All posts by Dillon Meehan

Queens Of The Stone Age “Villains” Review

by Dillon Meehan

Josh Homme is one the world’s last modern rockstars. The lead singer and guitarist of “Queens of The Stone Age,” has spent his entire career carrying the mantle of hard rock, and on Villains, he continues to do his job.

QOTSA have never been one to have a traditional sound, with each album having its own unique twist. But on Villains, Homme decided to bring in Mark Ronson, of Bruno Mars and Amy Winehouse fame, to deliver an album which characteristically sounded entirely different, while also creating a new genre that somehow makes hard rock groovy.

Music today is focused far more on pop and hip-hop, and less on rock than ever. It has become popular to utter the phrase “rock is dead,” over the past decade or so. However, it would be a good idea to not utter that phrase around Homme, who told Rolling Stone that he left Interscope Records after “somebody way up” uttered those words to him.

Image result for queens of stone age
The band, Queens of Stone Age

Villains begins with a slow, near two minute build-up of synths and drums orchestrated by guitarist  Troy Van Leeuwen on “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” before colliding head on with a thunderous riff and Homme’s vocals.

The opening track is a story of Homme’s early life in the California desert and his music career.

“Life is hard that’s why no one survives, I’m much older than I thought I’d be,” Homme declares, as he alludes to his death on an operating table seven years ago before being resuscitated.  “Future tense meets middle finger, we took the long way home,” Homme shouts as he continues to live his life in the moment, never bother to look ahead towards the future.

“The Way You Used to Do” appears second on the album and was the first single released on June 14th, the same day the band announced the new album.

“When I first met her she was seventeen, jumped like an arsonist to a perfect match, burned alive,” Homme says as he tells the story about how he met his wife, Brody Dalle, at Lollapalooza in 1997.

“Is love mental disease or lucky fever dream? Fine with either. Gave birth to monsters who will terrorize normalcy,” in the second verse Homme talks about his wife and their three children, Camile, Orrin and Wolf.

“Fortress” is the fourth song on the album and tells the story of Homme offering guidance to someone. While Homme or any other member of the band hasn’t confirmed it, it is likely about his daughter Camile. The album art for “Fortress” features a young girl wearing a black leather jacket, very similar to one the one Homme usually sports.

“If your fortress is under siege you can always run to me,” Homme declares near the end of the song, showing that he will always be there for his daughter, regardless of what happens.

The penultimate song on the album, “The Evil Has Landed” optimizes the traditional Queens sound and the albums new direction. The album’s second single opens up with a catchy riff and a prolonged intro, reminiscent of some of their biggest hits.

“Going on a living spree, any wanna come with me? You don’t wanna miss your chance, near life experience,” Homme starts the single in his traditional falsetto voice, it’s a clever choice to change the popular phrases killing spree and near-death experience. It echoes lyrics of 2011’s Smooth Sailing” off of …Like Clockwork.

It’s a six and a half minute epic which sees the final 90 seconds turned back on its head. “Here we come, get out of the way. Matters not, what the people say,” Homme shouts as he fires away on his guitar. Reminding fans that Homme is rock’s ultimate antihero and will never dabble into the mainstream.

Villains is QOTSA’s shortest, and probably most accessible album to less hardcore fans. It certainly isn’t as good as 2002’s Songs For The Deaf, but an argument can be made for it being the second best album the band has ever put out.

With pop music sounding more similar each day and artists continuing to rely on aspects go EDM, it’s refreshing to see a band push themselves in a new direction, while also not relying on the same tropes as everyone else.

 

Blue Devils Drop Two of Three In Weekend Series Against Binghamton

by Tyler Roaix

The Central Connecticut State University baseball team went into a weekend series at Binghamton riding high, scoring a combined 17 runs in their last two games. But the offense struggled to get much going, scoring just six runs total in the three-game set.

The weekend series began with a double header on Saturday. The early game featured a CCSU offense that struggled to get anything going, as Central fell 6-1.

The Blue Devils started off well with junior Dean Lockery, hitting a leadoff homerun to take an early 1-0 lead. He would later single to account for two of the team’s three hits in the game.

Justin Yurchak carried Binghamton to the win. The third baseman went two-for-three at the plate, but his two-run homerun in the fifth inning delivered a huge blow to Central’s plans for a comeback.

Nick Gallagher was strong on the mound for Binghamton, allowing just one run on two hits in six innings of work. Gallagher also had two strikeouts, pushing his record to 6-1 on the season. The bullpen got the job done as well. Joe Orlando and Nicholas Liegi finished the game giving up just one hit combined.

Brendan Smith received the loss for CCSU, dropping his record to 3-6 on the year. He gave up two runs on five hits, but pitched just four innings. Tom Curtin struggled as well; he allowed three earned runs in three innings out of the bullpen.

Central was able to bounce back in the second game with a hard-fought 3-2 victory, earning a split of the double header.

