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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Author Archive: Nick DeCicco

Miscues, jitters factor in Rodriguez’s loss to Deer Valley

ANTIOCH — Friday night’s game marked the first time on the field for some of Rodriguez High’s players. Some first-time jitters showed. The Mustangs fell to the host Deer Valley Wolverines, 56-13, behind a host of yellow flags and miscues. The Mustangs were penalized eight times in the first half for mishaps such as delay […]

Our Music Year No. 249: Cat Power, ‘Sun’

Artist: Cat Power Title: “Sun” Year: 2012 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: C- “Sometimes you gotta do what you don’t wanna do to get away with an unordinary life,” sings Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, over the loops and synth beats in “Real Life,” a cut from “Sun,” the Atlanta-born singer’s ninth LP. It’s a telling […]

Our Music Year No. 248: Bob Mould, ‘Silver Age’

Artist: Bob Mould Title: “Silver Age” Year: 2012 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: B- I don’t know who reminded Bob Mould that he rocks, but I’m glad that person did. Inspired after a 2011 stint as Foo Fighters’ opening act as well as playing Sugar’s debut LP, “Copper Blue,” in 2012 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, […]

Our Music Year No. 247: Sonic Youth, ‘Dirty’

Artist: Sonic Youth Title: “Dirty” Year: 1992 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: B- The knock on “Dirty” was that it was Sonic Youth’s attempt to latch onto grunge as it exploded in the early 1990s. Truth be told, the band’s seventh album feels like a logical step rather than an attempt to kowtow to trends. Using […]

Our Music Year No. 246: Slowdive, ‘Souvlaki’

Artist: Slowdive Title: “Souvlaki” Year: 1993 Format: Digital Grade: B+ I listened to Slowdive’s second album, “Souvlaki,” at a park bench overlooking a bridge and a body of water feeding the San Francisco Bay at sunset. Souvlaki’s resplendent shoegazing peaks and valleys took on a higher level of significance. The album’s waves of reverb lapped […]

Our Music Year No. 245: Three Dog Night, ‘Hard Labor’

Artist: Three Dog Night Title: “Hard Labor” Year: 1974 Format: Spotify Grade: D+ Los Angeles’ blue-eyed soul group Three Dog Night was coming to the end of its first run when its 11th album, “Hard Labor,” hit shelves in March ’74. The controversy about the cover, which looks like a delivery room photo of an […]

Our Music Year No. 244: Dropkick Murphys, ‘Live on St. Patrick’s Day’

Artist: Dropkick Murphys Title: “Live on St. Patrick’s Day” Year: 2002 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: C There’s no doubt that the crowd at Boston’s Avalon Ballroom enjoyed every second of the three nights hometown boys Dropkick Murphys used to record “Live on St. Patrick’s Day.” They chant, sing and have a merry time with the […]

Our Music Year No. 243: Godspeed You! Black Emperor, ‘Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven!’

Artist: Godspeed You! Black Emperor Title: “Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven!” Year: 2000 Format: Digital Grade: A Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven!” reminded me of 2001′s “Waking Life,” which tries to make a lucid dream of a film, drifting from one thought to the next […]

Dismantling Debra fatal to final days of ‘Dexter’

Though Showtime’s “Dexter” is three episodes from the series finale, it’s time for the show to be wrapped in plastic on one of Dexter’s kill tables. Spoilers abound from here on out. Most TV shows starring an anti-hero come baited with a savory hook – the idea that the show’s founding premise will be his […]

Our Music Year No. 242: Antony and the Johnsons, ‘Swanlights’

Artist: Antony and the Johnsons Title: “Swanlights” Year: 2010 Format: Digital Grade: C+ Antony Hegarty’s gorgeously androgynous voice is the make-or-break point for many listeners when it comes to Antony and the Johnsons. He played it to its drama-queen best on 2005′s “I Am a Bird Now,” supplementing somber, piano-based chamber pop with his quavering […]

Benicia graduate completes basic training

Air Force Airman Austin Gundelach graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Gundelach is the son of Joanna Gundelach of Benicia. He is a 2011 graduate of Benicia High School.

