Joe Bonamassa is the biggest name in blues-rock today. The former child guitar prodigy has risen to stardom with virtually zero major-label support, instead forming J&R Ventures with manger Roy Weisman and producer/A&R man Kevin Shirley to bypass the fickle, meddling, trend-and-profit driven nature of the record companies and bring Bonamassa's music directly to the people.

Another calendar page has turned with the season, bringing with it a loaded month for live music in the Quad Cities. Looming large among the many shows scheduled for October is Judas Priest's October 29 appearance at the Vibrant Arena at the MARK, with Queensrÿche in tow. While most rockers and metalheads in the area are no doubt aware of the metal gods' imminent arrival, there are several other smaller shows happening this month -- including on October 21 and 22 -- that are equally worthy of consideration. Whether or not you have tickets for Priest, these displays of heavy metal thunder will make October 2022 a heavy and memorable month.

As the Wake Brewing Cvlt has grown, the Brothers Parris decided to bring live metal closer to home, specifically to the parking lot outside their headquarters in downtown Rock Island. Last fall's anniversary celebration featured venerable Midwestern stoners Bongzilla, and as their fifth anniversary approaches, Wake has another solid weekend of metal lined up for September 9 and 10.

I love the band Wombat. Iowa City’s most ferocious young free-improvisational trio brings the noise once again with Tapas de Wombat, an EP-length selection of shorter, more diverse tracks when compared to 2021’s great full-length Befriend the Giant.

Rock Island-based poet/rapper/producer Aubs. (period intentional) has been a stalwart of the Quad Cities hip-hop and DIY scenes for a number of years now, and has built a catalog of strong albums and EPs stretching back to around 2019. His newest drop, Politik’n., is a slim four-track affair that clocks in at fewer than 15 minutes, but the artist packs plenty of deep thought and compelling work into that short running time.

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For his “new” album MOKSHA, released in early April via Missouri-based label Powdered Hearts Records, Davenport-based songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Brock Robinson unearthed a batch of material that he had originally written and produced around 2008. In the album’s liner notes on Bandcamp, Robinson declares, “I intended it to be the last organized production that I ever made. As I sunk into the depths of schizophrenia I made about 10 or 11 songs all of which were intended to be my swan song.”

Epic Games Absorbs

What’s the right stance to take here? The answer remains to be seen in the specifics of what Epic Games’ influence does to Bandcamp’s business model, interface, and overall ethos as a company viewed as some kind of benevolent godsend for smaller artists in the music industry without the weight of the entire major label industrial complex behind them.

The first couple months of the new year have historically been a relative dead zone for new music releases, as the industry resets and gears up for another calendar year with the bigger labels planning major drops typically dotted throughout the spring and summer.

Lord Huron's Long Lost Album

We invited the on-air DJs at KFMH to share their top-five favorite new albums from 2021 and are pleased to share these lists (along with their on-air schedules) as a sampling of what one can expect by tuning back into “The Plus.”