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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  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Wednesday, May 22nd
    “TV Dinner”
    with Julee Cruise Director
    (all-grrrl Twin Peaks soundtrack supergroup!)
    Argo Arkestra
    (Starblazers anime tribute supergroup!)
    and Cotton Candy
    (Mark Robinson & Evelyn Hurley superduo!)


    Wednesday, May 22nd
    halfsour (record release!)
    Mini Dresses
    Anna Altman
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, May 22nd
    Laura Stevenson
    Kississippi
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 22nd
    American Football
    Pure Bathing Culture
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, May 23rd
    Passion Pit
    The Beaches
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, May 23rd
    Filthy Friends
    Dressy Bessy
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, May 24th
    Pile
    Rong
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, May 24th
    The Undertones
    Dot Dash
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Saturday, May 25th
    Slayer
    Lamb of God
    Amon Amarth
    Cannibal Corpse
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, May 29th
    Glen Hansard
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday & Friday
    May 30th & 31st
    Local Natives
    Middle Kids
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, May 31st
    Lady Lamb (full band)
    Katie Von Schleicher
    Benjamin Lazar Davis
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, June 5th
    Facs
    Thalia Zedek (solo)
    Far Corners
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, June 6th
    Fog Lake
    Trace Mountains
    Really From
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, June 6th
    Coheed and Cambria
    Mastodon
    Every Time I Die
    @ the Pavilion


    Friday, June 7th
    The Rural Alberta Advantage
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, June 8th
    The Figgs
    two shows!
    4pm & 7pm
    @ the Burren


    Saturday, June 8th
    Howard Jones
    Men Without Hats
    All Hail the Silence
    @ the Paradise


    Monday & Tuesday
    June 10th & 11th
    Perry Farrell’s
    Kind Heaven Orchestra
    @ City Winery Boston


    Tuesday, June 11th
    Craig Finn and
    The Uptown Controllers
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, June 12th
    Potty Mouth
    Colleen Green
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, June 12th
    Wu-Tang Clan
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, June 13th
    Yeasayer
    @ the Paradise


    Friday & Saturday
    June 14th & 15th
    Jawbox
    with Second Letter (14th)
    and LaPeche (15th)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, June 15th
    The Lemonheads
    Tommy Stinson (Replacements)
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, June 15th
    Silver Screams
    Brix’n Mortar
    The Downhauls
    @ Atomic Cafe, Beverly


    Saturday, June 15th
    Droneflower
    (Steve Brodsky & Marissa Nadler)
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, June 15th
    The Specials
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday, June 17th
    Dido
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, June 18th
    Earth
    Helms Alee
    @ the Once Ballroom


    Thursday, June 20th
    Kristin Hersh (trio show)
    Fred Abong
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, June 20th
    Kishi Bashi
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, June 21st
    Spencer Krug
    (Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown)
    @ Cafe 939


    Saturday, June 22nd
    seBADoh
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, June 23rd
    Slothrust
    Weakened Friends
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, June 24th
    The Lonely Island
    Demitri Martin
    @ the Bank Pavilion


    Thursday, June 27th
    Foxwarren
    Hannah Cohen
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, June 28th
    Wand
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, June 29th
    Lithics
    @ O’Brien’s


    Sunday, June 30th
    Cate Le Bon
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Tuesday, July 2nd
    Jackson Browne
    @ the Pavilion


    Friday, July 5th
    Froth
    Versing
    Funeral Advantage
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Saturday, July 6th
    Velvet Crush
    Sleepyhead
    Hilken Mancini & Chris Colbourn
    DJ Ty Jesso
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Monday, July 8th
    Third Eye Blind
    Jimmy Eat World
    Ra Ra Riot
    @ Blue Hills Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 9th
    Psychedelic Furs
    James
    Dear Boy
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, July 9th
    We Were Promised Jetpacks
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, July 10th
    Bill Callahan (smog)
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, July 12th
    Walter Sickert &
    the Army of Broken Toys
    Eddie Japan
    No/Hugs
    Lily Mae Harrington
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, July 13th
    Belle & Sebastian
    Ex Hex
    @ the House of Blues


    Sunday, July 14th
    Deerhoof
    Blank Spell
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, July 14th
    The Messthetics
    Trinary System (Roger Miller)
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, July 16th
    Carly Rae Jepsen
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, July 17th
    Heart
    Sheryl Crow
    Elle King
    @ Xfinity Center


    Friday, July 19th
    Okkervil River
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, July 21st
    Weird Al Yankovic
    @ the Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 23rd
    Elvis Costello & the Imposters
    Blondie
    @ the Pavilion


    Saturday, July 27th
    Girls Rock Campaign Boston 2019!
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, July 27th
    The Faint
    Ritual Howls
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, July 31st
    Bad Religion
    Dave Hause & The Mermaid
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, August 1st
    Cayetana (Final Shows)
    Katie Ellen
    Lilith
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, August 1st
    Iron Maiden
    with The Raven Age
    @ Xfinity Center


    Friday, August 2nd
    Cleaver/Walker/Messerly
    (Of Wussy)
    Thalia Zedek & Chris Brokaw
    (of Come)
    @ the Midway in JP


    Saturday, August 3rd
    Gabby’s World
    Bellows
    Lady Pills
    Puppy Problems
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Saturday, August 3rd
    Torche
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, August 3rd
    Ben Folds
    Violent Femmes
    Savannah Conley
    @ the Bank Pavilion


