First, a confession. From the time I started to purchase my own music, around 1985 until 1990, when I moved out of my parents’ house, I found myself hiding a lot of what I listened to from them. I knew that some of the recordings that I had developed a liking for – works by Public Enemy, Metallica, Ratt, Iron Maiden, The Cult, 24-7 Spyz, amongst others – would not be approved by my parents, and (as long as I was living under their roof) be effectively banned. So I developed a variety of techniques for concealment – when it came to LP’s and CD’s, I would hide the illicit recordings within the dust jackets / CD cases of the ones that were on the “approved” list. I discarded casette cases as soon as I bought them and hid the tapes themselves in various places. When I wanted to create a mixtape that contained the Bad stuff, I’d sneak down to the living room and use my father’s dual-deck tape recorder late at night or early in the morning, at least until I got my own.

I mention this not to brag about it, but to highlight how big of a deal it was for me when I left home close to my 21st birthday, musically and otherwise. Not having to hide any of the music that I listened to meant that I was free to more fully explore the musical landscapes around me and develop my own personal tastes and styles more openly. During the lean months right after I left home, when I was pretty much living paycheck-to-paycheck working as a machinist in a local foundry, I wasn’t able to take advantage of this newly found freedom, but a few months later, when I moved out to Alameda, California on Uncle Sam’s dime, I found myself a bit more able to look around.

And look around I did! I made weekly excursions to Amoebas and Rasputin Music in Berkeley and San Francisco (amongst other places), poring through their used bins, always on the lookout for finds. Occasionally I would find newly released recordings in the used bins, sold back after the previous owner had recorded the songs to cassette. After 4+ years in the Bay Area, my collection had gotten to the point to where I needed almost 4 of the 200 CD capacity Case Logic carriers, and I had amassed quite a few LPs as well.

This week’s entries consist of some of the groups that I had found during my years in the Navy, 1990 – 1997:

  • Smashing Pumpkins: Appels + Oranjes – I don’t know when I started listening to this group, or who introduced me to them. I just remember that at some point prior to 1994 I had found out about this group and was determined to get everything that they had released up to that point. I lost touch with the group around 1997, but thanks to a particularly fortuitous MP3 download party and the Seattle Public Library, I’m pretty much back on track.
  • Aimee Mann: Fifty Years after the fair – I really liked Aimee Mann when she was with ’till Tuesday, particularly “Everything’s Different Now”, so I was pretty gratified when (a) she sang backing vocals on Rush’s “Time Stand Still”, and (b) she went solo. She’s one of the more consistant artists that I currently keep up with.
  • Ministry: Filth Pig – I discovered Ministry right around the time they released “Psalm 69″, and was pretty much instantly blown away. I have pretty much everything that they released from “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste” onwards. I prefer their Industrial Metal / Thrash phase to their synthpop offerings of the 80’s.
  • Johnny Cash: Hurt – Ever since I first started listening to him in 1992, I’ve found that Johnny Cash is probably the only male country artist that I will ever admit to liking. That’s probably due to the fact that, at least in my mind, he was ever so willing to go outside of the box both musically, as his drop-dead wonderful rendition of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt” shows, and socially. I was first turned onto his music after a magazine article gave his very first “American Recordings” extremely positive reviews.
  • Front 242: Serial Killers Don’t Kill Their Girlfriends – One of my old roommates introduced me to Front 242 back in 1991.I particularly liked “06:21:03:11 UP EVIL” and “05:22:09:12 OFF” as a whole, although I do like portions of some of their earlier recordings. I really haven’t kept up with this group past the late-90’s.
  • Cocteau Twins: Pitch the Baby – I remember hearing this song while I was at a upscale pizzeria on South Street in Philadelphia called Vezzo’s. That restaurant was one of the first off-basse places that I had visited during my time at HT “A” School; I was taken in by the ambiance, and the fact that they had Cocteau Twins playing on the jukebox certainly added to it! I frequented that establishment pretty regularly during the 3+ months I was in Philly, and actually made a couple of friends there.
  • Butthole Surfers: The Shame of Life – I first heard this group at the first Lollapalooza festival in Mountain View, CA back in 1992. What impressed me was the fact that there was this gargantuan lead singer in a cowboy hat who came strolling out onto the stage, takes a couple of swigs of beer, fires off a few rounds from his shotgun into the air, and then proceeds to yell into a megaphone while the band behind him is getting busy laying down one smoking track after another. The sheer weirdness took me in, and I remember scouring Bay-Area record stores for their CD’s armed with a copy of “Trouser Press” for reference.
  • Fishbone: Swim – I remember being curious about this group, finally getting a copy of “Truth and Soul” back in 1993, which I still consider to be their best release yet. My shipmates onboard the USS Samuel Gompers would groan every time I played a Fishbone CD, but I was having fun :)

