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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  • 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