Summer Shows

Hello all, it's been too long :) Thanks for clicking over, since it's been so long between posts.  Originally I wasn't even going to post anything, because it's been so long, but these people have got me off my lazy ass, and here we are.

Dan Kosub is lighting up Lucky Bar this Saturday evening (July 23), releasing "Jacobs Island" to the Island faithful.  Dan's been super pumped for this show for months, and it should be a great night at the downtown Victoria establishment.  "Aurelia" is probably my favourite tune from Dan, mostly because I grew up in "Orillia, Ontario", and the words sound the same.  I didn't say it was deep, I'm just telling you why I like it ;).  Dan is a really nice guy, and I'd love to know his hard work was rewarded with a killer crowd this Saturday, so get out there!

On Wednesday July 27, Mr. Something Something will be coming through town as well.  They have a really fun sound, and their live show reputation is nothing short of awesome.  A great local music promoter Nathan Ambrose put me onto these guys, and I'm glad he did.  Get over to Metropolis for this Mid-week night out.

Well I don't have much more than that right now, just had to make sure I got these two items up.  Hope you guys dig it, enjoy your summer and see you soon!


A whole bunch of stuff while I'm thinking of it...

I've been busy, whatever...

Well, how many posts can I start this way?  It’s been way too long, but I’ve finally got something together here, to share with you wonderful folks out there.  This is gonna be a pretty random, and completely packed post.  I figure I’m just gonna write about everything I want to share, rather than try and save any of it for another day (cause who knows when the hell that will come?!).

First up is Sidney York, and her brand new album, Apocalyptic Radio Cynic.  With no shortage of musical experience, Brandi Sidoryk has put together one beautiful full length.  She is calling a few spots in Western Canada home right now, and I'm sure they are all very proud of the talented songstress.  Funny enough, the self titled "Apocalyptic Radio Cynic" is probably my favourite tune on the album, it's just    effing gorgeous! Look for it at the end of the month.

More new music to sick your ears on is coming to us from Vancouver, as the McAloneys’ and their group Cupla have a couple of awesome new tracks up.  This is just a group of super rad people, so to hear them putting out such awesome music is amazing.  It’s a group that makes it very easy to cheer for and become a fan.  Check out "Path Unknown", that'll bring up your day.

Speaking of “easy to be a fan”, everyone’s favourite Saskatoon rock outfit, The Sheepdogs, are still in the running for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.  Get over and vote for our fellow Canadians!

Another fellow Canadian I expect to have a great summer is Bodhi Jones.  He’s got lots in the works, and judging by our favourite VanCity Busker’s blog and twitter feeds, he’s stoked about life right now. 

As for us Vancouver Islanders, there is plenty to be stoked about these days as well.  Personally, I’m beyond excited for Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings playing here at Alix Goolden Hall at the end of the month.  June brings plenty of talent into town, and I’m really excited that Sasha Lewis will be one of those acts. Keep an eye on her to find out exactly when and where, but plan for mid to late June. 

Another act in June worth your time is Jessica Benini.  The Victoria talent will be releasing her album June 9th at Upstairs cabaret.  With the pipes this woman has, this may be a downright inspiring show to check out.

Also today, presale starts for Rifflandia.  They have added Royal Athletic Park to the list of venues, sounds awesome.

And there you go all, a quick and dirty run through of everything that has my attention right now.  Plenty of great Canadian content in there, and probably even better then all the mentioned acts music, would be their personalities.  Seriously people, how lucky are we to be Canadian and have all these great acts represent us?


From the WTF files, I.S. allegedly sits down with STW

Ben Worcester of Said the Whale
talks with Island SoapBox
Well due to some circumstances that we really don't need to get into, I was a little slow on setting up the details of an interview with Said the Whale, while they were in town this past week touring with Dinosaur Bones and Tokyo Police Club.  Now just because I didn't get this thing set up in time doesn't mean that you, the reader, should suffer.  So I've decided to do the next best thing, and that is just make shit up for them! So here it is folks, the interview with Said the Whale's Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft, that never happened, but might as well have ;) (Please note NONE of this is real)

It's great to finally meet you guys! When I started setting this thing up (the interview), you guys were Juno nominees, and now a few months later, Juno Champs!  Has there been enough time for that to really sink in?  You guys have had some major accomplishments over the past 6 months.

