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

    Tuesday, July 16th
    Carly Rae Jepsen
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, July 17th
    Sacred Paws
    Prior Panic
    Bananas
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Wednesday, July 17th
    Heart
    Sheryl Crow
    Elle King
    @ Xfinity Center


    Friday, July 19th
    Okkervil River
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, July 20th
    Fujiya & Miyagi
    @ Cafe 939


    Sunday, July 21st
    Weird Al Yankovic
    @ the Pavilion


    Sunday, July 21st
    Local H
    Gozu
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, July 22nd
    Juliana Hatfield
    @ City Winery Boston


    Monday, July 22nd
    An Horse
    Dump Him
    Giant in the Lighthouse
    @ ONCE Somerville


    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
    Closeness
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, July 28th
    Young Southpaw presents…
    BAT SOUP
    Comedy Showcase
    4pm @ Thunder Road, Somerville


    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


    Sunday, August 4th
    Chris Brokaw
    Margaret Airplaneman
    @ Atwood’s Tavern


    Monday, August 5th
    Mike Krol
    Swearin’
    Leopard Print Taser
    @ 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


    Wednesday, August 14th
    Mutual Benefit
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, August 15th
    Beck
    Cage The Elephant
    Spoon
    Sunflower Bean
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, August 16th
    Baabes
    Silver Screams
    Von Traps
    Lipstick Boys
    @ O’Brien’s


    Friday, 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
    Oso Oso
    The Sidekicks
    Future Teens
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, August 22nd
    Bitch Mountain
    Birthday Ass
    Puppy Problems
    Prior Panic
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Friday, August 23rd
    Doom Lover
    Sidewalk Driver
    Parks
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    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


    Wednesday & Thursday
    September 4th & 5th
    Pinegrove
    Stephen Steinbrink
    @ the Royale


    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
    Subhumans
    Fea
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Monday, September 9th
    The Raconteurs
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, September 9th
    Hot Chip
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, September 10th
    The Appleseed Cast
    Muscle Worship
    @ Great Scott


    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
    Ashe
    Charlie Burg
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    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
    Dude York
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Tuesday, September 17th
    Lizzo
    @ Agganis Arena


    Wednesday, September 18th
    The Aquabats
    Koo Koo Kanga Roo
    MC Lars
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, September 18th
    Frankie Cosmos
    Lina Tullgren
    @ the Royale


    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
    Phantom Planet
    @ 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
    Guerilla Toss
    @ 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
    @ 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
    @ 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
    ShitKid
    @ 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
    @ the Wang Center


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


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


    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
    @ 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


    Monday, October 21st
    Cave In
    @ Great Scott


    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
    Titus Andronicus
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, October 24th
    The National
    @ Agganis Arena


    Friday, October 25th
    Jenny Lewis
    @ 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
    Peter Hook & the Light
    @ the Paradise


    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
    @ 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


    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


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


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


    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


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


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Mikal Cronin
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Angel Olsen
    Vagabon
    @ the Royale


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


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


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


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