Davenport-based producer K1ng Supr3m3 breaks out the crates and gathers together a network of dusty samples and fluid drum patterns for ジャンプドライブ (Japanese Katakana for “Jump Drive,” which might lead us to believe that these tracks were sourced from a particularly packed flash USB stick).

A recap of 2020 is unnecessary for this article. We all know what kind of year it was. Its upside was the incredible amount of good music that made its way to the ears of a world that needed to hear it - perhaps more than at any other time in recent history.

Avant-garde composer, multi-instrumentalist, and soft-music pioneer Harold Budd passed away earlier this month at the age of 84. Though considered a major forerunner of styles of music that would come to be named “ambient” and “New Age” in their various forms, Budd rejected these terms outright. From his viewpoint, his music floated in its own stratum, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20th-century minimalism or neoclassical composition.

Sometimes the world coughs up a few Christmas-themed gems for the freaks out there – the ones looking for a not-so-Silent Night among the thorns of the wreath, the ones for whom the heralding angels have no fanfares. Let’s take a look at some Christmas tunes fit for those who can’t stand the institution of Christmas music.

2020's best local release is an apocalyptic album for an apocalyptic year. Condor & Jaybird have distilled their end-time vision in a sweeping, prog-tinged psych-rock masterpiece, coating a heavy pill with pop hooks, dancing guitars, and infectious rhythms. The Glory is an aptly-named document of Condor & Jaybird's maturation as musicians and songwriters, and the closing third of a trilogy begun by The Power and The Kingdom.

2020 Pop Roundup

It feels gauche to compile a year-end list of music in 2020, a year in which the daily conditions of the music industry suffered a pandemic-borne cataclysm and the future of live music was subsumed into a haze of drive-in concerts and illicit plague raves. Time dilation made sure that this year felt like five years in one, and any music released before March must, by necessity, slot into some other temporal category entirely.

Sorrow struck the Quad Cities and the metal world on November 21 with the news of the passing of John Hopkins. A native of Oquawka, Illinois, a small town about an hour from the QC, Hopkins rose from the soundboard at Gabe's in Iowa City to become a highly sought-after sound engineer, front-of-house man, and tour manager for such doom metal and heavy rock giants as Sleep, the Melvins, Corrosion of Conformity, Neurosis, Weedeater, Boris, and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.

With the holidays looming and entertainment options limited, a Quad Cities music promoter has put together a special, free streaming event featuring 11 acts and 11 businesses. With the intention of "celebrating the beautiful originality and talent of the Quad Cities music scene," The Festivus Show is a "two-day holiday extravaganza," set to run on December 26 and 27 and billed as “a fun and immersive journey.”

Belarusian synthwave unit Molchat Doma has taken a series of interesting turns in their ascent to their current status as the reigning kings of their would-be niche strain of dour, '80s-inflected goth-pop.

COVID cases have risen once again in Illinois, and Phase 3 mitigations are in place. It's not exactly a safe time to be doing business, but Ragged, which has kept its best interests in mind as well as those of their patrons, has decided to go ahead with its Black Friday Record Store Day sale. "We had thought about canceling it," says staff member Jon Burns, "but our customers go wild for Record Store Day, so we figured we'd give the people what they want."

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