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

    Saturday January 19th
    Shepherdess & Sister
    Split 7-inch release show!
    with Døwager & The Swettes
    @ the Midway in JP


    Sunday, January 20th
    Mineral
    Tancred
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, January 24th
    Neko Case
    Margaret Glaspy
    @ the Royale


    Friday, January 25th
    Boyfriend
    @ Once Ballroom


    Friday, January 25th
    Rubblebucket
    Diet Cig
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, January 27th
    Petal
    Sir Babygirl
    Cave People
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, January 31st
    Steve Gunn
    Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, February 1st
    Jon Spencer & the HITmakers
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, February 2nd
    HOT STOVE, COOL MUSIC
    annual benefit blowout
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, February 6th
    H.C. McEntire
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, February 8th
    Sharon Van Etten
    Nilufer Yanya
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, February 12th
    Beirut
    Helado Negro
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, February 13th
    Adrianne Lenker (of Big Thief)
    Luke Temple
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, February 13th
    Gin Blossoms
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, February 13th
    Metric & Zoe
    July Talk
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, February 13th
    Joe Jackson
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Thursday, February 14th
    Car Seat Headrest
    @ the Royale


    Friday, February 15th
    Cherry Glazerr
    Sneaks
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, February 16th
    postponed
    Royal Trux
    Wolf Eyes
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, February 16th
    Bob Mould Band
    Screaming Females
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, February 16th
    Corrosion of Conformity
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, February 17th
    “Schitt’s Creek (the show):
    Up Close and Personal”
    @ the Orpheum


    Tuesday, February 19th
    Gang of Four
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Thursday, February 21st
    It Looks Sad.
    Lost Film
    @ O’Brien’s Pub


    Saturday, February 23rd
    Hallelujah the Hills
    Argo Arkestra
    @ the Lilypad


    Saturday, February 23rd
    Julia Holter
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, February 24th
    Deerhunter
    Mary Lattimore
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, February 28th
    Ty Segall & White Fence
    Axis:Sova
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, February 28th
    Bad Bad Hats
    The Beths
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, February 28th
    Lloyd Cole
    “The Retrospective Tour”
    @ City Winery Boston


    Friday, March 1st
    The Monochrome Set
    The Very
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Monday, March 4th
    Mike Krol
    Savak
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, March 8th
    Tokyo Police Club
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, March 11th
    Teenage Fanclub
    The Love Language
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, March 14th
    The Flesh Eaters
    Porcupine (w/Greg from Hüsker Dü)
    @ City Winery


    Friday, March 22nd
    Jawbreaker
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, March 31st
    & Tuesday, April 2nd
    Fleetwood Mac
    @ TD Garden


    Saturday, April 6th
    Japanese Breakfast
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, April 6th
    Jeff Tweedy (Wilco)
    Buck Meek
    @ Berklee Performance Center


    Saturday, April 13th
    Telekinesis
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, April 14th
    Spiritualized
    @ the Wilbur


    Monday, April 15th
    The James Rocket
    @ ONCE Lounge


    Friday & Saturday
    April 19th & 20th
    Todd Rundgren
    @ Berklee Performance Center


    Sunday, April 21st
    Laura Jane Grace &
    the Devouring Mothers
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, April 23rd
    Girlpool
    Hatchie
    @ the Royale


    Monday, April 29th
    Snow Patrol
    @ the Orpheum


    Tuesday, May 7th
    The Dandy Warhols
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, May 9th
    Movements
    Boston Manor
    Trash Boat
    Drug Church
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, May 11th
    Pedro the Lion
    John Vanderslice
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, May 11th
    Graham Parker
    @ City Winery Boston


    Friday, May 17th
    Guided By Voices!
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, May 24th
    Undertones
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Saturday, May 25th
    Slayer
    Lamb of God
    Amon Amarth
    Cannibal Corpse
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, May 31st
    Lady Lamb (full band)
    @ the Royale


    Friday & Saturday
    June 14th & 15th
    Jawbox!
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, June 17th
    Dido
    @ the House of Blues


    Sunday, July 21st
    Weird Al Yankovic
    @ Blue Hills Pavilion


    Thursday, August 1st
    Iron Maiden
    with The Raven Age
    @ Xfinity Center


    Wednesday, September 11th
    Jethro Tull
    @ the Chevalier, Medford


    Friday, September 13th
    The Who
    @ Fenway Park


    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    October 3rd, 4th, & 5th
    Three nights of Billy Bragg
    “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday & Saturday
    October 18th & 19th
    The Town and the City Festival
    returns to Lowell, MA!


    Saturday, October 26th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    @ the Paradise