My Top Stuff of 2009

Now that it is so late that no one could possibly care, I thought maybe I’d get around to posting this.

Every year I make ludicrously long lists that nobody has the time or patience to get through; this year is no different. With more lists! Keep in mind that I’m never claiming that these are the “best” of any year. They were just my favorites…stuff I loved. There is no objective scale for grading art; my reactions are all I have to go on. So there!

2009 was the first year of my life that was actually a cohesive Year – I had the same jobs the whole year, lived in the same apartment the whole year – switched roommates a zillion times but not on the midyear schedule that would have been normal up to this point thanks to the school system making a Year typically end in May or June rather than December. I’m an adult! So maybe these lists have more cohesion than my last few have. Then again, maybe not.

top 10 albums of 2009:

1. why?-eskimo snow

2. the mountain goats-the life of the world to come

3. casiotone for the painfully alone-vs. children

4. childish gambino-poindexter

5. harlem shakes-technicolor health

6. pomegranates-everybody, come outside!

7. john vanderslice-romanian names

8. david bazan-curse your branches

9. discovery-lp

10. phoenix-wolfgang amadaeus phoenix

15 more (not in order):

dead man’s bones-s/t

phosphorescent-to willie

mono-hymn to the immortal wind

matt and kim-grand

edward sharpe & the magnetic zeroes-up from below

kid cudi-man on the moon: the end of the day

antony and the johnsons-crying light

julie doiron-i can wonder what you did with your day

dirty projectors-bitte orca

grizzly bear-veckatimest


city center-s/t



woods-songs of shame

This list is missing a lot. Some of my FAVORITE FAVORITE artists released albums this year that I’m sure I’ll eventually LOVE, but for some reason just haven’t gotten to give them the time they deserve yet. I’m looking at you, Mew, Health, Megafaun, Bill Callahan, Firs, Flaming Lips, Liars, The Thermals, Beach House, Themselves, (Wooden) Wand, St. Vincent, Barzin, YACHT, Throw Me The Statue, Jeremy Enigk, Jeffrey Lewis, Deer Tick, Atlas Sound, Mount Eerie, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Sigur Ros, Royksopp, The Boy Least Likely To, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Asobi Seksu, Malajube, Junior Boys, The Whitest Boy Alive, MSTRKRFT, The Juan Maclean, Yo La Tengo, and Mum. WHOA GEEZ what was my problem in 2009!!!!

top eps/singles:


brunettes-red rollerskates ep

mountain goats+john vanderslice-moon colony bloodbath

social studies-the hourglass

burial & four tet-moth/wolf cub

we became actors-this is where we started

top compliations:

dark was the night

score! 20 years of merge recs: the covers!

casiotone for the painfully alone-advance base battery life

odd nosdam-t.i.m.e. sdtrk

top comedy albums:

john mulaney-the top part

paul f thompkins-freak wharf

eugene mirman-god is a 12 year old boy with asperger’s

the lonely island-incredibad

top 11 songs:

the national & st vincent – sleep all summer (crooked fingers cover)

childish gambino ft. dc pierson – starlight

matt & kim – daylight

kid cudi – pursuit of happiness (nightmare) ft. mgmt & ratatat

casiotone for the painfully alone – white jetta

why? – this blackest purse

edward sharpe & the magnetic zeroes – home

the mountain goats – genesis 3:23

phosphorescent – reasons to quit (willie nelson cover)

dead man’s bones – in the room where you sleep

harlem shakes – strictly game

top shows (concerts):

1. david byrne @prospect park 6.8

2. why? @le poisson rouge 9.26

3. mono @bell house 9.29

4. calvin johnson, ian svenonius (&city center but i missed their set) @92ytribeca 4.17

5. pomegranates, french kicks @bell house 2.21

6. wild moccasins, the loom, cotton jones @union hall 6.20

7. extraordinaires, tavo carbone @union pool 8.17

8. john vanderslice, john darnielle @wordless show, society for ethical culture 2.27

