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."
    - The Kids In The Hall
  • Almanac Archives

  • Boston-Area Action

    Wednesday, September 19th
    Mothers
    Lala Lala
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, September 19th
    The Growlers
    Surfbort
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 19th
    Arthur Buck
    (Joseph Arthur & Peter Buck)
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, September 19th
    Michael Nesmith &
    The First National Band
    @ the Somerville Theatre


    Thursday, September 20th
    Gary Numan
    Nightmare Air
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, September 21st
    Helen Money
    Thalia Zedek Band
    (album release party!)
    Sleepyhead
    @ the Midway in JP


    Friday, September 21st
    Outlaw Music Festival with
    Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson,
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The
    Night Sweats, Margo Price,
    Lukas Nelson & Promise of the
    Real, Particle Kid
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, September 21st
    Silver Screams
    The Runouts
    Graneros
    The Appleyards
    @ UnchARTed, Lowell


    Friday, September 21st
    Rooney
    Mating Ritual
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 22nd
    Funeral Advantage, Kindling,
    Future Teens, Cosmic Johnny,
    Sam Moss & the Half Millions,
    Cheem, Gabe Goodman, Banana,
    (T-T)b, Tuft, Bad Larrys,
    Another Musician, Gia Greene,
    DJ Camino84, and more
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Sunday, September 23rd
    Portugal. The Man
    Lucius
    @ the Blue Hills Pavilion


    Tuesday, September 25th
    Alvvays
    Hatchie
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, September 26th
    Michael Hurley
    Darren Hanlon
    @ the Rockwell


    Wednesday, September 26th
    Carl Broemel
    (of My Morning Jacket)
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, September 26th
    Mt. Joy
    @ the Royale


    Friday, September 28th
    Bully
    Honey Cutt (fka Baby!)
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, October 1st
    Blizten Trapper
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, October 1st
    The Charlatans
    Frankiie
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, October 2nd
    Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem)
    Craig Finn (the Hold Steady)
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, October 3rd
    Simple Minds
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, October 4th
    mewithoutyou
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, October 4th
    Tom Morello
    @ the Old South Meeting House


    Friday, October 5th
    Cat Power
    Willis Earl Beal
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, October 5th
    Great Lake Swimmers
    Joshua Hyslop
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, October 5th
    The Decemberists
    Marissa Nadler
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, October 6th
    Active Bird Community
    Samia
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, October 6th
    Social Distortion
    Will Hoge
    Pony Bradshaw
    @ the House of Blues


    Sunday, October 7th
    Nothing
    Swirlies
    Big Bite
    Smut
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 7th
    Ben Howard
    Wye Oak
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Monday, October 8th
    Liz Phair
    Speedy Ortiz
    @ the Royale


    Monday, October 8th
    Gruff Rhys
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, October 9th
    White Denim
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, October 10th
    Joyce Manor
    Vundabar
    Big Eyes
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, October 11th
    Parks (record release!)
    Hallelujah the Hills
    Photocomfort
    Future Teens
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, October 11th
    Swearin’
    Empath
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, October 12th
    Florence & the Machine
    @ the TD Garden


    Saturday, October 13th
    The Jayhawks
    @ the Somerville Theatre


    Sunday, October 14th
    The Vaccines
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 14th
    Gorillaz
    Little Dragon
    @ TD Garden


    Sunday, October 14th
    The Natvural (Kip Berman of
    The Pains of Being Pure at Heart)
    @ Dorchester Arts Project


    Sunday & Monday
    October 14th & 15th
    Death Cab for Cutie
    Charly Bliss
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Monday, October 15th
    Calvin Johnson
    Frank Hurricane
    Perennial
    Request Freebird
    @ Dorchester Arts Project


    Wednesday, October 17th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    “Dizzy Up The Girl
    20th Anniversary Tour”
    @ House of Blues


    Thursday, October 18th
    Big Thief
    The Range of Light Wilderness
    michael
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, October 18th
    The Proletariat
    Savageheads
    Silver Screams
    @ Sonia


    Friday & Saturday
    October 19th & 20th
    Nine Inch Nails
    The Jesus & Mary Chain
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Friday & Saturday
    October 19th & 20th
    The Town & the City Festival
    dozens of artists over 2 days
    in Lowell, Massachusetts


    Saturday, October 20th
    Mitski
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday & Sunday
    October 20th & 21st
    Chvrches
    Lo Moon
    @ the Orpheum


