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

  • The Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Live Show Action

    Tuesday, September 28th
    Quicksand
    Black Beach
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, September 29th
    Heartless Bastards
    Tele Novella
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, Sept. 29th
    José González
    Rufus Wainwright
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, Sept. 30th
    an evening with
    Mary Chapin Carpenter,
    Marc Cohn, & Shawn Colvin
    @ the Chevalier


    Thursday & Friday
    Sept. 30th & Oct. 1st
    Caspian
    Junior Beef (Thursday)
    Circus Trees (Friday)
    @ The Sinclair


    Saturday, October 2nd
    Todd Rundgren
    @ Big Night Live


    Sunday, October 3rd
    AGP15:
    Thalia Zedek Band
    Honey Radar
    Germ House
    @ O’Brien’s


    Monday, October 4th
    Gary Numan
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, October 5th
    Will Sheff (Okkervil River)
    Damien Jurado
    @ City Winery


    Thursday & Friday
    October 7th & 8th
    Lady Lamb
    with strings
    @ City Winery Boston


    Saturday, October 9th
    Brian Wilson
    @ Lowell Auditorium


    Monday, October 11th
    Strand of Oaks
    The Still Tide
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, October 12th
    Idles
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, October 13th
    Nothing
    Frankie Rose
    Anxious
    @ The Sinclair


    Thursday, October 14th
    St. Vincent
    @ the Wang


    Friday, October 15th
    Dead Can Dance
    @ the Wang


    Saturday, October 16th
    Dayglow
    Hovvdy
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, October 16th
    Waxahatchee
    Katy Kirby
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, October 16th
    Lucy Dacus
    Bartees Strange
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday, October 18th
    Manchester Orchestra
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, October 20th
    The Mountain Goats
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, October 20th
    Diet Cig
    Retirement Party
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, October 22nd
    Mamalarky
    @ the Lilypad


    Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
    October 23rd, 24th, & 25th
    The Magnetic Fields
    Christian Lee Hutson
    @ City Winery Boston


    Monday, October 25th
    Harry Styles
    Jenny Lewis
    @ the Garden


    Wednesday, October 27th
    Wavves
    @ Big Night Live


    Wednesday, October 27th
    Mannequin Pussy
    Angel Du$t
    Pinkshift
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 30th
    Wild Nothing
    Beach Fossils
    Hannah Jadagu
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, October 30th
    The Monkees
    Farewell Tour
    @ the Chevalier, Medford


    Monday, November 1st
    Mint Green
    Pet Fox
    @ O’Brien’s


    Tuesday, November 2nd
    Buck Meek
    (of Big Thief)
    Kidi Band
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, November 5th
    Kristin Hersh
    Fred Abong
    @ Sonia


    Friday, November 5th
    beabadoobee
    Christian Leave
    Blackstarkids
    @ the Royale


    Friday, November 5th
    Titus Andronicus
    performs “The Monitor”
    two shows @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, November 6th
    The English Beat
    The Fixx
    @ the Chevalier


    Sunday, November 7th
    Turnover
    Widowspeak
    Temple of Angels
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, November 8th
    Tennis
    Molly Burch
    @ the Royale


    Monday & Tuesday
    November 8th & 9th
    Beach Bunny
    Miloe
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, November 10th
    Tristen
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, November 10th
    Adrianne Lenker
    (of Big Thief)
    Lutalo
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, November 13th
    Moving Targets
    @ the Middle East


    Sunday, November 14th
    Tobin Sprout
    @ Atwood’s Tavern


    Sunday, November 14th
    The Psychedelic Furs
    @ the Cabot in Beverly


    Monday, November 15th
    The Flaming Lips
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, November 16th
    Half Waif
    @ Sonia


    Wednesday, November 17th
    Nada Surf
    Pom Pom Squad
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, November 18th
    Deer Tick
    Delta Spirit
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, November 18th
    Tokyo Police Club
    Nobro
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday & Saturday
    November 19th 20th
    Letters to Cleo
    Charly Bliss
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, November 19th
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    @ the Chevalier


    Sunday, November 21st
    We Were Promised Jetpacks
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, November 23rd &
    Wed., Nov. 24th (ska dream night)
    Jeff Rosenstock
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday & Friday
    November 24th & 26th
    Deer Tick
    @ the Columbus, Providence


    Saturday, November 27th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    The Lemonheads
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday, November 29th
    Caribou
    Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, December 1st
    CHVRCHES
    Donna Missal
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, December 3rd
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    Rosali
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, December 3rd
    Buffalo Tom
    @ Big Night Live


    Sunday, December 5th
    Cave In
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, December 7th
    Metz
    Preoccupations
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, December 11th
    Slow Pulp
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, December 12th
    Runnner
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, December 13th
    The Joy Formidable
    Cuffed Up
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, December 14th
    Steve Gunn
    Jeff Parker
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, December 15th
    Bully
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, January 15th
    Guided By Voices
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, January 23rd
    The Beths
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, January 24th
    Best Coast
    Rosie Tucker
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, January 26th
    The Vacant Lots
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, February 5th
    Erasure
    @ the Orpheum


    Monday, February 7th
    STRFKR
    The Undercover Dream Lovers
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, February 8th
    Courtney Barnett
    Bartees Strange
    @ the Wang


    Thursday, February 10th
    Squirrel Flower
    Mia Joy
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, February 13th
    Polaris
    Beeef
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, February 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, February 25th
    Illuminati Hotties
    Fenne Lily
    Pom Pom Squad
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, February 27th
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Wilbur


    Tuesday, March 1st
    AFI
    Cold Cave
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, March 2nd
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Narrows, Fall River


    Monday, March 7th
    Microphones
    Emily Sprague
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Wednesday, March 9th
    Clan of Xymox
    The Bellwether Syndicate
    Aertex
    @ the Hard Rock Cafe


    Saturday, March 12th
    Son Volt
    Jesse Farrar
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, March 13th
    Reigning Sound
    Country Westerns
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, March 15th
    Ministry
    Melvins
    Corrosion of Conformity
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, March 19th
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
    @ Sonia


    Wednesday, March 23rd
    Hot Water Music
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, March 24th
    They Might Be Giants
    ‘Flood’ 30th annivesary
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, March 30th
    Sparks
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Friday, April 1st
    Low
    @ Columbus Theatre
    in Providence


    Sunday, April 3rd
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, April 4th
    Airborne Toxic Event
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, April 6th
    James Vincent McMorrow
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, April 7th
    Circle Jerks
    Negative Approach
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, April 8th
    Snail Mail
    Joy Again
    @ the Royale


    Friday & Saturday
    April 8th & 9th
    The Town & the City Festival
    a stacked lineup of artists
    @ venues around Lowell, MA


    Sunday, April 17th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ the Columbus, Providence


    Thursday, April 21st
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, April 22nd
    Mogwai
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, April 29th
    Hovvdy
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, May 1st
    OMD
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, May 2nd
    Hoodoo Gurus
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, May 5th
    Julianna Barwick
    Malibu
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, May 14th
    Built to Spill
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 22th
    Eels
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, June 18th
    The Zulus
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, June 27th
    Ty Seeagall
    & Freedom Band
    @ the Royale


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


    Tuesday, August 16th, 2022
    Goo Goo Dolls
    @ Some Bank Pavilion


    Sunday, September 19th, 2022
    New Order
    Pet Shop Boys
    @ Some Bank Pavilion