Worcester and Bancroft sit in ridiculous lazy boy recliners (they added 5 Burgundy suede recliners to their Rider after notching the Juno), Worcester plays with his phone through my questions, cheering and cursing the Canucks every move (when women come near, he mumbles non-sense about overseas stock markets), he's not heard one word of mine.  Bancroft, unbelievably, is eating grapes from the vine as his new assistant feeds him.  Through Gold plated aviators, and after staring at me just long enough to make me think he wasn't going to answer, Tyler offers up his thoughts.

"Let's face it, waiting for the weekend of the Juno's was just a formality.  Who the hell else would have won that Juno?  Hollerado?  What, cause they made a music video in 5 and a half minutes?  No it was gonna be Tyler Bancroft and Said the Whale the whole time, we knew this."

Not even Bancroft's complete exclusion of Worcester from the Juno talk can get Ben's attention.  At this point he's busy working the venue manager, apparently the wrong sparkling water has been supplied for his tooth brush.

A little taken back from their demeanour, I decide to ask them about the upcoming election. How they feel about the whole process, and this election in particular.  I look over at Ben, hoping this will get him going.

He whispers something into Tyler's assistant ear.  The assistant hurriedly runs off to get his own personal assistant.  This assistant quickly informs me that Ben wants Tyler to answer this question.  Tyler spits grape seeds into his assistants open hand, and begins to answer.

"We think the election is garbage.  There is no doubt this country needs a new leader, and there is no doubt Ben Worcester is that leader.  When the election was announced, Ben was ready to take the "Independent Music Party of Canada" straight to the top.  He had people ready to run in 400 ridings.  That's more than even exist.  But then the big Media Consortium decided that Ben could only be involved in the CBC Radio 3 debate, mediated by Grant Lawrence.  When it was found that only Elizabeth May would meet at the R3 event, we said screw it.  We're god damned Juno winners, and they want Ben to play second fiddle to the Green Party and Elizabeth May?  Forget it.  So now we're more interested in the American Story, and possibly helping Donald Trump with his campaign down there."

With one more answer looming before I can get to my seat to enjoy the show, I decide to take the easy way out, serve them up a real beach ball that they can knock out of the park.  I ask them, "What's next for Said the Whale?"

Worcester has the correct water for his toothpaste now, and is brushing his teeth, complete with spitting onto the Sugar Nightclub floor.  His assistant wipes his chin.  Tyler thinks about his response as his assistant tries to shine his sneakers.  Finally he starts.

"This is probably it for Said the Whale.  I mean you can only be on top, and stay on top for so long.  So this is as good as time as any to shut it down.  I don't think there's any question now about who the greatest independent band with the word "whale" in their name is, or ever was.  So what's left?  No one can afford us, the stuff we write now is so astoundingly good, that no one can even "get" it.  It's a shame to let someone listen to the best music they've ever heard, and have them not have a clue.  The ignorance is mind numbing.  It's time to get out before we just go mad."

Worcester has bailed on the interview long before this point.  He's actually stopped Dinosaur Bones in the middle of their set to let everyone in the audience know they won't be getting any leadership worth while May 2, and they should "mass exodus" to the U.S. to support his upcoming campaign with Trump.  Bancroft's assistant wipes my outstretched hand with disinfectant before Tyler shakes it.  The end of my strangest interview that never was had come.

*****Please remember that none of this happened, or was even somewhat close to happening.  I have nothing but respect for Said the Whale, and so does the rest of Canada!  If there is one thing you should take out of this ridiculous post, it's that you should CHECK OUT SAID THE WHALE!


A Small Town Eulogy that will bring a tear to your eye

Well thanks again to Meg from Rock Me Joe, we've got some more amazing Canadian music to spark your interest.  Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm taking us to Toronto yet again, where we can feast our ears (does that even make sense?) on Graydon James & The Young Novelists.  The group has released a four song E.P., there first collaborative works, entitled A Small Town Eulogy

Graydon has done plenty of writing and recording in the past, but these 4 songs mark the beginning of a total group collaboration.  They have certainly picked great tracks, showcasing a great ability to change speeds and feel.  The album really gets the imagination going as to how good their live show must be.  Plenty of members with an abundance of talent makes for a great act, and I suspect these guys don't disappoint. 

All four songs are certainly worth checking out, and like many bands these days, they are using a "name your price" campaign on bandcamp.  Whether you pay a dollar or a hundred dollars, you'll never think twice.  Graydon James & The Young Novelists are worth every penny.


Fables for Fighters, the next album in your collection

Well you should all send Meg a thank you email for this latest recommended music.  Meg has us headed to "La Belle Province", Montreal specifically, where Chris Velan calls home.  There is still more to thank Meg for (I think she has what I listen to figured out), but for now let's talk about how awesome Fables for Fighters is.