    Sunday, October 21st
    Johnny Marr
    The Belle Game
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 21st
    Courtney Barnett
    Waxahatchee
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, October 22nd
    Guided By Voices
    Park Doing
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, October 23rd
    The Church
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, October 23rd
    Garbage
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, October 24th
    Lily Allen
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, October 25th
    Minus the Bear
    Caspian
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, October 25th
    Pile
    The Spirit of the Beehive
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, October 26th
    We Were Promised Jetpacks
    Hurry Up
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, October 26th
    The Bevis Frond (two sets)
    @ the Rockwell


    Saturday, October 27th
    Mountain Man
    The Dead Tongues
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 28th
    Wavves
    Beach Fossils
    Kevin Krauter
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 28th
    Monster Magnet
    Electric Citizen
    Dark Sky Choir
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, October 30th
    Violent Femmes
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, October 30th
    Minus the Bear
    Caspian
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, November 1st
    Lemuria
    Bethlehem Steel
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, November 1st
    Mom Jeans
    Just Friends
    Awakebutstillinbed
    Retirement Party
    Two shows @ Once Ballroom


    Thursday, November 1st
    Tune-Yards
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, November 2nd
    Roky Erickson
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Saturday, November 3rd
    Ian Sweet
    Young Jesus
    Sean Henry
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, November 5th
    Maggie Rogers
    Mallrat
    @ the Royale


    Monday, November 5th
    Shannon & the Clams
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, November 5th
    Tenacious D
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday & Tuesday
    November 5th & 6th
    Lucinda Williams & Buick 6
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, November 6th
    Fucked Up
    Bad Waitress
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, November 6th
    The Joy Formidable
    Tancred
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, November 8th
    Julien Baker
    Phoebe Bridgers
    Lucy Dacus
    (solo & together)
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, November 8th
    Cursive
    Meat Wave
    Campdogzz
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, November 9th
    Low
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday & Saturday
    November 9th & 10th
    Hassle Fest 10!
    Boston’s Underground
    Music & Art Festival
    all ages shows
    @ Brighton Music Hall (on 9/10),
    Lilypad, Studio 550, Green Street
    Studios, Hardcore Stadium, & more


    Saturday, November 10th
    Elvis Costello & The Imposters
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Monday, November 12th
    Saves the Day
    Kevin Devine
    An Horse
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, November 13th
    Pale Waves
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, November 14th
    Richard Thompson (trio)
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, November 14th
    The Alarm
    The Gobshites
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Wednesday, November 14th
    Wild Nothing
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, November 15th
    Weakened Friends
    Nervous Daters
    Save Ends
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, November 16th
    Robyn Hitchcock
    @ City Winery


    Friday, November 16th
    Jim James (from MMJ – solo)
    Alynda Segarra
    (from Hurray for the Riff Raff)
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Friday & Saturday
    November 16th & 17th
    Letters to Cleo
    American Hi-Fi
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, November 18th
    (Sandy) Alex G
    Half Waif
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, November 20th
    Echo & the Bunnymen
    Enation
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, November 24th
    Death From Above
    Le Butcherettes
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, November 24th
    Thom Yorke
    Oliver Cooke
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Saturday, November 24th
    Kurt Vile & the Violators
    Jessica Pratt
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday, November 26th
    Preoccupations
    Protomartyr
    Rattle
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, November 29th
    Peter, Bjorn, & John
    Georgi Kay
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, November 30th
    Cloud Nothings
    The Courtneys
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, December 1st
    Snail Mail (two shows!)
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, December 2nd
    The Helio Sequence
    Wild Pink
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, December 3rd
    Cults
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, December 5th
    Lindsey Buckingham
    @ the Wilbur Theatre


    Wednesday, December 5th
    Reverend Horton Heat
    & Junior Brown with
    The Blasters
    Big Sandy
    @ the Royale


    Friday, December 7th
    Soccer Mommy
    Ratboys
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, December 8th
    Phosphorescent
    Liz Cooper & the Stampede
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, December 9th
    Old 97s Holiday Extravaganza
    Caseymagic
    Rhett Miller
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, December 12th
    Gang of Youths
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, December 13th
    J Mascis
    Luluc
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, December 15th
    Night Birds
    Dark Thoughts
    Conmen
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, December 17th
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ The Sinclair


    Friday, December 28th
    Bad Rabbits
    STL GLD
    Haasan Barclay
    @ The Sinclair


    Saturday, December 29th
    Hop Along
    @ Paradise Rock Club


    Monday, December 31st
    The Felice Brothers
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, January 14th
    The Lemon Twigs
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, January 25th
    Rubblebucket
    Diet Cig
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, February 14th
    Car Seat Headrest
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, February 23rd
    Julia Holter
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, March 11th
    Teenage Fanclub
    @ the Paradise