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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Author Archive: Nick DeCicco

Our Music Year No. 364: Ornette Coleman, ‘Tomorrow is the Question!’

Artist: Ornette Coleman Title: “Tomorrow is the Question!” Year: 1959 Format: Spotify Grade: B+ I remembered remarkably late into the process of Our Music Year that Harvey Pekar, the man whose work inspired the project’s title, wasn’t just a scribe of comic books, but that he also was a prolific jazz critic. So for the […]

Our Music Year No. 363: My Bloody Valentine, ‘Isn’t Anything’

Artist: My Bloody Valentine Title: “Isn’t Anything” Year: 1988 Format: Spotify Grade: B My Bloody Valentine’s “MBV” was one of 2013′s best albums and the group’s first in 22 years, so going back to revisit this pre-”Loveless” effort seemed like a good call. While “Loveless” is considered a must-own title for shoegaze enthusiasts, “Isn’t Anything” […]

Our Music Year No. 362: Astro, ‘Astro’

Artist: Astro Title: “Astro” Year: 2011 Format: Spotify Grade: C+ Astro’s self-titled album dropped in 2011 in its native Chile, but didn’t make it stateside until nearly one year later. Comparisons to MGMT and M83 abound, a funky pastiche of pop and electronic that is as fun as it is groovy. “Colombo” is infectious, a […]

My Bloody Valentine triumphs in year of reunions, comebacks

All the cool kids in music were doing reunions and comebacks in 2013. It was the Lazarus moment for a cast as diverse as metal legends Black Sabbath to the Bay Area hip-hop hijinks of Deltron 3030. Others joining the crowd either on the road or in the studio: The Replacements, Neutral Milk Hotel, Black […]

Our Music Year No. 361: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, ‘Damn the Torpedoes’

Artist: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Title: “Damn the Torpedoes” Year: 1979 Format: Vinyl (Spotify) Grade: A- There are hits to burn on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1979 slab, “Damn the Torpedoes,” with “Refugee,” “Here Comes My Girl,” “Even the Losers” and “Don’t Do Me Like That.” Those tracks alone stand for nearly half […]

Our Music Year No. 360: Yes, ‘Close to the Edge’

Artist: Yes Title: “Close to the Edge” Year: 1972 Format: Spotify Grade: B+ Only three tracks comprise “Close to the Edge,” Yes’ 1972 album and fifth overall studio effort. The title track is half of the running time, a four-part progressive rock suite that winds from Bill Bruford’s chaotic percussion in the first movement to […]

Fairfield, Vacaville graduates complete basic training

Air Force Airman Brandyn F. Elahi graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Elahi is the son of Julia and Wali Elahi of Vacaville. He is a 2004 graduate of Vanden High School in Fairfield. Air Force Airman 1st Class Ashley Olmstead graduated from basic military training at Joint […]

Our Music Year No. 359: Sufjan Stevens, ‘Songs for Christmas’

Artist: Sufjan Stevens Title: “Songs for Christmas” Year: 2006 Format: Spotify Grade: C+ In 2006, Sufjan Stevens culled five extended plays from the previous six years for a new release. What began as a holiday tradition for family and friends turned into the “Songs for Christmas” box set. Like with so many other Stevens projects, […]

Our Music Year No. 358: Miles Davis, ‘Sketches of Spain’

Artist: Miles Davis Title: “Sketches of Spain” Year: 1960 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: A Coming less than one year after the legendary “Kind of Blue,” Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain” feels like a tonal descendent of “Blue,” incorporating many of the themes of modal and cool jazz into the mix. But, as the title suggests, […]

Our Music Year No. 357: Flying Lotus, ‘Until the Quiet Comes’

Artist: Flying Lotus Title: “Until the Quiet Comes” Year: 2012 Format: Digital Grade: C+ The fourth LP from Steven “Flying Lotus” Ellison, “Until the Quiet Comes,” is a fractured form of intelligent dance music that leans toward nu-jazz and trip hop. The first 13 minutes feel like a warmup for everything else, priming the listener […]

Our Music Year No. 356: Eels, ‘Electro-Shock Blues’

Artist: Eels Title: “Electro-Shock Blues” Year: 1998 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: A- “Electro-Shock Blues” is the second album from California rock group Eels, which is primarily a vehicle for Mark Oliver Everett, better known as E. For as optimistic as the music of “Electro-Shock” can be, the subject matter is sobering. In the years preceding […]

Our Music Year No. 355: Faith No More, ‘The Real Thing’

Artist: Faith No More Title: “The Real Thing” Year: 1989 Format: Spotify Grade: B San Francisco’s Faith No More is perhaps best known for “Epic,” the second track on 1989′s “The Real Thing,” a quirky metal album that tries to be the evolutionary step between the synth trends of the ’80s and the funk metal […]

Show creator’s return reason to have ‘Community’ spirit

NBC’s excellent but embattled comedy “Community” creeps toward a new season Jan. 2 with many noteworthy changes in personnel. Among the departing are Donald Glover, who plays Troy, and Chevy Chase’s character, Pierce. Although Chase left the show in November 2012, shooting was almost complete on the 13-episode 2013 installment, so the new season marks […]

Our Music Year No. 354: Built to Spill, ‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Love’

Artist: Built to Spill Title: “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love” Year: 1994 Format: Spotify Grade: B A number of 1990s indie rock albums sound like they were recorded with hand-me-down equipment in the same living room, from Pavement to Dinosaur Jr. to Built to Spill’s second album, “There’s Nothing Wrong With Love.” The influence of […]

Our Music Year No. 353: Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Kiss’

Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen Title: “Kiss” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: D “Call Me Maybe” was one of those ubiquitous summertime hits a year ago, with Canadian pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen being as inescapable as death and taxes. Her awkward plea for something more than love at first sight was string-propelled bubblegum pop that […]

Fairfield, Vacaville service members finish training

Air Force Airman Dominic G.P. Carey graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Carey is the son of Robert and Sara Diaz of Travis Air Force Base. He is a 2012 graduate of Vanden High School in Fairfield. Air Force Reserve Airman David Reynolds graduated from basic military training […]

Our Music Year No. 352: Krzysztof Komeda, ‘Astigmatic’

Artist: Krzysztof Komeda Title: “Astigmatic” Year: 1966 Format: Spotify Grade: A If an astigmatism is blurred vision, that’s an apt name for Krzysztof Komeda’s landmark 1966 album cut in three nights in December ’65 in Warsaw, Poland. “Astigmatic” – a name he took because dealing in jazz in Communist Poland in the 1960s was deemed […]

Our Music Year No. 351: X, ‘Wild Gift’

Artist: X Title: “Wild Gift” Year: 1981 Format: Spotify Grade: B+ X flexes its muscles and gives a hooky take on punk with “Wild Gift,” the band’s second album in a 13-month period between 1980 and 1981. At 33 minutes, “Wild Gift” is lean and propulsive. “I’m Coming Over” is raw and fast, but like […]

Our Music Year No. 350: Big Boi, ‘Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors’

Artist: Big Boi Title: “Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: C Big Boi and André 3000 were genius in effectively starting their solo careers and trading on OutKast’s name a decade ago with “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” the group’s Grammy-winning 2003 double album. While the 3000 side was a neo-soul effort that […]

Our Music Year No. 349: Big Bill Broonzy, ‘Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs’

Artist: Big Bill Broonzy Title: “Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs” Year: 1962 Format: Spotify Grade: B Recorded in 1956 but released posthumously in ’62, Mississippi-born Big Bill Broonzy’s “Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs” showcases an acoustic take on the delta blues with Broonzy’s powerful voice. The album is split into two sides, with […]

December 15, 2013 | Posted in Entertainment-local | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Our Music Year No. 348: Django Django, ‘Django Django’

Artist: Django Django Title: “Django Django” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: C+ The self-titled debut from London’s Django Django uses trickery to mask the quartet’s thin songwriting. Fortunately, there are many places where they’re quite good at it. “Default” and “Firewater” make a dynamite duo early in the record, with the former subverting expectations with […]

Service members with county connections complete basic training

Air Force Airman 1st Class Christian A. Cato graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Cato is the son of Rosinante and Ellen Cato of Fairfield. He is a 2007 graduate of Vanden High School in Fairfield. Air Force Airman 1st Class Robert W. Douglas graduated from basic military […]

Our Music Year No. 347: Nas, ‘Life is Good’

Artist: Nas Title: “Life is Good” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B For a number of those successful in rap, they turn from players to moguls, gravitating away from hip-hop as they reach middle age. That makes Nas a rare breed on his 10th LP, “Life is Good,” with the New York artist opining about […]

Our Music Year No. 346: Prince, ‘Dirty Mind’

Artist: Prince Title: “Dirty Mind” Year: 1980 Format: Spotify Grade: B- Prince took a leap forward as a songwriter with his third slab, 1980′s “Dirty Mind,” when he was able to look to where the ’80s were headed rather than try to keep up with his ’70s contemporaries. While “Dirty Mind” is bereft of the […]

Our Music Year No. 345: The Replacements, ‘Let it Be’

Artist: The Replacements Title: “Let it Be” Year: 1984 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: A There are some records whose reputation precedes them in such a large way that there’s doubt the real thing could ever live up to the hype. It was easy to feel skepticism about “Let it Be” browsing the titles alone. First, […]

Our Music Year No. 344: Willie Nelson, ‘Red Headed Stranger’

Artist: Willie Nelson Title: “Red Headed Stranger” Year: 1975 Format: Spotify Grade: A- “Red Headed Stranger” marked the beginning of Willie Nelson’s career with Columbia Records, a deal that gave him complete creative control. That meant that the dusky, sparse sound of “Red Headed Stranger” stayed intact, despite the label’s objections. For Nelson, it worked, […]

Our Music Year No. 343: John Talabot, ‘ƒin’

Artist: John Talabot Title: “ƒin” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B- Restraint and atmosphere rule the day on John Talabot’s “ƒin,” the first full-length release from the Spanish electronic artist. The Barcelona-born composer focuses his efforts in deep house and Balearic beat, striving for a marriage between the chilled out Balearic sound with house’s slow […]

Our Music Year No. 342: John Lennon, ‘Walls and Bridges’

Artist: John Lennon Title: “Walls and Bridges” Year: 1974 Format: Digital Grade: C John Lennon died 33 years ago today, but left a musical legacy that continued on after The Beatles packed up shop. He released a glut of albums in the early ’70s before taking off the back half of the decade to be […]

Our Music Year No. 341: Molly Hatchet, ‘Molly Hatchet’

Artist: Molly Hatchet Title: “Molly Hatchet” Year: 1978 Format: Spotify Grade: B- Molly Hatchet arrived late in the Southern rock boom of the ’70s, with the Jacksonville, Fla., group dropping its self-titled debut in 1978. Unlike Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band or Outlaws, Molly Hatchet attacks more aggressively. On “Gator Country,” the finest song […]

Album-of-the-year lists reveal personality, deceptive consensus

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s time for year-end music lists, of course. Who’s is this “Santa” person you’re talking about? Critics compile their favorite spins, showing off the year’s favorite albums – Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories,” Kanye West’s “Yeezus” and My Bloody Valentine’s “MBV” – and the overlooked underdogs, such […]

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