I couldn't believe I hadn't heard anything from Velan before.  That was my first thought when I hit play.  The music couldn't have sucked me in any faster.  This is the fourth full length for the Montreal based artist, and listening to this album has sparked my interest in the rest of his catalogue.  The eleven songs sound magnificent, it's a tight album that passes time incredibly fast.  The man has a great voice, and the music behind him is diverse and engaging. 

It's actually a tough album to pull favourites off of.  As lame as it is to say, it's all good.  Seriously.  Each time the track clicks over, you are equally excited about what your ears are hearing, you forget all about the last one and fully dive into the present.  Did I mention I can't believe I haven't listened to this guy before?

Another thing I'm digging about Chris Velan right now is his approach to the upcoming tour in support of the new album (available April 19).  Looking for pledges from fans to help finance the tour, it's a great opportunity for fans to really help out.  On top of feeling good about helping, you get the album digitally, and it looks like some other pretty awesome stuff as well.  Check it out for sure.

Velan definitely has at least one new fan on the West Coast. I'm really hoping all these pledges will get the tour van all the way out to Vancouver Island, as Fables for Fighters is one of this early year's best.

Content from the Castle Grounds

Well I was just wandering around this here interweb and noticed that the Ellisa Hartman pictures and video's are up!  Thought I would give a little sample of the work here on Island SoapBox. Make sure you check Cyler Parent's website for more of his amazing photography, and Magmazing for Adam Lee's endless live videos.


Don't we all need Shelter?

Shelter, This Is Franco

I know I said this was going up yesterday, but did anyone else catch that Jays game last night? 5 plus hours and 15 innings later, they lost (and probably deserved that fate), but my oh my what an exciting game.  I didn't think anyone would be offended with a little Sunday reading anyhow.

And what are we reading about on this fine Sunday?  An album that was a long time coming, and worth every second of the wait.  This is Franco has released thier first full length, titled ShelterWith 11 polished tracks, this band's mature sound continues to surprise me, and I mean that in the best way possible.  I know the album took a little longer than the band had hoped, but I am sure they are pleased with the result.

"Crowded House" is still one of my favourites from this group.  The vocals are as good as they always are, and I really like the keys, they pull me in, in a big way.  "Love just leads you" would be another favourite.  Some great harmonies really have the vocals stick out for me, it's a fun one to sing along with (whether you can sing or not :).  I've also got to mention "Stuck Between".  I remember reading a review of the song when it was first released a while back, and the person was less than impressed.  I found it funny cause I thought this song was great.  It's my kind of tune, a short, happy little diddy, and I don't know how anyone could not enjoy it.

Enjoying it is what these guys are about, on top of that, they're driven, and continue to push themselves in a positive manner.  I think Shelter is a great step for the group, and they are poised to make 2011 the year you fell in love with This is Franco.

AND... It's time for another GIVEAWAY! The band was kind enough to send me a couple copies of Shelter, so leave a way to reach you in the comments section below for your chance to win! (I'm not on facebook, but a twitter handle or email would be best). Good Luck!


Jessica Stuart and Elizabeth Shepherd (and an apology :)

I gotta start this one off by apologizing to Nathan Ambrose from Musicofmymind productions.  He sent me some great stuff from Elizabeth Shepherd, as she had a show in town he was promoting.  I totally dug it, but I just didn't get around to it in time, and totally dogged it.  We owe you one sir.  Oh, but if you have any interest in jazz at all, please do check out Elizabeth, you will certainly enjoy it.

I also wanted to mention that The Jessica Stuart Few recently released their finished version of "Kid Dream".  What a neat concept, and it really does look cool.  Check it out for sure.

Peacock Calls, Goose Poop & Castle Grounds... Just another day

Cyler got some action shots on his cell.
Well it's about time I write something on here.  Sorry for the laziness folks, I'd love to have some sort of great excuse, but I don't.  So let's move on here people :)

I spent the morning at Royal Roads University, the lovely Ellisa Hartman was in town (her boyfriend Pete playing the roll of Trooper, and driving Ellisa into town at 4 a.m.), Magmazing's Adam Lee, and my good friend/kick ass photographer Cyler Parent were there to collaboratively produce some gold.  Using Hatley Castle and the surrounding grounds as their back drop, they had a great photo session, and shot a couple of videos (including some brand new material).

