Anybody who spends time checking out the local music scene knows that the town has always featured the best of the best—players and bands in this town are known for their prowess and musicality, even far from our town’s ostensible borders. From legendary personalities like Al Hurricane and Gordy Andersen to bands like Strawberry Zots, The Drags and The Ant Farmers, Burque’s been great at birthing and nourishing the greats. This year our readers contributed to that historical conversation, naming the names that shape our musical experience, forming the future as they continue to look out for outstanding artists and performances.
Best Band of All Time
Tylor Brandon Band
Tylor Brandon and his band are busy building a brand. Their back-to-classics approach to the sawhorse known as country-Western music, inflected with incisive playing and a natural flair that comes from knowing the genre head-to-tail has been turning heads here in Duke City, N.M. Brandon’s resonant voice and acoustic guitar-handling, combined with the saturated strings of players like Joshua Lee (lead guitar and mandolin), Emily Anslover (Fiddle) and a rhythm section comprised of bassist Jeff Wilson and drummer Kyle Matthews got the whole dang band voted best of all time this time around.
2) The Despots
3) Moonshine Blind
Best Band of 2017
courtesy of Reverb Nation
In a year of Despots, The Despots are king. Featuring a sometimes shirtless (hubba-hubba) Eddie Brewer on vocals and piano, Danny Pohl on lead guitar, Zachary Luten on rhythm guitar and a rhythm section that features Armando Valenzuela on stand up bass (what did you expect, it’s rockabilly, viejos!) and Mark Manspeaker on sticks, The Despots are part of the latest, greatest generation of kustom kulture kids to take up the work of rockin’ dudes like Gene Vincent and Brian Setzer. Alibi readers said they were the best band they came across in 2017.
2)Tylor Brandon Band
3) The Riddims
Best Musician of 2017
courtesy of the artist
Brewer’s a long-time, many-project member of the local music scene. His former engagements as a lounge singer not withstanding, the fella sure can rock. His new band, The Despots, took top honors this year at Alibi music headquarters and it’s no wonder why. Even when he doesn’t take his shirt off at gigs, his power and scope as a musician is evident. Brewer can tinkle out tunes as well as he can deliver blistering rocanrol. That’s no mean feat in this town and it earned him the top slot in the Best Musician category, too.
2) Emily Anslover
3) Kyle Martin
Best Performance of 2017
If you’ve been lucky enough to see The Depots in concert, you know what I mean when I say they gave the best live performance this past year. Check out this winner of multiple BOBM categories when they blast into space at Moonlight Lounge at our annual celebratory fest. Rave on, dudes, rave on.
2) Moonshine Blind
3) Kyle Martin
Best Stage Presence/Live Act
Here they are again for your consideration, Alibi readers. The Despots are all over the charts this time and now they have the honor of also being voted as number one in the area of Best Stage Presence. No doubt it has to do with the shirt thing. … Um, I mean the keyboard thing. Nix that, I mean the whole band rocks, period.
2) Tylor Brandon Band
3) Kyle Martin
Best Band We Wish Was Still Together
Leeches of Lore
Every damn rocker in Albuquerque wishes to hell and back that the Leeches of Lore was still together. But we get it. They’re the stuff of legend, after all. And reports indicate that Leeches mastermind Steve Hammond is quite happy in his new life as a Midwestern rock god. His new project, Ice Queen is the shit, you know. As for the rest of this hearty crew of killer musicians and really cool human beings (Andy Lutz, Noah Wolters and Kris Kerby): They’re still out there waiting to tear through the scene again, plotting, furiously and famously. Just give ’em a chance to survey their lofty realm, why don’t ya?
2) Icky and the Yuks
Band Most Deserving of a Major Record Deal
Moonshine Blind oughta get a record deal. Their dead-on, serious but subtly syncopated take on deriviatives of American hillbilly music is both wondrous and frightening, just like the first time you got drunk on hard liquor. With the likes of Dylan O’Connor, Jay Bernstein, Dustin Brown, Skyler Loving and Greg Dupy at the helm and steering, listeners will be treated to tunes both baleful and bouncy, profound and profane. Come on SubPop A and R dudes, I know you’re reading this!