The Blue Devils again jumped out to an early lead with a homerun from Mitch Guilmette, leading off the second inning. They added on two more in the fourth inning to make it 3-0, after an RBI triple from Buddy Dewaine and an RBI single from Dylan Maher.

Ron Grant had an impressive start for Central, holding Binghamton to just two hits in the first five innings of play. But the Bearcats finally broke through in the sixth.

Grant ended up allowing two runs on four hits, while striking out six in 5.1 innings of work. Two hits and a walk in the inning helped Binghamton cut the lead to just one going into the final inning.

The Bearcats again rallied in the seventh, getting runners on second and third with two out. Coach Charlie Hickey brought in Patrick Mitchell to get the final out of the game. Mitchell did just that, inducing a ground ball out to secure his third save of the year.

The rubber match proved to be the most exciting game of the series, as the two teams took it to extra innings in yet another pitchers duel.

The scoring started early yet again as TT Bowens singled in a run to give the Blue Devils an early 1-0 lead. But the Bearcats answered quickly with a solo homerun off the bat of Brendan Skidmore, tying it up at one run apiece. The teams then traded runs in the sixth to bring the score to 2-2.

The pitching duel then continued all the way into extra innings. But in the bottom of the 11th inning, Skidmore came through again for the Bearcats with a bases-loaded walk-off single to secure the win and the series.

The weekend performance brings Central’s overall record to 22-18. But their second-place position in the Northeastern Conference remains unchanged with a 12-5 record in NEC play. The Blue Devils will be back at home this weekend to face conference opponent Sacred Heart.

Baseball Inches Closer To Top Spot in Conference

by Dillon Meehan

After Central Connecticut (21-16, 12-5 NEC) dropped the first two games of their weekend series against Bryant (17-21, 10-4 NEC) 6-3 and 7-0, a weekend series sweep seemed likely.

“On Friday were going against James Karinchak, who when healthy is one of the ten best pitchers in the country. It’s deflating from that standpoint, but thats what the game is,” said Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey. “This team at times struggles with it’s confidence and gets deflated; that’s the danger of running into a hot pitcher. And sometimes that can get contagious and impact other games and kick yourself.”

However, during the second game of this past Saturday’s doubleheader, freshman pitcher Mike Delease threw a two-hit complete game shutout en route to an 8-0 win against the NEC’s best team.

The Blue Devils rode the momentum from Saturday’s win to hold onto a 9-7 win on Sunday to split the weekend series, and are inching closer to the top spot in the conference.

“It was a good opportunity in the middle of our season to sort of access where we can play,” said Hickey. “Losing the first two of the series can be discouraging, but we get a good performance from Mike Delease yesterday and today was an old fashioned, gut wrenching win.”

Since Bryant has joined the NEC in 2008, the Bulldogs have only lost three series total in conference, with their last loss coming four seasons ago in 2013.

“The reality is, they beat us last year eight out of nine times, and they were the better team,” said Hickey in regards to the difficulties facing Bryant over the years.

It’s the first time since late-March that the Blue Devils lost consecutive games in conference play.

“There’s still a long way to go. We get an off week against Binghamton, an out of conference team next week, and then we finish with three series to go,” said Hickey on his team’s outlook for the rest of the season.

In the second game of the double header, Delease allowed a base hit to leadoff the game, but Bryant could only gather another two baserunners for the rest of the game.

The Blue Devils grabbed the lead in the third inning when junior Dean Lockery doubled down the right field line, with runners on second and third, to score the first two runs of the game. Later in the inning Lockery would score on a baulk etc make it 3-0.

In the fifth, the Blue Devils put the game out of reach. Freshman TT Bowens brought in two runs with a single to left field making it 5-0. On the next at-bat, junior Mitch Guilmette would launch a three run homerun to right field to make it a better 8-0.

On Sunday, Bryant jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. However, in the bottom of the third, the Blue Devils would come back to take the lead when junior Nick Garland hit a solo homerun to left field to tie it. A few at-bats later, junior Ryan Costello would bring home his fellow classmate Nick Landell with a sacrafice fly to take a 2-1 lead.

The teams traded runs until the bottom of the eight inning, where the Blue Devils blew the game open. Up 5-4, Costello singled in Landell to make it 6-4. A ground ball by Guilmette would make it 7-4, with a single by senior Tyler Coleman that would bring home two more to give CCSU a 9-4 lead.

Bryant would attempt a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, having the first three batters reach base safely before scoring three runs.  However, Bryan’t comeback fell short and Blue Devils were able to walk out Sunday with a split series,

“The first game was where we didn’t realize compete as hard as we should of and were feeling sorry for ourselves. But to their credit to go out there and fight and get a win shows how mature they are,” said Hickey.

The Blue Devils will have a stretch of out of conference games away against Albany, Binghamton and Quinnipiac, before beginning a weekend series against Sacred Heart starting May 5.

