Wednesday Aug 27, 2008

♪ What I'm listening to this week... ♪

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I have been super busy these last few weeks on all thing JavaFX and have been either in meetings or heads down plugging through a very long list of things I need to do. Last week I had the amazing opportunity to record a podcast with Eric Klein and James Gosling. We talked all things Java and we found out some very cool information from James. You can listen to this episode and all episodes here. Ok...back to the subject at hand. ;)  Music is definitely keeping me sane through all of this hecticness and I have been listening to LOTS. I thought I would once again feature a list of artists and bands who have been filling my days with sweet sounds so far this week:

1. Greg Laswell - Three Flights from Alto Nido and Through Toledo (I have been lovin' me some Greg Laswell lately!) 

2. Jeff Buckley - Grace (I adore Jeff Buckley...sad that we lost him way too soon and Grace is just one of those albums that will never grow old) 

3. Travis - Something Anything (from their forthcoming album, Ode to J.Smith... cannot wait for the new album to come out) 

4. Radiohead - In Rainbows (they were at the Outside Lands Music Festival last weekend in San Francisco and they just blew up the place!)

5.  Chris Bell - I Am the Cosmos (another loss way too soon and altho this album was mostly written in 1974 (but wasn't published until 1992, I still think it sounds absolutely modern) 

6.  Ryan Adams - Love is Hell, Pt. 1 and 2  (I am pretty much a fan of anything Mr. Adams does) 

7.  Stereophonics - Language. S\*x. Violence. Other? - (they are hitting San Francisco next month..I can not wait to rock out with them..its been way too long!) 

8. M.I.A. - Kala (when I want to get funky) 

9. David Bowie - Best of Bowie (I have been rocking our to Suffragette, do I love that song!)  

10. Minibar - Desert After Rain (what list is complete without some love for my Minibar boys...this album is always in heavy rotation) 

In other exciting news, Pete is in the studio recording a new album! Earlier this summer, PY was in Salem, Oregon recording an album with the ever incredible Frank Black (yes, that Frank Black of Pixies) and is now currently in the studio in Omaha, Nebraska working on his new album (with Bright Eyes guru Mike Mogis). In a blog post earlier this week, his myspace said "stay tuned for more updates and NEW EXPLORATIONS IN MUSIC coming soon!" That last bit makes me super stoked to see what he has in store for us!  

One more thing before I sign off..make sure to head over to Heidi's blog to see what yummy recipe she has for us this week...she never tells me what they are, but am always pleasantly surprised with what she picked!! So far, with what I have made, they are all A+! 

Ok..I am off to conquer more of my to do's... enjoy your day! :-D


Monday Jul 07, 2008

Java + MUSIC

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all had a good weekend. Mine was spent in beautiful Lake Tahoe and I had a lovely time. I am back in full swing with lots happening in the JavaFX world that I am excited to share with all of you soon. I was browsing around this morning looking for a bit of inspiration to blog about and I stumbled upon aTunes is a full-featured audio player and organizer AND it's developed in the Java programming language. How sweet is that? aTunes supports mp3s, ogg, wma, wav, flack and mp4 files and allows users to edit tags, organize music, rip audio cds and as an added bonus it also offers radio streaming. And..what's even cooler is that it is all built on open source software. For a full list of features and benefits, go here. I will definitely be playing around with this new player this week, so look for me to review more about it soon. I love new toys that involve music. Off to check it out now. Enjoy your day! :-D






Wednesday Jul 02, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

Hello everyone! I am heading off to Lake Tahoe for the holiday weekend later tonight, but I wanted to quickly leave you with my artist of the week. This will probably come as no surprise that I am going to feature the likes of the boys of Minibar. After being blessed with seeing them live and performing all my favorite songs last week, I figured I needed give them props once again and get all of you listening to them as soon as possible. I am actually going to feature one of Simon Petty's side projects, Solomon's Seal in this post because I think the song, "Sleeping In the Car" is gorgeous. Simon's voice can get you lost in a sea of beautiful lyrics, gorgeous vocals and musical prose. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do and I am working on getting the boys up to San Francisco as soon as possible. Until they come to your neck and my neck of the woods again, enjoy the song and of course enjoy your day! :-D 


Wednesday Jun 11, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

Happy Wednesday everyone! It's that time of the week to introduce you to my artist of the week. Today, I am here to tell you all about Patrick Park.  

