Bradley's Almanac

2009: My Favorite (Boston-made) Music

Posted on March 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm | No Comments

As I mentioned in my list of favorite full-lengths released last year, there were so many that came from bands based here in the Boston-area that I thought I’d spotlight them in their very own post. To be completely clear, though: This is far from some lesser-category of local releases, but a list of 10 albums that sit proudly alongside my other favorite 20 – the fact that they originate from Boston would be entirely irrelevant if it didn’t give me some major hometown pride. And allow me to see these bands play live a lot more than most of you.

And yes, I do realize it’s March already, and far too late for such a list. I am shamed. Better late than never, right?

So here they are, in alphabetical order, my favorite albums of 2009 that just happened to be created by Boston-area bands, along with a few shorter local releases that made my year better. I’ve included a free n’ legal MP3 with each (all gathered in a .zip file at the bottom), and have linked the label names to where you can buy the full-lengths, in the event you’re compelled to give these talented souls some cash (hint: you are).


Arms and Sleepers“Matador”
(on Fake Chapter Records)

My favorite ambient album of ’09, from a Boston/Portland duo that’s been around for awhile and finally made it onto my radar with this album’s release in November. Collaborators abound on “Matador”, including this gorgeous duet with Catherine Worsham of Uzi & Ari, which also features a bit of guitar work from Mona Elliott of Travels

[MP3] Arms and Sleepers – “The Architekt



The Beatings“Late Season Kids”
(on Midriff Records)

I wrote a bit about the triumph of persistence that is The Beatings’ sixth album right here, and it still rings true. In case you missed it, be sure to freely download the entire (and entirely excellent) Midriff Records 2009 Sampler on which this song also resides…

[MP3] The Beatings – “All Things You’ve Been Missing



Caspian“Tertia”
(on The Myelene Sheath)

My inclusion of Beverly’s Caspian on this list should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading the ‘Nac for awhile. They continue to grow, stretching the bounds of instrumental post-rock, writing songs that may shine on record, but are near-blinding in a live setting. I love that their label – The Mylene Sheath – treats us to limited edition, hi-quality Caspian vinyl, and that they’ll also be putting out deluxe CD reissues of the bands’ previous work in a couple weeks. Go here for details and pre-order action.

[MP3] Caspian – “Of Foam and Wave



The Channels“Cold Comfort”
(self-released)

This album took me by surprise, only because I came upon it in a most unusual and unassuming way – it was handed to me by my temporary bandmate, guitarist/singer/cartoonist Rob Sergel, on the night of our first and only show together (so far?) as the Marvelous Marbles. I had no idea what to expect when I popped it into my computer a couple weeks later – but within a couple listens I considered myself very, very lucky. Rob and his friend Ben have crafted a bedroom pop gem, somber in subject, uplifting in execution, and waiting to be discovered by a whole hell of a lot more like-minded listeners.

Y’know, as much fun as I had playing with my MM bandmates, I wouldn’t have predicted I’d walk away from the experience holding onto one of my favorite albums of the year. I’ve shared one track with Rob’s permission below, but you can stream the entirety of “Cold Comfort” right here.

[MP3] The Channels – “Don’t Come Over



Hallelujah the Hills“Colonial Drones”
(on Misra Records)

Hallelujah the Hills’ second album damn well delivered on the promise made by their first, proving yet again that literate songs need not be boring – hell, they can be downright catchy. They’ve found the perfect studio balance, layering dense, detailed instrumentation in a blanket of warm production that sounds like no one else – you hear an HtH song and you know it’s them. Here’s one to make you dance

[MP3] Hallelujah the Hills – “Blank Passports



Mean Creek

“The Sky (Or The Underground)”
(on Old Flame Records)

When I first heard this, Mean Creek’s second album, I knew I liked it quite a bit, but that I’d need to spend more time discovering just how much. Before that happened, I caught the band downstairs at the Middle East as part of the Mark Sandman Memorial Concert, and was frankly flat-out blown away. That live performance, the power of it, the perfect sound mix and harmonies of that afternoon set… well, it brought even greater life to the studio versions and elevated the songs in my ears. I’m generally not a fan of music-related awards contests and such, but this is one I can get behind.

