Bradley's Almanac

2009: My Favorite Music

Posted on January 24, 2010 at 9:25 pm | No Comments

Well, here it is, now pulling into the station… the caboose at the very end of the too-long train of “best of 2009” music blogger posts, three weeks into the new year. And, as ever, it most certainly is not a “best of”, but simply a “my favorites” – the albums that soundtracked my own personal year. But you knew that.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it one last time for emphasis: My 2009, particularly the latter half, sucked. And blew. And whatever degrees of inhaling and exhaling of badness you can come up with. Yup, it was the very definition of “not good”. In fact, it would be tough to fathom a more difficult 6-month stretch (and no, that is not a challenge, oh make-believe chess player in the sky. Ease off!). But without the albums listed below, these artists, it would have been a whole lot worse.

It should be noted that, because there were so many, I’ve separated out my favorite albums by Boston-based bands and will post that list sometime soon, and hope to throw together a list of my favorite live shows of the year as well. At some point. Ideally before we hit 2011. Sigh.

For now, though, listed alphabetically (no silly numerical ranking for me), here are the full-lengthers (and a few EPs) that defined my Oh-Nine music-listening. I tried, and failed, to limit myself to twenty records, which goes to show what a strong musical year it was. There are even plenty of albums I didn’t get a chance to spend time with that I fully intended to. And still hope to.

I commented on many of these artists and albums in my favorite songs of the year post, so head there for some commentary, and a bit more at the bottom here. Not that I’m expecting you to make it all the way through, but hey, a couple of you might. I’ve shared an MP3 for each entry if one was made freely available by the artist, and if not, I’ve included a link to where you can take a listen. And if you click on the label names below each release, you’ll be taken to a page where you can buy the album directly. I’ve also, for the first time, made a big honkin’ zip file of all the songs shared here at the end, including a few bonus tracks not linked below. Off we go then…


Lou Barlow“Goodnight Unknown”
(on Merge)

[MP3]: Gravitate



David Bazan“Curse Your Branches”
(on Barsuk)

[MP3]: Bless This Mess



Built To Spill“There Is No Enemy”
(on Warner Bros.)

[MP3]: Major label, so no sample song for you. Hit up MySpace, if you must.



Neko Case“Middle Cyclone”
(on Anti)

[MP3]: People Got A Lotta Nerve



Dinosaur Jr.“Farm”
(on Jagjaguwar)

[MP3]: I Want You To Know



Fanfarlo“Reservoir”
(on Canvasback Music/Atlantic)

[MP3]: Luna



Grand Archives“Keep In Mind Frankenstein”
(on Sub Pop)

[MP3]: Oslo Novelist



Kings of Convenience“Declaration of Dependence”
(on EMI)

[MP3]: Boat Behind



Loney Dear“Dear John”
(on Polyvinyl)

[MP3]: Airport Surroundings



Rose Melberg“Homemade Ship”
(on K Records)

[MP3]: Old Days



Now, Now Every Children“Cars”
(on Afternoon Records)

[MP3]: Have You Tried



Ola Podrida“Belly Of The Lion”
(on Western Vinyl)

[MP3]: Your Father’s Basement



Tara Jane O’Neil“A Ways Away”
(on K Records)

[MP3]: Drowning



The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
“The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart”
(on Slumberland)

[MP3]: Young Adult Friction



Phoenix“Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”
(on Glass Note)

[MP3]: 1901



Pomegranates“Everybody, Come Outside!”
(on Lujo)

[MP3]: Coriander



Sky Larkin“The Golden Spike”
(on Wichita Recordings)

[MP3]: Fossil, I



Systems Officer“Underslept”
(on Temporary Residence)

[MP3]: Shape Shifter



Telekinesis“Telekinesis!”
(on Merge)

[MP3]: Coast of Carolina



Trashcan Sinatras“In The Music”
(self-released/101 Distribution)

[MP3]: Sadly, nothing officially available from the band
There’s a streaming sample on their site



Wooden Birds“Magnolia”
(on Barsuk)

[MP3]: False Alarm



Wye Oak“The Knot”
(on Merge)

[MP3]: Take It In



The XX“XX”
(on XL Recordings / Beggars Group)

