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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Author Archive: Nick DeCicco

Our Music Year No. 340: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, ‘The Heist’

Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Title: “The Heist” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B The Seattle hip-hop duo of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis first turned heads in 2010 with “Otherside,” which cops a name and a beat from a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, but Macklemore used it to talk about the fatal dangers of […]

County graduates complete basic training

Air Force Airman Joshua M. Benton graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. He is a 2010 graduate of Dixon High School. Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Eric A. Harala graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Harala is the son of […]

Our Music Year No. 339: Pig Destroyer, ‘Book Burner’

Artist: Pig Destroyer Title: “Book Burner” Year: 2012 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: B Blink an eye and miss a track on Pig Destroyer’s “Book Burner,” the Washington, D.C., grindcore group’s ferocious fifth album, burning through 19 tracks in nearly 32 minutes. J.R. Hayes’ dirty, howled vocals are at their best when his subject matter is […]

Our Music Year No. 338: Iron & Wine, ‘The Creek Drank the Cradle’

Artist: Iron & Wine Title: “The Creek Drank the Cradle” Year: 2002 Format: Compact disc (Spotify) Grade: B- Sam Beam jolted to indie superstardom thanks to generous song placement in films. Plucked from 2007′s ”The Shepherd’s Dog,” “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” stands as his best-known track thanks to its inclusion in the “Twilight” series. Before those […]

Our Music Year No. 337: Metz, ‘Metz’

Artist: Metz Title: “Metz” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B Last year was a good year for post-hardcore albums, between Cloud Nothings, The Men, Converge and Canada’s Metz. For Metz, the group’s self-titled debut clocks in under 30 minutes but ties post-hardcore to noise rock to create a vibrant, efficient creature. The songs are tenacious […]

Our Music Year No. 336: The Mother Hips, ‘Green Hills of Earth’

Artist: The Mother Hips Title: “Green Hills of Earth” Year: 2001 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: C+ “Smoke,” the final track on The Mother Hips’ “Green Hills of Earth,” name drops Wilco. “Green Hills” is the Chico band’s attempt to “pull a Wilco,” transitioning from its alt-country beginnings into something more sleek and approachable as Wilco […]

Our Music Year No. 335: !!!, ‘Myth Takes’

Artist: !!! Title: “Myth Takes” Year: 2007 Format: Spotify Grade: A- One way to silence critics about a band’s unpronounceable name is to release a record that forces people to respect it. For Brooklyn’s !!!, “Myth Takes” is that record. Pronounced Chk Chk Chk and formed in Sacramento in 1996, “Myth Takes” heads straight for […]

Our Music Year No. 334: Lead Belly, ‘King of the 12-String Guitar’

Artist: Lead Belly Title: “King of the 12-String Guitar” Year: 1991 Format: Digital Grade: B- Recorded in the first three months of 1935, Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter’s “King of the 12-String Guitar” marks the oldest set of recordings reviewed during Our Music Year. Lead Belly is best known in the 21st century thanks to Nirvana […]

November 30, 2013 | Posted in Entertainment-local | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Our Music Year No. 332: Crooked Fingers, ‘Breaks in the Armor’

Artist: Crooked Fingers Title: “Breaks in the Armor” Year: 2011 Format: Spotify Grade: B- A cloud of gloom hovers over Crooked Fingers’ sixth LP, “Breaks in the Armor,” threatening to rain on even the most uplifting of its tracks. “Went to the City” rides a cascading piano hook as singer Eric Bachmann turns in a […]

Service members from Solano County finish basic training

Army Pvt. Wesley F. Bunch has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. Bunch is the son of Sybille Eschen and David Bunch, both of Benicia. He is a 2012 graduate of Liberty High School in Benicia. Army Pfc. Angela L. Jennings has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson […]

Our Music Year No. 331: Jimi Hendrix, ‘Valleys of Neptune’

Artist: Jimi Hendrix Title: “Valleys of Neptune” Year: 2010 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: C+ Today would’ve been Jimi Hendrix’s 71st birthday, had he lived to see it. He lives on through a slew of albums, more released posthumously than during his 27 years. Most recent among them was 2010′s “Valleys of Neptune,” cut mostly in […]

Our Music Year No. 330: Julia Holter, ‘Ekstasis’

Artist: Julia Holter Title: “Ekstasis” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B- Julia Holter’s second full-length release, “Ekstasis,” is an effort of depth and vision, feeling like wandering through a dreamscape. Layered, textured and ambitious, Holter strikes an arty balance somewhere between dreampop and ambient sounds. Synthesizers and soft drum loops comprise most of the backing, […]

Our Music Year No. 329: ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, ‘Dare to Be Stupid’

Artist: “Weird Al” Yankovic Title: “Dare to Be Stupid” Year: 1985 Format: CD-R (Spotify) Grade: C+ Only four of the 11 songs on “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Dare to Be Stupid” are full-length parodies, an unusually low number for him. It includes “Like a Surgeon,” based on a quip from Madonna, marking the only known instance […]

Our Music Year No. 328: Freelance Whales, ‘Diluvia’

Artist: Freelance Whales Title: “Diluvia” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B- New York’s Freelance Whales have expanded their scope a bit with their second album, “Diluvia.” They dared to think big on “Weathervanes,” but “Diluvia” fashions itself as a complete package. Though it has drawn comparisons to Ben Gibbard and Owl City, a closer comparison […]

