311’s latest album, MOSAIC, is a patchwork of different styles, producers, and songwriters, but, at its core, it is still very much a 311 album. The quality on 311’s last album, Stereolithic, was very even; that is, the highs and lows were within a narrow range. This album is quite the opposite in that there are superlatives among both the best and the worst material. Overall, there is enough quality and variety on MOSAIC for anyone to find something to enjoy on this album. This album really is a superlative effort even though I think they missed the mark by involving John Feldmann and his production team on five songs. MOSAIC is a solid addition to 311’s discography.
Despite having recently ran a Ragnar Trail race, I don’t normally do much trail running, but I’ve always been intrigued by the possibility of using a trail-running shoe as a lightweight hiking shoe. I needed a shoe with enough traction, stability, and support to justify setting aside my trusty hiking boots. The Salomon XA Pro 3D satisfies all those requirements, and more.
My goal with this purchase was to upgrade my point-and-shoot camera. I take a lot of photos while hiking or skiing, so size and weight were important considerations. I have a Canon EOS M mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C size sensor that takes great photos, but I prefer to carry a smaller camera when I’m skiing or hiking locally. With that said, I don’t want to have to give up so much image quality when I carry a smaller camera.
The Canon PowerShot G9 X meets my most important requirements (small form factor and improved image quality). The G9 X is a bit thicker and heavier than my Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS, but it’s roughly the same size in other aspects. The G9 X’s 1-inch sensor has approximately four times the surface area of the sensor in my ELPH camera, so the image quality is, indeed, much improved. Although the G9 X’s sensor is only about half as large as my EOS M’s sensor, the drop-off in image quality is much less pronounced than with the ELPH.
311 released Stereolithic on 3/11 (March 11, 2014). After listening to this album probably more than 50 times in the past week, I think I’ve digested it enough to write a review.
Although I don’t (yet) consider any of the songs on Stereolithic “classic” 311 songs, there are several that are very close to that designation. My song-by-song review follows. Click on the song titles to listen to preview clips or (for the radio/internet singles) the full songs. The asterisks next to the song names indicate my rating out of five possible stars.