The Colorado native is one of those singer/songwriters where creativity comes from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. He doesn't purr out the lyrics; he sings them in full voice, putting everything he has into every single word. He doesn't agonize over his music. He just makes it. You can tell Park's influences are the likes of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan (and I am sure, many more!).  I was reading his website earlier today and I read something that just made sense about him and his music: "His songs teem with dramatic tension, vivid character sketches and fitful visions of inner turmoil." Park explains "The most beautiful and magical thing any song has to offer, is how it affects the listener, how they relate it to their own life." He goes on to say "I also don't know what I would want to open myself up that much and actually say what these songs are about. It's hard enough to put them out there sometimes. all of them were written with the hope that there would be a better day. I don't know if that coms across or not."

While living in CA, Park started playing solo shows in LA, and the local press soon picked up on his talent. Shortly after, he would start to open for other artists such as Gomez and Beth Orton.  At that time, Hollywood Records also took notice and signed Patrick.  Park released 'Loneliness Knows My Name' in 2004 and immediately hit the road to tour with David Gray, Liz Phair, The Polyphonic Spree, The Thrills, Grandaddy (all amazing talents as well) and more. From that album, "Something Pretty" caught my ears by a melody so sweet that I was immediately drawn in and have been a big fan ever since. I am excited that he will be playing the Fillmore this coming Friday with Augustana and I will be there front and center enjoy the sweet melodies from both of them. Enjoy the video for the song that made me a Patrick Park fan and enjoy your day! :) 

Thursday Jun 05, 2008 in a Box

Yesterday,  announced a major expansion to its “offsite community” strategy by partnering with a range of social networks and other online destinations to distribute the site’s ad-supported streaming radio service.

Dubbed “ in a Box”, the service will be made available to “multiple online platforms”, including Bebo,, Break Media, CBS Television Stations, CBS Affiliates, eMusic, Frengo, Gigya, iGoogle, Live Nation, Meebo,, Netvibes, Ning, Pageflakes, Photobucket, Piczo, Six Apart, Stardoll, and, according to the press release. Although none of the partner efforts are yet to go live — since the ink has only just dried — I read that each ‘ in a Box’ offering will be customized and integrated into partner sites “in a bespoke manner”. In other words, ‘ in a Box’ is both a strategy and a platform (backed up by a bunch of APIs), rather than simply a one size fits all widget.


Wednesday Jun 04, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

It's that time of week everyone! I haven't featured a new artist of the week in awhile, so I couldn't go this week without introducing you the amazing talent that is Joseph Arthur. Prior to making it in the music world, Joseph was recording home demos, playing local Atlanta clubs and working at Clark Music Store. As luck should have it, Peter Gabriel's A&R associate Harvey Schwartz was presenting him with some new artists at his apartment in New York City around that very same time. One of the demo tapes belonged to Joseph's first EP 'Cut and Blind'. Once Gabriel heard the lyrics to "History", he repeated the line "your history acts as your gravity" over and over, realizing the talented songwriter was a great fit for his label Real World RecordsBoth he and Schwartz arranged a live audition in NYC, where Arthur flew up from Atlanta. The night was clearly a success as Gabriel had enlisted friend Lou Reed to record the show. Within a few months Arthur was signed, and recording for his debut album began at Gabriel's Real World Studios with producer Marcus Dravs (experimental Bjork engineer). The debut album 'Big City Secrets' was released worldwide in March 1997. Two years later, Joseph recorded an EP called 'Vacany', which earned him a Grammy nomination for best artistic packaging. One of my favorite albums by Arthur is his 2002 release of 'Redemption Son'. The song "Honey and the Moon" entangled me from the first few guitar riffs and I have been entranced with Arthur since. I couldn't find the actual video for the song, but here is a tribute to one of my favorite actresses and fashion icons, Audrey Hepburn, set to the song that started it all for me. Enjoy the tribute, enjoy the song, enjoy Joseph Arthur, and of course, enjoy the day! :-D



