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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  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Monday, April 23rd
    Surfer Blood
    Winter
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, April 24th
    Halfsour
    Eureka California
    Pleaser
    Kiss Concert
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, April 24th
    Minus the Bear
    The Coathangers
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday & Thursday
    April 25th & 26th
    Sofi Tukker
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, April 25th
    Kate Nash
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, April 26th
    Matt & Kim
    Tokyo Police Club
    Future Feats
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, April 27th
    Mr. Brownstone
    (Guns n’ Roses tribute)
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, April 27th
    They Might Be Giants
    @ the House of Blues


    Saturday, April 28th
    Hovvdy
    Half Wait
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, April 28th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    performing both of the
    “Substance” collections by
    Joy Division & New Order
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday & Sunday
    April 28th & 29th
    Turnover
    Camp Cope
    Summer Salt
    Funeral Advantage (on Sunday)
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, April 29th
    Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
    @ Atwood’s


    Monday, April 30th
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    Makeness
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, May 1st
    No Age
    Behavior
    @ Once Somerville


    Tuesday, May 1st
    Soccer Mommy
    Long Beard
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, May 1st
    Calexico
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 2nd
    Frankie Cosmos
    Florist
    Lala Lala
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 2nd
    Dr. Dog
    Son Little
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, May 3rd
    Haim
    Lizzo
    @ Agganis Arena


    Thursday, May 3rd
    Hop Along
    Saintseneca
    @ the Royale


    Friday, May 4th
    Life Partners
    Black Helicopter
    Ringtail
    the modifierS
    @ the Midway in JP


    Friday, May 4th
    Lake Street Dive
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, May 4th
    Steve Gunn
    @ the Somerville Armory


    Friday, May 4th
    The Breeders
    Melkbelly
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, May 4th
    Panda Bear
    Geologist
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 6th
    Loma
    (mems of Cross Record & Shearwater)
    Jessica Williamson
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, May 6th
    Todd Rundgren’s Utopia
    @ the Orpheum


    Monday, May 7th
    Sloan
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, May 7th
    Hinds
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, May 8th
    Trampled By Turtles
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, May 9th
    Fully Celebrated Orchestra
    with very special guests
    The Hilken Mancini/Thalia Zedek Duo
    @ the Midway in JP


    Thursday, May 10th
    This Will Destroy You
    Alex Roldan
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, May 11th
    Power Trip
    Sheer Mag
    Fury
    Red Death
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 13th
    Wye Oak
    Palm
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, May 13th
    Melvins
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, May 14th
    Liam Gallagher &
    Richard Ashcroft
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, May 15th
    Alice Glass
    Pictureplane
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, May 15th
    The Sea & Cake
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, May 15th
    Alice Glass
    Pictureplane
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 16th
    Editors
    House of Harm
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, May 17th|
    Quiet Slang (solo Beach Slang)
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, May 18th
    Jonathan Davis
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, May 18th
    The Fratellis
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, May 19th
    Damien Jurado
    Naomi Wachira
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, May 20th
    King Tuff
    Cut Worms
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, May 22nd
    Helmet
    Prong
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, May 22nd
    Suuns
    Facs
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, May 22nd
    Jukebox the Ghost
    The Greeting Committee
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, May 23rd
    Parquet Courts
    Goat Girl
    @ the Royale


    Monday, May 28th
    Sylvan Esso
    Local Natives
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, May 29th
    Post Animal
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, May 29th
    Julien Baker
    “Beyond the Band”
    presented by Berklee/Do617
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, May 29th
    Primus
    Mastodon
    All Them Witches
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, May 30th
    Self Defense Family
    Sanhet
    Weeping Icon
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, May 31st
    Bat Fangs
    Shepherdess
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, March 31st
    Corin Ashley’s
    50th Birthday Bash!
    @ Atwood’s


    Friday, June 1st
    Ghosts of Sailors at Sea
    Black Helicopter
    Stemwinder
    Reindeer Castle
    @ O’Brien’s


    Friday & Saturday
    June 1st & 2nd
    Japanese Breakfast
    LVL UP
    Radiator Hospital
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday & Monday
    June 3rd & 4th
    Ben Harper &
    Charlie Musselwhite
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, June 5th
    Middle Kids
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, June 6th
    Liz Phair
    Soccer Mommy
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, June 6th
    “Jeff Buckley: From Hallelujah
    to The Last Goodbye” Book Q+A
    with author Dave Lory
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, June 8th
    Hot Snakes
    Vundabar
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, June 8th
    Nathaniel Rateliff
    & the Night Sweats
    with Deer Tick
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, June 8th
    Elephants
    Mint Green
    Hexpet
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, June 8th
    Gomez
    @ the Royale


    Friday, June 8th
    Eels
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, June 9th
    Bonnie Prince Billy
    @ the Wilbur


