Archive for August, 2013

First City Festival 2013 Mixtape!

Ready for the inaugural First City Festival in Monterey next weekend? We’ll be there and thought we’d drop our own First City Festival 2013 Mixtape to get prepped. Throw this on, build your schedule and get psyched for next weekend. And if you don’t have tickets yet, it’s time to Treat Yo Self.

p.s. If you don’t see the tape you’re probably on your mobile device. But don’t worry, just listen here instead. Prefer Rdio? We’ve got that covered too.

Party at the NSA

If you really feel strongly about something, it’s important to do more than write a Facebook post hoping for likes or have petty arguments with strangers. That’s exactly what’s great about YACHT’s new song Party at the NSA. NSA surveillance of ordinary citizens is obviously an issue they’re passionate about so they went out and made a song about it (as artists do). The interesting part is that the song is offered as a donation-based download with all proceeds going to The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that fights back against the government to protect digital rights. Wherever you fall on this issue, it’s always nice to see someone giving a damn about something.


First City Festival 2013 [preview]

So we missed Outside Lands this year. Wanna know why we didn’t stress? It’s time for new experiences like Monterey’s First City Festival.

Taking place at The Monterey County Fair and Event Center (August 24 + 25), this first year festival has a lineup that’s tough to ignore. While headliners Passion Pit and Modest Mouse are nothing to balk at, it’s the supporting cast that has me feeling like organizers know what’s up. There’s a lot to be excited about, but I personally can’t wait for my fix of Washed Out, Delta Spirit, Toro Y Moi, Purity Ring, The Dodos and Generationals. And besides typical festival fare, there’s always time to get your fix of summer carnival rides.



In case you haven’t been to Monterey (it’s gorgeous), the festival moniker comes from the city’s claim as the official “first capital” of California. Monterey was home to California’s first theatre, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. The venue isn’t short on live music cred either. It was the site of the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 that is credited with being a template for Woodstock and just so happened to host Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar and The Mamas and the Papas. Yeah, it must have been incredible.

Unless you’re a local, getting there requires hopping in an automobile, but you should also consider the train or bus shuttle options available. You can tell I’m psyched, but how I could I not be with such a storied history and promising lineup. Hope to see you there, permagrin on your face.

The essentials:
Getting There
Where to Stay
Twitter + Instagram + Facebook hype
Our Festival Mixtape

Mindfire: Big Ideas For Curious Minds

Scott Berkun was relatively new to me before I read Mindfire. I had read a couple posts (h/t David Simon), but it was after reading Changing Your Life Is Not A Mid-Life Crisis that I knew I wanted more. I needed to hear everything this guy had to say.

Mindfire: Big Ideas For Curious Minds is a collection of Scott’s best essays. There is nothing in here that can’t be found free online, but I found it really useful to have this collection in a physical form I couldn’t ignore. As it turns out, this book is something I’d feel bad about not supporting or making sure I spread its message to anyone willing to listen.

Mindfire review

Mindfire is all about challenging your mind and I like how Scott addresses that it may make you you feel uncomfortable from the get-go. Sure, his opening essay about the cult of busy and how we deceive ourselves when we say we’re too busy had me saying “fuck yeah”, but there were many other essays that (if I’m honest with myself) called me out and made me really think about how I behave.

While the point of my review is not to regurgitate what Scott says, I will say I really dug that he covers walking the line between being popular and being good at something. I also liked his framework around how to give/receive criticism and making sure your behavior is consistent with learning from your mistakes. It’s reassuring when he talks about honoring (and knowing) who you are even when it’s really inconvenient (being a night owl and having a family is just one example).

So read this book if you’re okay with being called out on your bullshit, which is really any way your mind convinces you you’re not good enough to go after what’s important for you. Read it if you reckon it might be a better use of your time than whatever you usually do most evenings. Finally, read it if you can get down with a passage like this:

The word create is a verb. Be active. Go make things. Make dinner, make a drawing, make a fire, make some noise, but make. If all your attempts at being creative consist of passively consuming, no matter how brilliant what you consume is, you’ll always be a consumer, not a creator.”

It might make you uncomfortable, but you probably won’t regret it.

Coffee. Sounds good.

Digging this short Vimeo video made by Diego Stocco, a composer and sound designer who’s worked on films like Sherlock Holmes.

It’s an exploration into the echoes and vibrations behind pouring a cup of joe, using custom built water-proof microphones taped to ceramic. Pretty cool way to capture technical details – those complex cacophonies – that live inside such a commonplace routine.

Check it out:

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