Favorite this week:
This week, I’m choosing Pitch The Baby from the Cocteau Twins. They were the very first group that I started to eagerly seek out in my post-parents-house life, and, in many ways, they represent a sort of first love for me. Until this day, I can still hear Elizabeth Fraser’s voice coming from the Jukebox as I take my first tentative steps into a new place, welcoming me into a new life.

Sometimes, random does not appear to be so random, especially when one is choosing from extremely finite data sets. Case in point: the offerings for this “week” include both a mash-up from Wax Audio and one of its’ sources:

  • Groove Armada – At the River
  • Smashing Pumpkins – Crush
  • Public Image Limited – Ease
  • Metallica vs. Punjabi MC – Metallica Goes to Punjab [Wax Audio]
  • Great Lake Swimmers – Moving,Shaking
  • Punjabi MC – Mundian To Bach Ke
  • Basehead – Pass the thought
  • Sound Tribe Sector 9 – ReEmergence
  • Lionel Ritchie – Sail on

The winner:
This part isn’t so random. Seeing as how both the mashup Metallica Goes to Punjab and one of its’ primary sources, Mundian To Bach Ke from Punjabi MC were included this week, I’ve decided to post them both. Enjoy!

I have a lot of code up on GitHub here. Basically, these are a bunch of Java modules that have been created with the intent of easing certain aspects of Web Application development. Currently, these include the following:

  • Common – This module contains reusable components for consumption by other modules and applications.
  • ConfigurationEnabled – This module allows several identically named properties to exist in the same property file delineated only by a contextual family.
  • ContextEnabled – This module is meant to provide the interface for (and default implantation of) a thread-safe application context that can be shared between classes running within a single application.
  • Decorator – This module provides one with the ability to decorate particular class fields directly using standard reflection.
  • HttpCookieEnabled – This module is designed to remove some of the boilerplate code around setting cookies that are required in order for a certain web application to function.
  • HttpSessionEnabled – This module is designed to remove some of the boilerplate code around setting session attributes that are required in order for a certain web application to function.
  • HttpSiteEnabled – This module is designed to remove some of the boilerplate code around getting and setting various attributes and capabilities that are to be made available globally within the context of a web application.
  • SpringEnabled – By importing this module, you get a pre-built set of dependencies suitable for building most Spring-based applications. Post-processing annotations and default bean definitions are also available through this module.

As with all such things in the Java WebApp world, some of these modules are more useful than others; for instance, if you are using Spring, chances are you won’t need Decorator. Some aspects of Spring Web-MVC may negate the need for ContextEnabled.

Currently, this project is at version 1.1.0. I’m working on a 1.1.1, which will feature some bugfixes and documentation updates. I have something of a roadmap for this project on a Trello board. If you are curious about what I am up to or would like to help me out with this project (or would like to start using certain aspects of it yourself), please shoot me an email.

Thanks!

This “week” I’m presenting music from groups that I would have liked to have seen live. Some of these groups, such as Front 242, King’s X, Stewart Copeland, PIL, Fishbone and Ministry, are ones that I have been listening to since the late 80’s – early 90’s. For some of these groups, such as Ministry, Public Image Limited, Bob Mould and 24-7 Spyz, the prospect of me ever seeing them live is an exercise in wishful thinking. It is quite possible that I could, at some point, be able to see Michael Franti, The Roots, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Fishbone or The Aquabats live.