[MP3] Mean Creek – “The Sky (Or The Underground)



The Novel Ideas“The Sky Is A Field”
(self-released)

I said it back in December, and I’ll say it again: Songs that make me swoon. Their introductory email hit my inbox just when I needed it most, in October, when various life-related dominoes started falling around me, and this album helped keep my head up. Still does. Stream the whole thing here.

[MP3] The Novel Ideas – “The Sky

I’m also compelled to mention that Novel Ideas’ member Alex Caplow has released a pretty stunning new album titled “Real Life Color” under the name Magic Man. The songs, co-written and recorded with his old friend Sam Lee (of The Tumbled Sea), came together while the two were working together on organic farms last summer in France. More than worth a free download right here. I’ll be spending a lot more time with this one as winter becomes spring.



Pants Yell!“Received Pronunciation”
(on Slumberland Records)

The simple fact is that “Not Wrong“, the next-to-last track on “Received Pronunciation”, is hands down my favorite song of 2009. And without the ‘Boston’ qualifier, either. I don’t like to settle on absolute faves, because my mood changes too much for me to be sure of such things, but over and over again I come back to this simple, understated, perfect little gem that gets me every single time. And it sits on this album among so many other pop treasures, showing that these three guys can craft songs that add up to so much more than the sum of their parts.

[MP3] Pants Yell! – “Cold Hands



Taxpayer“Don’t Steal My Night Vision”
(on Lunch Records)

A bona fide rock record, refreshingly self-assured without being at-all cheezy. There are far too many bands in this town who cross that line, who are all cocky showmanship but no substance – who have the swagger but not the songs. Taxpayer ain’t one of those bands. There are also a ton of bands here who have some good music, but settle for a mediocre vocalist because he plays guitar and writes the songs. Well, Taxpayer ain’t that either, thanks to singer/guitarist Jared Marsh, who has the confidence and the range to handle what’s going on behind him. Like Mean Creek, these guys deserved all the accolades thrown their way in ’09.

[MP3] Taxpayer – “We Have Arrived



You Can Be A Wesley“Heard Like Us”
(self-released)

I’ve professed my love for the Wesleys many times before, and their debut full-lengther was pretty much guaranteed a spot on my yearly faves list from the get go. Can’t wait to see what’s up their sleeves for a follow-up.

[MP3] You Can Be A Wesley – “Creatures

Before I put a period on the end of my musical 2009, here are a few other local non-long-players that occupied my ears last year, and a couple that came out last year but I’ve only recently started digging…

  • I really dug the Christians & Lions “Bird’s Milk” EP, which you can download for free (and under a Creative Commons license) at the bottom of this page. Here’s the title track…

  • I fell quickly for Girlfriends after hearing the five songs from their debut cassette EP, and fell even further after I saw them play Great Scott in January. They are, in fact, the real deal. And they happen to share a member (and label) with Christians & Lions. Which I didn’t realize until after I got into both bands independently. Seems Ben Potrykus has my number. Go listen.
  • I sang the praises of Dylan In The Movies in that December fave songs post, and I can’t resist an opportunity to do so again. The long-in-the-making next album is now titled “Josephine If You Only Knew“, named for what is now the title track, and it’ll be out on American Laundromat this year. Given how much I love this song, how much I played it last year, and how great the new stuff they played on last week’s KEXP studio session was (seriously, go listen), my anticipation has reached new heights. Added bonus: One of the songs on the album features backing vocals from the Watson Twins and the track “Girl With the Black Tights” was co-written with Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses, Breeders, + Belly, of course). Download the “Josephine” single here, and keep an eye on the American Laundromat site for updates on the album’s eventual release.
  • Age Rings are dead; long live Hot Protestants. With a lineup shift, the new name emerged last summer when the band played their first show at Great Scott and offered up an excellent 4-song EP. A second 4-song blast quickly followed in October, and you can download both (naming your own price) right here. Full length on the way? Here’s hoping. Here’s the first track from that first EP…

  • As promised, here’s a .zip file with all the songs linked above.

    For your further edification (assuming you haven’t had enough reading), have a look at the Metro’s look back at local music in 2009, with contributions from writers Linda Laban, Luke O’Neil, Selene Angier, Pat Healy, G. Valentino Ball, and Nolan Gawron. Globe writer Jonathan Perry shared his own list of ’09 local faves on January 1st. Yes, the man’s punctuality (not to mention his writing) puts me to shame. Next year I’ll do better. Well, unless I don’t.

