Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Sound: Wolves In the Throne Room's Celestial Lineage

American Black Metal, don't dare to read if you are not a fan of Metal. Because Wolves In the Throne Room is this little band from Washington State that makes eco-friendly Black Metal inspired by Neurosis (not a black metal band at all). I discovered this album by the recommandation of fellow blogger Ed Howard at Only the Cinema's Top 50 albums of 2011. This duo of the brothers Weaver, Aaron and Nathan concludes a black metal trilogy of albums with Celestial Lineage. What's interesting in their music is the blend of post-rock repetitions and the use of synthtizers to paraphrase Howard. This is a dark album that investigate on the somber side of humans. It is well textured with great mastery of every element included. For some reason I think this is an album that characterizes lonliness and meditation. I like the Neurosis approach and the presence of Aaron Turner Isis vocalist on "Subterranean Initiation". Both bands aforementioned are far from crafting black metal but their uncompromised approaches to music is clearly an influence on Wolves In the Throne Room. Celestial Lineage is slowly taking place into my favourite albums of late 2011.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Sound: Primordial's Redemption At The Puritan's Hand

Of the many Metal albums released each year few transcends genre and can keep away from trends and attitude wars. The legendary and underappreciated Irish band called Primordial can easily be the representation of this description. Always staying true to their sound with mostly clean vocals and a great use of rhythm the sometimes mid paced music of Primordial follows what can be named as old school Black Metal that meets classic Heavy Metal. Their latest release Redemption At the Puritan's Hand, aside from being titled ridiculously long, represents the pinnacle of their talent and reach. It is populated with strong songs, far from being too melodic or just simple aggressive music it is a composition of superb songs that elaborates some of the traditional Metal elements while staying true to itself and being contemporary. The melancolia and war hymns of this album will be a sure mark into the pantheon of Metal for the years to come.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Sound: John K. Samson's Provincial

Being a fan of Propagandhi, then The Weakerthans it is needless to point out that the solo career of singer/writer/guitarist John K. Samson would interest me very much. The quirky cheesyness of the aforementioned The Weakerthans isn't really prominent on Samson's Provincial, it is a richly textured album that transcends folk/indie/accoustic genres and sang poetry. Samson has this sensibility that helps him carry the little things in all our lives that makes sense without being at the forefront of our preoccupations.
If The Weakerthans don't return from their break of late 2009, Provincial can at least be a savory piece of music that delivers and lets us forgive the fact that since Reunion Tour we haven't had any other new record to put our teeth in. But it is all Samson's creation and I enjoy it very much. The musical year of 2012 has started very strong with the release of Provincial let's hope the rest of the year will keep the pace.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to: Buy the Perfect Snowboard Boots

This is the following article to How to: Buy a Snowboard.

Of the holy trinity of Snowboarding that I before mentioned in my other article, the Boots are the most primordial place to put your money. First, it where your feet are and you should be comfy otherwise it is just painful to ride and to take the lift.

My own experience
Three years ago I bought a pair of used Vans size 9 (actually I'm a size 10) that I thought would be fine to finish the season and maybe begin the next one. What happened is that I took the cheapest pair available and I almost hurt my feet. They were too tight and since they were already worn out they were soft and I had to buy myself a pair of Burton Moto size 10. It is the best pair of boots I ever owned. Compared to my Airwalk, Vans, and Northwave that I had before those Burton boots are worth every hard eraned penny! Why? Because I made the right choice! This is the purpose of this article to help you choose the right boot for your feet. I don't think that there is a perfect boot that fits for everyone.

Price: get what you needThis feature has two face: you don't need to buy the highest priced boots in the store to get the most comfy but, there's always a but, sometimes a Firefly boot won't give you the response or the tweak a Forum or a DC will give you. So don't just spot the highest priced boots or the lowest. Advice: it is important that this part of your equipment fits you perfectly so don't buy just to buy, take what you need and what fits you best.

Fitting
There are many theories on how you should fit into your boots. For example, when standing up your toes should completely touch the front part of the boot or bend your knees and you should touch the end of the boot. etc.
Some parts of those theories are true, however, I think that the position you take when you are riding: your knees are bend and your weight in the middle of the board should be the position you must be when trying a 
Burton Fast lacing
pair of boots. How your toes should be in the boots? You should be comfy, not too tight because your feet will freeze or it will stop the blood flow in your feet which you really don't want. The rigidity of the boot depends on your style of the boot. Harder boots are better for Pipe, speed, powder. And softer boots are better to do rails, park, and jibs.

