Monday, June 28, 2010

Music Monday: What to Bring to a Festival

all your bohemian friends and a hippie bus!

Those of us Mexicali folk who are going to the Nateva Festival this weekend can think of hardly anything else! To benefit those who might be heading up that way, or to another fest in the future (and also so we can commit all of these necessities to memory by writing them down), here is a list of 10 essential festival supplies, to make your experience the best musical hootenanny you've ever attended!

Don't wind up like this guy!
illustration by Mike Feeney

1. Sunscreen A painful sunburn can make an awesome time unbelievably less fun. You can probably buy it where you are going but you know it will probably cost three times as much as in a store, and surely you have better things to spend your money on! We like the spray stuff because it is ridiculously easy to apply; be sure to put reapply often, and don't forget the tops of your ears!

2. Toilet Paper It's true that they have plenty in the porta-potties at the start of the show, but as any festival-goer knows, the supply inevitably runs out. Bring your own and you also have tissues for blowing your nose or cleaning up spills. Good job!

3. Headlamp Flashlights are cool, but the hands-free capability of headlamps have proven invaluable for night-time journeys and searching for stuff in your tent (also bedtime reading, if that helps you wind down!).

4. Bottled Water Would you like to pay $6 for a $1 bottle of water? No? Bring your own! Stay hydrated while you're dancing, and especially if you're also drinking as that also dehydrates you. Nateva will have free water available to those who bring their own bottles, so do so!

5. Blanket or Chairs You will probably want to sit down at some point for listening to mellower music, so something to sit on that is portable is ideal. Those low-to-the-ground camp chairs are comfortable and easy to carry, and we love sprawling on blankets like this traditional Mexican Falsa blanket.

6. First-Aid Kit Although there is usually some sort of first aid booth set up, rather than waiting for an hour to get a band-aid or some aspirin, bring your own! Single-use alcohol swabs are also useful for disinfecting cuts and scrapes.

7. Toys & Entertainment Hoola hoops, frisbees, kites, sidewalk chalk, bubbles. . . . all of these things are fun to play with, and you probably don't do it too often these days. Festivals are great places for reconnecting with that youthful sense of playfulness, and if you have something collaborative to share the fun, you just might make some new friends!

8. Rain Gear/ Rain Boots Perhaps this doesn't apply in some places, but if you are going to a festival in New England, you want to be prepared for this. Just trust me on this one, and remember, a trash bag makes a fine (albeit funny-looking) poncho if you have nothing else.

9. Camera If all you have is a fancy, expensive camera that you would die if you lost, pick up a couple of cheap disposable ones before you get there!

10. Food Bring something to eat, keeping within the rules of the festival you're attending. You can save a lot of money by bringing your own grub, and sometimes you are allowed to bring grills or stoves for cooking as well. Portable snack food like granola bars, trail mix, and nuts are awesome to have for an energy boost.

Leave expensive items at home, dress comfortably, and be kind to your neighbors in the campground! We hope to see some of you at Nateva! And we would also love to know what you consider the most essential supplies for a positive festival experience?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Upcoming Events with Mexicali Blues!

See post below for more information about this weekend's concert!

Mexicali Blues Summer Concert: Marie Moreshead & Connor Garvey

Mexicali Blues in Freeport, Maine

It's no secret that Mexicali Blues loves music. Not only is our name taken from a Grateful Dead song, but anyone who has been inside the stores has probably spotted the rather extensive collection of band t-shirts and stickers in the midst of all the gemstone jewelry and Buddha sculptures. Perhaps you have even seen store employees drumming on the counter and grooving a bit to the tunes playing over store speakers as they fold scarves and tapestries.

Over the years, Mexicali has helped to sponsor and arrange concerts by up-and-coming artists, like the Dave Matthews Band who opened for the Samples in 1994. The store sponsored and helped found the Roots & Reggae on the Bay fest, which will be happening again this year on July 31st in Damariscotta. From annual concerts like the Up North Festival or Pier Review to one-off gigs at the Camden and Boothbay Opera Houses, Mexicali owners and employees are always there, ready to rock out and lend a hand where needed.

This year on June 26, Mexicali Blues will be having our first show at one of our own retail locations, on Bow street in Freeport! The two talented musicians who will be rocking your socks off are Connor Garvey and Marie Moreshead, singer/songwriters and musicians extraordinaire.

Connor Garvey plays folk-funk on guitar and ukulele, using unexpected rhythms and chord progressions to provide pleasing melodic backgrounds to his smooth and soulful singing. His lyrics are unique and thoughtful, and the yarns he spins will suck you in. Don't be surprised if you find yourself inexplicably smiling and wanting to sing along when you see him play! Check out his MySpace page here.

Marie Moreshead is a pop-folk songstress never without her acoustic guitar, with a sweet and undeniably pretty voice and lyrics that make you see the sunny side of life, even when the words are sad. She was named one of Portland's Top Ten Artists to Watch in 2009, and when you see her live, you will wholeheartedly agree! Legend has it that Moreshead used to work at the Mexicali store in Portland before she took to becoming a full-time music-maker. Visit her lovely website here.

