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

    Sunday, May 21st
    Happyness
    @ Great Scott

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

    Monday, May 22nd
    Xasthur
    Marissa Nadler
    Johanna Warren
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Friday, May 26th
    Reindeer
    Bird Language
    M.G. Lederman
    Medical Maps
    @ the Midway Cafe, JP

    Friday, May 26th
    Psychic Dog (album release!)
    When Particles Collide
    Powerslut
    The Knock Ups
    @ O'Brien's

    Friday, May 26th
    to Sunday, May 28th
    BOSTON CALLING FESTIVAL
    @ the Harvard Athletic Complex

    Saturday, May 27th
    Boston Calling After Party:
    with Piebald
    @ The Sinclair

    Sunday, May 28th
    Boston Calling After Party:
    with Whitney
    @ The Sinclair

    Tuesday, May 30th
    Peter Holsapple
    (dBs, REM, Continental Drifters)
    @ Atwood's

    Thursday, June 1st
    Portugal. The Man
    @ the House of Blues

    Thursday & Friday
    June 1st & 2nd
    Feist
    @ Sanders Theater, Harvard

    Friday, June 2nd
    Royal Blood
    The Shelters
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, June 2nd
    Tim Kasher (Cursive/The Good Life)
    John Bradley (Dads))
    Campdogzz)
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, June 3rd
    Parks
    Psychic Dog
    Me In Capris
    Surf Vietnam
    @ the Midway Cafe, JP

    Saturday, June 3rd
    The Orbiting Human Circus
    featuring The Music Tapes
    (Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel)
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Monday, June 5th
    Air
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, June 6th
    Rodrigo y Gabriela
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, June 7th
    Girlpool
    Ian Sweet
    Lexie
    @ Brighton Music Hall

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

    Thursday, June 8th
    John Moreland
    Will Johnson (Centro-matic)
    @ the Sinclair

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

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

    Saturday, June 10th
    MARY TIMONY plays HELIUM
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, June 10th
    Ruby Rose Fox
    George Woods
    Florie Namir
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, June 11th
    Ween
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Monday, June 12th
    Horse Jumper Of Love
    Spencer Radcliffe & Everyone Else
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Tuesday, June 13th
    Land of Talk
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, June 14th
    Jeremy Enigk
    (Sunny Day Real Estate)
    Tomo Nakayama
    DJ Carbo
    @ the Red Room at Cafe 939

    Wednesday, June 14th
    The Pains of Being at Heart
    Frankie Rose
    Ablebody
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, June 14th
    Chastity Belt
    Sneaks
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Friday, June 16th
    Palehound (LP Release!)
    Stove
    halfsour
    @ Sonia

    Friday, June 16th
    The Monsieurs
    CreaturoS
    Littlefoot
    Germ House
    Jim Leonard
    Johnnie & the Foodmasters
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Saturday, June 17th
    Charly Bliss
    Yucky Duster
    Lost Dog
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Saturday, June 17th
    Robert Glasper Experiment
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, June 18th
    Coco Hames (The Ettes)
    Little Bandit
    @ Atwood's

    Monday, June 19th
    Major Stars
    Feral Ohms
    Sunwatchers
    Honey
    @ Zuzu

    Monday, June 19th
    PWR BTTM
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, June 21st
    Fully Celebrated Orchestra
    Chris Brokaw
    @ the Midway Cafe, JP

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

    Thursday, June 22nd
    Evan Dando
    Jason Loewenstein
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Saturday, June 24nd
    Burglary Years
    No Hope/No Harm
    Animal Talk
    Atomic Spectra
    @ Great Scott

    Sunday, June 25th
    U2
    The Lumineers
    @ Gillette Stadium

    Sunday, June 25th
    Spiral Stairs (of Pavement)
    @ Great Scott

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

    Wednesday, June 28th
    Buckingham / McVie
    (of Fleetwood Mac)
    The Wallflowers
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Friday, June 30th
    Bear Salon
    No/Hugs
    Carissa Johnson
    Colbis The Creature
    @ Great Scott

    Sunday, July 2nd
    Stephen MacDonald (The Okay Win)
    "Local Divide" LP Release Show!
    @ the Lilypad, Cambridge

    Sunday, July 2nd
    Woods
    John Andrews & the Yawns
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Monday, July 3rd
    Adult Mom
    Free Cake For Every Creature
    Dump Him
    Future Teens
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Wednesday, July 5th
    (Sandy) Alex G
    Japanese Breakfast
    Cende
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, July 6th
    Rooney
    Run River North
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Tuesday, July 11th
    Now, Now
    Dem Yuut
    @ Sonia