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  • Handy links

  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION
    Tuesday, June 28th
    Juliana Hatfield
    @ the Burren

    Thursday, June 30th
    The Besnard Lakes
    @ O'Brien's

    Saturday, July 2nd
    Steely Dan
    The Doobie Brothers
    Aimee Mann
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Tuesday, July 5th
    Curtail
    @ Faces Brewing, Malden

    Wednesday, July 6th
    Karate
    Helms
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, July 7th
    Karate
    Martha's Vineyard Ferries
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, July 8th
    Town Meeting
    Air Traffic Controller
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Friday, July 8th
    Camp Cope
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, July 9th
    RUMSTOCK!
    with Muck & the Mires,
    The Shang Hi Los,
    The Gypsy Moths,
    & the Dogmatics
    6pm @ ONCE @ Boynton Yards

    Saturday, July 9th
    Kid Gulliver
    @ the Jungle

    Saturday, July 9th
    Will Dailey
    @ City Winery Boston

    Sunday, July 10th
    Brian Wilson
    Chicago
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Tuesday, July 12th
    The Psychedelic Furs
    X
    @ House of Blues

    Friday, July 15th
    Bikini Kill
    Alice Bag
    @ the Wang

    Saturday, July 16th
    Circle Jerks
    7SECONDS
    Negative Approach
    @ the House of Blues

    Sunday, July 17th
    Ex-Hyena (LP release!)
    Blood Handsome
    Secret Mutilator
    Adi Sun
    DJ Dan-E-Pants
    @ State Park

    Wednesday, July 20th
    Emma Swift
    @ Atwood's

    Thursday, July 21st
    Elf Power
    E.R. Jurken
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, July 22nd
    Beach House
    Mary Lattimore
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, July 23rd
    Valleyheart (album release)
    A Will Away
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Saturday, July 23rd
    The Cult
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
    Zola Jesus
    @ the Pavilion

    Saturday, July 23rd
    Warpaint
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, July 26th
    Haunted Summer
    @ O'Brien's

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    July 26th & 27th
    Mitski
    The Weather Station
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, July 27th
    Tim Heidecker
    @ the Wilbur

    Wednesday, July 27th
    Elton John
    @ Gillette Stadium

    Wednesday, July 27th
    Nada Surf
    @ the Beachcomber

    Thursday, July 28th
    Christian Lee Hutson
    Another Michael
    @ Cafe 939

    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    July 28th, 29th, & 30th
    NICE, a fest
    with Speedy Ortiz, Future Teens,
    Colleen Green, House of Harm,
    Lady Pills, Hallelujah The Hills,
    Bat House, Maneka, shallow pools,
    and many, many more
    @ the Rockwell & Crystal Ballroom
    in Davis Square, Somerville

    Friday, July 29th
    The Black Keys
    Band of Horses
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Saturday, July 30th
    Aaron & the Lord
    @ Atwood's

    Saturday, July 30th
    The Figgs
    @ the Beachcomber, Wellfleet

    Saturday & Sunday
    July 30th & 31st
    Hop Along
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, July 31st
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ Hale Farm, Beverly

    Tuesday, August 2nd
    Norah Jones
    Regina Spektor
    @ the Pavilion

    Wednesday, August 3rd
    Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, August 3rd
    Fleet Foxes
    @ the Pavilion

    Thursday, August 4th
    Chvrches
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, August 5th
    Rip Room
    Lupo Citta
    Adult Learners
    Random Ideas
    @ the Jungle

    Saturday, August 6th
    mewithoutyou
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, August 6th
    The Loyal Seas
    (Tanya Donelly &
    Brian Sullivan)
    @ City Winery Boston

    Saturday, August 6th
    Tugboat Annie
    Drew O'Doherty
    @ the Lilypad

    Sunday, August 7th
    Horsegirl
    Dummy
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, August 7th
    Lost 80's Live
    with Flock of Seagulls,
    Missing Persons, Naked Eyes,
    Stacey Q, Tommy Tutone, and
    Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow
    @ the Indian Ranch
    in Webster, MA

