Best Band with a Missing Ingredient

Almost a Lie

David and Adam, the brothers Malczewski, made SFR's "Bands to Watch" list in our Annual Manual thanks to their punk rock leanings and dedicated work ethic, and they grace the pages of Best Of due to their super-speedy evolution. New gear has led to more varied songwriting and their ability to transform cover songs into exciting new versions (their rendition of "Seven Nation Army" just plain rules) is pretty much the coolest. And even though this brotherly duo has scoffed at the notion of a bass player thus far, rumor has it that personnel changes are on the horizon. We can only guess at what these new dimensions will bring to the table, but based on their current trajectory, we're betting it's going to rule hard. Zam. (ADV)

Best Venue to Just Forgive and Enjoy Already

Sol Santa Fe
37 Fire Place, 780-8072

OK, folks, we get it: Sol Santa Fe made some of you feel bad, and we won't argue that they pulled some weird bullshit. That said, it's hard to beat a summertime concert on the patio. Seriously, y'all, the sun is setting, you've got a cold beer in your hand, a nice breeze wafts through and you can have a burger—it's pretty awesome. Like that recent performance from the Old 97's that barely featured any old songs (which is fair and they were still cool; it just would have been cooler to be able to sing along to the old stuff) or all those times Dan Hicks came to town or even that one time The Sword didn't play all that long but still melted everyone's face clean off. Anyway, the point is this: We all make mistakes from time to time, and it's hard for any place to gain a foothold in a town where everyone kind of searches for things to rag on (myself included), but let's not cut off our nose to spite our face here, Santa Fe. Instead, let's say stuff like, "Man, that sure was sweet at Sol last night!" and pray to God somebody somehow works out a shuttle system out there, so we can have more than just one beer. (ADV)

Best way of supporting a local artist and sticking it to the man

DIY IUD kit by Matthew Chase-Daniel

When the US Supreme Court's controversial Hobby Lobby decision limiting contraception coverage took effect, many outraged, politically active citizens did what they did best: They took to Facebook. Matthew Chase-Daniel, one-half of mobile gallery Axle Contemporary, took matter into his own artistic hands and came up with a mock do-it-yourself intrauterine device using crafty odds and ends and Hobby Lobby's branding. Temped to stock some at the local store, Chase-Daniel thought it "more effective" to spread the project around social media sites. "The contents are a somewhat random collection of 'craft' items, wire string, beads, paper clips, Q-tips," he says. "Each package is a bit different." On the verge of going viral, the kits retail for $25 and are currently for sale of his website,, under the motto "You might believe, but you won't conceive." (EL)

Best Guitarist You've Never Heard Of

Michael Rael (Sleeptaker)

As many longtime Santa Fe music lovers can tell you, there's some serious-ass metal going on in this town. Bands like Carrion Kind and Torn Between Worlds are ripping on corpses on the reg, and it's pretty damn cool how often new bands pop up. Bands like Sleeptaker, a relatively new yet impressively slay-full five-piece that rides the borders between technical death and metalcore (sorry guys, it's true) in artful and interesting ways. And while we would be remiss to not point out there's a whole coffin-load of talent on display here, those lucky enough to have caught this band live may have missed out on just how ruling Michael Rael happens to be. He's not head-banging or tongue-flapping or any of that weird stage-antic shit, he's quietly shredding like a maniac and blowing minds of those who know guitar and those who don't. Seven strings? He's got 'em. Lightning-fast fingers? You bet. Semi-creepy mustache? Oh yeah, baby. Michael Rael is the full package. (ADV)

Nicest Musician Award

Ben Durfee (As In We, CassoVita)

This was a tough one what with dudes like Mikey Baker and Paul Feathericci running around town, but when it comes down to it, Ben Durfee wins nicest musician just because he has the most to be a dick about and still stays cool. Don't get us wrong, there are tons of talented nice guys and musicians around, but Durfee is a monster on the drums. As in, one of the best we've ever heard anywhere on this whole damn planet. His work with post-rock act As In We is a constant mathy brainteaser while his ferocity within his metal project, CassoVita, is nothing short of phenomenal. And yet, you'll never hear him bragging or demanding accolades. Instead, he just kind of hangs around transcending genres and keeping rhythm so well that you'd think his mother was a metronome. Well done, Ben Durfee. We salute your monumental skills and would totally hang out with you in our free time and stuff. (ADV)

Best Place to Type Furiously while You Pose as an Author

Java Joe's
2801 Rodeo Road, 474-5282

Ok, we get it, you're Ernest Friggin' Hemingway. Baseball might be America's official pastime, but here in Santa Fe we march to a different beat, a beat that sounds suspiciously like the incessant tap-tap-tap of a computer keyboard. And if you espresso-guzzling, Pulitzer Prize wannabes were looking for the best locale to scowl at your computer screen while you type two sentences of your never-going-to-be-finished novel and then surf Facebook for the rest of the day, the answer is this Rodeo Road coffee house. Not only do they have enough caffeinated beverages to keep you clicking for hours, the place is small enough so that everybody can hear you scoff at their conversation or erupt into a sudden burst of typing as if you just cracked the next great American novel. (JPS)

