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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  • Handy links

  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION
    Friday, August 12th
    Rod Stewart
    Cheap Trick
    @ Xfinity Center

    Friday, August 12th
    Rise Against
    The Used
    Senses Fail
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, August 13th
    Joyce Manor
    Citizen
    Prince Daddy & the Hyena
    PHONY
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, August 13th
    Here and There Festival
    with Courtney Barnett,
    Lucy Dacus, Men I Trust
    Faye Webster, The Beths
    Bartees Strange, & Hana Vu
    @ Mass MoCA

    Sunday, August 14th
    Blondie
    The Damned
    @ the Pavilion

    Sunday, August 14th
    Puppy Problems
    Holiday Music
    Moon By Moon
    First Passionate Frisbee Club
    @ O'Brien's

    Monday, August 15th
    Vundabar
    @ the House of Blues

    Monday, August 15th
    Elvis Costello & the Imposters
    Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets
    @ the Pavilion

    Monday, August 15th
    Franz Ferdinand
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday, August 16th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    @ the Pavilion

    Tuesday, August 16th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    Playing Joy Division's
    "Closer" & "Unknown Pleasures"
    @ the Paradise
    Wednesday, August 17th
    Puppy Problems
    @ O'Brien's

    Wednesday, August 17th
    Bonnie "Prince" Billy
    Footings
    Charlie Chronopoulos
    @ Mill No. 5 in Lowell

    Thursday, August 18th
    Horse Jumper of Love
    Lucy
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, August 18th
    Sharon Van Etten
    Julien Baker
    Angel Olsen
    Spencer
    @ the Pavilion

    Saturday, August 20th
    Richard Mirsky (record release!)
    Kid Gulliver
    Chris Brokaw
    @ the Cantab Lounge

    Saturday, August 20th
    Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
    Damon & Naomi
    @ the Brattle

    Saturday, August 20th
    In Between Days Festival
    with Manchester Orchestra
    Hippo Campus, Tennis,
    The Blue Stones, Kevin Devine,
    Sidney Gish, Blac Rabbit, & Catbite
    @ Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy

    Sunday, August 21st
    The Decemberists
    Brigid Mae Power
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, August 22nd
    Comedy Bang! Bang!
    with Scott Aukerman,
    Paul F Tompkins, & more
    @ the Chevalier

    Monday, August 22nd
    Los Campesinos!
    Proper
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, August 25th
    Bully
    Lord Huron
    @ the Wang

    Wednesday, August 24th
    The Fixx
    @ the Wilbur

    Friday, August 26th
    Korn
    Evanescence
    @ Xfinity Center

    Friday, August 26th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, August 26th
    "Heat Wave '22" with
    The FU's, Worm,
    Kermit's Finger,
    Rockin' Bob Punk Band,
    and more to be announced
    @ the C Note Hull

    Saturday, August 27th
    The Shins
    (playing "Oh, Inverted World")
    & Joseph
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, August 27th
    Aoife O'Donovan
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ Lowell Summer Music Series
    @ Boarding House Park

    Saturday, August 27th
    Glacier
    @ ONCE @ Boynton Yards

    Saturday, August 27th
    Charlie Martin (Hovvdy)
    Teethe
    Maplehead
    @ the Lilypad

    Saturday, August 27th
    Local Natives
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, August 31st
    Built to Spill
    @ the Paradise

    Thursday, September 1st
    The Dents
    Rockin' Bob Punk Band
    Chrissy Vaccaro
    @ Notch Brighton

    Friday, September 2nd
    The Mountain Goats
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, September 3rd
    Boris
    Nothing
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, September 4th
    The Ocean Blue
    @ City Winery

    Wednesday, September 7th
    Neko Case
    Sean Rowe
    @ Emerson Colonial Theatre

    Friday, September 9th
    Boy George & Culture Club
    @ the Chevalier Theatre

    Saturday, September 10th
    She & Him
    (Brian Wilson tribute)
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, September 10th
    Crowded House
    @ the Wang

    Saturday, September 10th
    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    St. Vincent
    Thundercat
    @ Fenway Park

    Sunday, September 11th
    Lagwagon
    I Am The Avalance
    Grumpster
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, September 12th
    Courtney Barnett
    @ House of Blues Boston

