A look back at memorable music videos, covers, mash-ups, and more.
Now that we’ve taken a look at our favorite songs and records Madison musicians released in 2022, we’re turning our attention to the odds and ends. Not every release from a musical artist fits snugly into a categorical box, but that doesn’t mean those releases are any less of a contribution to the breadth and quality of the art people make in our city. In 2022, a heaping portion of music videos, mash-ups, covers, and other oddities were released at a steady clip, ensuring there was never much of a musical lull.
Producer Dro Cup—also known as Al D of Supa Friends—kicked the year off with a bang, releasing the first of five mash-up mixtapes on January 1 with Kendrix (a mash-up of Jimi Hendrix and Kendrick Lamar). February’s Wu Jack Swing (Wu-Tang Clan in the style of new jack swing), March’s Flower Gum (Black Moth Super Rainbow and Tyler, The Creator), April’s Merriweather Marauders (A Tribe Called Quest and Animal Collective), and May’s Earlephant 6 (Earl Sweatshirt and various bands connected to the Elephant 6 collective) followed, each standing as an able demonstration of Dro Cup’s intuition as both a curator and producer. Another local producer, Chants, took a different path, releasing a sample pack of breakbeats via Bandcamp and inaugurating his Limited Resources Label with the LRL001 EP.
Graham Hunt got incredibly busy on the visual front, releasing a trio of lo-fi-friendly music videos for “Atwood,” “Speeding Towards A Wall,” and “Stripes,” from his recent album, If You Knew Would You Believe It. Histo launched an entire music video series to accompany their most recent album, JGDC. James D. Gavins released a powerful, multifaceted short film in Cicada. We liked Michael Darling’s “Spark” video enough to grant it a premiere, and the following music videos enough to feature them in some capacity: Jane Hobson’s “If You Ask,” Godly The Ruler’s “Midwest,” Cribshitter’s “Sausalito Sunset,” Free Dirt’s “Knock Me On The Head,” a pair of videos from Jason Hartman’s two new solo projects, and a pair of videos from Appleton-based Julia Blair, who has played more than enough shows in Madison to earn a mention on this list.
Blair wasn’t the only outside-city-limits musician with Madison connections to release some great videos, either. Zola Jesus, Oak You, and Monica Martin all continued to make strong impressions with their work. New York-based composers Peter Cocoma and Ryan Dann each found different routes to honorably depict their connections to Wisconsin as well, creating an unlikely bridge between the two states with their respective work.
There were a handful of visual releases from Madison-based artists we didn’t wind up featuring, either because we missed them or simply did not have the capacity to grant them as much coverage as we would have liked. But they were excellent nonetheless. Mickey Sunshine, LINE, Jason Vargas & The Apollos, Clocks In Motion, Carrallee, and Kainalu were among those who got in on the action. Kat And The Hurricane released a beautiful video for an equally beautiful cover of Rihanna’s “Stay,” which was one of several covers or tributes to stand out in 2022.
Speaking of covers, Them Grant Charles Boys released a whole slew of ’em on their self-titled album, which featured absorbing reworkings of ’90s pop-country numbers. Daughters of St. Crispin made time to honor the late, great Mimi Parker with a moving cover of Low’s version of “Blue Christmas” while John McNeill’s Orphaned Pennies released two tracks that he described as “a meditation” on Parker’s influence in an email to Tone Madison.
Finally, there were the compilations. While less abundant than previous years, two still commanded our attention. First came The Fit Pit Split, which consisted of several artists covering Baby Tyler‘s “This Fit” and “This Pit,” in a surprising but well-deserved tribute. Then, in one that meant a lot to us personally, was Tone Madison‘s own fundraising compilation, To Grow A Garden. 44 tracks from artists who have been connected to Tone Madison made up To Grow A Garden, which helped us direct $900 (and counting) towards keeping our proverbial lights on as we continue to grow our operation. We remain grateful to everyone who contributed their talent, finances, or general interest.
In all, 2022 felt like a year of revitalization for many of Madison’s artists. A disparate slate of releases and formats reflected that sense of reinvigoration. If last year winds up being a harbinger for an even more versatile 2023, then we’ll welcome the art of the next 12 months with open ears, eyes, and arms. Either way, it’ll be nice to have all of 2022’s formidable releases to keep us company as we go forward into the unknown.