Best Band that should probably just move to Portland or Austin already

Thieves & Gypsys

A lot of Santa Feans have come to expect certain things from the music scene, and whether you like it or not, one of those things is disappointment. There's just no escaping how local music doesn't cut it for each and every citizen. It's lucky, then, that Thieves & Gyspys is around. Exceptionally huge in sound for a three piece, this indie-rock act fronted by the supremely talented Jared Garcia wows the locals, tours constantly and is beginning to hit incredible heights given how very young its members are. Think The Strokes going even more garagey and learning a thing or two about guitar tone while mind-boggling drum work meets intricately picked bass ass-kickery. Yeah, they're great. Please note, T&G, that we don't actually want you to move anywhere, rather, we're mostly just surprised you aren't kicking ass in a bigger town and picking up some of that sweet, sweet recognition y'all so obviously deserve. Now then, kindly play more shows all of the time. Thanks. (ADV)

Best way to celebrate Santa Fe Pride after the rainbow flags go back into storage

Now that the party is over and the chaps and glitter nipples have been traded in for the cloying attire of the workday world, it's time to get back to work in the name of equality and non-discrimination. You could donate money and/or time to the Santa Fe Mountain Center (1524 Bishop's Lodge Road, 983-6158, ext. 13), whose youth-centric New Mexico Gay-Straight Alliance Network programming helps prevent bullying, suicide and substance abuse among LGBTQ young people and their straight/cis youth allies. Or you could donate money and volunteer your time as a straight or LGBTQ ally on October 11, aka National Coming Out Day, which moved its headquarters to Santa Fe in 1989 before merging with the Human Rights Campaign. Whatever you do, don't stay silent the other 364 days of the year. It costs lives. (RDW)

Best independent theater owned by a best-selling author

Jean Cocteau Cinema
418 Montezuma Ave., 466-5528

So this was a pretty competitive category. There's JK Rowling's theater, Theatric Alley, CS Lewis's ScrewTapes Video Rental and, of course, Tolkien's ENTertainment Emporium. But in the end, we decided to pick the only one that plays amazing, cult-classic films every weekend (and that encourages silly costtumes). We also had to pick the only one that wasn't fictional. In all seriousness, the theater deserves to be a top pick based on its eclectic selection and great community events. Now that it's stocked with a full bar, the Jean Cocteau has everything you could want in a theater. (IM)

Best place to get your kicks

Clarice Coffey's Place

No, this isn't the best place to get your half-caff, steamed soymilk macchiato. Clarice has been running tours in town and every once in a blue moon, the charming Southern belle will invite a lucky tour group will be invited to her 3,600-square-foot home: Clarice's Place. There, guests dressed according to the theme of the party (the last one being Route 66) will get up to all kinds of mischief. There are also dance competitions, Elvis impersonations, singing contests and more; she even owns one of the original scripts of Casablanca for guests to act out. To get an invite, call (505) 438-7116 and, if you're lucky, you might make the cut. (IM)

Best New Mural

Facing Pen Road behind Camino Rael

Fighting graffiti can be a Sisyphean battle, especially on wonderfully hidden back walls and fences of large buildings. But a proven tactic of keeping taggers at bay is to cover those surfaces with art. As Camino Real Santa Fe dramatically upped the ante on how many colorful pieces of imported pottery, yard ornaments and furniture they could display at the Cerrillos Road location, the property owner and neighboring business owners such as Pete Dominguez of Dominguez Carpet One also arranged for traveling artist Dan Isaac Bortz and New Mexican Nick Mann to deck the outer walls with pieces named “We All Have a Calling” and “Shedding the Darkness to Find the Light Within.” Lynnea Holland-Weiss also painted a section. Bikers and walkers on the Rail Trail noticed the mural appear late last summer, and its rich imagery deserves more than a blurry passing glance. Eagles and jaguars, rainbows and stars, snakes and faces are just a sample of what’s embedded there. Look past the weeds, this is fine art. (JAG)

Best Cervix Jokes

The Lulz!
Comedy Night the first Saturday of every month at Molly's Kitchen & Lounge; 1611 Calle Lorca, 983-7577

In a town previously lacking in stand-up comedy, The Lulz takes that void and fills the crap out of it, with local, nearby and out-of-town talent, plus everything ranging from improv to the above-referenced cervix jokes. Seriously, there just aren't enough jokes about cervixes. It's an underappreciated hilarious body part…even I was starting to feel like I could down a couple of drinks, spend a couple of weeks writing down my dumb observational humor, and go at it. Add to that the booze-flowing atmosphere of Molly's, and you've got a night that will leave your abs sore and your cheeks stuck in a silly grin. (ZH)

Best sense of vocal inferiority

The Cowgirl
319 S Guadalupe St., 982-2565

Listening to the Cowgirl's karaoke regulars, who give amazing, confidence-shriveling performances, is a sure way to get you practicing your scales in the shower and cultivating some serious diaphragm control. Personally, I need to see as many tone-deaf drunkards and possible lower the bar before I get up the nerve to belt out a little Tom Petty in front of people who aren't my roommates. Last time I went, I was horrified to discover that not a single act could be followed by the likes of my pedestrian singing skills, even after three drinks. You have been warned. (ZH)