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

    Friday, April 3rd
    (Rick from) Pile
    @ online stream


    Saturday, April 25th
    Adrienne Lenker
    (of Big Thief)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, April 25th
    Tennis
    Molly Burch
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, April 28th
    Brendan Benson
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, April 28th
    The Residents
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, April 28th
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, April 29th
    The Radio Dept.
    Hater
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, April 30th
    Napalm Death
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, April 30th
    & Friday, May 1st
    They Might Be Giants
    30th Anniversary of “Flood”!
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, May 2nd
    … And You Will Know
    Us By The Trail Of Dead
    with Greenbeard
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Sunday, May 3rd
    Greg Dulli
    Joseph Arthur
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 3rd
    Wavves
    Sad Girl
    @ Big Night Live


    Sunday, May 3rd
    Sparta
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Monday, May 4th
    The House of Love
    @ the Middle East


    Tuesday, May 5th
    Half Waif
    Ian Chang
    @ Café 939


    Tuesday, May 5th
    Ratboys
    Another Michael
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, May 6th
    June of ’44
    E
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, May 7th
    U.S. Girls
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, May 9th
    Tanya Donelly & Friends
    @ the Burren


    Thursday, May 14th
    Bikini Kill
    @ the Wang


    Friday, May 15th
    Nap Eyes
    Lionlimb
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, May 15th
    Hinds
    DJ Carbo
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Friday, May 15th
    Sturgill Simpson
    Tyler Childers
    @ TD Garden


    Saturday, May 16th
    Torres
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, May 17th
    Lemon Twigs
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, May 18th
    Purity Ring
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, May 18th
    Heaven 17
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday & Tuesday
    May 18th & 19th
    Todd Rundgren
    @ Big Night Live


    Wednesday, May 20th
    Diet Cig
    Sad13
    Thin Lips
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, May 21st
    Jens Lekman (with Eddy Kwon)
    & Youth Orchestras across the USA
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, May 21st
    Madness
    @ the House of Blues


    Saturday, May 23rd
    Girl Talk
    @ the Royale


    Monday, May 25th
    REO Speedwagon
    @ Big Night Live


    Monday & Tuesday
    May 25th & 26th
    AJJ
    Xiu Xui (w/guest Jonathan
    Meiburg of Shearwater)
    Emperor X
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 27th
    Shiner
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, May 27th
    Frances Quinlan (of Hop Along)
    @ the Somerville Armory


    Saturday, May 30th
    Land of Talk
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, May 30th
    Stray Bullets
    Duck & Cover
    Silver Screams
    Disco Rice
    @ O’Brien’s


    Wednesday, June 3rd
    Hovvdy
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, June 4th
    EOB
    (Ed O’Brien of Radiohead)
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, June 4th
    Polaris
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, June 4th
    Violent Femmes
    X
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, June 6th
    Car Seat Headrest
    Twin Peaks
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, June 6th
    Foals
    Local Natives
    Cherry Glazerr
    @ the Pavilion


    Sunday, June 7th
    King Buzzo & Trevor Dunn
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, June 12th
    Buffalo Tom
    Ted Leo
    @ Big Night Live


    Friday, June 12th
    Bombay Bicycle Club
    Liza Anne
    @ the Royale


    Friday, June 12th
    The Airborne Toxic Event
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, June 13th
    Tanya Donelly & Friends
    @ the Burren


    Saturday, June 13th
    Holy Fuck
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, June 16th
    Alice Cooper
    Tesla
    Lita Ford
    @ the Pavilion


    Friday, June 19th
    We Were Promised Jet Packs
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, June 20th
    The Growlers
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, June 21st
    James Taylor &
    his All-Star Band
    with Brandi Carlile
    & Shawn Colvin
    @ Fenway Park


    Tuesday, June 23rd
    Primus
    “A Tribute to Kings”
    (a Rush tribute)
    with Wolfmother
    and the Sword
    at the Pavilion


    Wednesday, June 24th
    Swans
    Anna von Haussewolf
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, July 1st
    The Naked & Famous
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, July 1st
    Steely Dan
    Steve Winwood
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, July 3rd
    Braids
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, July 5th
    Halsey
    Chvrches
    Omar Apollo
    @ Xfinity Center


    Tuesday, July 7th
    Nicole Atkins
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, July 9th
    Alanis Morissette
    Garbage
    Liz Phair
    @ Xfinity Center


    Saturday, July 11th
    Tanya Donelly & Friends
    @ the Burren


    Sunday, July 12th
    Pernice Brothers
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, July 12th
    Barenaked Ladies
    Gin Blossoms
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Pavilion


    Wednesday, July 15th
    Ministry
    KMFDM
    Front Line Assembly
    @ House of Blues


    Thursday & Friday
    July 16th & 17th
    Bon Jovi
    Bryan Adams
    @ the Garden


    Tuesday, July 21st
    Kim Gordon
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, July 25th
    Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, July 26th
    The Hollies
    @ the Wilbur


    Tuesday, July 28th
    Roger Waters
    @ the Garden


    Wednesday, July 29th
    Journey
    Pretenders
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, July 31st
    Kraftwerk
    @ the Wang


    Saturday, August 1st
    Built to Spill
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, August 4th
    Foreigner
    Kansas
    Europe
    @ the Pavilion


    Tuesday, August 11th
    Hamilton Leithauser
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, August 14th
    Deftones
    Gojira
    Poppy
    @ Agganis Arena


    Sunday, August 16th
    Jimmy Eat World
    The Front Bottoms
    Turnover
    @ the Pavilion


    Friday, August 21st
    The Black Keys
    Gary Clark Jr.
    Yola
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Tuesday, August 25th
    Motley Crue
    Def Leppard
    Poison
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    @ Fenway Park


    Tuesday, August 25th
    Wilco & Sleater-Kinney
    @ the Pavilion


    Saturday, August 29th
    Daryl Hall & John Oates
    Squeeze
    KT Tunstall
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, September 4th
    Kiss
    David Lee Roth
    @ Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, September 9th
    New Order
    Pet Shop Boys
    @ the Pavilion


    Friday, September 25th
    Clannad
    @ Berklee Performance Center


    Friday, September 25th
    Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
    Weyes Blood
    @ Agganis Arena


    Saturday, September 26th
    Sleaford Mods
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, September 28th
    Ty Segall & the Freedom Band
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, October 3rd
    Circle Jerks
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, October 26th
    Snow Patrol
    acoustic tour
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday, October 28th
    Einstürzende Neubauten
    “The Year Of The Rat Tour”
    @ the Wilbur Theater


    Sunday, November 7th
    Hoodoo Gurus
    @ the Sinclair