    Thursday, August 11th
    Will Butler
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, August 12th
    Rise Against
    The Used
    Senses Fail
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, August 13th
    Joyce Manor
    Citizen
    Prince Daddy & the Hyena
    PHONY
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, August 13th
    Here and There Festival
    with Courtney Barnett,
    Lucy Dacus, Men I Trust
    Faye Webster, The Beths
    Bartees Strange, & Hana Vu
    @ Mass MoCA

    Sunday, August 14th
    Blondie
    The Damned
    @ the Pavilion

    Monday, August 15th
    Elvis Costello & the Imposters
    Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets
    @ the Pavilion

    Monday, August 15th
    Franz Ferdinand
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday, August 16th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    @ Some Bank Pavilion

    Tuesday, August 16th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    Playing Joy Division's
    "Closer" & "Unknown Pleasures"
    @ the Paradise
    Wednesday, August 17th
    Puppy Problems
    @ O'Brien's

    Wednesday, August 17th
    Bonnie "Prince" Billy
    Footings
    Charlie Chronopoulos
    @ Mill No. 5 in Lowell

    Thursday, August 18th
    Horse Jumper of Love
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, August 18th
    Sharon Van Etten
    Julien Baker
    Angel Olsen
    Spencer
    @ the Pavilion

    Saturday, August 20th
    Richard Mirsky (record release!)
    Kid Gulliver
    Chris Brokaw
    @ the Cantab Lounge

    Saturday, August 20th
    Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
    Damon & Naomi
    @ the Brattle

    Saturday, August 20th
    In Between Days Festival
    with Manchester Orchestra
    Hippo Campus, Tennis,
    The Blue Stones, Kevin Devine,
    Sidney Gish, Blac Rabbit, & Catbite
    @ Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy

    Sunday, August 21st
    The Decemberists
    Brigid Mae Power
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, August 22nd
    Comedy Bang! Bang!
    with Scott Aukerman,
    Paul F Tompkins, & more
    @ the Chevalier

    Monday, August 22nd
    Los Campesinos!
    Proper
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, August 24th
    The Fixx
    @ the Wilbur

    Friday, August 26th
    Korn
    Evanescence
    @ Xfinity Center

    Friday, August 26th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, August 27th
    The Shins
    (playing "Oh, Inverted World")
    & Joseph
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, August 27th
    Aoife O'Donovan
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ Lowell Summer Music Series
    @ Boarding House Park

    Saturday, August 27th
    Glacier
    @ ONCE @ Boynton Yards

    Saturday, August 27th
    Local Natives
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, August 31st
    Built to Spill
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, September 2nd
    The Mountain Goats
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, September 3rd
    Boris
    Nothing
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, September 4th
    The Ocean Blue
    @ City Winery

    Wednesday, September 7th
    Neko Case
    Sean Rowe
    @ Emerson Colonial Theatre

    Saturday, September 10th
    She & Him
    (Brian Wilson tribute)
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, September 10th
    Crowded House
    @ the Wang

    Saturday, September 10th
    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    St. Vincent
    Thundercat
    @ Fenway Park

    Monday, September 12th
    Courtney Barnett
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Monday, September 12th
    Ghost
    Mastodon
    Spiritbox
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, September 13th
    Phoenix
    Porches
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, September 13th
    Bauhaus
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Tuesday, September 14th
    Porcupine Tree
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Tuesday, September 14th
    Arlo Parks
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, September 15th
    Clutch
    Quicksand
    Helmet
    JD Pinkus
    @ House of Blues

    Thursday & Friday
    September 15th & 16th
    They Might Be Giants
    'Flood' 30th anniversary
    @ the Royale

    Thursday & Friday
    September 15th & 16th
    Vundabar
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, September 17th
    The Afghan Whigs
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, September 17th
    Roxy Music
    @ the Garden

    Saturday, September 17th
    Idles
    Injury Reserve
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, September 18th
    The Dream Syndicate
    40th Anniversary Tour
    playing "The Days of Wine & Roses"
    & more @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Saturday, September 18th
    Julia Jacklin
    Kara Jackson
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, September 18th
    Heaven 17
    @ City Winery

    Monday, September 19th
    Echo & the Bunnymen
    @ the House of Blues

    Monday, September 19th
    Girlpool
    @ the Paradise

    Monday, September 19th
    Southern Culture on the Skids
    @ the Middle East

    Monday, September 19th
    New Order
    Pet Shop Boys
    @ Some Bank Pavilion

    Tuesday, September 20th
    Sports Team
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Tuesday, September 20th
    Spiritualized
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, September 21st
    Echo & the Bunnymen
    @ the House of Blues