    Wednesday, July 12th
    Gorillaz
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Wednesday, July 12th
    Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts
    @ O'Brien's

    Wednesday, July 12th
    Tim & Eric's 10th Anniversary Tour
    @ Berklee Performance Center

    Thursday, July 13th
    Boston
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    @ the TD Garden

    Saturday, July 15th
    Echo & the Bunnymen
    Violent Femmes
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Saturday, July 15th
    Eldridge Rodriguez
    David Age & The Regrets
    The Callouts
    Field Nurse
    @ O'Brien's

    Monday, July 17th
    Township
    The Dents
    Love Love
    Weather Weapon
    @ the Midway Cafe, JP

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

    Wednesday, July 19th
    RIDE
    @ the Royale

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

    Friday, July 21st
    Tristen
    @ The Rockwell

    Friday, July 21st
    The Alarm
    @ ONCE Somerville

    Friday, July 21st
    Ultimate Painting
    @ Sonia
    Friday, July 21st
    Spoon
    The New Pornographers
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Friday, July 21st
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    @ the Wilbur

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

    Saturday, July 22nd
    The Aquabats
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, July 23rd
    Primus
    Clutch
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Tuesday, July 25th
    Slayer
    Lamb of God
    Behemoth
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Friday, July 28th
    Alt-J
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Saturday, July 29th
    The Head and the Heart
    Big Thief
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

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

    Wednesday, August 2nd
    The Shins
    Tennis
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Wednesday, August 2nd
    Melvins
    Spotlights
    @ the Paradise

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

    Friday, August 4th
    Alabama Shakes
    Emily King
    @ the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Friday, August 11th
    LO TOM
    (Bazan, Walsh, Many, & Martin)
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, August 13th
    Slothrust
    Tancred
    @ Great Scott

    Tuesday, August 15th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    Phillip Phillips
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Thursday, August 17th
    Hallelujah the Hills
    @ Charles Hayden Planetarium
    @ Museum of Science, Boston

    Saturday, August 19th
    Waxahatchee (full band!)
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, August 19th
    Mark Lanegan Band
    @ Brighton Music Hall

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

    Tuesday, September 5th
    Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble
    (of Stereolab)
    @ Great Scott

    Saturday, September 9th
    The Brian Jonestown Massacre
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, September 10th
    GBH
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, September 13th
    Father John Misty
    Phosphorescent
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Wednesday, September 13th
    Thee Oh Sees
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, September 13th
    Alison Moyet
    @ the Royale

    Thursday, September 14th
    The Afghan Whigs
    Har Mar Superstar
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, September 15th
    Middle Kids
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, September 16th
    Matthew Sweet
    Tommy Keene
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    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

    Wednesday, September 20th
    X (40th anniversary tour)
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, September 21st
    The Cranberries
    @ House of Blues

    Friday, September 22nd
    Brian Wilson does "Pet Sounds"
    @ the Orpheum

    Saturday, September 23rd
    The War On Drugs
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

    Saturday, September 23rd
    Wire
    @ The Sinclair

    Sunday, September 24th
    Saint Etienne
    @ the Once Ballroom

    Monday & Tuesday
    October 2nd & 3rd
    Pinback
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday & Thursday
    October 4th & 5th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    Easy Action
    @ The Sinclair

    Wednesday, October 4th
    Yes
    (including Jon Anderson,
    Trevor Rabin, & Rick Wakeman)
    @ the Orpheum

    Thursday, October 5th
    The National
    @ the Wang Theatre

    Friday, October 6th
    Paul Weller
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, October 7th
    Broken Social Scene
    @ House Of Blues

    Saturday, October 7th
    Front 242
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, October 8th
    KMFDM
    OHGR
    Lord of the Lost
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Monday, October 9th
    Future Islands
    @ the Orpheum

    Tuesday, October 10th
    Against Me!
    The Dirty Nil
    Bleached
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 1st
    Grizzly Bear
    @ the House of Blues

    Wednesday, November 1st
    Elbow
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, November 3rd
    Human Sexual Response
    Unnatural Axe
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, November 4th
    Shout Out Louds
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, November 9th
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Wilbur

    Thursday, December 7th
    Mogwai
    @ the Royale