Football Holds Annual Blue And White Spring Game

Pete Rossomando is confident his team will improve from a disappointing 2016 season.

by Dillon Meehan

After spending the past month and a half waking up early and preparing for the upcoming fall season, Central Connecticut’s football team held it’s annual Blue and White spring scrimmage, with the White team edging past the Blue team 10-0.

The White team, led by backup quarterback Tanner Kingsley and backup running back Drew Jean-Guillaume jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on their first drive of the game. Kinglsey scored  on a 25-yard run after keeping the ball on a read-option play.

On the next drive, another long run by Kinglsey set up a 25-yard field goal by Frankie Palmer, making it 10-0. That would be the final time either team had a chance to score.

The game excessively featured the current Blue Devils roster with first, second and third stringers drafted to each team.

While the game is mostly put on for students and fans to catch a glimpse of the team before the fall, it’s difficult to perform well when backups and starters are randomly mixed together.

“The hard part is you break up the offense, when you do that you have 11 guys that have been playing together for the whole spring, and when you break them up they just aren’t used to playing together,” said Blue Devils head coach Pete Rossomando.

After the initial first drives, the majority of starters were pulled in order to give backups reps and to protect themselves from being injured.

“We didn’t play Drew, Cam or KJ that much simply because we’re just trying to keep them healthy. We saw enough out of those guys all spring that we just needed to take them out,” said Rossomando on putting his team’s heath first. “We’ve got two guys out because of surgery and overall we’re just thin in numbers, so we’re just trying to keep everyone healthy.”

After a difficult 2-9 season, including going 1-5 in conference, the Blue Devils are looking to bounce back in 2017.

“We’ve looked good. I think we’ve done a nice job. Spring was really positive offensively with Jake and the other veteran group, our offensive line is coming together,” said Rossomando on his outlook for the team. “You couldn’t tell from today because we split them up, the communication just isn’t the same.”

Now heading into his second season as the full time starting quarterback, Jacob Dolegala is looking to add on to his record breaking 2016 season. The junior set the school record for most passing yards in school history with 2,934 yards, which was also good for second bets ever in the history of the NEC. On top of that, Dolegala completed 60 percent of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns to nine interceptions.

“He’s had a great spring, it’s just different when you have a guy back there that knows what he is doing. We’ve talked about synergy in the past and there is just so much synergy with him out there. He’s not just worried about what he’s doing, he’s lining every else up too,” said Rossomando on his starting quarterback.

The Blue Devils start their season on September 1. against Syracuse, with their first home game coming on September 9, against Fordham.

UMass Win Big Against Blue Devils 15-0

by Dillon Meehan

In a rare showing of poor form, Central Connecticut State University fell to University of Massachusetts 15-0 this past Tuesday.

After winning seven of their nine previous games before Tuesday’s outing, the Blue Devils (19-13. 10-3 NEC) suffered their biggest loss of the season.

“There was nothing we did well. I’m definitely trying to get this out of my memory,” said Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey after the game.

UMass jumped out to an early lead in the first inning, when Ryan Lever hit a two run homerun to left field. 

In the following inning, Dylan Robinson singled home a run to make it 3-0, before Lever followed up with his second homerun of the game, doubling UMass’s lead by making it 6-0. Following Lever’s second homerun, freshman pitcher Arik Sypher, who earned the loss, was pulled after throwing 1.2 innings.

“We didn’t do anything well. We didn’t hit, we didn’t pitch, we didn’t field, we didn’t do anything,” said a frustrated Hickey after the game.

UMass added another run in the third inning to make it 7-0, before recording six straights in the fourth and exploding for six runs to extend their lead to 13-0.

“We were displaying some ugly baseball which is pretty uncharacteristic for us, especially as of late,” said Hickey.

The Minutemen added two more runs in the sixth inning to make it 15-0, and cap off their impressive scoring output for the day.

“Obviously you never want to suffer a loss like this, but luckily enough it was out of conference play so it won’t impact us too much.”

Despite being shutout for only the third time this season, the Blue Devils faired well offensively, garnering nine hits. But they weren’t able to bring home any runs.

Senior Franklin Jennings and junior Dean Lockery played well, each grabbing a pair of singles. While junior Mitch Guilmette had both a single and a double.

“Luckily we have some veteran leadership, so this shouldn’t carry over to the weekend series,” Hickey said of his team’s chances this weekend.

Hickey was right, despite the rough outing against UMass, the Blue Devils were able to sweep the weekend series against Mount St. Mary’s, winning Thursday’s game 7-2, Friday’s 7-5 and Saturday’s game 11-3.

Following the weekend series, the Blue Devils continue to be in their grove, winning eight out of their last ten games. The Blue Devils face against Siena, then have a four game weekend series against Bryant, the NEC’s top-seeded team. If the Blue Devils win the majority of the games this weekend, they will steal the top spot in the conference.