Sunday, January 9, 2011

Philly's Phinest: Michael Vick, Soft Pretzels and Vegan Agave Mustard tackled by Middle Brother, Le Fever and Evols

(image from

The day has finally arrived, it is playoff football time for Philadelphia fans. I will be chowing down on pretzel sticks and vegan agave sweetened mustard as I watch Michael Vick do his thing.

Before I move on to the recipe, I'd like to say a little bit about Michael Vick and my feelings about him. Even before he was an Eagle, I liked to watch highlights of the things he could do on the football field. It was extraordinary how he could single handedly win football games. But that is Vick as an athlete. Vick as a man is a completely separate issue. It is one rife in race, socioeconomic status, animal rights and friendship. Michael Vick did a despicable thing, in my eyes, when he wreaked havoc on the lives of defenseless animals. But, having worked with people who fight animals as sport, I realize that it is something that they were raised on. Vick saw his first fight at the age of 7. Kids in that age range are impressionable and when they see their friends and family members doing something, they will take it up as a form of mimicry. Vick had ample opportunity, as he got older and made some money, to turn away from that world. He choose not to. But would we have done anything different. If it was such a big part of our childhood, friendships and family relationships? I can say I would've but I can't be sure. I'm not, and wasn't ever, in that situation. So I'm willing, as long as he keeps himself out of any sort of trouble in the future, to continue to be open-minded about Michael Vick (whether he is an Eagle or not). Would I ever buy his jersey? No. Would I ever want to hang out with the guy? No. But if he is indeed a changed man, and I probably won't know that until he dies, I at least won't speak out against him.

Now on to the game (and pretzels).

One song that accompanied the soft pretzel production experience was "Winter Joy" by Evols. "Winter Joy" is murky and ethereal, two things that remind me of winter (or at least the Pennsylvania version of it). The song comes from a self titled full length which you can hear in its entirety here. Thanks to I Guess I'm Floating for the track.

Middle Brother is a "supergroup" of sorts, although I am not a big fan of that description. Basically the band includes Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), John McCauley (Deer Tick) and Matthew Vazquez (The Delta Spirit). "Me Me Me" is a rollicking, high energy piano pounding song that has a slight bit of "Great Balls of Fire" in it. It is from the bands upcoming self titled release (March 1st via Partisan Records).

I don't know much about Le Fever. I know they are from Sweden, they use a brilliant combination of male and female vocals and they are the type of music I would hope to hear at a Lutheran Block Party. "This is the Last Time" addresses one of my huge problems, crying on the dance floor. I can't help it.