    Monday, August 5th
    Mike Krol
    Swearin’
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Monday, August 5th
    Bryan Ferry
    performing Roxy Music’s
    “Avalon” & more
    @ Boston Opera House


    Wednesday, August 7th
    The Paper Kites
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Tuesday, August 13th
    John Fogerty
    @ the Pavilion


    Tuesday, August 13th
    Neurosis
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, August 15th
    Beck
    Cage The Elephant
    Spoon
    Sunflower Bean
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Sunday, August 16th
    Summer Cannibals
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Saturday, August 17th
    “Back To The Mixtape 2”
    with Pastel Noir, The Fatal Flaw,
    & Nate Leavitt and the Elevation
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, August 21st
    The Alarm
    Gene Loves Jezebel
    Modern English
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, August 22nd
    Bitch Mountain
    Birthday Ass
    Puppy Problems
    Prior Panic
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Sunday, August 25th
    Alex Lahey
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, August 28th
    Social Distortion
    Flogging Molly
    The Devil Makes Three
    Le Butcherettes
    @ the Pavilion


    Tuesday, September 3rd
    Phantogram
    Bob Moses
    @ House of Blues


    Tuesday, September 3rd
    Vampire Weekend
    Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
    @ Agganis Arena


    Friday, September 6th
    The Sheila Divine
    The Minus Scale
    Ultra Major
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, September 8th
    Avail
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, September 8th
    Fontaines D.C.
    Pottery
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, September 9th
    The Raconteurs
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, September 9th
    Hot Chip
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 11th
    Boris
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, September 11th
    Jethro Tull
    @ the Chevalier, Medford


    Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    September 12th, 13th, 14th, & 15th
    The Hold Steady
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, September 13th
    The Who
    Peter Wolf
    @ Fenway Park


    Friday, September 13th
    Dirty Projectors
    Deerhunter
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, September 15th
    Mannequin Pussy
    Destroy Boys
    Ellis
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, September 17th
    Lizzo
    @ Agganis Arena


    Wednesday, September 18th
    ZZ Top
    Cheap Trick
    @ the Pavilion


    Wednesday, September 18th
    Waterboys
    @ the Wilbur Theatre


    Wednesday, September 18th
    The Julian Lage Trio
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, September 19th
    Bloc Party
    performing “Silent Alarm”
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, September 19th
    Tropical Fuck Storm
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, September 19th
    King Crimson
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Friday, September 20th
    RIDE
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, September 20th
    The Feelies
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, September 21st
    Bleached
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 21st
    Andrew Bird
    Calexico and Iron & Wine
    Natalie Prass
    @ the Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, September 21st
    Massive Attack
    “MezzanineXX1” tour
    @ the Wang


    Sunday, September 22nd
    Mac DeMarco
    @ the Orpheum


    Monday, September 23rd
    Black Moth Super Rainbow
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, September 24th
    Cat Power
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 25th
    An Evening of Talk & Music with
    Nick Cave
    @ Sanders Theatre, Harvard


    Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday
    September 25th, 26th, & 27th
    Three nights of Built To Spill
    “Keep It Like A Secret” Anniversary Tour
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, September 29th
    Stereolab
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, September 29th
    Graham Nash
    @ the Berklee Performance Center


    Tuesday, October 1st
    Luna
    (performing their “Penthouse” LP)
    Olden Yolk
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, October 3rd
    Ladytron
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    October 3rd, 4th, & 5th
    Three nights of Billy Bragg
    “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 5th
    Tim Presley’s White Fence
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, October 5th
    Maggie Rogers
    Empress Of
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Saturday, October 5th
    Mudhoney
    Pissed Jeans
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, October 6th
    Mt. Joy
    @ the Royale


    Monday, October 7th
    The Paper Kites
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Tuesday, October 8th
    Melvins
    Red Kross
    ShitKid
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 11th
    The Black Keys
    Modest Mouse
    Jessy Wilson
    @ TD Garden


    Sunday, October 13th
    Big Thief
    Palehound
    @ the Wilbur


    Wednesday, October 16th
    Oh Sees
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, October 16th
    Idles
    Preoccupations
    @ the Royale


    Friday & Saturday
    October 18th & 19th
    The Town and the City Festival
    returns to Lowell, MA!


    Saturday & Sunday
    October 19th & 20th
    Cave In
    Miltown
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 20th
    Stiff Little Fingers
    The Avengers
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 22nd & 23rd
    Against Me!
    “2 nights, 4 records, 48 songs”
    with Cursive & Dilly Dally
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, October 23rd
    Flipper (w/David Yow on vocals)
    40th Anniversary Tour
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Thursday, October 24th
    The National
    @ Agganis Arena


    Friday, October 25th
    Jenny Lewis
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday & Saturday
    October 25th & 26th
    Steely Dan
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, October 26th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 27th
    Trashcan Sinatras
    performing ‘A Happy Pocket’
    and ‘Weightlifting’ LPs acoustic
    @ City Winery Boston


    Monday, October 28th
    Fleetwood Mac
    @ the Garden


    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 29th, 30th, & November 1st
    Steely Dan
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday, October 30th
    Jónsi & Alex Somers (Sigur Ros)
    “Riceboy Sleeps”
    with the Wordless Music Orchestra
    @ the Wilbur


    Thursday, November 14th
    Robert Forster (Go-Betweens)
    @ City Winery Boston


    Friday, November 15th
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Mikal Cronin
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Angel Olsen
    Vagabon
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, December 8th
    Cher
    with Nile Rogers & Chic
    @ the Garden


    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    December 19th, 20th, & 21st
    Lucero
    @ the Sinclair