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 & Thursday
    February 21st & 22nd
    Frightened Rabbit
    Wintersleep
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, February 24th
    Phoebe Bridgers
    Soccer Mommy
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, March 1st
    Shopping
    French Vanilla
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, March 3rd
    Silver Screams
    Duck & Cover
    Too Many Voices
    Evert
    @ the Midway


    Monday, March 5th
    Ezra Furman
    Anna Burch
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, March 6th
    Jessica Lea Mayfield
    @ Great Scott


    Wednesday, March 7th
    We Were Promised Jetpacks
    Active Bird Community
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, March 8th
    Titus Andronicus
    Rick from Pile
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, March 8th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, March 8th
    Tune-Yards
    @ the Royale


    Friday, March 9th
    Kristin Hersh
    & Tanya Donelly
    @ City Winery Boston


    Friday, March 9th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    Tashi Dorji
    @ Sanders Theatre, Harvard


    Friday, March 9th
    Lou Barlow
    @ the Once Lounge


    Friday, March 9th
    OMD
    @ the House of Blues


    Saturday, March 10th
    Nada Surf celebrating the 15th
    anniversary of their "Let Go" LP
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, March 10th
    Kristin Hersh
    & Tanya Donelly
    @ City Winery Boston


    Saturday, March 10th
    Pale Monsters (album release!)
    The Life Electric
    The Courters
    @ the Lizard Lounge


    Saturday, March 10th
    Brett Dennen
    Dean Lewis
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Sunday, March 11th
    Kristin Hersh
    & Tanya Donelly
    @ City Winery Boston


    Wednesday, March 14th
    Clan Of Xymox
    Stoneburner
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Friday, March 16th
    Palehound
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, March 16th
    MGMT
    @ the Orpheum


    Sunday, March 18th
    Future Teens
    Lost Film
    Me in Capris
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, March 22nd
    Hunny
    Made Violent
    Talk in Tongues
    @ Great Scott


    Friday, March 23rd
    Born Ruffians
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, March 23rd
    The Music of XTC
    Mad Dogs & Janovitz
    @ the ONCE Ballroom


    Friday, March 23rd
    Glen Hansard
    @ House of Blues Boston


    Thursday, March 29th
    Dean Ween Group
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, March 31st
    S. Carey
    @ Great Scott


    Sunday, April 1st
    Albert Hammond Jr.
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Sunday, April 1st
    Pretenders
    Lowlight
    @ the Orpheum


    Tuesday, April 3rd
    Between the Buried and Me
    The Dear Hunter
    Leprous
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, April 3rd
    Yo La Tengo
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, April 6th
    Superchunk
    Swearin'
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, April 7th
    Ought
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, April 9th
    Trace Mountains
    Horse Jumper of Love
    bedbug
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, April 10th
    Wolf Alice
    The Big Pink
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, April 10th
    Franz Ferdinand
    @ House of Blues Boston


    Wednesday, April 11th
    L7
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, April 12th
    Bill Murray, Jan Vogler, & friends
    @ the Orpheum


    Monday, April 16th
    Russian Circles
    King Woman
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, April 16th
    Stars
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, April 17th
    Waxahatchee
    Hurray for the Riff Raff
    Bedouine
    @ the Somerville Theatre


    Tuesday, April 17th
    My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, April 17th
    Ministry
    Chelsea Wolfe
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, April 18th
    Preoccupations
    Freak Heat Waves
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, April 20th
    The Afghan Whigs
    Built To Spill
    Rituals of Mine
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, April 20th
    Buffalo Tom
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, April 21st
    Jeff Rosenstock
    Martha
    Bad Moves
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, April 22nd
    The Darkness
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, April 24th
    Minus the Bear
    The Coathangers
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, April 25th
    Sofi Tukker
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, April 25th
    Kate Nash
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, April 26th
    Matt & Kim
    Tokyo Police Club
    Future Feats
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, April 27th
    They Might Be Giants
    @ the House of Blues