Our Music Year No. 241: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, ‘I See a Darkness’

Artist: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy Title: “I See a Darkness” Year: 1999 Format: Digital Grade: B+ “Well, I like to have a good time,” sings Will Oldham, aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, at the start of “Another Day Full of Dread,” without a hint of irony. It’s hard to believe him. Though “I See a Darkness,” his […]

Our Music Year No. 240: Passion Pit, ‘Gossamer’

Artist: Passion Pit Title: “Gossamer” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: B- Sometimes, pop music can be so subversive, couching darkness in what sounds so happy. Jump back two summers to Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” which is about school shootings – “You better run, better run faster than my bullet.” Passion Pit’s “Gossamer” sounds […]

Our Music Year No. 239: Sufjan Stevens, ‘Michigan’

Artist: Sufjan Stevens Title: “Michigan” Year: 2003 Format: Compact disc (Spotify) Grade: C+ Like so many other Sufjan Stevens efforts, brevity is not the strong point of “Michigan,” the first of two albums in a now-abandoned project to make a record about each of the 50 states. I doubted sincerely that Stevens ever took the […]

Our Music Year No. 238: Animal Collective, ‘Centipede Hz’

Artist: Animal Collective Title: “Centipede Hz” Year: 2012 Format: Website stream (Spotify) Grade: B- Animal Collective are masters of making bizarre concepts listenable, so a person must be primed to go places upon first hearing a new AnCo album. “Centipede Hz,” the band’s first since its 2009 breakthrough, “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” continues its dedication to […]

Our Music Year No. 237: Auktyon, ‘Bird’

Artist: Auktyon Title: “Bird” Year: 1993 Format: Spotify Grade: A- Alums of the Leningrad Rock Club, a KGB-run rock venue in St. Petersburg, Russia, Auktyon are products of the Soviet Union’s foray into art rock into the ’80s, but have managed to last through to the new century. 2011′s “Top” was a fine effort nearly […]

Our Music Year No. 236: Kayo Dot, ‘Gamma Knife’

Artist: Kayo Dot Title: “Gamma Knife” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: C Kayo Dot’s fifth studio album, “Gamma Knife,” is a sandwich, with sweet, quiet pieces for bread and an avant-garde metal slab of beef in the middle. The effort clocks at 30 minutes for five songs, making it easy to digest. It starts with […]

Our Music Year No. 235: Five Finger Death Punch, ‘The Way of the Fist’

Artist: Five Finger Death Punch Title: “The Way of the Fist” Year: 2007 Format: Spotify Grade: D+ Give Five Finger Death Punch credit for (A) Having a great name, (B) Having an album title befitting the band’s name with its 2007 debut, “The Way of the Fist,” (C) Having some pretty awesome album art and […]

Our Music Year No. 234: Yeasayer, ‘Fragrant World’

Artist: Yeasayer Title: “Fragrant World” Year: 2012 Format: NPR First Listen (Spotify) Grade: D+ I heard “Henrietta” precede Yeasayer’s third slab, “Fragrant World,” and it piqued my curiosity. It had everything a great lead single from an indie synthpop should – catchy rhythms, intrigue, tight production. Could this be the album when Yeasayer finally puts […]

Our Music Year No. 233: ‘Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac’

Artist: Various artists Title: “Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac” Year: 2012 Format: Spotify Grade: C- I’ve yet to hear a full-length, multiple-artist cover tribute that I would consider essential, although the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan biopic “I’m Not There” comes close, thanks to good source material. The […]

Our Music Year No. 232: Jack Rose, ‘Kensington Blues’

