Scatter for all

Well a little more hip hop this time around for you fine folk.  This time we head to the bright lights and city sights of Bolton, ON.  Yeah, that's right ;).  This is where "Scatter" hails from, and his latest free offering Get up to Speed, is worth taking note of.

The album is actually composed of 6 previously recorded tracks.  He's offering it up for free, in hopes of building some excitement around his name.  It's a great listen, and features some other great Canadian artists (Mic Boyd, D-Sisive and Moka Only).  He has an old school sound that I really enjoy.

The first track is named "No Brainer", and it's got that old school vibe that I was talking about.  It hooked me into his album right away.  Something to nod your head to and really enjoy the beat.  My other favourite song would be "Back to Reality" and that track features D-Sisive (who seems to be everywhere these days).  The song just zooms along and has a great flow for me.

I've always been a beat guy, and Scatter has me figured right out.  I hope we can expect more soon from the Ontario talent.  If he keeps pumping out tunes like these, hip hop fans will be Scattering to find his latest.


Delicious Weekend Bits

Just a few more goodies that I came across over the weekend and felt the need to share.

Redgy Blackout is dishing out free music right now.  Of course it's only worth downloading if it's good. Thankfully that's no issue for the Van City music makers.  Give them a follow also, there hoping to hit 1000 followers before taking off for Toronto.  They're not shitty Twitterers either, so it's well worth the follow.

Joel Plaskett is another one of those dudes I can listen to anytime.  He and the Emergency are working on a bunch of tracks right now.  Once a week they are releasing singles, as well as a "making of" video for each one.  It's a pretty cool way of getting the new stuff out there, I'm on board.

Lastly, I know I haven't featured a whole lot of hip hop on here, but I am a fan, and find myself liking it more and more.  There are some great Canadians out there that have my ear right now, and a name that's been around for a long while, has all sorts of new stuff going on, and seems very excited about it (how about that run on sentence, that's a doozy).  Choclair's back, and his latest track with D-Sisive is pretty sweet.  Not gonna lie, I'm pumped to see what he has up next.


Excitements of the future...

You don't need to go 88 MPH to get excited for this stuff!
Come on, how good of a title is that?! :)

I figured I would post a few things I have my eye (or ear?) on coming up in the near future.

Island SoapBox favourite Steph Macpherson has some Toronto shows coming up.  For those of you living in the "Big Smoke", free up March 22 (Canadian Music Week Showcase show at Dakota Tavern), or March 24 (Canadian Music Week Showcase at Cadillac Lounge).  Get out and see her.  You won't be disappointed, I promise you!

Macpherson has an album release in the coming months, and she will be back here in Victoria for some shows before then.  You can get out and pre order the album while she is here in town.  It's an album I eagerly anticipate!

Steph will be playing Friday April 6th with another SoapBox favourite, Jeremy Fisher, at St Ann's.  Sounds like $18 well spent!

Some other albums people are eager to hear are streaming for us right now.  Said the Whale, Plants and Animals, and Yukon Blonde all have something to tickle your ear canals (?).

And one more album that I'm super pumped for, Zacharly Lucky has a new offering coming soon, and of course if you follow Lucky at all, you know he's touring.  No Victoria stop planned yet, but expect a review of his latest coming soon to Island SoapBox!

Oh Fortune!

Dan Mangan can do no wrong.  That's something I strongly believe.  He made an album recently and it was called "Oh Fortune".  It was really, really good.  Like really, really, really good.

So you should just get it (if you haven't already).
Listen to it.

That's the good stuff.


The Greatest Goodbye

I know I've said it before on here, and I'm hoping it's not the last time I say it, but Meghan Gamble knows just what I like.  This latest gem is from a group called Madison Violet, and their album "The Good in Goodbye".

Released this past September, the twelve track full length is an outstanding effort from the Roots duo.  The music feels familiar from the first time you push play.  It's a sound that you can relax and tap your toes to at the same time.  Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac have been pumping out material since 2004, so this album being as polished as it is makes perfect sense.

The Toronto group has really got it dialed in.  "Come as you are" is definitely my favourite song on the album.  Killer harmonica off the hop and some great harmonies make this an instant classic.  I find myself humming this tune all day long when I hear it.

Another favourite little diddy (and I really believe diddy is the perfect word), is "Cindy Cindy".  It hooks me in with the Banjo and the pace.  It's just two and a half minutes of fun.

There is no weak point on the album.  The ladies have an intoxicating sound that grows on you each and every time you play it.  Simply put, it's forty minutes well spent.

Madison Violet have a tour south of the border coming up in support of their latest works.  For our American friends, it would be in your best interest to get out to a show when the group comes rolling through.  You may be supporting "The Good in Goodbye", but with the talent this group has, you can be sure the "goodbye" part won't be for long.

A Bell Worth Diving to.

This isn't exactly "new", but it's been sitting in my inbox for months now, and is one of the reasons that I had to start writing this blog again! (And I have to thank Jen Fritz for it!)

"A Diving Bell" is a a four song E.P. from City of Glass, and the group from Vancouver has got four real beauties here for their next L.P.  All four tracks they offer up are quite nice, and I think lead singer Michael Champion will suck you right in.  The dude sounds good.

"Sticks and Stones" is the first track on the album, and it's my favourite so far.  Right off the hop the guitars pump me up.  I enjoy the build of the song, and the intensity of the singing just excites me.  Whether you're heading out to Walmart (seriously, what's with those check out lines?!), or jumping on your mountain bike, it's a good jam to get yourself revved up.

