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The Daily

MADTRACKS

My top ten Madison songs of 2008

We have already shared my ten favorite Madison albums of 2008, perhaps the best year in the city in at least the last decade. Now, we have assembled my favorite Madison songs from each one of those albums. So sit back, relax, start from #10 and take a listen to each one. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Maybe This Christmas' by Courtney Collins and Jeremy Ylvisaker

With the overabundance of cheesy, over-the-top Christmas songs in discount bins every December, it's easy to skip over the entire genre. But then you hear a one like Courtney Collins and Jeremy Ylvisaker's cover of "Maybe This Christmas," a wonderfully understated tune by Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, and kick yourself for being such a knob. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Tropic of Capricorn' by Oedipus Tex

Most people know Eric Caldera as a Ph.D. student in the evolutionary biology program at UW-Madison or as the guitarist in the instrumental post-rock trio El Valiente, which was voted Madison's Favorite New Band of 2008. They don't know that he can likewise sing, though. In fact, Caldera started making music through his one-man singer-songwriter act Oedipus Tex before getting going with the band. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Pompeii' by The German Art Students

"Civilization preserved for centuries in volcanic rock? Sounded like a natural indie-rock topic to us," says Randy Ballwahn, drummer for The German Art Students. The song brings together many of the elements that have won the band fans -- whom they affectionately refer to as GASbags -- over the years: A catchy surf-rock hook, echoed by a distorted, Pixies-style drum-and-guitar riff, plus a few barbs aimed at burned-out punks and wishy-washy hippies. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Thinking About You' by Meteorade

Meteorade calls bands such as Weezer, Cake and the Pixies their main influences. While this isn't unusual for a band composed of 35-year-olds, Meteorade's members, all of whom are UW students, weren't even in preschool when Doolittle was released, so perhaps this fascination is somewhat unconventional. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Joie de Vivre' by Harmonious Wail

Madison is a far cry from the gypsy caravans of the Balkan peninsula, but the musical influence of the Roma people has been germinating in our town for quite some time. A major force behind this growth has been Harmonious Wail, a four-piece that's been making some of the country's best gypsy jazz -- a hybrid of conventional jazz and traditional Roma music -- for more than two decades. >More
 MadTracks -- 'Tall Girlz' by Shanghai Party Boss

There's a famous scene in Wayne's World where Wayne and Garth poke fun at the way people sometimes mishear song lyrics, in particular how "There's a bad moon on the rise" registers as "There's a bathroom on the right" in the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic "Bad Moon Rising." Those not listening closely to the chorus of "Tall Girlz" by Shanghai Party Boss may fall prey to a similar mind trick. >More
 MadTracks -- 'I Got Soul' by The Hussy

Madison rock duo The Hussy smack fans upside the head with a provocative question on its MySpace page: "Trash/Art?" More importantly, it begs the question of whether music can be both. In their case, it's the kind of art that conjures up scenes of sweaty crowds and basements smeared with beer, piss and vinegar. >More
 MadTracks -- 'The Horror' by Aporia

"The Horror" revolves around one of the most memorable lines in contemporary film: "Put the lotion in the basket," instructions serial killer Buffalo Bill utters to one of his prisoners in The Silence of the Lambs. >More
 MadTracks -- 'West Virginia' by The Oak Street Ramblers

West Virginia, the home of bluegrass music, is a long way from Wisconsin, but music fans in Madison sure have a soft spot for its lovechild of jazz, blues and traditional Scots-Irish tunes. >More
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