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

    Thursday, September 19th
    Orville Peck
    Le Ren
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, September 19th
    Phantom Planet
    Mickey James
    @ the Sinclair


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


    Thursday, September 19th
    Tropical Fuck Storm
    Banana
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, September 19th
    King Crimson
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Friday, September 20th
    Guerilla Toss
    Sloppy Jane
    Carinae
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, September 20th
    RIDE
    Spirit of the Beehive
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, September 20th
    Priors
    Black Beach
    Far Corners
    Andy California
    @ the Midway in JP


    Friday, September 20th
    The Feelies
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, September 21st
    Saintseneca
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, September 21st
    Bleached
    The Paranoyds
    DJ Carbo
    @ 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
    Arsun
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 25th
    Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes)
    @ House of Blues Boston


    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
    with Prism & the Tall Trees
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, September 26th
    The Samples
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, September 29th
    Sidney Gish
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, September 29th
    Stereolab
    Bitchin Bajas
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, September 29th
    Aldous Harding
    @ Cafe 939


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


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


    Tuesday, October 1st
    Agnostic Front
    Prong
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    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


    Friday, October 4th
    Team Dresch
    Shepherdess
    Stubborn Hearts
    @ ONCE Somerville


    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
    GWAR
    Sacred Reich
    Toxic Holocaust
    Against the Grain
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 6th
    Mt. Joy
    @ the Royale


    Monday, October 7th
    The Paper Kites
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Tuesday, October 8th
    Melvins
    Red Kross
    Toshi Kasai
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, October 9th
    The Dodos
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, October 10th
    Earthless
    Maggot Heart
    Sacri Monti
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, October 10th
    Legendary Pink Dots
    Orbit Service
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday & Friday
    October 10th & 11th
    Wilco
    Daughter of Swords
    @ the Wang Center


    Friday, October 11th
    Mike Watt & the Missingmen
    Minibeast
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Friday, October 11th
    Weakened Friends
    @ Great Scott


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


    Sunday, October 13th
    Face to Face
    Lagwagon
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 13th
    Thievery Corporation
    @ House of Blues Boston


    Sunday, October 13th
    Big Thief
    Palehound
    @ the Wilbur


    Tuesday, October 15th
    Bon Iver
    Feist
    @ TD Garden


    Wednesday, October 16th
    Oh Sees
    Prettiest Eyes
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, October 16th
    Idles
    Preoccupations
    @ the Royale


    Friday, October 18th
    Lynda Barry & Chris Ware
    talk comics
    @ the Brattle Theatre


    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
    Vivian Girls
    @ ONCE Somerville


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


    Monday, October 21st
    Cave In
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, October 21st
    Nasalrod (with Spit from Fear)
    The Darker Hues
    Karate Steve
    @ Charlie’s


    Tuesday, October 22nd
    DIIV
    Chastity
    @ the Paradise


    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


    Wednesday, October 23rd
    Helmet
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, October 24th
    Swervedriver
    @ Sonia


    Thursday, October 24th
    The Astounds
    @ O’Brien’s


    Thursday, October 24th
    Titus Andronicus
    Mal Blum
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, October 24th
    The National
    @ Agganis Arena


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


    Friday, October 25th
    Jukebox the Ghost
    presents “Halloqueen”
    with Zach Jones & the Tricky Bits
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, October 26th
    Jay Som
    Gia Margaret
    Boy Scouts
    @ the Sinclair


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


    Saturday, October 26th
    Glider
    @ Once Somerville


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


    Sunday, October 27th
    Hovvdy
    Kevin Krauter
    Caroline Says
    @ Great Scott


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


    Sunday, October 27th
    Cigarettes After Sex
    @ the House of Blues Boston


    Monday, October 28th
    Fleetwood Mac
    @ the Garden


    Tuesday, October 29th
    Sleater-Kinney
    Shamir
    @ the House of Blues Boston


    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


    Wednesday, October 30th
    The Milk Carton Kids
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, October 31st
    Marc Almond (Soft Cell)
    Hercules & Love Affair
    DJ Chris Ewen
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, November 2nd
    Richard Buckner
    @ Atwood’s


    Saturday, November 2nd
    White Reaper
    The Nude Party
    Wombo
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, November 4th
    The New Pornographers
    Lady Lamb
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, November 6th
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, November 6th
    SUPERCHUNK AF
    “Acoustic Foolish”
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Saturday, November 9th
    Lisa Prank
    @ O’Brien’s


    Sunday, November 10th
    The Last Waltz Tour
    a tribute to the Band
    with Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson,
    Lukas Nelson, and more
    @ the Orpheum


    Sunday, November 10th
    The World Is A Terrible Place
    And I Am Not Afraid To Die
    with Harmony Woods
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, November 11th
    Samiam
    Moving Targets
    F.U.’s
    Far Above The Ground
    Rockin’ Bob’s Punk Band
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Tuesday, November 12th
    Ra Ra Riot
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, November 12th
    Chastity Belt
    Strange Ranger
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, November 14th
    Tool
    Killing Joke
    @ TD Garden


    Thursday, November 14th
    Circa Waves
    Parks
    @ Great Scott


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


    Friday, November 15th
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, November 15th
    White Denim
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, November 16th
    Caspian with the
    Losander Chamber Orchestra
    @ the Cabot in Beverly


    Sunday, November 17th
    (Sandy) Alex G
    Tomberlin
    Indigo de Souza
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, November 19th
    FKA twigs
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Mikal Cronin
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Angel Olsen
    Vagabon
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, November 20th
    Beach Bunny
    Another Michael
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, November 21st
    Robert Gordon
    Chris Spedding
    Diablogato
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Friday, November 22nd
    Matt & Kim
    @ House of Blues


    Friday & Saturday
    November 22nd & 23rd
    Letters to Cleo
    Speedy Ortiz
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, December 3rd
    The Joy Formidable
    Twen
    Bryde
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, December 4th
    Lucy Dacus
    Haley Heynderickx (solo)
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, December 4th
    Thurston Moore Group
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, December 5th
    Twin Peaks
    with Ohmme (afternoon show)
    and Lala Lala (night show)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, December 7th
    J. Robbins (Jawbox/Burning Airlines)
    full band show
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, December 8th
    The Fixx
    @ Big Night Live


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


    Tuesday, December 10th
    Pile
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, December 10th
    Turnover
    Men I Trust
    Renata Zeiguer
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, December 11th
    Turnover
    Men I Trust
    Renata Zeiguer
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, December 11th
    Battles
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, December 13th
    Ween
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, December 13th
    Kevin Devine
    & the Goddamn Band
    @ Brighton Music Hall


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


    Saturday, December 21st
    Daughters
    Health
    Show Me The Body
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, December 28th
    The Push Stars
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, January 6th, 2020
    Motion City Soundtrack
    @ the House of Blue Boston


    Thursday, January 16th
    Camper Van Beethoven
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Sunday, February 1st
    Nada Surf
    Aaron Lee Tasjan
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, February 1st
    Cold War Kids
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, February 19th
    Sloan play “Navy Blues”
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday & Sunday
    February 22nd & 23rd
    Hot Water Music
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday & Saturday
    March 20th & 21st
    Dashboard Confessional
    The Get Up Kids
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, March 25th
    Keane
    @ the Orpheum


    Tuesday, April 14th
    Patrick Watson
    @ the Sinclair