9. suburban kids with biblical names, afternoon naps, icicles @nyc popfest, cake shop 5.17

10. they might be giants @prospect park 7.11

14 more (not in order):

casiotone for the painfully alone, cryptacize @market hotel 7.3

starfucker, mancino @union hall 4.22

pelle carlberg, the drums @union hall 5.30

polka dot dot dot @sidewalk cafe 1.7

the wrens @bell house 4.10

brunettes, throw me the statue @mercury lounge 9.2

black moth super rainbow @seaport 7.24

we became actors @cross-pollination, pianos 7.28

midtown dickens @sidewalk cafe 9.6

brazos, white denim @music hall of williamsburg 11.12

seth kallen, wheat, tally hall @union hall 2.12

ladybug transistor @union hall 8.27

owen @union hall 10.10

woodpecker!, menage a twang @union hall 8.23

top 10 movies:

1. adventureland

2. where the wild things are

3. fantastic mr fox

4. brothers bloom

5. mystery team

6. away we go

7. a serious man

8. big fan

9. a single man

10. inglourious basterds

27 more I loved (roughly in order now, but I change the order every day in my head, so they’re not numbered):

beautiful losers

paper heart





the road


still walking



medicine for melancholy


broken embraces

taking woodstock

the limits of control

pirate radio


anvil! the story of anvil

rudo y cursi

white material


i love you man

don’t let me drown

an education


district 9

saw these filmmakers/actors in person promoting their stuff:

mystery team (derrick comedy minus donald glover: dc pierson, dominic dierkes, meggie mcfadden, dan eckman)

white material (director claire denis and a few of the actors did a q&a , then the next day saw her ‘in conversation’ with noah baumbach…also jim jarmusch was there)

dazzle (director cyrus frisch did a q&a)

cold souls (director sophie barthes did a q&a)

rudo y cursi (gael garcia bernal, diego luna, carlos cuaron ‘in conversation’ at the apple store)

teeth (director mitchell lichtenstein did a q&a at a sunshine midnight screening)

deadgirl (co-director gadi harel did a q&a)

don’t let me drown (director cruz angeles and the teen actors introduced the movie. also my good friend timothy thomas cleary contributed music and was there…as was robert redford)

Coolest soundtracks/scores (not in order):

Where The Wild Things Are – Karen O and the Kids

Mystery Team – MCDJ/Childish Gambino/Donald Glover

Don’t Let Me Drown – Timothy Thomas Cleary

The Limits of Control – Boris

Pirate Radio – 60s britpop

Adventureland – 80s indie rock/synthpop

Medicine for Melancholy – melancholic indie pop

There are still a few 2009 movies that I need to catch up on, but I’m making this the cutoff: if I didn’t see them by now, it’ll be too late to make the list retroactively. So sorry, The White Ribbon, Police, Adjective, Crazy Heart, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnarssus, Little Ashes, Disgrace, The Hurt Locker, In the Loop, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Women In Trouble, New York I Love You, Dare, Precious, The Vicious Kind, and My Son My Son What Have Ye Done. (and Mother, Trash Humpers, and Life During Wartime which I missed at the NYFF but I don’t think they’ve even had a limited release yet). BUT they’ll have a chance of showing up on this one next year:

Movies/TV shows I saw for the first time in 2009 that came out earlier, but have since become some of my Favorites:

the wrestler


forgetting sarah marshall

the tv set

they shoot horses, don’t they?