    Saturday, April 28th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    performing both of the
    "Substance" collections by
    Joy Division & New Order
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday & Sunday
    April 28th & 29th
    Turnover
    Camp Cope
    Summer Salt
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, April 30th
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    Makeness
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, May 1st
    No Age
    Behavior
    @ Once Somerville


    Tuesday, May 1st
    Soccer Mommy
    Long Beard
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, May 1st
    Calexico
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 2nd
    Frankie Cosmos
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 2nd
    Dr. Dog
    Son Little
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, May 3rd
    Haim
    Lizzo
    @ Agganis Arena


    Thursday, May 3rd
    Hop Along
    Saintseneca
    @ the Royale


    Friday, May 4th
    The Breeders
    @ the House of Blues


    Friday, May 4th
    Panda Bear
    Geologist
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 6th
    Loma
    (mems of Cross Record & Shearwater)
    Jessica Williamson
    @ Great Scott


    Monday, May 7th
    Sloan
    DJ Carbo
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, May 7th
    Hinds
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, May 8th
    Trampled By Turtles
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ House of Blues


    Thursday, May 10th
    This Will Destroy You
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, May 11th
    Power Trip
    Sheer Mag
    Fury
    Red Death
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 13th
    Wye Oak
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 13th
    Melvins
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, May 16th
    Editors
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, May 18th
    Jonathan Davis
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, May 18th
    The Fratellis
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, May 19th
    Damien Jurado
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, May 20th
    King Tuff
    Cut Worms
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, May 22nd
    Helmet
    Prong
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, May 22nd
    Suuns
    Facs
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, May 22nd
    Jukebox the Ghost
    The Greeting Committee
    @ the Royale


    Tuesday, May 29th
    Post Animal
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, May 29th
    Primus
    Mastodon
    All Them Witches
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday & Saturday
    June 1st & 2nd
    Japanese Breakfast
    LVL UP
    Radiator Hospital
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday & Monday
    June 3rd & 4th
    Ben Harper &
    Charlie Musselwhite
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, June 5th
    Middle Kids
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, June 8th
    Nathaniel Rateliff
    & the Night Sweats
    with Deer Tick
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, June 8th
    Eels
    @ House of Blues


    Saturday, June 9th
    Depeche Mode
    @ TD Garden


    Monday, June 11th
    Jimmy Eat World
    Alex Lahey
    @ House of Blues


    Tuesday, June 12th
    Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, June 14th
    King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
    @ the Royale


    Monday, June 18th
    Chromeo
    Pomo
    @ House of Blues


    Tuesday, June 26th
    Southern Culture on the Skids
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday & Wednesday
    June 26th & June 27th
    Frank Turner &
    the Sleeping Souls
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, June 27th
    Styx
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    Tesla
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 3rd
    Phoenix
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, July 6th
    Steve Miller Band
    Peter Frampton
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Erasure
    Reed & Caroline
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, July 17th
    Weezer
    Pixies
    Sleigh Bells
    @ Xfinity Center


    Saturday & Sunday
    July 21st & 22nd
    Foo Fighters
    @ Fenway Park


    Saturday, July 28th
    Sleep
    @ the Royale


    Saturday & Sunday
    July 28th & 29th
    Radiohead
    @ TD Garden


    Tuesday, July 31st &
    Wednesday, August 1st
    David Byrne
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, August 3rd
    Jeff Beck
    & Paul Rodgers
    + Ann Wilson (Heart)
    @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion


    Friday, August 10th
    Pedro the Lion
    H.C. McEntire
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, August 10th
    Billy Joel
    @ Fenway Park


    Saturday, August 11th
    Journey & Def Leppard
    with Cheap Trick
    @ Fenway Park


    Sunday & Tuesday
    September 2nd & 4th
    Pearl Jam
    @ Fenway Park