The location was amazing, and the talent equalled her surroundings easily.  There will be some great sessions coming online shortly, I can't wait to see the results myself!  Even with the cooler temperatures, everyone was excited to be working, and it was a great way to spend the morning.  Look for Ellisa's new album to be available in hard copy soon, as well as photo and video from today!


Spring Mix - An Island SoapBox Mixtape

So I've been thinking about putting a little "mix-tape" playlist together for a while now, and I've finally followed through with it.  It's basically a bunch of favourites from albums featured here on the blog.  It's a little self serving, I know :)  but at the same time, it's a killer playlist and these are some of my favourite tunes!  It's just a shade over 50 minutes if your interested.  Hope you enjoy, let me know what you think!

1. Sasha Lewis -
Reasons from
the album Rooted

2. The Mountains and the Trees - Miniumum Wage Lovers from the album I made this for You

3. Folk Thief - A light for liberty from the album Love Heartache & Oblivion

4. The Sheepdogs - The one you belong to from the album Learn and Burn

5. Treelines - Ghost Towns from the album Young Man

6. Dan Kosub - Til I'm there from the album Jacob's Island

7. Jeremy Fisher - Alison from the album Flood

8. Ryan Van Bellegham - If I come back this way from the album Another Man

9. Lady Hayes - Recipe for Disaster from the album Opening Hearts & Apertures

10. Shortwave - Motown from the album The Skyline Verses

11. The Ruby Spirit - Caligari from the album Born under a Veil

12. Henry and the Nightcrawlers - Fan the Flames from the album 100 Blows

13. Alli Sunshiine and the Blue Sparrows - House of Hanover from the album The Muse E.P.

14. Katie Schaan - You from the album Close to Me

15. Christopher Arruda - We'd be good men from the album Swain E.P.

So thanks to some hard work from Twitter friends Pawnshop Manual, there is a YouTube Playlist of all but two songs here! Thanks so much guys!

That's it.  Some music from all over that I really enjoy.          

Looking forward to hearing what you think, and about your mixes!


Open your ears to Lady Hayes

Well I know it's been a while, but I promise you all this is worth the wait.  And if you can imagine, Toronto is yet again where our featured artist resides.  Shelly Hayes, or as listeners know her, Lady Hayes unleashed Opening Hearts & Apertures on the world in February, and if the rest are like me, they are diggin it.

This is Hayes debut solo effort, and it's 12 tracks will induce an interest for more.  Her voice alone is going to keep you glued, sounding perfect and effortless throughout the album.  Lucky for us it's full length, all because Hayes sound impressed producers enough (from a DIY demo she was working on), to push forward with this debut.

"Recipe for Disaster" is featured on Lady Hayes blog, and is by far my favourite.  It kicks along with an awesome drum beat, and has some brass that puts it over the top.  Apparently I'm a sucker for first songs these days as well, because the other song that really sticks out for me is the first track from Opening Hearts & Apertures, titled "Defining Lines".  She got me right off the hop with her voice, and this is a great two minutes that really showcases just that.

I'm looking forward to more from Hayes.  This album really got me quickly, and I'm confident I'm not alone.  It's another spin you won't be disappointed with.


Get Lucky tonight with Mike Edel

This Saturday has been a long time coming for Mike Edel.  Although he's already played a bunch of shows since releasing his debut "The Last of our Mountains", this weekend date at Lucky Bar will be the official album launch party.  With a good crowd expected, Edel is stoked to finish this long tour in front of his hometown fans.

"It's really Gruelling.  I've had tours before, but not as extensive as this one. It does a number on you.  It's been good though.  I'm really stoked to play on Saturday.  It'll be sweet."

When chatting with him at The Discovery Cafe the other day, one of the first things I noticed is Edel is a guy that you can watch think.  He moves back and forth in his chair, his eyes searching the room as he thinks aloud.  Also evident is a passion for anything he speaks about.  It's clear this man believes in his own words, and it's also clear he works hard for himself.

"To be any artist you need to work hard.   I love ideas and I really love seeing them through.  I always have plans.  I have plans for another tour, a music video in the works. I'm working on some stuff today on the promotion side.  I'm a pretty motivated artist. I have a lot of stuff in the works.  When you have a new record, and you have momentum, you are more motivated, people are stoked. They are stoked to help out."

The Last of our Mountains is a great album, and it really is no wonder people are excited to help. Edel has really knocked this one out of the park.  Tonight will be a great night at Lucky Bar, and a chance to see just how many people really are digging it.  Most satisfying for the Victoria based singer/songwriter is the fact that not just mom is listening.