    Wednesday, September 21st
    OSEES
    Bronze
    @ the Royale

    Thursday, September 22nd
    The National
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, September 23rd
    Soulside
    Verbal Assault
    Bed Maker
    Wrong War
    @ ONCE @ the Armory

    Saturday, September 24th
    The Get Up Kids
    play "Four Minute Mile"
    & Sparta
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, September 24th
    Supersuckers
    @ the Middle East

    Sunday, September 25th
    Come
    Home Despot
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Sunday, September 25th
    Amyl and the Sniffers
    @ Big Night Live

    Monday, September 26th
    Carly Rae Jepsen
    Empress Of
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, September 28th
    Pavement
    The Goon Sax
    @ the Wang

    Thursday, September 29th
    Japanese Breakfast
    Yo La Tengo
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, September 30th
    The B-52s (farewell tour)
    KC & the Sunshine Band
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Saturday, October 1st
    The Mars Volta
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Saturday, October 1st
    Kid Gulliver
    @ the Jungle

    Saturday, October 1st
    Death Cab For Cutie
    Low
    @ Some Bank Pavilion

    Sunday, October 2nd
    Cigarettes After Sex
    @ the House of Blues

    Monday, October 3rd
    Sunny Day Real Estate
    The Appleseed Cast
    @ the House of Blues

    Monday, October 3rd
    The Killers
    Johnny Marr
    @ the Garden

    Tuesday, October 4th
    Stereolab
    Deradoorian
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, October 4th
    The Gaslight Anthem
    Jeff Rosenstock
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Thursday, October 6th
    Fontaines D.C.
    @ the House of Blues

    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    October 7th, 8th, & 9th
    "As Summer Into Autumn Slips" 3 days of music featuring...
    Day 1: Surprise Me Mr. Davis,
    Marco Benevento Trio, & William Tyler
    Day 2: The Slip, WOLF! (featuring
    Scott Metzger), & William Tyler
    Day 3: The Slip, Club d'Elf,
    & William Tyler
    @ Soundcheck Studios, Pembroke

    Saturday, October 8th
    Billy Bragg
    Alice Phoebe Lou
    @ the Wilbur

    Sunday, October 9th
    L7
    30th Anniversary of
    "Bricks Are Heavy" tour
    @ Big Night Live

    Tuesday, October 11th
    Gorillaz
    EarthGang
    @ TD Garden

    Friday, October 14th
    The Black Angels
    The Vacant Lots
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, October 16th
    Smashing Pumpkins
    Janes Addiction
    Poppy
    @ the Garden

    Monday, October 17th
    House of Love
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, October 20th
    June of 44
    @ the Middle East Down

    Saturday, October 22nd
    Slothrust
    Weakened Friends
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, October 23rd
    Illuminati Hotties
    Enumclaw
    Olivia Barton
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, October 24th
    Kevin Morby
    Coco
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, October 25th
    Metric
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 25th & 26th
    Calexico
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, October 30th
    Pile
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, October 30th
    Kurt Vile & the Violators
    Come
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, November 2nd
    Two Door Cinema Club
    Day Wave
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, November 5th
    Let's Eat Grandma
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, November 6th
    Soccer Mommy
    Lightning Bug
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, November 8th
    Russian Circles
    Rezn
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 8th
    Arcade Fire
    Beck
    @ MGM Fenway Music Hall

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    November 8th & 9th
    Alex G
    Hatchie
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 9th
    Field Medic
    Sadurn
    @ Cafe 939

    Monday, November 14th
    Bartees Strange
    Pom Pom Squad
    Spring Silver
    No They Hate Change
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 15th
    The Menzingers
    play "On The Impossible Past"
    Touché Amoré
    Screaming Females
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 16th
    The Smile
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, November 16th
    The Chills
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, November 18th
    Alvvays
    Slow Pulp
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, November 19th
    Turnstile
    Snail Mail
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, November 21st
    Preoccupations
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, November 30th
    Mclusky
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, December 9th
    Patrick Watson
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, December 17th
    Foals
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, April 16th, 2023
    Dead Can Dance
    @ the Wang