Music to Your Ears
Good for You, Albuquerque
The list kept growing. When we finished flipping through the Alibi's 2008 calendar and editorial archives, the number we were left with shocked us. From our count, local musicians released 55 albums in ’08--slightly more than one album a week. That has to be a record (excuse the pun). With so much to choose from, coming to a consensus on the 10 best Albuquerque-born albums went out the window. So it's with no ranking (other than alphabetical) that the Alibi's music critics sound off on their favorite local releases from the past year. Please buy them. You'll be guaranteed at least another year's worth of listening pleasure. (Laura Marrich)
From our count, local musicians released 55 albums in ’08--slightly more than one album a week.
The 2Bers Children of a Mortal Sun (2bers.com)
The 2Bers has the chilled-out hippie-hop thing down. Self-reflective, laid-back flows and organic beats come standard on all tracks. The 2Bers makes great use of keyboards, and the instrumental jams are some of the brightest spots on the album. There aren't any club bangers, but Children of a Mortal Sun is far from background noise. There's a grip of nuanced rhyming and carefully crafted sample integration that becomes apparent the more you listen. The 2Bers doesn't have to shout to get its point across. (SM)
Bellemah Low End Hum (Bellmont Music)
Billy Bellmont's talent for songwriting verges on legendary among the denizens of Albuquerque's music scene. Following The Bellmont and Weapons of Mass Destruction, his latest configuration includes the percussionary stylings of Noelan Ramirez and the guitar pizzazz of Dan Dinning. With superb vocal harmonies, aquatic-feeling reverberation and a quasi-Carpenters quality, what the indie trident achieves is nothing short of totally lovely. (My favorites on Low End Hum include "This Song" and "Fates Illusion.") Go see Bellemah live this year--it's even more enchanting in the flesh. (JCC)
Charmed BitterSuite 7 (two-charmed.com)
The second release from the “twisted folk” duo of Alicia Ultan (vocals, viola, guitar) and Bambi Wolf (vocals, keyboards, guitar) takes on dark issues—death, lost love, infidelity—and disarms the darkness with verbal and musical poetry, finding light behind the gloom. The new release draws on the same wide-ranging influences as the first, Beautifully Twisted—classical, Celtic, Americana, rock and more—but the bare-bones, just-the-two-of-us production of the first has been fleshed out with backing musicians as eclectic as the duo’s influences: oudist Rahim AlHaj, saxophonist Kanoa Kaluhiwa, accordionist Claire Gentry, cellist Jacqueline Ultan and more. Intensely personal, their music takes you into another zone and brings a healing release. (MM)
Eva Ave and Carlosaur Den of Drowning Rattlesnakes (myspace.com/
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Erika Wennerstrom • singer-