Best Santa Fe Albums of 2012

Editor | - January 4, 2013, Hutton Broadcasting and our readers pick the best local recordings of the year

For many Santa Fe musicians, producing an album is no small feat. There are the initial steps of composing the music, tightening up the musicians, booking studio time and often investing in the right home-studio recording equipment.

Then there are the seemingly endless hours recording the songs: tracking, overdubbing, self-editing, in-fighting, firing the drummer, scrapping the drum tracks, finding a new drummer, recording the new drum tracks and the always-painful process of capturing solid vocal takes.

Now the songs are recorded. Congratulations, musicians, your album is less than halfway done. It’s time to mix and master, enlist a photographer, artist and designer for your album art and worry about who you accidentally left off the “Thank You” credits. Then it’s time to send the album out for production, schedule release parties, get the records into the hands of local radio stations and media, plan the tour and figure out how you’re going to cover all the debt you’ve accrued.

Yet, based off of the high quality of albums that came across the desk this year, it seems that finely-crafted and locally produced albums continue to be one of the top assets of Santa Fe’s music scene.

In trying to determine the top albums of 2012, the editorial team listened to some 50 productions and polled the on-air staff of KBAC 98.1, Blu 102.9, Outlaw Country 107.5 and Project 101.5. We also asked the community to vote for their top picks and they flocked to the contest page in the thousands. We hope readers will view the following list as less of a contest outcome and more of a tribute to all of the local artists who continue to make Santa Fe proud with sounds that are diverse, innovative, eclectic and truly a labor of love. (Oh yeah, and click on any of the images below to learn more about the artists and their music.)

- Treemotel "Girls"

"Treemotel’s second release of 2012, 'Girls', would easily have topped the charts on any eighties college radio station. From Mark Williams' clear and snuggle-worthy vocals gliding over the top of the murky composition of 'Lillian’s Jetset' to the punk-inspired thrumming of 'Lorretta’s Experimental Stargun,' it’s an infectious, sweet, fun and utterly listenable album." - Michelle Laflamme-Childs, Blu 102.9

- Elise Southwick "Roam"

"Ethereal and luminous, Elise Southwick's Roam floats through a pastel soundscape rich with nectar-sweet vocals, migratory melodies and European imagery. These seven finely crafted tracks, enlivened with a touch of banjo, trumpet or saw (yes, saw) here and there, reveal a musical maturity that belies Southwick's young age." - April Reese, KBAC Radio Free Santa Fe

- As In We "As It Should Be"

"As In We makes a holy racket and thank goodness they finally got this sound down in a studio. Breaking all creative boundaries let alone breaking through the walls of their recording studio" - Ira Gordon, KBAC Radio Free Santa Fe

- Simon Balkey and the Honky Tonk Crew "Shot of Life & Then Some"

"I have witnessed first-hand the incredibly loyal fans who keep tabs on Simon Balkey and the Honky-Tonk Crew. It's our pleasure to add this New Mexico act to the Outlaw mix, because this album sounds great. We've played 4 or 5 songs from it so far, and the requests just keep coming." - Uncle Jesse, 107.5 Outlaw Country

- .mi. "Musicman"

"You might best know Ben Wright as one third of the electronic dance group D Numbers or as the guitar flatpicking phenom in a local brewery, but this jack-of-all-trades has unearthed new levels of musical creativity with his newest side project, .mi.’s “Musicman.” Combining his musical prowess on both the computer and live instruments, Wright creates introspective, yet danceable, irreverent, yet approachable, electronic music." - Todd Eric Lovato,

Honorable Mentions

- Pitch & Bark "Nowhere Near Ohio"

- Todd and the Fox "Todd and the Fox"

- Liv Lombardi "Self-Medicate"

- Alex Maryol "Six"

- Man No Sober "Man No Sober"

- GoGoSnapRadio "The Spaces in Between"

- John Courage and the Great Plains "Don't Fail Me Now"

- Jeremy Bleich & Sarah Jane Moody "Emma Goldman: A Rock Opera Album"

- Treemotel/"Tabloid Girl's Future Feature Film Debut in Space"

Other Releases

- Perfect StrangeR "I'm Livin' It Up"

- Thieves and Gypsys "Moviola"

- Guy Grogan "Songs Unseen"

- Cathy Faber's Swingin' Country Band "Lights of Santa Fe"

This list and contest is by no means comprehensive. We hope you'll help us create a more complete list of the local album releases of 2012. Let us know what albums we left out, below.

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