Lacing

Thirty Two BOA
Boa, Burton fast lacing, traditional laces, etc. this is another this is your call. Take the system you think that fits you the best. Normally, you will lace your boots once before riding and maybe once or twice a day, so for me the Burton fast lacing was the perfect fit but I know people who are sold to BOA systems that you can find on Thirty Two boots. The traditional lacing will always be there too and it is pretty efficient. It lets you tighten the boots just like you want while being like a shoe.
Final advice: try boots and if you need try the entire store's inventory but you should find your pair of boots amongst the variety and the quality of great products out there.

Any questions? Write them in the comments section and I'll be happy to help!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Sound: M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

For those who are fans of The Art of FLIGHT and That's it, That's All you probably already know this artist. Mixing electro and ambient music without being far from pop rock synths M83 made a niche for itself outside from the 1980's revival scene. However, M83 has the spirit of the decade but manages to produce in their latest double-disc release a very unique sound. The textures and intermissions of beautiful and evocative music transports the listener in a massive variety of feelings and moods that only M83 is capable of. It is not a nostalgic music either, it sounds modern and also timeless in its approach and sonorities. A great soundtrack to ride some powder on a big mountain and also a personal favorite of 2011.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Video Review: Shoot the Moon

Shoot the Moon (Videograss, 2011)

The new Videograss release Shoot the Moon, is in some way similar to Capita's Defenders of Awesome; it is mainly centered on urban terrain, rails, ledges, and a skateboarding video approach. But, compared to Defenders of Awesome, Shoot the Moon has a variety of spots and different rails and ledges. Even if it is a small budgeted feature we feel that there is actually an effort in the substance and the variety of tricks. The gaps and obstacles are well exploited and it succeeds without being redundant.

My critic will be at the point where there are too much urban terrain and not enough natural and/or kickers. Riders like Jordan Mendenhall are talented and could easily have had stronger and better parts if the producers let them ride more different kinds of terrains. However, Shoot the Moon probably reprensents an good hybrid of street riding with the real sense of snowboarding. It has something undescribable that reflects the spirit of snowboarding. It might be the fun that the riders seems to have while shooting their parts or their immense talent but I really enjoyed  this video more than I actually thought I would have.

Plus: Just for Louif Paradis' part this is a must see.

Running Time: Approx. 40 mins.
Riders: Chris Grenier, Darrell Mathes, Gus Engle, Jake Olson-Elm, Jed Anderson, Johnny Miller, Jon Kooley, Jonas Michilot, Jordan Mendenhall, Justin Bennee, Louif Paradis, Mikey Leblanc, Nick Dirks, Nima Jalali, Will Tuddenham and Zac Marben.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Video Review: Defenders of Awesome

Defenders of Awesome (Capita, 2011)

It's been four years since CAPITA released a team Video, Defenders of Awesome wants to be a progressive freestyle urban oriented vehicule to present its young but very talented team.

The approach of the feature is very "skateboard" oriented, many parts of the riders of the team with little and whimsical auto presentations, low budget, amateur editing, and only hand held cameras.

Of the many riders depicted in DoA, there is few variety in the substance: lots and lots of rails, urban features and very few big mountain riding. I might sound a little bit old when I write that but freestyle snowboarding doesn't only consist of rails and urban riding. How many customers actually take their boards downtown and hit a rail? The presence of it is essential, especially with the team assembled by Capita. However, I think that it doesn't reflect the interest of most of the customer/public. A better balance of the parts and a greater variety of terrains and locations wouldn't have hurt. It kind of gets old when the same spot is ridden by four riders of the same video.

Personally, I wouldn't recommand to buy this video for your collection other than if you are a diehard fan of urban shredding. In other cases, just rent the thing on iTunes with friends because I don't think this is the kind of movie I'll be watching over and over. A nice effort with a small budget but not a great one either.

Running Time: Approx. 30 mins.
Riders: Jess Kimura, Dan Brisse, Phil Jacques, Dustin Craven, Laura Hadar, Cale Zima, Brandon Cocard, TJ Schneider, Andrew Burns, Mike Ravelson, and Scott Stevens.
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