[MP3]: VCR



Yo La Tengo“Popular Songs”
(on Matador)

[MP3]: Here To Fall

In the “Released in 2009 overseas but here in the U.S. in 2010” category (meaning it will also fall on my ‘faves of 2010’ list), we have…


LoveLikeFire“Tear Ourselves Away”
(released in the UK on Heist or Hit)

[MP3]: Signs

In the rare “Various Artists” category, which I’m not sure I’ve ever had show up a previous yearly faves list…

And finally, a few 2009 EPs I adored…


City Breathing“My Apple IIe Is Singing Sad Songs To Me” EP
(self-released, and for free)

[MP3]: A Place To Bury Old Mistakes



The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart“Higher Than The Stars” EP
(on Slumberland)

[MP3]: Higher Than The Stars



Superchunk“Leaves In The Gutter” EP
(on Merge)

[Stream]: The whole EP at Merge



50 Foot Wave“Power + Light” EP
(self-released on vinyl via CASH music)

[Stream]: The entire 26-minute epic at CASHmusic

[DOWNLOAD]: All 26 tracks linked above,
plus 3 extras, in one 156MB .zip file

Whenever I post one of these, I like to take a look at my “looking forward to in 2009” post to see which albums missed the mark, which ones surprised me, and which ones never showed. For a look back at my faves of years passed, here you go: 2008, 2007, 2004, 2003, 2002, and 2001. Yes, I missed a couple years in there thanks to overall internet-list-burnout. Won’t happen again, sir.

Next up: My favorite boston-area releases, live shows, and a look ahead at 2010…

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  • Handy links

  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION


    Monday, January 24th
    Lomelda
    Alexalone
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, January 27th
    Ezra Furman
    @ the Crystal Ballroom


    Monday, January 31st
    The War on Drugs
    House of Blues


    Tuesday, February 1st
    We Are Scientists
    @ Sonia


    Thursday, February 3rd
    Reptaliens
    Yot Club
    Renata Zeiguer
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, February 5th
    An Evening with Bruce Dickinson
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Saturday, February 5th
    Erasure
    @ the Orpheum


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


    Tuesday, February 8th
    Courtney Barnett
    Shamir
    @ the Wang


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


    Saturday, February 12th
    The Royal Arctic Institute
    Sleepyhead
    Chris Brokaw
    @ the Lilypad


    Saturday, February 12th
    Ian Sweet
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, February 18th
    The Cribs
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, February 24th
    John Moreland
    Will Johnson
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, February 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise


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


    Saturday, February 26th
    The Beths
    Lunar Vacation
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, February 27th
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Wilbur


    Monday, February 28th
    Journey
    Billy Idol
    @ the Garden


    Tuesday, March 1st
    AFI
    Cold Cave
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, March 2nd
    The Besnard Lakes
    @ O'Briens


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


    Thursday, March 3rd
    Punch Brothers
    Haley Heynderickx
    @ the Orpheum


    Friday, March 4th
    Nation of Language
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, March 5th
    Superchunk
    Torres
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, March 5th
    Guided By Voices
    @ the Royale


    Monday, March 7th
    Pet Fox
    @ O'Brien's


    Monday, March 7th
    Microphones
    Emily Sprague
    @ Somerville Theatre


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


    Friday, March 11th
    Lady Pills
    @ O'Brien's


    Friday, March 11th
    Lewis Black
    @ the Emerson Colonial


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


    Monday, March 14th
    Ryley Walker
    TONSTARTSSBANDHT
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, March 15th
    Marketa Irglova
    & Glen Hansard
    (The Swell Season)
    @ the Emerson Theatre


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


    Wednesday, March 16th
    Tame Impala
    @ the Garden


    Saturday, March 19th
    Rick Maguire (Pile)
    @ Church of the Covenant


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


    Saturday, March 19th
    The Dear Hunter
    The World Is a Beautiful Place...
    Tanner Merritt (of O'Brother)
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, March 20th
    Sleaford Mods
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, March 20th
    Dropkick Murphys
    Jim Lindberg (Pennywise)
    The Rumjacks
    @ Roadrunner


