Earlier this month I offered my picks for the top 10 Madison albums of 2009. My favorite local tunes of the year are all from those albums (that's why I dug them). Check out the related downloads section at right and listen to my countdown of the top 10 Madison songs of 2009.
Musical countdowns -- I've always been a sucker for 'em. I did the Casey thing as a kid and still tune in to hear the Saturday indie and modern rock charts on satellite radio. So why shouldn't Madison share the countdown joy? Yes, there was a lot more good local music made in the past 12 months than you'll hear here. But this is, in my opinion, the best.
I used to love making year-end cassette mix tapes. But no one wants those anymore. So this is the next best thing, ten songs that are totally Madison.
At number 10, Sun Dried Truth give us an old-fashioned radio-friendly rock hit with "Underdog." This Madison band is a collaboration of American Hi-Fi drummer Brian Nolan and Bellini's restaurant co-owner, Pete Gargano.
At number 9, L.O.S.T S.O.U.L.S rap nostalgic about the heyday of hip-hop ("Back in the Day"). Bane and Tefman are Madison West High school graduates who have been making music together for a decade.
At number 8, El Valiente samples the intensity of their instrumental guitar jams ("Daceton"). When not rocking out, lead guitarist Eric Caldera studies ants and evolution at UW-Madison.
At number 7, Cougar is intent to "Stay Famous." This is another instrumental rock track from a group that includes members of the Youngblood Brass Band, one of the most influential Madison bands of the past decade.
At number 6, His & Her Vanities catch an indie pop vibe with "Hits Like Hail." This just might have been the catchiest local song of the year.
At number 5, dumate reflects on social "Evolution." The track is a reminder of a 2009 milestone the inauguration of Barack Obama.
At number 4, Steez offers up a large and luxurious electronic rock jam on "Wrappin' It Up." Steez turned the rising tide of national synth-rock into a local phenomenom this year.
At number 3, Zola Jesus gets industrial and emotional with "Odessa." Zola Jesus is Nika Roza Danilova, the Madison musician currently most on the verge of national success.
At number 2, Icarus Himself is whimsical and dreamy with the indie rock reflection "Coffins." There's no other way to say it I love this song!
At number 1, Flight (formerly Flatbear) reveal our song of the year. "Rattled" is spacious indie rock and four minutes of gorgeous sonic tension, with Jentri Colello sounding every bit as smooth as Natalie Merchant.