"I've had some good reviews of it. Some people, they really like the record, like certain people really like it. It's been good to get it in the ears of others. You don't just want your friends and the people who know you to listen to it.  I'm really proud of it."

Mike has full on said the boys have done nothing short of "kick some serious ass" during this tour.  In his own element, back on home turf, it will be worth the price of admission at Lucky Bar tonight to watch Mike Edel and the boys tear the roof down.

 Check out this sweet video of Mike
 from Tash at Naked Jams

Mike also was kind enough to give me a CD, so it's giveaway time!!!  Leave a comment, any comment below, and a way to be contacted, and you are entered! Great album to add to the collection :)


I'm a thief, you're a thief, let's all Folk Thief

Dave Hadgkiss calls Vancouver home, and is the man behind Folk Thief.  He's set to release his debut album, Love Heartache & Oblivion.  It's listed as "Folk and Country", and if you gave me this album 5 years ago, I wouldn't have given it a chance.  But we live in the now, and the now says this is well worth anyone's time.  10 tracks later and I'm ready for more.

It's a pretty twangy listen at times, and Hadgkiss really has a country feel to his vocals.  Other times I can hear the folk side of things much easier.  He seems to play between the two effortlessly, giving the album a diverse feel, and a quick flow.  He also has some beautiful back up singers, which really shine on a few of the tracks.

"A Light for Liberty" is the second track on the record, and one of my favourites.  It's one of those songs that makes you want to play guitar, or learn to play guitar.  Hadgkiss also sings along in a pretty cool way.  "The Devil Behind Me" would be my other favourite on the album.  I guess growing up in Kamloops, Dave was in a geek/punk band, and did a lot of screaming.  He's got a tiny bit of that left in him, and he lets 'er go in this one.  It's a good one to vent along with.  It's got a slow build, and you feel great when you hit "the moment".

Dave's got shows lined up in support of the album in both Vancouver and Victoria.  I can't say he's not going to go through Love or Heartache, but this album should steer him well clear of oblivion.

Close, but Cigar...

Thank you all so very much for the support and the votes along the way.  It was a truly humbling experience, and your support meant so much to me.  I look forward to keeping the blog up, hoping to make your eyes and ears happy.  Looking forward to hearing from all of you some more, keep up the support of our great music!   


Catch a ferry to Jacob's Island

Looks like I'm not finishing that Toronto kick anytime soon.  Dan Kosub call's Ontario's capital home, and he is set to release Jacob's Island March 8th. I'm really enjoying E.P.'s lately, they seem like such a great way to create buzz and excitement for more from the artist.  Kosub's latest works are no different.  Six solid tracks, and now I sit and wait for the tour...

With an upbeat sound, and a great voice, it's an easy album to fall into.  Kosub sounds like he's been releasing albums for years.  "House Arrest" and "Til I'm there" are my two favourites.  I love the instruments in "House Arrest", and "Til I'm there" is a killer song to start the album off with, Kosub's singing pulling you in immediately.

This talented singer/songwriter has tour dates lined up in Ontario to support this latest release.  He also has plans of hitting the road hard this summer, making his way out here to Victoria and then heading back.  Bringing Jacob's Island with him, gives us all the chance to visit and take in the sights and sounds.


I know you want Another Man...

Northwestern Ontario is the latest stop to make your ears happy.  Kenora, Ontario is where Ryan Van Belleghem calls home, and you might as well pay attention now, because the 18 year old is talented.

Another Man is Van Belleghem's debut album.  The singer/songwriter wrote and composed the eleven track L.P. and released it this past November.  Finding it's way through several genres, the album demonstrates how versatile the young musician is.  It's a fact that has grown on me as I've listened to the album more and more (which has also led me to liking it more and more).

I dig the way he has played across all these genres, but my favourite two songs on the album definitely have a similar vibe.  "True" is the first track on the album, and I think that was a good choice.  He lists Jack Johnson as a musician that inspires him and it's clear on a few tracks.  I like it.  "If I come back this way" would be my another favourite.  It's the ease of the singing in these two tunes I like as well, it just sounds very natural.  

I'm really impressed with Another Man.  It's a tight eleven tracks and it certainly has sparked my interest to see where Ryan goes from here.  Calling himself an amateur, and taking the attitude that everyone has to start somewhere, there is no doubt there will be plenty of growing from here for Van Belleghem.  It's an exciting fact when you hear how much talent he already has.