  • Front 242 – Skin Fur Coat
  • The Aquabats – Tiger Rider vs. The Time Spinner!
  • Carolina Chocclate Drops – Escoutas [Diga Diga Diga]
  • Michael Franti – I’ll be Waiting
  • Stewart Copeland – Screaming Lord Cole and the Comanches
  • The Roots – ? Vs. Rahzel
  • 24-7 Spyz – Love and Peace
  • Ministry – Just One Fix
  • King’s X – She’s Gone Away
  • Bob Mould – Argos
  • Fishbone – Mighty Long Way
  • Public Image Limited – Seattle

The winner this week:
Escoutas by the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Updated:
I’m breaking from tradition this week and uploading a second fave, Seattle from Public Image Limited. Fitting second choice, seeing as how this song is named after my new hometown :)

My last “Song of the Week” post mostly featured songs from my Cafe collection. Todays offerings are randomly pulled using this handy Python script that I generated for this purpose. One gold star if you can understand it, two if you can offer improvements :)

This weeks offerings:
* Big Country – Chance
* Rush – Face Up
* Midnight Oil – Golden Age
* Cowboy Troy – Hick Chick
* Ministry – Life is Good
* The Pixies – Planet of Sound
* The Unlimited Dream Company – The Shore Gardens
* Tectronic Lipstick – This New Dream
* The Smashing Pumpkins – To Sheila

And the winner is:
Cowboy Troy’s Hick Chick. I mean c’mon – Country Rap with more than a bit of Thrash mixed in? What’s not to love about this song? :)

I am way behind in these postings. The course of the past month has seen me busy at work, sick, various family members sick, and the like. So it’s my intent to post as often as I can until I get caught up. So without further ado, here are this weeks contestants:

  • Sugar – The Act We Act
  • King’s X – I Just Want to live
  • The Clash – Lost in the Supermarket
  • Dream Factorum – Lazy Day
  • Boozoo Bajou – Moanin’
  • Living Colour – Nothingness
  • Judas Priest – Last Rose of Summer
  • Benji Candelro & Arnold Jarvis – Learn to Give (Eric Kupper Trumpet Dub)
  • The Ting Tings – Day to Day

This “week”, I’ll go with Lost in the Supermarket by The Clash as my favorite.

After having done “themed” posts for the past few weeks, I decided to let my nifty randmonizing script do its’ work and see what it came up with. If anything, I do like to listen to a good range of music :)

This week’s candidates:

  • Adam and the Ants: Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios. I first got turned on to this group in the mid-80’s when I was in high school. I’ll thank MTV for introducing me to these guys.
  • Cat Stevens: Tuesday’s Dead. This comes directly from Carrie’s collection :)
  • Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas. I remember hearing this song for the first time at a bar on South Street when I was in Phillidelphia almost 25 years ago. It’s something how time flies.
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out. A favorite from my childhood (way back when…)
  • DJ Shadow: Giving up the Ghost. I was turned onto DJ Shadow by a fellow classmate while I was attending the University of Washington. I acquired this release during a wi-fi sharing party towards the end of my first year in the Informatics program.
  • LTJ Bukem: Viewpoint. I discovered LTJ Bukem during my time in Hawaii. I was sent a sampler CD by the now-defunct Revolutions magazine that contained an abbreviated version of one of his songs, and I was so impressed I went to a music store in Aiea and bought the CD. It’s a shame that (at least to my knowledge) he’s only released a single CD’s worth of original material.
  • Ministry: Rio Grande Blood. This is another group that I started listening to when I was in the Navy.
  • Noah and the Whale: Five Years Time. I forget when and where I first heard this song – I’m thinking that it must have been fairly recently, within the past three or so years.

Winner:
This week I’m going with the more upbeat (sounding) Tuesday’s Dead by Cat Stevens.

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