indictment of people who prey on the vulnerable for a living—Rich takes Alice’s money because the network is in financial trouble and she has the money to spend—but some of the gags laugh at Alice more than with her. It helps that Wiig uses her well-honed comedic chops and adds a layer of dramatic desperation.


Likewise helping is that many of the laughs are indeed hilarious. Cusack and the cast members stuck in the control room have priceless looks on their faces with each new horrifying bit Alice dreams up. But there’s something about Alice: She may have problems, but they’re not so different from ours, and really, neither is she. And if you had a chance to live vicariously through the person on screen taunting her high school enemies, wouldn’t you?



Directed by Shira Piven

With Wiig, Marsden and Cusack

CCA Cinematheque


87 min.

Morning Word: Clinton Supports Immigration Reform

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