Relaxing with Jessica Stuart

Jessica Stuart is bad-ass
Photos by Jaylyn Todd
The Jessica Stuart Few are wrapping up a West Coast tour right now, and despite the weather's best efforts, it couldn't be going any better.  You know it's going well when it's referred to as a "working vacation" and that's exactly what Stuart compared it to when I caught up with her at The Fort St. Cafe the other night.

Venturing out west has been great for the Toronto based group, as an invite to the Chutzpah Festival in Vancouver set the tour in motion. The chance to get out and play some gigs was great, but to do it in a familiar place at a slower pace made the winter tour quite enjoyable.

"I’m from Vancouver originally, so I got to visit with my folks who live there, and I was in Victoria more recently than I was in Van, so I have a lot of people to meet and connect to here as well. So its been really relaxed.  Also my dudes have had a chance to do some stuff, have some fun, so its not just been driving-sleeping-eating-loading-playing-loading-driving and repeat. So its been great."

Her body language completely backs her words.  She sits relaxed but aware, answering questions thoughtfully and honestly.  Through all this though you can see she means business when it comes to her music.  In todays market that demands every artist needs to have a business sense as well as the music ability, Stuart's got it.  Their latest project, a music video for "Kid Dream" is a perfect example.

The group had 100 animators trace over 2700 frames on paper.  The animators were all volunteer and varied widely in age.  The result was better than they had even imagined, and it's being received that way as well.

"It’s been great, everyone loves it.  We had the big party launch show and that was awesome, and we had the all ages launch which was for the younger folks who had been involved. So we ended up with about 30 kids and their parents at the studio where we had done a lot of the animating for the video and we played a short performance and screened the video, and that was also awesome.

Now we want to see what kind of opportunities we can find to maximize the viewership of this video.  So before launching it online we are trying out different television options, but they all have requirements about not screening the video on YouTube or anything like that before they have a chance to premiere it."

The group will know better as the week progresses just when and where the video will launch, but Stuart  doesn't seem too concerned about where it launches, her confidence obvious in the project.

New project's are not far between for the jazzy Toronto group, and 2011 is looking good.  With recordings in the works, a Toronto Arts Council grant for 8 brand new recordings, an upcoming East Coast tour, and a possible rip through the West Coast interior this summer, The Jessica Stuart Few are going to be showing up in a lot more people's music libraries.  Being in Toronto has really helped the group flourish.

"The idea that I can play every night of the week, potentially with different bands, but whatever, in Toronto, and not play the same venue twice in a year? Yeah that’s great. It’s amazing. There’s more musicians, there is more opportunities, it's just a larger scene. To be more specific. It’s not just a music scene. There’s parts or factions of the music scene that you can tap into, so that’s great."

Even with such a busy 2011 lined up already here in Canada, Stuart is thinking about the international stage, and what she has to do to get there.

"I lived in Japan when I was younger, that's how I learned the Koto. I studied out there for a year. It's good to take lessons.  I’m doing a totally non conventional style of playing and writing on Koto, so it'd be good to get back to studying other peoples work again. It can only be inspiring and make me a better player.  Also I just long for Japan. It's one of my homes. Any excuse I have to get back there I'll take it.

I imagine myself being in Japan within the next 2 years for sure.  The running plan at the moment is to go out there, take some contemporary Koto lessons with some non traditional people, buy a new Koto, make some connections in the music biz out there and sort of pave the way for a future tour to Japan.  And also learning music industry language, because I speak Japanese fluently, but I don't know anything about music biz talk, so that would be something very useful."

Another artist just looking to get better at her craft.  And another artist with the drive and desire that make you cheer and wish success for.  Get out and see The Jessica Stuart Few while they are still in our home and native land.  You won't be sorry.


They can't get rid of me :) We're in the Top 20!

Well thank you all yet again! Island SoapBox has survived another round of CBC Radio 3's searchlight competition to find "Canada's Best Music Website".  I am extremely humbled from the experience, really I can't thank you all enough.  I've said it a bunch of times already, but the contest really is about spotlighting Canadian music, and the people that support it.  Every single site spotlighted by searchlight (and others that weren't!) is a great example of what a community there is north of the border.  One last thank you, your votes really are appreciated, and I'll do my best to keep your eyes & ears happy with more great music and artists!

Photo Courtesy: http://www.memegenerator.net/


Burn one and join the Pack

Saskatoon Saskatchewan is the next stop on the map, as we open our ears up to The Sheepdogs.  As usual I am behind on this, but the group is in a contest to try and make the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine!  One spin through Learn & Burn, and you'll be getting all the friends you know to vote for them as well.