Gather your lawn chairs or blankets, and come join Marie Moreshead, Connor Garvey, and Mexicali Blues on the lawn of the Freeport Store on June 26, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, for some musical magic, good vibes, and an all-around amazing afternoon!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Music Monday: Gorillaz

Gorillaz is a music project created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. Gorillaz are known as a virtual band, because they use animated characters rather than the actual members of the band for their image and promotion. The characters that make up the visible part of the band are 2D (the lead vocalist, voiced by Albarn), Murdac Niccols (base guitar, vocals), Noodle (guitar and vocals), and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). Their music is a collaboration between a rotating cast of musicians, with Albarn being the only permanent member. The cartoon faces of the band have even gone on tour to perform live in the form of holograms, as in the video below:

Gorillaz have come out with three albums: Gorillaz, Demon Days, and most recently Plastic Beach. They also have three compilation/remix albums, which you can find here. Here's a cool video for a truly awesome song from their first album:

While Gorillaz has always been made up of a huge collection of musicians, Plastic Beach in particular makes good use of many singers who are famous in their own right, like Snoop Dogg, Bobby Womack, and Mos Def. Our very favorite song from this album is this one with vocals by Lou Reed:

Because the visual aspect of Gorillaz is so integral to the band, they have a lot going on their Youtube channel, which you can check out here to see more videos. Also take a look at their website for more music, a video game, and all kinds of crazy virtual fun!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Music Monday: She & Him

She & Him is a indie-folk duo who plays cheerful retro pop that sounds like a Summer afternoon. Zooey Deschanel writes songs, sings and plays piano, while M. Ward plays guitar, produces, and sings back-up. Deschanel is an actress, and Ward is a successful musician in his own right; when their powers combine, the result is a pleasantly lo-fi sound through which her quirky-pretty voice leads the way and his strumming stylings lend subtle charm. They have two albums, called Volume One and Volume Two.

Fun fact:For their first album, they began their collaboration through email, each recording little pieces and sending them back and forth to be added to by the other.

Here's a sweet video from their first album:

And here's a cute one with lots of dancing from their newest album:

Check out their website here for more She & Him fun, and come see them on day 2 of the Nateva Festival in Oxford, Maine this summer!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alewives & the Damariscotta Mills

investigating the alewife windvane

Today the Mexicali creative crew and three lovely models took a field trip to Damariscotta Mills, home of Maine's oldest and most productive alewife fishery. We had a great time, took some wonderful pictures, and were lucky to encounter friendly people who graciously allowed us to traipse across their property for our picture-taking. Everybody had a good time and we were all happy that the sun was shining! Here are some of the things that we did:

playing ukulele on the fish ladder

blowing bubbles on the lawn

doing crazy yoga poses

being terribly serious at all times

meeting Moxie, the adorable pup

running from the giant osprey

looking at alewives from the fish ladder

"Why are they looking at married women drinking hoppy beer in the water?" you might be asking. For those of us just coming into the know, alewives are a type of fish! They spend the majority of their lives at sea, but come to freshwater to spawn. Using their sense of smell to guide them, the alewives migrate upstream from the ocean to calmer waters in rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. The fish ladder is a stone-built structure that allows the alewives to swim all the way upstream even though there is a dam at the top of the river.

Look closely and you will see many alewives swimming upstream!

Historically, alewives were a common sight in Maine rivers. Historians say that alewives used to be the most abundant migratory fish in this area, until the expansion of human production and progress led to the building of more and more dams that put a stop to the alewives' ability to get where they were trying to go. Alewives tie our oceans, rivers, and lakes together, and play an important role in our ecosystem. For example, alewives are the only hosts of a mussel called the alewife floater mussel, which lives in the coastal lakes and rivers of the Atlantic. When alewife migration has been halted by dam production, the alewife floater mussel disappears as well. This may seem to be something that does not affect us humans, however this fact may alter something else, which changes something else, and on and on until who knows what happens? Change is certainly not a bad thing, but when it is due to humans disrupting the lives, natural habits, and habitats of animals, it just doesn't seem right.

The alewives undertake their long journey to spawn every year in May and June. The Fish Committee of Nobleboro and Newcastle puts on a festival annually during Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the "running of the alewives". Everybody gathers to marvel at the mass migration of the fish, and there are activities, music, food, and fun! All of it is to benefit the restoration of the fish ladder, which has been deteriorating steadily over the years in ways that quick fixes can't salvage. Learn more about their restoration efforts and how you can help here, and check out the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Project here to learn more about the mills, alewives, and where to go if you want to go see them swimming upstream!

Thanks to our three wonderful models and the folks who let us legally trespass for a good photo! All clothing, jewelry, and accessories in these photos can be found in Mexicali Blues stores, with some items also available at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Music Monday: Grizzly Bear

The music of Grizzly Bear is filled with surprising turns of melody and unique, lovely harmonies that sweep you up like waves. The songs that start to feel too epic and prog-rock-ish always swing back at the last moment into a sublime and wholly unexpected groove. Their earlier albums seemed to ramble a long way at times(which is great, if that's what you're into), but on Veckatamist, their newest album, their songs are more cleanly cohesive and it really works for them. Here is one of their most pop-driven, accessible songs off of the new album. This video is not the official one, but it is really sweet!

Grizzly Bear initially began as a project by one of the band's singers, Ed Droste, who released an album called Horn of Plenty with the help of drummer Christopher Bear (not a stage name). It was originally intended as simply a loose and lo-fi apartment recording to share with friends. It somehow became more than that, however, and so they got two more fellows (Chris Taylor and Daniel Rossen) to join and make it a band. These two have a side band, the amazing and wonderful Department of Eagles. Here's one of our favorite Department of Eagles songs with an awesome video:

Besides the fact that their music rocks, we really like Grizzly Bear because they put out a lot of strange and interesting music videos, and the painted cover art for their most recent release, Vecketamist, and on their website, is creatively colorful (and that's how we like it!). Here is a good song from the album Yellow House with an odd video:

Here's a really cool video from their newest album:

We are super psyched to see Grizzly Bear when they play on day 2 of the Nateva Festival, this July in Oxford, Maine! Check out the Grizzly Bear website here for more goodness!