Artist: Jack Rose Title: “Kensington Blues” Year: 2005 Format: Spotify Grade: A “Kensington Blues,” released in 2005, came at a time when Jack Rose was beginning to fully master his gift and emerge from the shadows of his inspirations, particularly that of John Fahey, to whom he was frequently compared. Rose’s droning, acoustic, dexterous instrumentals […]

Our Music Year No. 231: Ra Ra Riot, ‘The Rhumb Line’

Artist: Ra Ra Riot Title: “The Rhumb Line” Year: 2008 Format: Spotify Grade: C Recorded months after the death of drummer John Pike, Syracuse, N.Y.’s Ra Ra Riot’s debut LP, “The Rhumb Line,” carries echoes of him throughout. A solemnity winds through the record, often supported by the inclusion of cellist Alexandra Lawn and violinist […]

Our Music Year No. 230: Rage Against the Machine, ‘Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium’

Artist: Rage Against the Machine Title: “Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium” Year: 2003 Format: Spotify Grade: C With today marking six years since Rage Against the Machine took the stage near AT&T Park to play one of its first reunion shows, it a perfect time to discover the band’s sole official live album. Either […]

Unlikely source quenches Outside Lands thirst

It’s 8:05 p.m. In 20 minutes, I’ll use a photo pass to shoot Nine Inch Nails at Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park. I hope. It’s the chance of a lifetime, but right now, I’m concerned I’m going to pass out. I feel dizzy and my mouth is dry. About 45 minutes and […]

Our Music Year No. 228: Beirut, ‘Gulag Orkestar’

Artist: Beirut Title: “Gulag Orkestar” Year: 2006 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: B+ While Beirut’s “The Rip Tide” was one of the best of 2011, it wasn’t until hearing “Elephant Gun” over the public address at last year’s Outside Lands Music Festival that I considered going deeper into the back catalog of Zach Condon’s project. Translated […]

Our Music Year No. 229: The Walkmen, ‘You & Me’

Artist: The Walkmen Title: “You & Me” Year: 2008 Format: Digital (Spotify) Grade: B- Reverb and atmospherics resonate throughout “You & Me,” the fourth album from Brooklyn’s The Walkmen. 2012′s “Heaven” supercharges much of the spacey, late-night jangle of “You & Me” with driving drum and bass rhythms. Aside from lead singer Hamilton Leithauser’s distinct […]

Fairfield graduate completes basic training

Air Force Airman Marshall Welch graduated from basic military training at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio. Welch is the son of Chloe and Greg Welch of Fairfield, brother of Dylan and Jordan Welch, and sister of Ashley Bouchard. Marshall is a 2012 graduate of Fairfield High School.

Our Music Year No. 227: City and Colour, ‘Sometimes’

Artist: City and Colour Title: “Sometimes” Year: 2005 Format: Spotify Grade: C Since Alexisonfire closed shop in 2011, City and Colour has become Canadian singer Dallas Green’s primary project. “Sometimes” is the project’s first LP, a collection of folksy acoustic numbers that greatly differ from Alexisonfire’s post-hardcore rock. It was the outlet for Green, who […]

Our Music Year No. 226: Madvillain, ‘Madvillainy’

Artist: Madvillain Title: “Madvillainy” Year: 2004 Format: Spotify Grade: A Madlib concocts a plethora of tasty beats for MF Doom to lay down vocal tracks on Madvillain’s “Madvillainy,” the pair’s 2004 collaboration. The interludes recall old-time horror films, casting Doom and Madlib as evildoers in hijacked clips from films of the 1940s. But it’s the […]

Our Music Year No. 225: Coldplay, ‘LeftRightLeftRightLeft’

Artist: Coldplay Title: “LeftRightLeftRightLeft” Year: 2009 Format: Digital Grade: C- I saw Coldplay perform in a venue near Capitol Hill in Denver in 2001. With a capacity of 3,700, The Fillmore Auditorium was maybe one-third full. This was nearly a year after the release of “Parachutes,” when “Yellow” was the only thing resembling a hit […]

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