For years we've been running the "Best Local Band" category buried somewhere amid the bars and cinemas in the nightlife section of Best of Burque. Last year, "Best New/Emerging Band" was added. But any fan of local music knows our fair city is home to all manner of gifted musicians.
In an effort to acknowledge the DJs, the mariachis, the blues crooners, the singer-songwriters and everyone else on Burque’s spicy music scene, we broke it up this year. Next year, we might go even further with the genre-splitting, coming up with categories like "Best Latin-Funk Inspired Metal Pop-Noise Electronica Dance Act with a Transgender Singer." (That's not actually such a bad idea. Anyone want to start a band?) But for now, this will have to do, a marked improvement if we say so ourselves.
Join us in giving praise to the victors. Feel free to write a pissy letter about how your numetal-polka act didn't have its own special category.
Best Local Band Overall
Sweet mother of eardrum-brutalizing delight, you all picked Black Maria again for best local band, though whether you can actually hear them after a few go-rounds with those giant stacks is another question. Electronic musician Brian Botkiller (purveyor of breakbeat, drum and bass, and chillout) managed a second-place win in the best band category. Hardworking alternaband Old Man Shattered grabbed third.
Best Live DJ
What kind of town is Albuquerque? The kind of freaky place that passes on top 40 and house, voting instead for a DJ specializing in industrial, EBM and darkwave. Moreover, Kentifyr is OPM's resident DJ of KGB, the Thursday night festival of leather, rubber, monthly S&M activities and high-step dancing. For this impeccable taste, Albuquerque, we are proud of you.
Coming in second is top 40 and hip-hop ambassador, DJ Sweet P, while the one and only electronicateur Brian Botkiller scored third.
Best Reggae Band
Best Hip-hop/Rap MC
It's a homegrown family affair with twins Keith and Ken Connell building beats under another set of brothers, Oki and Narata. Readers gave a big shout-out to the boys of Mantis Fist. Mic Deli was the recipient of some love, too, as the first runner-up. There was even some left over for Chinto, sitting pretty at third.
Best Rock Band
The rockingest band in Burque, Black Maria, retained the crown of "Best Local Band Overall" and now adds the tiara for "Best Rock Band" to their collection. Black Maria doesn't mind taking the precious jewelry out of the vault for some hardcore rock every once in a while—you know, to keep it polished and shiny. Should Black Maria be unable to fulfill its duties as "Best Rock Band," the tiara will be passed to first runner-up SuperGiant then second runner-up August Spies.
Albuquerque loves you, David. The wailing badass frontman for Old Man Shattered got more votes than anyone in this category. He sings. He writes songs. Other local singer-songwriters with substantial followings include Devin Werner, Brian Botkiller, Chris Dracup and Leah Black.
Best New/Emerging Band
After the seven-man music explosion that is Unusual Content takes the Southwest, and then the world, by storm (a key part of their MySpace mission statement), we hope they'll look back and thank the little people who voted them "Best New/Emerging Band” way back when. Missing Stateside, back in the U.S. via Iceland, re-emerges on the Burque scene in second. Audiobuddha (who is technically from Santa Fe, but we'll let it slide) and Left Brain rocked themselves into a dripping sweat to tie for third.
Best Country/Folk/Americana Band
Tie: The Lowlights and The Rivet Gang
We've got some fine country/folk/Americana acts in Albuquerque. How to choose just one? Well, you didn't! Our readers voted The Lowlights and The Rivet Gang as the best local bands in town for putting a 21st century twist on folksy, hillbilly, bluegrass mountain music. Honorable mentions go to Bobby Butran and the Trainmen, The Handsome Family, Long Gone Trio and Sin Serenade. Burque loves y’all.
Best Latin/Traditional New Mexican Band
Son Como Son
Meringue and salsa and cha cha, oh my! Cuban stylings have proven to be this year's favorite as Son Como Son takes first place. The handsome men of Nosotros (who back in 2005 took Best Band in Albuquerque) came in second this year. Concepto Tambor, Micky Cruz and Sparx also got plenty of votes.
Best Blues Act
The Ryan McGarvey Band
It's hard to believe a young fellow like Ryan could get such a strong case of the blues, but when he gets into it, this boy imparts all the woeful heartache—and, most importantly, the guitar-busting chops—of a man three times his age. When you're feeling low, both Chris Dracup and the Memphis P. Tails feel your pain, as do the third place Hoodoos.
Best Jazz Act
Le Chat Lunatique
Some people actually believe jazz is a matrix of theory, technique and musical allusion so dense you need a masters degree to appreciate it. But those people have never heard Le Chat Lunatique. Sure, their theory, technique and allusion are legit, but the best thing about this quartet's hot, Parisian-swing-style jazz is how immensely listenable and, well, fun it is (to say nothing of the waxed, curlicue mustaches its members sport). Second place goes to Albuquerque's reigning king of crooning, Tommy Gearhart and Notes from Underground. Honorable mentions all-around to Big City Rain, Bitter Sermon, John Lewis Quartet, the late Linda Cotton and Richard Elliott.
Best Metal Band
Show us your horns!!!! How long has metal stalwart Anesthesia been around? 10 years? It's about damn time we had a category with which to exalt these guys' heavy metalness. Give it up for second-placer Left Brain, too, one of the hardest-working bands around. Metal readers also found yet another opportunity to let loose a throaty roar for Black Maria, Caustic Lye, Requiem Mass and The Ground Beneath.
Best All-ages Music Venue
After surviving an onslaught from the mayor in '05, the Launchpad had another stellar year of all-ages shows, some of the safest youth in Burque can attend. Seems like we're always seeing young heads of punky color in a rainbowed line outside the Sunshine Theater, which took second. The Journal Pavilion snuck in at third place, with all of its major rock shows. (NIN anyone?)