The 15 song album is bad ass.  Like bad ass straight from the 60/70's.  The boys like to rock, and I am glad they do.  From the first note of the album you know you are in for a treat.  It has that old-school rock vibe right then and there, and it doesn't let up.

"The one you belong to" is the name of that first track, and because of that opening riff, is probably my favourite track on the album.  I just need some friends and a dock/campsite to really complete the experience.  "Southern Dreaming" is another favourite.  These guys sound like your favourite rock groups of the past, and I just embraced this album so quickly because of that feeling.

There is also a pride issue here.  The Sheepdogs are the only Canadian band in the Rolling Stone Cover contest.  With an album that rocks like this, you'll be busy voting for the boys in between air guitar licks.


Get Rooted with Sasha Lewis

Well I've put a halt to my Toronto kick momentarily, Rooted has us interested in Salmon Arm, B.C. and the talented Sasha Lewis.  This album is another case of obvious talent from the moment you hit play.  Lewis can flat out sing, and I was ready to hear all 10 tracks immediately.

She may be from small town Canada (Dunster, B.C.) but the debut album from the talented singer/songwriter should garner big city attention.  The pace of the album changes nicely, but it maintains a constant feel.  Often it is easy to zone out of a song, and miss what you are listening to, but Lewis voice doesn't allow that.  The result is an album that plays front to back in seemingly record time.

"Until your Home" and "Reasons" are probably my two favourite songs on the album.  As I mentioned before, Lewis has a great voice and is a treat to listen to.  For me though it's often the beat that pulls me in.  The first being sort of a happy tune that is simple on the ears.  The latter similar in that it's simple as well, but it's got a different vibe that I totally dig.  For whatever reason, this album intrigued me to hear Lewis and Vince Vaccaro together.  Not sure why, but I think they could put something pretty sweet together.

You will not be sorry if you give Rooted a shot.  It's a great listen and really does a good job generating interest in the artist.  I'm confident if you listen to the record, you will be bugging her to play your hometown!



Dinosaur Bones, a rare and precious find

I am officially on a Toronto kick.  Hailing from the Big Smoke is the latest recommended listening from Island SoapBox, Dinosaur Bones, and their debut full length My Divider.  Due out March 8, this bad boy is down right good.  Taking their time in the studio (they spent over six weeks recording), the five men behind the sound have put forth 11 tracks worth listening to.

My first impression of the record was it seemed very dramatic.  The songs have a great flow, and I found myself going through a range of emotions listening, but the dramatic undertones seem to carry through.  I think that's why I'm enjoying this particular album so much, this is music that is out of my "typical listening", especially when it comes to a five piece group, but these guys have me hooked.

"Ice Hotels" is probably my favourite right now.  I think it offers up a lot of what Dinosaur Bones offers up, and what I just talked about.  The song builds really nicely, and stays quite simple sounding while getting there.  "Bombs in the Night" would be my other favourite.  I like the driving beat behind this one, and I just really like how it's put together.  It does a weird thing in my brain I can't quite describe, I just know I enjoy it!

This album has certainly made a fan out of me.  I was not very familiar with the group before, but I am quite pleased to know about them now.  I'm thinking March 8 will be a great day for the boys, and an even better day for their fans.  With a Canadian Tour planned already, there will be plenty of opportunity to grab this album for yourself, and add to that growing fan base.


A Mafia I could join...

Ok so we're headed to Toronto yet again, with some Manchester support in there for good measure.  The Hippy Mafia "is a collaboration of five individuals from five music genres hailing from Manchester UK and Ontario Canada." according to their website.  I think they are just rad.  Besides just really digging their tunes right now, their website is pretty fun in itself.  Some of the reading is right out there, but it is entertaining to read while you listen.

They only have 4 tunes up right now, and they have an E.P. in the works.  I will certainly be keeping an eye out for that.  As for what they have up right now, I really dig Apollo Creed.  This is more music that gets me wanting to move around, an instant energy boost when you really need it.  I like the fact they mention they come from 5 different music genres, because you feel like you hear a bit of everything in there.  I really feel if you're a music fan, there will be something about The Hippy Mafia you enjoy. 

I'll be damned, we made the Top 30!

Well again folks, Island SoapBox has somehow made it through another round of CBC Radio 3's Searchlight contest for Canada's Best Music Website. Clearly I have all of you lovely folks to thank, who have made the effort to vote so often. So thank you so very much!  It is very humbling to have made it this far.  There are a TON of great sites, some amazing people from all over the country who give their time to this great music scene.  The amount of traffic this contest has created to these kinds of sites is really amazing, and ultimately the point.  More eyes and ears out there getting a chance to see what we have to offer.  Thank you all once more, and keep those votes coming!


