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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  • 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."
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  • Boston-Area Action

    Monday, February 20th
    Japandroids,
    Craig Finn & the
    Uptown Controllers
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, February 22nd
    GZA
    Meyhem Lauren
    @ the ONCE Ballroom

    Thursday, February 23rd
    Rose Polenzani
    Dave Godowsky
    @ the Lizard Lounge

    Sunday, February 26th
    Shadow Band
    @ Great Scott

    Sunday, February 26th
    Queen Moo, The Superweaks,
    Leaner, No Thank You
    Weller, Who Loves You
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Sunday, February 26th
    The Griswolds
    Dreamers
    Parks
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, February 27th
    Strange Mangers
    Funeral Advantage
    (album release/tour kickoff)
    Luna Tullgren
    Teenender
    Champagne Charm
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, February 28th
    Jon Langford (Mekons)
    a career-spanning solo
    acoustic show with artwork
    @ Atwood's Tavern

    Wednesday, March 1st
    Sad13 (Sadie from Speedy Ortiz)
    Bellows
    Christian Holden (of The Hotelier)
    Horse Jumper of Love
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Thursday, March 2nd
    The Joy Formidable
    (acoustic)
    @ the ONCE Ballroom

    Friday, March 3rd
    Robyn Hitchcock
    Emma Swift
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Friday, March 3rd
    The Flaming Lips
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, March 4th
    Aloud (7-inch release show!)
    Peter Buzzelle & the Academy
    @ the Plough & Stars

    Sunday, March 5th
    Save Ferris
    Baby Baby
    Petty Morals
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, March 5th
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
    Steady Holiday
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Sunday, March 5th
    Adrian Belew Power Trio
    Saul Zonana
    @ The Sinclair

    Monday, March 6th
    The Game Of Thrones
    Live Concert Experience
    @ the TD Garden

    Tuesday, March 7th
    The Radio Dept.
    Germans
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Friday, March 10th
    The Phil Aiken Army,
    Love Love,
    The Nickel & Dime Band
    (featuring Rick Berlin),
    Cujo
    @ the Midway JP

    Saturday, March 11th
    Los Campesinos!
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, March 11th
    Dawes
    @ the Orpheum

    Monday, March 13th
    NEW MUSIC NIGHT
    with DJ Bad Squirrel (that's me)
    2 hours of new songs
    and ticket giveaways
    6pm-8pm @ ONCE Somerville

    Tuesday, March 14th
    Tennis
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, March 15th
    Jens Lekman & his band
    Lisa/Liza
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, March 15th
    Deafheaven
    This Will Destroy You
    Emma Ruth Rundle
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, March 22nd
    Fishbone
    Rebuilder
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, March 25th
    At the Drive In
    @ the House of Blues

    Saturday, March 25th
    Allah-Las
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, March 26th
    Minus The Bear
    Beach Slang
    Bayonne
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, March 28th
    Thursday
    Basement
    Touche Amore
    Wax Idols
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday, March 28th
    Lambchop
    Animal Hospital
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, March 29th
    Richard Ashcroft (the Verve)
    @ House of Blues

    Friday, March 31str
    Dear Leader (reunion!)
    The Douglas Fir
    The Furniture
    @ the Emerson/Paramount Center’s
    Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre

    Saturday, April 1st
    Courtesy Tier
    When Particles Collide
    Sidewalk Driver
    The Upper Crust
    @ the Emerson/Paramount Center’s
    Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre

    Sunday, April 2nd
    Pile
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, April 2nd
    Six Organs Of Admittance
    Minibeast
    @ Great Scott

    Sunday, April 2nd
    King Gizzard and
    the Lizard Wizard,
    Orb,
    Stonefield
    @ the Royale

    Thursday, April 6th
    Son Volt
    Anders Parker & Cloud Badge
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, April 8th
    "Welcome To Night Vale" podcast
    with music from Erin McKeown
    @ Berklee Performance Center

    Tuesday, April 11th
    Mark Eitzel
    (of American Music Club)
    Howe Gelb
    (of Giant Sand)
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Wednesday, April 12th
    Sondre Lerche
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, April 13th
    Modern English
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Friday & Saturday
    April 14th & 15th
    The Magnetic Fields:
    "50 Song Memoir"
    50 songs over 2 nights
    @ Berklee Performance Center

    Sunday, April 16th
    The Wedding Present
    Colleen Green
    @ Great Scott

    Monday, April 17th
    PJ Harvey
    @ the House of Blues

    Wednesday, April 19th
    Surfer Blood
    @ Great Scott

    Thursday, April 20th
    Chairlift
    Kristin Kontrol
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, April 23rd
    Tobin Sprout (of GBV)
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, April 23rd
    Aimee Mann
    @ the Wilbur

    Tuesday, April 25th
    The New Pornographers
    Waxahatchee
    @ the House of Blues

    Thursday, April 27th
    Steve Winwood
    @ the Orpheum

    Friday, April 28th
    The Maine
    The Mowgli's
    Beach Weather
    @ the Royale

    Thursday, May 4th
    The Damned
    The BellRays
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, May 5th
    Real Estate
    Frankie Cosmos
    @ the Royale

    Monday, May 8th
    Mastodon
    Eagles of Death Metal
    Russian Circles
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday, May 9th
    Coheed and Cambria
    The Dear Hunter
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Wednesday, May 10th
    Ryan Adams
    Jenny Lewis
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Friday, May 12th
    Meat Puppets
    Mike Watt w/Jom + Terry
    Grant Hart
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Tuesday, May 16th
    Laura Marling
    @ the Paradise

    Friday & Saturday
    May 19th & 20th
    Pixies
    Cymbals Eat Guitars
    @ House of Blues

    Sunday, May 21st
    Happyness
    @ Great Scott

    Sunday, May 21st
    Pixies
    Cymbals Eat Guitars
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, June 7th
    Southern Culture on the Skids
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday & Friday
    June 8th & 9th
    Reverend Horton Heat
    Flat Duo Jets
    @ the ONCE Ballroom

    Saturday, June 9th
    Marcela Cruz
    Sidewalk Chalk
    Sam Trump
    @ the Emerson/Paramount Center’s
    Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre

    Monday, June 19th
    PWR BTTM
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, June 21st
    Third Eye Blind
    Silversun Pickups
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Sunday, June 25th
    U2
    The Lumineers
    @ Gillette Stadium

    Tuesday, June 27th
    Jason Isbell & the 400 Units
    The Mountain Goats
    @ Blue Hills Pavilion

    Monday, July 17th
    Foreigner,
    Cheap Trick, &
    Jason Bonham’s
    Led Zeppelin Experience
    @ Blue Hills Pavilion

    Thursday, July 20th
    Tom Petty &
    the Heartbreakers
    @ TD Garden

    Friday, July 21st
    Conor Oberst
    Hop Along
    @ the House of Blues

    Sunday, July 30th
    Blondie
    Garbage
    Deap Vally
    @ the Blue Hills Pavilion

    Wednesday, August 2nd
    Belle & Sebastian
    Andrew Bird
    Porches
    @ Blue Hills Pavilion

    Monday, August 28th
    Green Day
    Catfish & the Bottlemen
    @ the Xfinity Center

    Saturday, September 16th
    Sturgill Simpson
    @ the Blue Hills Pavilion

    Saturday, September 16th
    Chameleons Vox (featuring
    Mark Burgess of Chameleons UK)
    with Soft Kill & Way Out
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Thursday, November 9th
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Wilbur