Musings and Eats with Mikey

Musing #78
May 30, 2011, 9:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s been a long while since I have updated this thing, almost a month actually.  Now I’d like to say I have a good excuse, like I have just been too busy to write anything (which I have), but really, this has just become low on my list of priorities.  This is kind of sad, since I used to update this almost daily.  Oh well, there are only so many hours in the day.

So I realize I never said much about my New York trip.  Basically, it was a really good time (though exhausting, and I was actually doing some work).  I got to explore the city a little more then the last time I was there, and I feel like I could really enjoy living in Manhattan (if I could ever afford it).  As far as things how things are going with the film, things are going pretty good.  It opens in Italy this week and then the US opening is on August 25th.  There have been mixed reviews, as to be expected with a film like this, by generally, people who have seen the film seem to dig it.   Here is a picture of us at the premiere at Tribeca:

So things at work are going generally good, and we have been extremely busy in the last few weeks.  That being said, I need to get some more entertainment related clients (and probably give out less free legal advice), so if you know anyone who needs legal advice, hit me up.

What else is going on?  A little this and that.

A lot of the tv shows I watch have ended, so that should get me a little extra free time (which is good).  That being said, I started watching the Wire on HBOgo (I didn’t have HBO when the show originally aired) and I think I’m addicted.  So far the show is every bit as good as people make it out to be.

I also bought an iPad 2.  It is an interesting little machine with a lot of potential.  Right now, I use it all the time, but for things that are completely unnecessary.  In the future though, it should become a great tool.  That being said, I’m really enjoying eBooks, especially all the free classics, but find myself downloading more books then I will have time to read.

As for music, hmm, well I went down San Diego for my birthday to catch Rx Bandits play some beach festival in Mission Bay.  They played pretty good, but had a short set cause it was a festival, and the promoters were a little incompetent with setting up the times.  On a side note, Rx Bandits recently announced they are going on hiatus, so I am trying to see them a few times this summer before that happens.   Coming up this month I’m going to check out Bedouin Soundclash at Galaxy, I haven’t seen them in probably 4 years, and one of my favorites My Morning Jacket at the Pantages (I’m pretty excited about this one).  I am also going up to San Francisco for the Asian Man Records 15 year anniversary festival.  This should be a lot of fun, seeing some old friends and seeing some bands that have been broken up forever (like Slapstick, the Broadways, and Slow Gherkin).  It is going to be very nostalgic, a throw back to my middle school and high school music tastes.  As for new records I’ve been digging, lets see, there is the album Rome by Danger Mouse and Daniel Lupi, its an interesting album that is done more like a soundtrack (sort of a concept album).  There is also the new Face to Face record, which I’m having fun with, as it reminds of my youth and all the punk rock of the 90’s.  Also, the new Fleet Foxes is a really good record, digging this one a lot, and Man Man also put out a funky new album.  There is a new My Morning Jacket record coming out tomorrow, which should be awesome, as Jim James is amazing.  Lastly, I’ve been really getting into Frank Turner.  He has a new record coming out next month, but I have been exploring his back catalog.   He is a great songwriter, and what he is all about feels really similar to what I’m about, so I really get his songs.
Anyway, that is all I can think of for now, I will try and update more.  Now I’m off to do some gardening.

Soundtrack: Frank Turner – Photosynthesis (live)


Musing #77
May 3, 2011, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Musing

This is what is currently on my mind:

Bin Laden is dead. Well I guess this has probably been on most people’s minds the past couple of days. Now personally I think his death was a good thing symbolically (as I don’t think it will change that much that quickly) but what this has really got me thinking about is whether he, or Al Qaeda for that matter, is still relevant. It seems with the recent uprisings in the middle east, there is a fundamental rejection by people of the region of the things that the extremists stood for. I know recently an Al Qaeda spokes person responded to CNN, who was making similar allegations, and said the uprisings are in fact the opposite and are in fact making room for extremist regimes to come in and take over these parts of the middle east. This response from Al Qaeda basically stunk of desperation, like the CEO who tells everyone that business is great in order to keep stockholder confidence, while the whole time secretly hoping no one will notice that he is dumping all his stock and strapping on a parachute. From the outward appearance of the situation it seems like there is a fundamental shift away from the oppression of the past and an openness for a more modern society. Whether this means the people want democracy or not is difficult to tell, but they want a change, that is for sure, and it is hard to believe that what Al Qaeda has to offer is the change they are looking for. That being said, it is just hard to see how Al Qaeda can have any relevant impact on the world these days. Sure they can still (and probably will) kill people senselessly, but to what endgame? What would that even accomplish at this point? This is not saying the “war on terror” is by any means over, but it certainly is not the same boogie man it was a mere ten years ago.

