It Was A Very Good Year: MJ’s Favorites, Er, Interesting Indie Smattering of 2010

MJ Hecox

MJ Hecox is the Official Conductress of Communications over here at True Endeavors.  She also makes a mean Turkish coffee, and will share the recipe if you ask nicely.

Read on to find out what MJ found sonically interesting in 2010, and grab a ton of free MP3s while you are at it:

Each morning the flood of press releases seep through my in-box as I peruse the news for interesting tidbits about artists coming to town.  Inevitably a few new tunes, from artists not on-tour through Madison, sneak by my ears.  Especially enjoyable are the unexpected offerings from a newly-rising musician with a stellar release, or a currently known band experimenting with a boundary-pushing side project.

By the end of an entire year the pile of gems shines substantially, and frankly, there are too many great pieces of music out there to label any small handful “the best”.

Instead, I’ve picked out a few singles for which I have publicist permission to offer to you, our readers, for download.  In contrast to the usual posts, these artists did not tour through Madison this year.  Rather, what follows is a smattering of work from some lesser known indie artists in 2010. Cheers and happy New Year’s Eve music friends and fans.


Hot Sugar

Electronic Producer Nick Koenig, A.K.A. Hot Sugar, teamed up with sound corroborator extraordinaire Aaron Livingston (on vocals) for this track off of the winter released album of the same title, “Color Wars”.

MP3 Download: Hot Sugar + Aaron Livingston, Color Wars


The Concretes compel me to drink a cup of coffee in a night club; mellow and soothing, but with a backbeat that whispers “dance”.

MP3 Download: The Concretes,  All Day


Marnie Stern

Guitar goddess Marnie Stern decided to join the record-making game this year, and then proceeded to blow the rest of us away.

MP3 Download: Marnie Stern, For Ash


Antony & the Johnsons

Antony of Antony and the Johnsons’ carried his hauntingly expressive melodic crooning through to the gorgeous 2010 “Swanlights” album release.

MP3 Download: Antony and the Johnsons, The Spirit Was Gone


Although St. Vincent released the album “Actor” in May of 2009, her video for “Laughing With a Mouthful Of Blood” premiered just after the new year.  The feminist bookstore spin and SNL cast makes this a can’t-miss for Madisonians.



Bonjay, the genre-bending electronic Ottowatan duo, layer textures of technological sound with smoothly delivered vocals.

MP3 Download: Bonjay, Stumble


The Morning Pages

Popular song re-makes run up and down the quality gamut, but this Americana turn of the century take on Lady Gaga’s Telephone was too hard to pass by.

MP3 Download: The Morning Pages, Telephone (Lady Gaga Cover)


With a penchant for whimsy, Juliette Commagere weaves introspective story-telling with sweet melodies and playful instrumentation.

MP3 Download: Juliette Commagere, Impact



Deluka’s aggressive breathy pop-rock-punk-disco album “You Are The Night” dares you not to move some body part to the beat: “I want you with me when I misbehave…”

MP3 Download: Deluka, Nevada


The categorically enigmatic Darwin Deez continued to up his zany yet adorable video antics for the kid in all of us.

-MJ Hecox


3 Responses

  1. so glad you posted this…was hoping you would. very nicely done, and a most excellent cap to our end-of-year reflection/celebration.

  2. that St Vincent vid is great… hadn’t seen that before.. LOVE that song.

    • St. Vincent wins for all-around originality in general! Thanks for commenting Jeremiah, it’s always interesting to hear the perspectives of musicians. I didn’t realize you had a blog, cool combination of music and visual imagery!

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