Birch Street Computing -

about me

John M is a Linux fan in Lowell, MA.

I work at at a company writing software. I fool around with Free and Open Source software for fun & profit.

I was big into and you can still see some of what I listen to there. I can also be found using github and recently sourcehut as well as bitbucket (historically). I don't care for most popular social media sites. If I have an account on one or the other it's probably either old and unused or was created just for tinkering.


Links to things I like, use, or otherwise feel is worth sharing. Things I'd like to see get more popular.

My 2011 in Music

For me 2011 was a pretty darn good year for music. I regularly listened to a lot more new music than last year. I also sampled more stuff after reading a few more music blogs this year. I especially appreciated learning about and listing to albums from that site. I figure it influenced a couple of real purchases this year.

Biggest 2010 Albums of 2011

These are albums/artists that I listened to a lot in 2011, even though they weren't new this year. Some of them were new to me and others simply kept me coming back to them.

  • Borknagar - Universal: I still listen to this album all the time. Simply fantastic.

  • Enslaved - Axioma Ethica Odini: This is also a insanely good album. Even at work I've named some of my test data after the track names here.

  • Ghost - Opus Eponymous: If evil can be fun and poppy, this album is exhibit A. Every time I see someone diss this album online I want to shake them and tell them to stop overthinking it and just enjoy.

  • Julie Christmas - The Bad Wife: I simply love her voice. I hope Made out of Babies makes another album soon, but this solo album will tide me over in the meantime.

  • Melechesh - The Epigenesis: I simply love the middle eastern + metal sound these guys put together. I've used it to wake myself up on quite a few morning drives.

  • Shining - Blackjazz: This album is nuts, in the best way possible.

Standout New Music of 2011

The Good Ones

These albums were pretty good and I listened to them quite a bit.

  • The Sword - Warp Riders: Loved the title track. I preferred what these guys were doing on the first two albums, but still a very enjoyable journey though space.

  • Novembers Doom - Aphotic: Another solid album from this band.

  • Septicflesh - The Great Mass: Got this one pretty late in the year for it to really sink in on me, but it's kind of been a grower. The orchestral bits are worked in well with the metal side of things. I want to listen to some of these guy's older releases now.

  • Anaal Nathrakh - Passion: Got this one at the same time as Septicflesh. I had this playing when I was stuck in traffic one day and I think it made my crazy (more crazy?). Now sometimes I listen to it when I code in order to feel more evil. :-D

The Great Ones

These albums were really awesome and I listened to these albums a ton. They got the most use in my car so my stats really don't represent how often I listened to these.

  • ICS Vortex - Storm Seeker: I've really grown to like Vortex's vocals after listening to Borknagar so many times. I listened to the opening track, The Blackmobile, and knew I had to buy the album. While the remaining tracks differ quite a bit from Blackmobile I still think it's great. The whole album is good progressive metal, with what sounds to me a Yes-like feel.

  • Obscura - Omnivium: Kicked my ass. This is simply an amazing album there were a few things I liked more on the previous album, mainly the vocals, but well worth a listen. The cover is an illustration from a book on the mating process of Metroids.

  • Kvelertak - Kvelertak: I'm cheating a little here because only the US release was in 2011. This album is hugely energetic and I liked to listen to it on the treadmill!

  • Woods of Ypres - Woods IV (The Green Album): Can being sad be fun? That's how I feel about this music. Quite often I'd find my self singing or shouting along with the lyrics to this in the car. What's really sad is the recent death of the bands frontman (RIP).

  • Red Fang - Murder the Mountains: This band is hilarious, awesome, and makes fantastic music videos. Of course, the album itself rocks too. My favorite track is Throw Up, which sounds pretty Melvins-ish to me. I expect this band to get more popular soon.

My penultimate album of 2011

Mastodon/The Hunter Album Cover

Mastodon - The Hunter: Mastodon did a great job building up anticipation of this album in my opinion. They released full song previews on youtube before the official release date. Like some I was unsure about some of the differences between what they're doing here versus Crack the Skye. But really, the album's a grower. I mean it's a huge grower. The first time I listened to 'Creature Lives' I wasn't sure about it. But now, and even more after attending the live show, I love it. I sing along to it. My favorite track is Spectrelight, but the whole last few tracks of the album are just tremendous.

My favorite album of 2011

Subrosa/No Help for the Mighty Ones Album Cover

Subrosa - No Help for the Mighty Ones: If you're wondering what album I could have liked more than The Hunter (maybe you're not) wait no longer. No Help for the Mighty Ones is a deep, beautiful and haunting album. I haven't read or watched some of the sources they used as background material, but I'm sure it could only help me appreciate it more. It's simply so heavy and sad it wraps around to wonderful. I'm not much of a reviewer and that's not what I was planning on doing here, suffice to say it's a great piece of art. My personal favorite track is Whippoorwill, but really, there's nothing bad here.

Recent Acquisitions

I got some CDs (real, physical CDs, yay!) this Christmas from my awesome family. I also got some Amazon points that I've already use for a few mp3 albums. These are albums that I haven't got a chance to listen to much yet but I expect I'll be queuing up to play pretty often.

  • Absu - Abzu: Love the opening scream. I've already listened to this a couple of times from the bandcamp page pre purchase. I've got to check out the previous album, Absu (oh-you-guys-are-clever) now.

  • Cave In - White Silence: I was a big fan of Zozobra when these guys were apart. So far I really like what's happening on this album as well.

  • Glorior Belli - The Great Southern Darkness: The title track is seriously badass.

  • Revocation - Chaos of Forms: Love the previous album and expect this one to rock as well.

  • Unexpect - Fables of the Sleepless Empire: I've been waiting for this album for what feels like forever. I'm simply giddy.

  • Yob - Atma: Doom. Doom. DOOM!

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