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, November 20th
    Beach Bunny
    Another Michael
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, November 21st
    Robert Gordon
    Chris Spedding
    Diablogato
    @ ONCE Ballroom


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


    Friday & Saturday
    November 22nd & 23rd
    Letters to Cleo
    Speedy Ortiz
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, November 24th
    Robyn Hitchcock
    @ City Winery


    Sunday, December 1st
    Knower
    Ryan Power
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, December 3rd
    The Joy Formidable
    Twen
    Bryde
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, December 4th
    Lucy Dacus
    Haley Heynderickx (solo)
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, December 4th
    Thurston Moore Group
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, December 5th
    Twin Peaks
    with Ohmme (afternoon show)
    and Lala Lala (night show)
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, December 5th
    Horse Jumper of Love
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, December 7th
    J. Robbins (Jawbox/Burning Airlines)
    full band show
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, December 8th
    The Fixx
    Royston Langdon
    @ Big Night Live


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


    Monday, December 9th
    Stove
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Tuesday, December 10th
    Pile
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, December 10th
    Turnover
    Men I Trust
    Renata Zeiguer
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, December 11th
    Pixies
    Kristin Hersh Trio
    @ Big Night Live
    (new venue near TD Garden)


    Wednesday, December 11th
    Turnover
    Men I Trust
    Renata Zeiguer
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, December 11th
    Battles
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, December 13th
    Mount Eerie
    & Julie Doiron
    @ the Somerville Armory


    Friday, December 13th
    Ween
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, December 13th
    Kevin Devine
    & the Goddamn Band
    An Horse
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, December 14th
    The Cult
    “A Sonic Temple” Tour
    with Spirit Animal
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday & Saturday
    December 18th & 21st
    Piebald
    Nomad Stones
    @ Great Scott


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


    Saturday, December 21st
    Piebald
    Ivy Stone
    Weakened Friends
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, December 21st
    Daughters
    Health
    Show Me The Body
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, December 27th
    Ryley Walker
    Chris Forsyth
    Garcia Peoples
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, December 28th
    The Push Stars
    @ the Paradise


    Monday & Tuesday,
    December 30th & 31st
    Deer Tick: TickTock 2020
    with Robert Ellis/Texas Piano Man
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, January 2nd, 2020
    The Felice Brothers
    @ the Sinclair


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


    Saturday, January 11th
    Book of Love
    DJ Chris Ewen
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, January 15th
    Beach Fossils
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, January 16th
    Camper Van Beethoven
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Sunday, January 19th
    The Motels
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, January 31st
    Sidewalk Driver
    Party Bois
    Cliff Notez
    Lifestyle
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, February 1st
    Nada Surf
    Aaron Lee Tasjan
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, February 1st
    Cold War Kids
    Overcoats
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, February 13th
    Tim and Eric
    2020 Mandatory Attendance World Tour
    @ the Orpheum


    Monday, February 17th
    Bat For Lashes
    @ Royale


    Wednesday, February 19th
    Sloan play “Navy Blues”
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday & Sunday
    February 22nd & 23rd
    Hot Water Music
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, February 23rd
    Wolf Parade
    Jo Passed
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, March 3rd
    Wye Oak
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, March 5th
    OM
    Wovenhand
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, March 6th
    Destroyer
    Nap Eyes
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, March 7th
    Squirrel Flower
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, March 13th
    Wire
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, March 14th
    Lower Dens
    :3ION
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, March 16th
    Best Coast
    Mannequin Pussy
    @ the Royale


    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    March 20th, 21st, & 22nd
    Dashboard Confessional
    & The Get Up Kids
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, March 24nd
    Caribou
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, March 25th
    Keane
    @ the Orpheum


    Sunday, March 29th
    Beach Bunny
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, March 29th
    John Moreland
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, April 2nd
    Sofi Tukker
    “RIP Shame World” Tour
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday & Saturday
    April 3rd & 4th
    CASPIAN
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, April 11th
    Peter Bjorn and John
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, April 13th
    Basia Bulat
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, April 14th
    Patrick Watson
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, April 23rd
    Real Estate
    Palm
    @ the Royale


    Friday, April 24th
    Dead Can Dance
    Agnes Obel
    @ the Wang


    Saturday, April 25th
    Tennis
    Molly Burch
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, April 26th


    Tuesday, April 28th
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, April 30th
    They Might Be Giants
    30th Anniversary of “Flood”!
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, May 5th
    Ratboys
    Another Michael
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, May 14th
    Bikini Kill
    @ the Wang


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


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


    Wednesday, July 29th
    Journey
    Pretenders
    @ the Xfinity Center