    Sunday, March 20th
    Henry Rollins
    @ the Wilbur


    Monday & Tuesday
    March 21st & 22nd
    Mitski
    Michelle
    @ Roadrunner


    Tuesday, March 22nd
    Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
    @ the Wang


    Wednesday, March 23rd
    Hrishikesh Hirway
    (The One AM Radio)
    Jenny Owen Youngs
    @ Crystal Ballroom


    Wednesday, March 23rd
    Hot Water Music
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday & Friday
    March 24th & 25th
    Bleachers
    @ Roadrunner


    Thursday, March 24th
    Black Beach
    @ O'Brien's


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


    Friday, March 25th
    Yard Act
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, March 26th
    Thao
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, March 26th
    Car Seat Headrest
    Bartees Strange
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, March 27th
    Kishi Bashi
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, March 30th
    Sparks
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Thursday, March 31st
    Parquet Courts
    Hailu Mergia
    @ the Royale


    Friday, April 1st
    Brian Jonestown Massacre
    Mercury Rev
    @ Roadrunner


    Friday, April 1st
    Low
    @ Columbus Theatre
    in Providence


    Sunday, April 3rd
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, April 4th
    Holy F*ck
    @ Sonia


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


    Tuesday, April 5th
    Perfume Genius
    Hand Habits
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, April 6th
    Spoon
    Margaret Glaspy
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, April 6th
    James Vincent McMorrow
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, April 7th
    Bright Eyes
    @ Roadrunner


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


    Friday, April 8th
    Mogwai
    @ 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


    Saturday, April 9th
    Slow Crush
    @ Sonia


    Tuesday, April 12th
    We Were Promised Jet Packs
    Weakened Friends
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, April 13th
    Big Thief
    @ Roadrunner


    Thursday, April 14th
    Alt-J
    Portugal. The Man
    Cherry Glazerr
    @ Agganis Arena


    Thursday, April 14th
    Cowboy Junkies
    @ Cary Memorial Hall


    Thursday, April 14th
    Yumi Zouma
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, April 17th
    Jack White
    @ Agganis Arena


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


    Thursday, April 21st
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, April 22nd
    Letterkenny
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, April 23rd
    Aimee Mann
    @ the Chevalier


    Monday, April 25th
    Fontaines D.C.
    Just Mustard
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, April 26th
    Pedro the Lion
    Oceanator
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, April 26th
    Guerilla Toss
    @ the Crystal Ballroom


    Friday, April 29th
    The Zombies
    @ the Cabot, Beverly


    Friday, April 29th
    Hovvdy
    Molly Parden
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, May 1st
    OMD
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, May 2nd
    Cat Power
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, May 3rd
    Olivia Rodrigo
    Holly Humberstone
    @ Roadrunner


    Thursday, May 5th
    Julianna Barwick
    Malibu
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, May 8th
    Destroyer
    @ The Sinclair


    Tuesday, May 10th
    Pup
    Cloud Nothings
    @ House of Blues


    Thursday, May 12th
    Beach Bunny
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, May 15th
    Dry Cleaning
    @ Crystal Ballroom


    Wednesday, May 18th
    Shout Out Louds
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, May 19th
    Joe Jackson
    @ the Shubert


    Sunday, May 22th
    Eels
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, May 24th
    Royal Blood
    @ the House Of Blues


    Friday to Sunday
    May 27th to 29th
    Boston Calling Fest
    @ Harvard Athletic Complex


    Friday to Sunday
    May 27th to 29th
    Wilco's
    Solid Sound Festival
    @ MASS MoCA


    Sunday, June 5th
    The Antlers
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, June 11th
    Kraftwerk
    @ the Wang


    Thursday, June 16th
    Jonathan Richman
    with Tommy Larkins
    @ the Wilbur


    Saturday, June 18th
    The Zulus
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, June 21st
    Waxahatchee
    @ Roadrunner


    Wednesday, June 22nd
    Tears for Fears
    Garbage
    @ the Pavilion


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


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


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


    Friday, July 22nd
    Beach House
    @ Roadrunner


    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


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


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


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


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


    Wednesday, September 21st
    OSEES
    Bronze
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 28th
    Pavement
    @ the Wang


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


    Saturday, October 22nd
    June of 44
    @ the Middle East Down