Our Music Year No. 327: Glen Hansard, ‘Rhythm and Repose’

Artist: Glen Hansard Title: “Rhythm and Repose” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: C Ireland’s Glen Hansard looks like a sad sack on the hand-drawn cover of “Rhythm and Repose,” his debut solo effort. It’s a window into what sort of record it is. Hansard wears his heart in an iPod exercise sling on his sleeve, […]

Rio Linda outpaces Vacaville in playoff battle

RIO LINDA — Vacaville High watched Marcel Brown and host Rio Linda outrun them in a 31-21 loss in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff quarterfinals matchup, Friday. The seventh-seeded Bulldogs (8-4) had few answers for Brown, who amassed rushing 224 and three touchdowns, including his last when he took a pitch from quarterback Stephen […]

Service members from Solano County finish basic training

Air Force Reserve Airman Michelle J. Bruce graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. She is the daughter of Tonya Bruce of Benicia. Army Pfc. Andrew Cade has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. He is a 2012 graduate of Jesse Bethel High School […]

Original ‘Star Trek’ episodes endure as they approach five decades

Captain’s log, Stardate 67358.2: While space remains the final frontier, watching a show that’s been off the air nearly 45 years is boldly going where many have gone before. “Star Trek” holds an iconic place in pop culture lore, a legacy that has spawned multiple spinoffs, movies and fans so devoted they have conventions. To […]

Our Music Year No. 326: The Byrds, ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’

Artist: The Byrds Title: “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” Year: 1968 Format: Spotify Grade: B Although late country-rock frontrunner Gram Parsons plays a key role in The Byrds’ “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” he had already split from the group before the record’s August 1968 release. Originally conceived as a mini-history of 20th century American music, the […]

Our Music Year No. 325: Randy Newman, ’12 Songs’

Artist: Randy Newman Title: “12 Songs” Year: 1970 Format: Digital Grade: A- Those younger than 40 probably know Randy Newman from one of two places: his work in multiple Pixar films or this “Family Guy” clip. “Family Guy” nailed everything that makes Newman an easy target – his keen skills of observation and that goofy […]

Our Music Year No. 324: Ty Segall Band, ‘Slaughterhouse’

Artist: Ty Segall Band Title: “Slaughterhouse” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B “Slaughterhouse” qualifies as the debut title for Ty Segall Band, but, truthfully, its namesake is such a workhorse that it’s understandable if the difference is indistinguishable to some. Regardless of its artist’s name, “Slaughterhouse” is a visceral and unvarnished invocation of ’70s garage […]

Our Music Year No. 323: Best Coast, ‘The Only Place’

Artist: Best Coast Title: “The Only Place” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: C+ Best Coast doesn’t make its love for the Golden State subtle. Between the duo’s name, the state animal hugging a cutout of California’s shape on the cover of “The Only Place” and the title track, it’s hard to miss the Los Angeles […]

Our Music Year No. 322: Echo and the Bunnymen, ‘Ocean Rain’

Artist: Echo and the Bunnymen Title: “Ocean Rain” Year: 1984 Format: Spotify Grade: B- Few things tell listeners to take an album serious like teaming up with a 35-piece Parisian orchestra. The intent is to underscore the emotional heft that the songs on Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Ocean Rain” shoulder, but several of the compositions […]

Our Music Year No. 321: Joe Satriani, ‘Flying in a Blue Dream’

Artist: Joe Satriani Title: “Flying in a Blue Dream” Year: 1989 Format: Spotify Grade: B- What the heck? Joe Satriani on harmonica? And banjo? And singing? Really? Singing? It’s all captured on 1989′s “Flying in a Blue Dream,” Satch’s third studio effort. Though an undeniably talented player, there’s a hubris in instrumental guitar albums, so […]

Our Music Year No. 320: Last Exit, ‘Last Exit’

Artist: Last Exit Title: “Last Exit” Year: 1986 Format: Spotify Grade: A- The first thing to know about Last Exit’s self-titled debut album and all of the group’s material is that it is all improvised. That’s hard to believe sometimes on “Last Exit.” “Crackin’ ” swells and recedes with such precision, it’s too hard imagine […]

Bulldogs hang on for win against Rocklin

VACAVILLE — The Bulldogs’ defense came up big when they needed to. Twice. On 4th-and-10, Vacaville High defensive back Drew Chitwood had an interception to ice a 26-20 victory at Zunino Stadium against the visiting Rocklin Thunder in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoff, Friday. Then he didn’t. The Bulldogs were […]

Our Music Year No. 319: Marvin Gaye, ‘Let’s Get it On’

Artist: Marvin Gaye Title: “Let’s Get it On” Year: 1973 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: A- Marvin Gaye is one of pop’s all-time great complex personalities, including his relationship with his father that contributed to his lifelong depression as well as his death. It’s an armchair psychologist’s view, but it makes sense then that Gaye aspired […]

Service members from county graduate from basic military training

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Saul Agustin graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Agustin is the son of Socorro Agustin of Benicia. Army National Guard Pvt. J. Roberto A. Da Silva graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, S.C. Da Silva is the son-in-law of […]

Our Music Year No. 318: Graveyard, ‘Lights Out’

Artist: Graveyard Title: “Lights Out” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: C Many groups that tip their caps too far in the direction of nostalgia fall into a trap: Blast out of the past and get with the times or get left behind. Sweden’s hard blues rockers Graveyard attempt to find a third path with “Lights […]

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