    Saturday, June 9th
    Depeche Mode
    @ TD Garden


    Sunday, June 10th
    Old Gray
    “Farewell Tour”
    I Kill Giants
    Cerce
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, June 11th
    Eternal Summers
    Funeral Advantage
    Strange Passage
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, June 11th
    Jimmy Eat World
    Alex Lahey
    @ House of Blues


    Tuesday, June 12th
    Lucinda Williams
    Steve Earle
    Dwight Yoakam
    King Leg
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, June 12th
    Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
    Lithics
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, June 13th
    Cold Cave
    Black Marble
    Choir Boy
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, June 13th
    Metz
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, June 14th
    King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
    @ the Royale


    Friday, June 15th
    Pianos Become The Teeth, dd
    The World Is A Beautiful Place
    & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday & Saturday
    June 15th & 16th
    Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
    playing “Hearts of Oak” (on Fri)
    & Lemuria
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, June 17th
    Matthew Sweet
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, June 18th
    Chromeo
    Pomo
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, June 18th
    Spoon
    Grizzly Bear
    Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Thursday, June 21st
    Tracyanne & Danny
    (of Camera Obscura/Crybaby)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday & Sunday
    June 23rd & June 24th
    Ray LaMontagne
    Neko Case
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Monday, June 25th
    Jeremy Enigk (full band)
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, June 26th
    Southern Culture on the Skids
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, June 26th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Speedy Ortiz
    The Homeless Gospel Choir
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, June 27th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Jeff Rosenstock
    Restorations
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, June 27th
    Styx
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    Tesla
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, June 29th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Tim Barry
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, June 30th
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Dave Hause & The Mermaids
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, July 1st
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    The Hotelier
    War on Women
    @ the Royale


    Monday, July 2nd
    Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls
    Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band
    Trapper Schoepp
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, July 3rd
    Phoenix
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, July 6th
    Steve Miller Band
    Peter Frampton
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, July 11th
    The Get Up Kids
    Raquet Club
    Ageist
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, July 13th
    Immersion
    (featuring Colin from Wire)
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, July 12th
    Snail Mail
    Bonny Doon
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, July 14th
    Freezepop
    Party Bois
    Photocomfort
    Symbion Project
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, July 15th
    Beck
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Erasure
    Reed & Caroline
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Coheed and Cambria
    Taking Back Sunday
    The Story So Far
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Weezer
    Pixies
    Sleigh Bells
    @ Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, July 18th
    Arcade Fire
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Thursday, July 19th
    Bent Knee
    Gatherers
    Animal Flag
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, July 20th
    Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls
    @ Atwood’s


    Saturday, July 21st
    The Magic Numbers
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, July 21st
    Camp Cope
    Petal
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday & Sunday
    July 21st & 22nd
    Foo Fighters
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, July 23rd
    Greta Van Fleet
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, July 27th
    Arctic Monkeys
    Mini Mansions
    @ TD Garden


    Friday, July 27th
    Boy George & Culture Club
    The B-52s
    Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins)
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Saturday, July 28th
    Sleep
    @ the Royale


    Saturday & Sunday
    July 28th & 29th
    Radiohead
    @ TD Garden


    Monday, July 30th
    The Cult
    Stone Temple Pilots
    Bush
    Big Jesus
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 31st
    Quicksand
    Glassjaw
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, July 31st &
    Wednesday, August 1st
    David Byrne
    Benjamin Clementine
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 31st
    The Smashing Pumpkins
    @ TD Garden


    Thursday, August 2nd
    Alex Cameron
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, August 3rd
    The Essex Green
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, August 3rd
    Jeff Beck
    & Paul Rodgers
    + Ann Wilson (Heart)
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, August 10th
    Pedro the Lion
    H.C. McEntire
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, August 10th
    Billy Joel
    @ Fenway Park


    Saturday, August 11th
    Wussy
    @ Sonia


    Saturday, August 11th
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Wilbur


    Saturday, August 11th
    Journey & Def Leppard
    with Cheap Trick
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, August 13th
    Cake
    Ben Folds
    Tall Heights
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, August 15th
    Sparta
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, August 17th
    Counting Crows
    Live
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, August 24th
    Beach House
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, August 26th
    Amen Dunes
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday & Tuesday
    September 2nd & 4th
    Pearl Jam
    @ Fenway Park


    Monday, September 3rd
    The Fixx (playing “Reach
    the Beach” and more)
    @ City Winery Boston


    Saturday, September 8th
    Ex Hex
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, September 11th
    Killing Joke
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, September 11th
    Van Morrison
    Shana Morrison
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Thursday, September 13th
    MC5
    “MC50: Kick Out the Jams –
    the 50th Anniversary Tour.”
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, September 14th
    The The
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, September 15th
    Ash
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, September 21st
    Outlaw Music Festival with
    Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson,
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The
    Night Sweats, Margo Price,
    Lukas Nelson & Promise of the
    Real, Particle Kid
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, September 28th
    Bully
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, October 17th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    “Dizzy Up The Girl
    20th Anniversary Tour”
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, October 21st
    Courtney Barnett
    Waxahatchee
    @ House of Blues