Iconic Italian film composer Ennio Morricone passed away on July 7 at the age of 91. Active as a musician and composer from the late-1940s (!) all the way up to his death, Morricone ranks among the most acclaimed artists in the medium of film music. However, it’s safe to say, as the iconoclastic New York composer John Zorn asserted in his New York Times obituary/tribute, that the influence of Morricone's work moved far beyond the paradigm of film scoring and that he should rightly be considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, full stop.

Davenport-based experimental folk artist/singer-songwriter/“???”-core producer Bo Jaywalker has dropped no less than eight individual releases on his Bandcamp page since the last time we checked in with him regarding his Bo Jaywalker LP in April.

dead lizard grin (a.k.a. Terry Skaggs) follows up on his excellent April release Notes from a Temporary World with a new full-length titled We Are Shadows Dispersing Upon the Warm Spring Air. While the composer/synthesist/producer tries out a palette of tones here that remain in line with his typically zoned out and transportive drone/ambient excursions, this album finds him shifting his practice toward the twin poles of absolute formless drift and more animated, even beat-driven composition.

The very act of paring down your favorite albums will always have value. There’s something warm and cozy about imagining those albums existing as discrete milestones in music history, having reached so many ears in their compact form, entertaining outside of the framework of infinite availability and almost too-comfortable omni-selection that streaming has produced. With that in mind, here are my picks.

Robert Earl Davis Jr., better known to the world as DJ Screw, passed away nearly 20 years ago in the year 2000, but his legacy and the diaspora of his musical trademarks remain as strong as ever.

A new collection of music titled DAY DAY from Iowa City's electronic artist and composer Kent Williams, a.k.a. Chaircrusher, hit Bandcamp sometime in the recent past. Though the album has a release date of October 2020 listed, it’s available in full to stream and purchase now – perhaps a sign that Williams is, in fact, living in the future.

Braxton’s work long ago shattered the divide between the gritty, atonal language of improvised free jazz performance and the typically cloistered world of academic classical and minimalist composition, and he continues to expand in unexpected directions with new works that emerge to this day.

Davenport's LoPiez is celebrating the completion of its first full year in business. The self-described "Rock & Roll New York style" by-the-slice pizza joint has decided to celebrate its anniversary in style, with a socially-distanced three-band outdoor bash in the parking lot across the street from its Third Street location. It's a joint venture with Rock Island's Wake Brewing, and will serve as the Rock Island "riff-infused" brewery's Iowa debut, with its signature metal-inspired beers being made available across the river for the first time.

In a sea of carbon-copied hits that sound like they were genetically engineered in a lab, alchemized into being with the same few ingredients and signifiers that topped the charts a couple weeks before, the best pop music to emerge from any given era stands out by surveying recent musical trends and streaking off in the completely opposite direction. More than a process of picking a sub-genre no one has heard in five years or so and hopping into it just for the sake of a novel juxtaposition, to shock fans for a moment before they keep scrolling down the feed, the artists who succeed at bucking trends and emerging with something unique do so by embracing the weirder or potentially more “uncool” aspects of their own musical interests.

Rock Island-based composer Terry Skaggs, a.k.a. dead lizard grin, released an album of layered, atmospheric ambient/drone works in mid-April called Notes from a Temporary World. The artist describes the album as: “A collection of pieces arrived at during COVID-19 isolation, March & April 2020.”

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