    Monday, September 12th
    Ghost
    Mastodon
    Spiritbox
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, September 13th
    Pet Fox
    @ O'Brien's

    Tuesday, September 13th
    Phoenix
    Porches
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, September 13th
    Bauhaus
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Wednesday, September 14th
    Quivers
    Let's Whisper (LP release!)
    Yours Are The Only Ears
    @ O'Brien's

    Wednesday, September 14th
    Porcupine Tree
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Wednesday, September 14th
    Arlo Parks
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, September 15th
    Clutch
    Quicksand
    Helmet
    JD Pinkus
    @ House of Blues

    Thursday, September 15th
    Richard Thompson
    @ Natick Center For Arts

    Thursday & Friday
    September 15th & 16th
    They Might Be Giants
    'Flood' 30th anniversary
    @ the Royale

    Thursday & Friday
    September 15th & 16th
    Vundabar
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, September 17th
    The Afghan Whigs
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, September 17th
    Roxy Music
    @ the Garden

    Saturday, September 17th
    Idles
    Injury Reserve
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, September 18th
    The Dream Syndicate
    40th Anniversary Tour playing
    "The Days of Wine & Roses" & more
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Saturday, September 18th
    Julia Jacklin
    Kara Jackson
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, September 18th
    Heaven 17
    @ City Winery

    Monday, September 19th
    Echo & the Bunnymen
    @ the House of Blues

    Monday, September 19th
    Girlpool
    @ the Paradise

    Monday, September 19th
    Southern Culture on the Skids
    @ the Middle East

    Monday, September 19th
    New Order
    Pet Shop Boys
    @ Some Bank Pavilion

    Monday, September 19th
    Stevie Nicks
    @ Xfinity Center

    Tuesday, September 20th
    Sports Team
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Tuesday, September 20th
    Spiritualized
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, September 21st
    Echo & the Bunnymen
    @ the House of Blues

    Wednesday, September 21st
    OSEES
    Bronze
    @ the Royale

    Thursday, September 22nd
    The National
    Indigo Sparke
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, September 23rd
    Soulside
    Verbal Assault
    Bed Maker
    Wrong War
    @ ONCE @ the Armory

    Saturday, September 24th
    The Get Up Kids
    play "Four Minute Mile"
    & Sparta
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Saturday, September 24th
    Supersuckers
    @ the Middle East

    Saturday, September 24th
    Speedy Ortiz, Haasan Barclay,
    Mallcops, Sorry Ma, Clifford,
    Paper Lady, and more
    @ ONCE @ Boynton Yards

    Sunday, September 25th
    Come
    Home Despot
    @ the Middle East Upstairs

    Sunday, September 25th
    Amyl and the Sniffers
    @ Big Night Live

    Monday, September 26th
    Carly Rae Jepsen
    Empress Of
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, September 28th
    Pavement
    The Goon Sax
    @ the Wang

    Thursday, September 29th
    Japanese Breakfast
    Yo La Tengo
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, September 30th
    The B-52s (farewell tour)
    KC & the Sunshine Band
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday & Saturday
    September 30th & October 1st
    Kay Hanley
    (of Letters to Cleo)
    @ City Winery

    Saturday, October 1st
    The Mars Volta
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Saturday, October 1st
    Kid Gulliver
    @ the Jungle

    Saturday, October 1st
    Death Cab For Cutie
    Low
    @ Some Bank Pavilion

    Saturday, October 1st
    The Mommyheads
    Abbie Barrett
    @ the Burren Backroom

    Sunday, October 2nd
    Cigarettes After Sex
    @ the House of Blues

    Monday, October 3rd
    Sunny Day Real Estate
    The Appleseed Cast
    @ the House of Blues

    Monday, October 3rd
    The Killers
    Johnny Marr
    @ the Garden

    Tuesday, October 4th
    Stereolab
    Fievil is Glauque
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, October 4th
    The Gaslight Anthem
    Jeff Rosenstock
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Thursday, October 6th
    Fontaines D.C.
    @ the House of Blues