Friday Apr 18, 2008

♪ keep on rockin' in a free world ♪

Last week, I introduced all of you to Pete Yorn and told you that he would be joining fellow rockers on stage at the Troubadour for the Justice Tour. The show sold out in a few hours and the place was jam packed waiting to hear all the boys rock out on stage. Pete sang three of his own songs, including a new one, 'Shot Gun'. I was fortunate to have heard it previously when he did a show at another legendary LA venue, The Roxy Theatreback in December for another great causeThe Spectrum Program at New Roads School. I really like Shot Gun...its a darker and emotionally raw, I'm really looking forward to the studio version of it to come out soon. But...back to the show itself...the show featured early acoustic performances by Tom Morello, Pete Yorn, Jerry Cantrell and MC5's, Wayne Kramer. Morello acted as master of ceremonies and orchestrating the chaos. After warming the crowd up, Morello then brought out what would serve as the core of the evening’s house band: Travis Barker on drums, Flea playing bass and a rotating line-up of Steve Vai, Slash, Dave Navarro, Davey Havoc and Morello sharing guitar duties. The team backed up Cantrell for a version of Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak' and rocked out on covers of Rihanna's 'Umbrella' and Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition.' The culmination of the night, for me, was when Pete was joined on stage by the rest of the boys to cover Neil Young's 'Keep on Rockin' In A Free World'...luckily, someone captured it on YouTube and now all of you can enjoy it too! It was great to see Pete lead on that song and to watch him rock out! The show was amazing and it helped raise a lot of money and awareness for PATH. Enjoy the clip and get ready to rock out with them! Also, look for the Justice Tour hitting cities across the US...each stop will benefit a different charitable organization and will feature different guest rockers. How hot is that?! 

Wednesday Apr 02, 2008

♪ artist of the week. ♪

It's that time again! This week I am introducing you to some of my favorite people on the planet. I have had the immense pleasure getting to know the boys from Minibar and they my readers, are my pick of the week. Formed in London in the mid-'90s by Simon Petty (vocals, guitar), Sid Jordan (bass, vocals) Tim Walker (electric guitar, vocals, pedal steel), and Sir Malcolm Cross (drums, vocals, percussion) they soon relocated to L.A. where they quickly became music to my ears. I can not tell you how many times I have listened to their albums on repeat these past few weeks as I am working on all my deliverables for JavaOne. Which, BTW, we have some very, very cool things planned. Stay tuned here for little tidbits and snippets of things we have been working on for you. Ah.. but let me get you back to Minibar... I am including one of their music videos, "Crime Scene Ribbon" for you all to enjoy from their latest record, Desert After Rain.

AND...if you can't get enough of the Minibar boys, you can check out Simon and Sid as they will playing tonight in San Diego and tomorrow in Los Angeles as part of The British Empire Tour. The Bristish Empire Tour is a collective of singer/songwriters who hail from current and former parts of the british empire. Playing with Simon and Sid are Ted Brown, Seth Rothschild and Greg Johnson. They will be coming to the bay area as well as traveling across the US this spring/summer, so if they are in your neck of the woods, go and check them out! Your ears will thank you once again. Enjoy the music!

Wednesday Mar 26, 2008

♪ Artist of the week. ♪

Being that I am really into music and I have this lovely forum to subject all of you to what I think is cool, hip and happening right now, I thought I would launch a weekly "check out this artist" blog. This week finds me getting back into the live music scene after having a brief hiatus post SXSW. I have two great shows I will be checking out this week and both shows have me going to one of my favorite San Francisco venues, The Great American Music Hall. Seeing that I am seeing this person on Friday evening, I have decided to feature the ever enigmatic, Teddy Thompson today. Music is in Teddy's blood. His parents are British folk rock legends, Rich and Linda Thompson and music has been in his world since pre-birth. His latest album, Up Front and Down Low is something I suggest everyone listen to and buy. He has one of the most unique and beautiful voices that sucks you in and leaves you speechless. While Teddy's music has been featured in films, I was only recently turned onto him by a dear friend who lives far away in Cupcakeville (shout out!).  I am so glad I am finally going to be able to check him out live and in one of my favorite places. Look for a quick snapshot of the evening next week, but until then, this is my artist pick of the week. Enjoy!