synechdoche, ny

breakin’ 2: electric boogaloo

young frankenstein, blazing saddles


boogie nights

the price of milk

soldier’s girl

waltz with bashir

the counterfeiters

barton fink

saw my first mumblecore movies (puffy chair, baghead, humpday) and liked ’em

hitchhikers guide to the galaxy (the tv show)

veronica mars

the state (finally released on dvd)

twin peaks

friday night lights

the life & times of tim

Also my favorite comedy shows I saw (not in order):

live taping of conan o’brien with judah friedlander 2.9

eugene mirman ‘the will to whatevs’ book release show @bell house -with eugene, david cross, john hodgman, kristen schaal, paul f. thompkins, and mr. brownstone 2.10

yacht rock viewing party with the cast @bell house 2.27

michael showalter radio happy hour @le poisson rouge 7.11

michael & michael have issues premiere party @bell house 7.15

the state show @bell house 10.1 – it was really just michaels showalter and ian black and david wain, and they showed clips from the CBS special, played clips from the (soon to be released??) CD and did a little bit of goofing around.

tearing the veil of maya 3rd anniversary show @bell house with john mulaney, eugene, larry murphy, jon glaser as ‘the man in the green mask’ and a kid michael jackson cover band 7.19

the rejection show – book release show for jon friedman’s book ‘rejected’ which became a regular show after this one (pretty sure this was the first). david wain, dave hill, sara schaefer and a bunch of other people read stories @bell house 1.27

whiplash – always lovely but I think my favorite was with baron vaughn and wyatt cenac, @UCB 12.15

big terrific – my first one with gabe liedman ‘n’ jenny slate, max silvestri, matt mccarthy, eugene mirman, pete holmes, kumail nanjiani @cameo gallery 10.21

RISK! hosted by kevin allison @arlene’s grocery – all 4 i went to were fantastic but i particularly loved the one 9.24 with samm levine. joe mande, adam wade, rachel dratch, dave hill, tim ellis and the guy with the kangaroo hunting story all also gave particularly memorable performances on their dates.

eugene mirman comedy festival @bell house 9.17-20 – all the shows i saw but particularly ‘the comedians of law and order’ feat. ad miles, michael showalter, baron vaughn, tom shillue, zak orth, eddie peppitone, jim gaffigan AND also ’10 drink minimum’ that was just a nakedly honest storytelling hour, most memorably by michael showalter and sillily by tony v, hosted by marc maron. Also highlights: daniel kitson, john oliver, reggie watts, kumail nanjiani, hannibal buress, leo allen, todd barry, a cardboard vip booth, and a free ride in a hummer limo to atlantic center and back with complimentary cream soda.

OH ALSO jon benjamin and larry murphy did a pretty amazing anti-comedy aftershow thing (at EMCF) called ‘the perfect storm’ at midnight one night in front of like 15 people in pitch blackness…they made morgan murphy do a set while she lay on her back onstage. matt braunger and hannibal also made some weird attempts at midnight drunk standup. the most weirdly memorable comedy show i’ve ever seen. oh yeah and they invited me onstage (i genuinely forgot that until i typed it) then backstage where i was handed a beer and shown the lobster available on the table. they also provided ‘commentary’ for about the first 10 minutes of the movie ‘the perfect storm’ in boston accents, and danced to a techno song with glow sticks. that one actually wins. best show of the year.

And favorite new tv shows:

1. party down

2. bored to death

3. community

4. delocated

5. parks & recreation (especially season 2 – but season 1 started in ’09 too)

6. eastbound & down

7. the league

Man, congratulations to donald glover for the freakin’ Hat Trick of hitting my Top 5 albums (Childish Gambino), Top 5 movies (Mystery Team), AND Top 5 new TV shows (Community). Way to make the rest of us look bad, dude.

a few other odds and ends:

tv show that almost totally blew my goodwill toward it and ruined my deep love for its earlier episodes by recycling almost EVERY good joke it’s ever made: scrubs : (

best old album i got super into: lou reed-transformer

Okay. Sorry for my haphazard capitalization (and everything else). I guess I listened to less music and watched more movies this year than I have in years past. I’ve kept up with the personal rule that artists I’ve worked with can’t make it onto the top albums/shows list, because how could I possibly rank them against each other, but Hidden People, Tereu Tereu, Sean Walsh, Big Bang TV, and Girls In Trouble: you all have 100% of my heart. What a good first year for The Band Mom!


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