Tone Madison’s Song Picks for 2021, pt. II – Tone Madison

We take a look back at some great record songs that weren’t in our top 20. | By Scott Gordon, Grant Phipps and Steven Spoerl

Header Image: The album art for the 15 featured versions is displayed on a 5×3 row, each spaced slightly apart from each other. All art is displayed on a light brown background.

During the last years, Tone Madison has made a top 20 albums and EPs by local artists, strived for honorable mentions, and highlighted some notable singles. This year we are doing things a little differently. To underscore the amount of great material the musicians at Madison have produced, we’re expanding and readjusting the song eligibility parameters. Each selection you see here will be from a version that made not appear in our list of the 20 best Madison records of 2021.

Even expanding to 30 caps, there were a few tracks that ended up being extremely painful to leave this list out, a testament to both the resilience and talent of Madison’s musicians. Jazz, rap, experimental music, punk, metal, folk, pop and the sharp demolitions of gender barriers are all celebrated between our choices, which will be presented in two parts.

While the past few years have been pretty tough on how music generally works, it’s hard not to feel some pride when it comes to the collective response of Madison’s musicians. As you will be able to hear throughout these selections, our local scene is very much alive, to hell with the obstacles. Help us celebrate some of our favorite tunes from 2021 by scrolling through and listening to them.

Without further ado, here’s our pick of songs that have helped define Madison’s music this year.

Cal Lamore, “Sharkskin”

Multi-instrumentalist Cal Lamore had a blistering 2021, releasing three excellent and incredibly diverse solo albums, as well as Soot’s second album. Watching Lamore’s solo release, nothing is quite as impressive as the shameless “Shark Skin”. Deer bedThe third track and the unlikely centerpiece of ‘goes from frantic, forward-looking shoegaze to melodic punk to post-hardcore to ambient noise with abandon. Unpredictable, sharp as hell and extremely precise, “Shark Skin” is as tough as its title and reveals something deadly throughout its mad rush. —Steven Spoerl

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