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Madison Pop Explosion: The 10 most influential Madison acts of the 2000s
Charlemagne's impressionistic pop-rock was noticed nationally.
Charlemagne's impressionistic pop-rock was noticed nationally.
Credit:Sharon Vanorny

Charlemagne - Carl Johns brought all the sensibilities of indie rock to Madison music, first through NoahJohn, then through Charlemagne. His impressionistic pop-rock meandered from acoustic folk to psychedelic rock, and national music websites like Pitchfork took notice.

The Youngblood Brass Band - D.H. Skogen and his Oregon High School buddies formed the ultimate musical melting pot, a brass band big on hip-hop, jazz and punk. In 2000, their Unlearn CD featured appearances from Talib Kweli, Mike Ladd and DJ Skooly.

Stromkern - The industrial hip-hop of Stromkern was one of Madison's most impressive musical exports this decade, making a splash across the Atlantic. The success of Ned Kirby and crew advanced the cause of Madison's electronic music scene.

El Guante - Spoken word artist Kyle Myhre made some of the best and most socially conscious local hip-hop of the decade, before signing to Tru Ruts records and moving to Minneapolis in 2007.

Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons - The theatrical punk of Shane O'Neil and Cynthia Burnson was high on humor, androgyny and excellent songwriting.

Pale Young Gentlemen - Their orchestral sound featured harp, violin, flute and xylophone and marked the height of Madison's decade-long flirtation with indie rock.

Awesome Car Funmaker - Ryan Corcoran's power-pop outfit was the ultimate UW campus band this decade. Of Lovers and Monsters was one of the best local releases of 2006.

Blueheels - No other local band made better Americana rock this decade. Their Lessons in Sunday Driving was my favorite CD of 2008.

The Rob Dz Experience - The raps of Rob Franklin were a staple of the club scene earlier this decade. His collaborations with DLO, DJ Pain 1 and Da Ricanstructa created a wave of local hip-hop success.

Steez - They're new and just beginning to make their mark, but Steez have already reinvented the Madison jam band for the electronic era.

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