Monday Mar 24, 2008

Music To My Ears?

Since I have been home for my latest travels and with work getting into all things JavaOne, I haven't been able to really sit down and read through my stacks of magazines I subscribe to...and when I say stacks, I mean stacks! There's Rollingstone, Spin, Paste, Paper, Lucky, Domino, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, Vogue, NME and a few others that I am sure to be missing.

Being that it was a gorgeous Saturday, I grabbed my latest Rollingstone and headed out to the local park to catch some rays and catch up on some much needed music news. Thumbing through, I ran across an article by Robert Levine about the current state of music and how its delivered to us. It brought me back to SXSW once again to Lou Reed's keynote on the opening day of the music portion of the festival. I have been a huge fan of Lou's since I can remember (one of the first albums I ever bought with my own money was The Velvet Underground and Nico ;) so after a late night of listening to R.E.M. do a midnight show at Stubbs, Heidi and I headed down to the Austin Convention Center to hear Lou speak his mind. In typical Lou form, Reed spoke a lot about the current state of digital technologies saying that "it's like the technology is taking us backwards. It's making it easier to make things worse." He went on to say "here's our song reduced to a pin drop; what? what? what?.... its like no one knows any better or doesn't care so its gonna stay on a really, really low level and people who like good sound are be thought of as some kind of strange zoo animal." Although this all sounds like negativity coming from Mr. Reed, he did express hope that "you hear they've got a newer version (of MP3) that sounds better, and you suddenly hear that the other instruments that are on the song. They've got to bring up the standard. You have the world open to you now; you can get almost any song in the world as an MP3 and I suppose if you like you can try to find a version of it you can actually listen to."

So what is the point I am trying to make with all this? As technology shifts the way sounds are recorded, the music industries standards are changing. Analog tape has been replaced in most studios by Pro Tools and there are programs out there that can make not so good singers sound pitch perfect. There is even something that does the same thing for below average drummers. So is music doomed to start sounding even worse? To quote the article by Levine, "even most CD listeners have lost interest in high-end stereos as surround-sound home theater systems have become  more popular and superior quality disc formats have flopped." Bendeth and other producers worry that young listeners have grown so used to dynamically compressed music and the thin sound of MP3s that the battle has already been lost. "CD's sound better, but no one is buying them," he says "The age of the audiophile is over."

I am by no means an expert about how music is made, only that I enjoy listening to it and seeing it live as often as possible. While I have friends in the industry, I leave it to them to produce it anyway they deem it best for them. In my opinion, sound has never been as good as the record, but in the day of iTunes being the modern day record store, when will we, the consumers, demand a higher quality sound?

Friday Mar 21, 2008

Ch-Ch-Check It Out!

Happy Friday everyone! Most people know that I have a deep, deep love and commitment to music. And most people know that I am all about Pete Yorn and catch him live as often and as much as possible. While Heidi and I were down in Austin at SXSW, Pete joined his good friend and fellow musician, Matthew Good on stage at my favorite Los Angeles venue, Hotel Cafe, for a song. They covered Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You In The End" and thanks to YouTube, I am able to catch their performance of this song. I think about all the amazing live music I have seen over the years and how I wish YouTube was around back then. Whether it was my first and only Smiths show in Hamburg, Germany, as a kid, or last week at SXSW, the memories that YouTube has been able to preserve are immeasurable. Please enjoy the clip of Pete and Matthew. I hope that I can turn you all on to these two amazing artists.


Maybe I'm Right: One girl's thoughts on life, work, music, and the latest hot technology.


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