Speaking of ten years ago, I was watching the Colbert Report and Colbert made some joke about returning to pre-9/11 times. This got me thinking about how things were before 9/11, and how it seems that life will never go back to how it was. Maybe it felt so different just because I was young, but at the time, the world just seem much more innocent then it really was. Since then it seems like the world has gotten more crazy. Maybe it has always been crazy and we just had our eyes closed to it before 9/11. Maybe I was just young and naive at the time. Either way, it makes me wonder if we are better off knowing the reality of the world we live or living in blind ignorance. Though the illusion of safety was comforting, I think life is more fulfilling when you are living in the reality of your surroundings (yes I just made two album title references in one sentence; can you find them both?).

On an unrelated note, I have been thinking about why we always want the things we can’t have, and when we get those things, we often realize we don’t actually want those things. While this is not true of all things, when it does happen, it seems like a lot of time and energy was wasted for nothing. What is it that makes us psychologically think that things we can’t have must be things that are great? I don’t have any answers on this one, just been thinking about it lately.

Also been thinking about how I have been buying waaay too much music lately. Mostly it is because Amazon offers digital downloads for so cheap. Unfortunately, consuming so much music makes me give that music much less attention. So I’m listening to a lot, but I’m not really listening to many albums a lot. In the last two weeks I have picked up: Etta James – At Last, Cheap Girls – My Roaring 20’s, Violent Femmes – S/T, Silversun Pickups – Swoon, M. Ward – the End of Amnesia, Booker T. – Potato Hole, Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues, Thelonious Monk – Genius of Modern Music Vol. 1, Thursday – No Devolucion, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band & the Del McCoury Band – American Legacies. So I have a lot of good stuff to listen to. Maybe I should slow down and focus on less music. Or maybe I will never learn . . . .

Soundtrack – Bob Marley – War/No More Trouble (live)

Review #55
April 25, 2011, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Musing, Reviews | Tags: , ,

Laura Stevenson and the Cans – Sit Resist (Don Giovanni Records) 2011

This week sees the release of Brooklyn’s Laura Stevenson and the Cans sophomore album, Sit Resist.  I really enjoyed Laura Stevenson and the Can’s last record, appropriately titled A Record, and when they announced they would have a new record out this Spring, I was very much looking forward to it.  Then a few weeks ago, at South by Southwest, I had a couple of chances to see the Cans live.  They played some tracks off this forthcoming record, and I was then even more so looking forward to it.  Luckily I did not have to wait long to check it out because right after I returned home from Southby, they put up the pre-order for the record with an immediate download of the record (three weeks before it’s release).

Three weeks later, with the record being released tomorrow, I have been listening to the album almost non-stop.  Oddly, when I first started listening to the record, it did not grab me in the same immediate way their last record did.   This record felt a little different, with vocals a little more buried in the mix, and certain richness (and less raw) in the sound.  The songs were a little more complex and a little more subtle.  Slowly but surely though, the record grew on me and got stuck in my head, and under my skin.  Laura’s sweet, but often subtly haunting, vocals and smooth melodies are what sets this band apart from other female front bands with that jangly indie rock sound.  Accompanying Laura is a great bunch of musicians (the Cans) who provide the perfect mix of rock drums, guitar, and bass with accordion, horns, and string arrangements, to paint the background and set the right tone for Laura’s vocals.  On top of it all this is the cleverness of the songwriting, that finds a way to feel both polished and raw at the same time.  This is a great album that I am really enjoying, and I’m completely satisfied with it.  Standout tracks include the indie pop rocker “Master of Art”, the Jolie Holland esq “Care Taker”, the bouncy “The Healthy One”, and “the Wait”.  That being said, give this album some time and you will be enjoying all the tracks.  I recommend it for fans of Lemuria, Regina Specter, and Tegan and Sara.