Catch the Shortwave

Well we're headed back to Toronto again folks, and with good reason, Shortwave beckons.  Their new album The Skyline Verses, is the bands first kick at a full length, and I think they nailed it.   I don't often enjoy a record this much the first time through, but it really just sat well with me.  Eleven solid tracks make for a great play front to back.

There is something familiar about the sound of the whole record.  The first time through I was wondering if I had heard some of these songs before.  Not in the same-old-crap kinda way, but more in the favourite-old-diddy kinda way.  I really felt like the album just fell into the "old favourites pile", just like that.

This is certainly a more upbeat album, fourty-two minutes of music that gets me going.  I know usually I have pretty causal, easy listening on here, so that may be why I'm digging this as much as I am.  The energy is constant, and it's a good album to listen to for those times you're looking for a kick in the ass.

"Motown" is my favourite tune on the album.  I also think it gives a great idea of what the rest of the album is about.  It's just a super fun song, and much like the rest of the record, it fires up my inspiration as well.  The songs have such great beats, that the geeky inner-editor nerd comes out in me, and I just want to cut video to it!

It may be the bands first full length, but they are by no means new to the scene.  After giving this a spin, their experience is evident, and this album should generate nothing but positive vibes for Shortwave.


Sunshine at Solstice

Alli Sunshine plays to the Solstice Cafe

The Solstice Cafe in downtown Victoria hosted Trevor Davies album release show Friday night, and for the 60 or so people that attended, they were treated to a nice coffee house experience. Unfortunately for Trevor though, due to some technical difficulties that really slowed down his set, it was the two opening acts that really stood out.

Alex Hicks started the night with a beautiful set. Hicks, a member of Raw Hunnie, had a super strong voice that really dominated the cafe. She played the guitar quite nicely, and apart from one little slip-up during a song, she played lights out. She seemed comfortable for the most part, her interaction with the crowd was decent. She has a phenomenal voice, and I'll keep an eye out for her in the future.

Next up was Alli Sunshine, and filling in for the Blue Sparrows was Trevor Davies' band mates, Bassist Phil Albert, and drummer Dave Klasen. Sunshine was the reason we were at the show, and she didn't disappoint. She is a very personable performer on the stage, and you get a real sense of her enthusiasm. Even with band members who had never played with her, and on a borrowed keyboard, she had the cafe's full attention. I was very happy to find that her voice was even better in person, and I'm really curious to see her with her own band now (especially with some guitar!).

Trevor Davies closed up the night at the cafe. As I mentioned earlier, they had some problems with their gear, and the set never really had a flow. Those difficulties shortened their set, and it was really too bad. I'm not sure if it was the difficulties, but I don't think their stuff is for me. Not to say it isn't good, because the crowd that Davies brought in last night certainly seemed like they got what they wanted. All in all, it was a great Friday night.


Everybody should be Making War

This rad cover shot was taken by my buddy from
Well Ellisa Hartman is fast becoming an Island SoapBox favourite, and the Making War E.P. has strengthened her case.  I remember her excitement for the release, and I can understand why.  The 6 song E.P. is a great showcase of her talents, and should please current fans as well as intrigue new ones.

"Making War" and "Smitten" are probably the two catchiest tunes on the album.  Both make you want to sing along, and I think these two will catch your attention and really allow you to enjoy the rest of the album, which rings along at a slightly slower pace.  As it's 6 songs, it's a quick play, but an enjoyable listen that will leave people searching out more Ellisa Hartman.

She is another musician on Vancouver Island who is just so incredibly personable, you want her to succeed.  This album is definitely a strong performance, and I think demand for this now Campbell River based musician should be on the rise.  Look for an interview in the coming weeks with Ellisa!

Searchlight Top 60

Well the surprise just gets better.  Thank's to all your votes, Island SoapBox has cracked CBC Radio 3's Searchlight for the Best Canadian Music Website.  Thank you all very much, it is very flattering and humbling.  The idea of spreading the word about music I enjoy was what pushed me to start writing this, and I'm just so excited that there a few more eyes and ears out there right now!  With so many other fantastic sites that do the same thing still on the list, I think the most obvious point that has come from this competition is the amazing music community that exists here.  Every music fan in Canada has something to be proud of.  The talent is phenomenal, as well is the support.  Make sure you keep voting, and help this community along further!
I have a contest going right now, in hopes of hearing who you are voting for, I would love for you to enter!