The full length is due out sometime this year, and City of Glass have my attention.  With the sound and skill these guys have, their next release could very well be your new favourite. 


Backpack review, K9 Style...

Tobias, the model mutt.
I recently read a review on another webiste that I like to read about a Dog Pack they had tried.  Funny enough, my wife and I had the same pack before this one, so I knew just how crappy it was.  That is why I had to write this review, because this pack is awesome!

We purchased this a long while back at a shop in Victoria (Capital Iron), and we've been impressed with it ever since.  The pack is very durable, and it looks and feels this way in the shop.  It has great padding along the straps, and under the whole pack, it seems very comfortable, and Tobias certainly loves it.

The padding is soft though, so your dogs hair is going to stick to it.  Along with hair, the soft surface also absorbs water, and therefore your lovely wet dog smell to go with it.  A trip to the washing machine will solve this issue in a hurry though. 
All cool dog bags have buttons.

The pack has two great compartments for storage.  They are plenty big to hold whatever you could possibly want in there (remember to only load your dog up with a MAXIMUM 10% of their total body weight. 40 LB dog = 4 LB carry weight.).  We like to have Tobias carry his water and dog bags (and if he's lucky some treats).

The price of the bag is reasonable as well.  Right around $50-$60 depending on the size you need.  This was actually less than what we had spent on our first bag, so we were really
happy with the cost. 

The bag has held up great.  We use it almost daily, pretty much everytime we go out the door we throw his pack on him.  The zippers and buckles all still function perfectly, and he has worn it in all conditions you can think of.  Muddy hikes and bikes, nice long day walks in the sun, and anything in between. 

If you are thining of getting a pack for your pooch, Granite Gear is what you want.  The price is right and the quality is top notch.


My 29'er... A Love Affair

Took a few pics on the new cam, and Sheena put a pretty sweet vid together.

Well I haven't wrote on here in quite some time, and today I'm writing about something I haven't wrote a lot about on here in the past, but I sure am excited about it.  Mountain Biking has always been something I have enjoyed, and after some good friends coming out here and visiting my last September, I've really stepped back into the sport.

Growing up in Ontario, we would watch countless videos of guys doing incredible things on their bikes.  Most of it didn't seem possible.  Huge drops, zooming fast manuals, giant ladders, and stupid-big tabletops were just some of the things we loved to watch our favourite riders conquer. 

We watched video from all over the world, but over and over again, British Columbia would be showcased in these videos.  Whether it was the crazy networks in the treetops, or the giant trees and boulders that dotted the landscape, we always knew we had to get out there and ride.

I'm lucky enough to call B.C. home now, and it was those good buddies that I used to ride with back in Ontario that really inspired me to get back into riding, to take advantage of this wonderful province and what it offers the outdoor enthusiasts.

The opportunity came shortly after my friends had to leave to purchase a 29'er.  I had read a few things here and there on them, and from what I was reading, I knew I had to have one.  I've always loved hard tails, it's what I am used to, and to get a faster hard tail with the ability to just roll over things?  Sign me up.

I lucked out completely when I came across a link on the Oak Bay Bikes website, they were selling off their demo fleet "aggressively".  I was at the shop the next morning, waiting for them to open.  A 2009 Norco Jubei 2 was waiting inside patiently for it's new caretaker.  I had a ride planned later that morning, and as soon as I got to take that bike for a test spin, I knew I had a new set of wheels for Hartland that day.

A couple hours later, when we put rubber to dirt, it took less than twenty minutes for me to proclaim "I can't believe I've been riding 26 all my life, I feel ripped off!".  The bike rolled amazingly.  Pointing it down was so much fun, the big wheels feeling plush under me, I've never rode full suspension, but this thing was feeling like one, absorbing the roots and drops, picking up speed.  Fast, fast, fast.  And when you pointed it up?  Same thing.  You keep those wheels moving, you feel like you can ride over anything.  Rocks that I would have never attempted to climb on my Cindercone felt like no match for the Jubei 2.  I felt like a superhero that whole day, riding lines that weren't there the day before.  Suddenly my whole riding experience changed. 

It was a rosy honeymoon stage with my new steed, and I have to admit, I'm still in it.  The ability to throw the big wheels up rocks and climb so aggressively feels amazing.  I spend more time in the saddle of this bike because it can keep up with the terrain, going up or down.

Down may be where I was most surprised.  As I mentioned earlier, after going from a 26' hard tail to this 29' hard tail, it actually feels plush.  The first few drops and downhill runs I took, I couldn't believe how the bike felt like it just floated over the trail.  I knew I was the same rider as the day before, but I felt like I was on another level.  This bike did nothing but build confidence for me.

Now as the months have wore on, and I've gotten a chance to really put her through the paces, the negatives have made them self clear as well

I don't have the clearance from my crank to the ground that I used to.  I'd love to tell you the geometric reasons for this, but I simply don't know (I'm not a big spec guy).  It could just be this model, or maybe it's a 29'er thing, but it's definitely worth mentioning (strongly thinking of going to a 1 x10 set up in the near future, this would help).

Also, starting from a stand still is a bit more work that you're used to.  The big wheel needs some power to roll over, so if you slip out half way up a climb, chances are you will have a hard time getting started.  These are really the only two negatives that I've really had to deal with while riding, and for me personally, the positive far outweigh the negatives.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that I love my 29'er, and I would strongly recommend you give one a go.  I know they are easy to joke about, and it might not be the "cool" thing to ride in the Pacific Northwest, but who cares about that?  Faster is faster, and that's all I've got since riding the Wagon Wheels.