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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2009: My Favorite Music

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...

featured mp3 download
neil halstead
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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