Here is Laura Stevenson and the Cans performing I See Dark (as part of the Nervous Energies Sessions):

Music #90
April 20, 2011, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Music

Heading to NYC in the morning for Tribeca Film Fest.

concert jungle where dreams are made …..

Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind (live)

Musing #76
April 19, 2011, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Musing

Life is moving fast again.  This seems to be a running theme of this blog, as I have spoke to it on multiple occasions (and it has become the subject of many of the songs I have written recently).  I should rename this blog to “Getting Old and Moving Fast with Mikey”.  But it is true, and it seems more and more that if  I stop to smell the flowers I will watch life just pass me by.  Maybe this is normal for your twenties, and in our thirties you final figure out balance.  I know I am not the only one feeling this way, and it can be a both a frustrating and exciting place to be at.  It seems like I just returned from Austin and now on Thursday I am already leaving for New York.

What am I doing in New York you ask?  Well it is the Tribeca Film Festival and a film I was involved in is having its world premiere.  That film is called Grave Encounters and I was both the Associate Producer and did most of the legal work on the film.  This should be and interesting trip, as it is our first real splash in the Hollywood scene (though ironically we will be in New York), and although I’m just a behind the scenes type, this feels like the start of building a future in this entertainment business (though who knows at this point).  Besides going to the premiere and a few industry parties, I am going to take this trip as an opportunity to explore some of the culinary side of New York City.  The plan thus far is Le Bernardin on Friday, Les Halles on Saturday, and find my way to Katz deli somewhere in between.  Of course I will also be getting some pizza (original Ray’s maybe, haha) and maybe hit up Papaya King.  I’ve already done the tourist thing in New York, so I think my free time will be better spent on these culinary adventures.  As for the movie, things are looking good, as press has started to pick up on it, and the trailer already has over 2 million views on YouTube.  Will it be a big hit?  Who knows, but not too shabby for a movie made for less than $100k and shot in 12 days.

The biggest downside of the trip for me is the 5 hour flight to NYC.  Not that 5 hours is that long, but because I generally am not a fan of flying.  That being said, I have composed a short list of song you should not listen to while on a plane flight:

1.  Bright Eyes – At the Bottom of Everything
2.  NOFX – Falling In Love
3.  Brand New – Jude Law and the Semester Abroad
4.  Thursday – At This Velocity
5. Tom Petty – Free Fallin’

Soundtrack: Monsters of Folk – Slow Down Jo (live)

Review #54
April 17, 2011, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Music, Reviews

Bright Eyes (and Jenny & Johnny) at the Fox Theater Pomona, CA (3/13/11)

Earlier this week I headed out to Pomona to catch Bright Eyes, with Jenny Johnny opening.  The show was at the Fox in Pomona.  This is my first time being at the Fox, and I was really impressed by the venue.  The only thing that was a little annoying was that the ushers were not checking tickets at the beginning of the show and we had to kick some seat poachers out of our seats.  We had gotten seats in the VIP loge area of the balcony, so it was no surprise that people were trying to poach them.  The view was great and the seats were large captains chairs.

We pretty much missed the first act, but shortly after we got there, Jenny and Johnny took the stage.  This was the second time I have seen them, and I feel like they sounded much tighter this time around.  They went through the majority of the songs on their debut album (I’m Having Fun Now) and played what I think was a cover, as well as “Next Messiah” off Jenny Lewis’ solo record, Acid Tongue.  I enjoyed seeing them, as they play good fun rock, and have great vocals.  My favorite live song was probably “Slavedriver”.  This is the set as best as I remember it:

Scissor Runner
My Pet Snakes
Cover Song
Just Like Zeus
Big Wave
Next Messiah

After a short wait, Conor Obrest and Co. came on stage to the spoken word that is the first track on the most recent record (the People’s Key) and went right into “Firewall”.  I had seen Bright Eyes only a few weeks before, when I was in Austin for South by Southwest, so I was hoping that the set would be at least slightly different.  Luckily, it was and I even got to see one of the songs that I really wanted to hear, “Hot Knives”.  There is not too much to say about the show other than Bright Eyes was excellent as usual.  Conor is backed up by an incredible group of musicians that really bring the songs alive.  They played a nice mix of songs from all of his records and pulled out some old/rare ones.  Some of the songs were pretty epic live and “Approximate Sunlight” was particularly hypnotic.  Another great moment was Conor playing “Ladder Song” alone at the piano with the spotlight focused on him.  It was an excellent show, and Bright Eyes is full of extremely talented and diverse musicians, which makes it always interesting.  I of course would recommend checking them out when they are in your town.  Here is the set list, not sure if the order is correct:

Jejune Stars
Take It Easy (Love Nothing)
Four Winds
We Are Nowhere and It’s Now
Cartoon Blues
From a Balance Beam
Something Vague
Shell Games
Going For the Gold
Approximate Sunlight
Bowl of Oranges
Arc of Time (Time Code)
Falling Out of Love at This Volume
Old Soul Song
The Calendar Hung Itself
Hot Knives
Beginners Mind
No One Would Riot For Less
Ladder Song
Gold Mine Gutted
Lover I Don’t Have to Love
Road to Joy
One For You, One For Me

Bright Eyes – JeJune Stars (live on Letterman):



Musing #75
April 1, 2011, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Music, Musing

SXSW Part 4

The next morning I woke up feeling like all kinds of hell.  But it didn’t matter.  This was Southby, and I had a things to do and people to see.  So I got up and ventured on my own to get some breakfast tacos.  After getting a taco and some coffee in me, I headed back to 6th street and a little venue called Plush.

There I saw a band called East Cameron Folkcore.  They were your typical folk punk act, but they had a trombone.  It was pretty good.  After that I saw Fake Problems, again.  This time they were playing acoustic, just to switch things up.  It was fun seeing them a bunch of times and having it be different each time.

After Fake Problems went on, Laura Stevenson and the Cans took the stage.  I was glad that I got a second chance to see them after really enjoying their performance a couple days before.  Again, they sounded great.  I then left the venue for the free outdoor festival known as the Mess With Texas Fest to Lemuria play.  When I got there I caught a band called the Strange Boys, who were pretty good.  Lemuria then went on, and despite the sound not being stellar, I thought the play really well (but they do sound a little empty playing live as a three piece).  From there I headed back to 6th street to catch Fang Island play, but on the way I popped into Red 7 to see what was going on over there.  I caught a bit of Native’s set and then, of course, Fake Problems was playing again.  I saw a few Fake Problems songs and then headed across the street to see Fang Island.  They had been rad last year at Southby, and again this year they were rad.  After that, I headed back to the hotel to rest, as my feet were killing me (it felt like I was walking on rocks).

After a little rest, I went to Auditorium Shores to meet up with some friends for the free Bright Eyes show to close out the official festival happenings.  We got ourselves a good spot and Bright Eyes gave us an awesome hour and half set, playing a lot of new songs, but also a good amount of old songs.  During the last song “One For Me One For You” fireworks started to shoot off behind the stage.  It was a beautiful way to end the music experience of Southby.

After the show, I headed with my friends to the bars on the East side to have a few drinks.  It was a good night and eventually I made my way back to the hotel.

The next morning we got up and checked out and headed out to the famous Salt Lick for some all you can eat BBQ.  After getting a little lost, we made it and enjoyed our cooler full of Lone Stars as we waited to be seated.  After being seated we were served the most ridiculous amount of BBQ, family style. After filling ourselves silly, we headed toward the airport for our flight home.

After a fun, but exhausting, week, I had made it home from South by Southwest in one piece.  Writing about the journey has been quite exhausting as well (as you probably can tell from how much I have been summarizing in parts 3 & 4).  Another successful festival, come and gone.  Till next time.

Soundtrack: Moneybrother – Born Under a Bad Sign (off Real Control)