    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    October 7th, 8th, & 9th
    "As Summer Into Autumn Slips" 3 days of music featuring...
    Day 1: Surprise Me Mr. Davis,
    Marco Benevento Trio, & William Tyler
    Day 2: The Slip, WOLF! (featuring
    Scott Metzger), & William Tyler
    Day 3: The Slip, Club d'Elf,
    & William Tyler
    @ Soundcheck Studios, Pembroke

    Saturday, October 8th
    Billy Bragg
    Alice Phoebe Lou
    @ the Wilbur

    Sunday, October 9th
    Oliver Sim of the XX
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, October 9th
    L7
    30th Anniversary of
    "Bricks Are Heavy" tour
    @ Big Night Live

    Tuesday, October 11th
    Craig Finn &
    The Uptown Controllers
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Tuesday, October 11th
    Gorillaz
    EarthGang
    @ TD Garden

    Friday, October 14th
    The Black Angels
    The Vacant Lots
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, October 16th
    Future Teens
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, October 16th
    Smashing Pumpkins
    Janes Addiction
    Poppy
    @ the Garden

    Monday, October 17th
    House of Love
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, October 19th
    Melt-Banana
    Ed Shrader's Music Beat
    Psychic Graveyard
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, October 20th
    June of 44
    Thalia Zedek Band
    Helms
    @ the Middle East Down

    Friday, October 21st
    Bad Suns
    Last Dinosaurs
    Quarters of Change
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, October 22nd
    Slothrust
    Weakened Friends
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, October 23rd
    Illuminati Hotties
    Enumclaw
    Olivia Barton
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, October 24th
    Kevin Morby
    Coco
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, October 25th
    Metric
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 25th & 26th
    Calexico
    Ada Lea
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, October 27th
    Titus Andronicus
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, October 28th
    Tegan and Sara
    Tomberlin
    @ the Royale

    Friday, October 28th
    The Joy Formidable
    Cuffed Up
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, October 30th
    Pile
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, October 30th
    Kurt Vile & the Violators
    Come
    @ the Royale

    Monday, October 31st
    Mint Green
    @ O'Brien's

    Wednesday, November 2nd
    Silversun Pickups
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, November 2nd
    Two Door Cinema Club
    Day Wave
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, November 4th
    Rina Sawayama
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, November 5th
    Young Jesus
    @ Middle East Downstairs

    Saturday, November 5th
    Let's Eat Grandma
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, November 5th
    Turnover (Record Release)
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, November 6th
    Soccer Mommy
    Lightning Bug
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, November 8th
    Russian Circles
    Rezn
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 8th
    Arcade Fire
    Beck
    @ MGM Fenway Music Hall

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    November 8th & 9th
    Alex G
    Hatchie
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 9th
    Field Medic
    Sadurn
    @ Cafe 939

    Sunday, November 13th
    Plains
    (featuring Katie Crutchfield
    of Waxahatchee + Jess Williamson)
    MJ Lenderman
    @ Royale

    Monday, November 14th
    Bartees Strange
    Pom Pom Squad
    Spring Silver
    No They Hate Change
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 15th
    Cloud Nothings
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 15th
    The Menzingers
    play "On The Impossible Past"
    Touché Amoré
    Screaming Females
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 16th
    The Smile
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, November 16th
    The Chills
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, November 18th
    Alvvays
    Slow Pulp
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday & Sunday
    November 19th & 20th
    Turnstile
    Snail Mail
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, November 21st
    Preoccupations
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, November 26th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    Guided By Voices
    Eugene Mirman
    @ the House of Blues

    Wednesday, November 30th
    Mclusky
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, December 1st
    Archers of Loaf
    Weird Nightmare
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, December 4th
    beabadoobee
    Lowertown
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, December 6th
    Local H
    "Here Comes The Zoo"
    20th Anniversary Tour
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Friday, December 9th
    Patrick Watson
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, December 13th
    Bonny Light Horseman
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, December 17th
    The Lemonheads
    "It's A Shame About Ray"
    30th Anniversary Tour
    with Juliana Hatfield
    & On Being An Angel
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, December 17th
    Foals
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, March 20th, 2023
    Bruce Springsteen
    & the E Street Band
    @ TD Garden

    Sunday, April 16th
    Dead Can Dance
    @ the Wang

    Wednesday, October 11th, 2023
    The Mission UK
    The Chamelons
    @ Brighton Music Hall