The year's most fully-realized, cohesive album is a scant nine minutes long – it will probably take more time to read this article than it will to listen to the album.

Fontaines DC, Skinty Fia

We've widened our acoustic lens this year and are pleased to present top five to 10 albums of the year from 16 disc jockeys spinning tunes at two independently owned radio stations and three prolific local musicians/artists. The styles range from country to death metal, from indie pop to jam bands, from blues to roots and everything in between and around the edges. There are legends such as Buddy Guy and Elvis Costello. There are bands with such names as Fat Earthers and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizards. The lists include live concert recordings from mega-stars including the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty, both from 1977. Who knew iconic artists Jimmy Cliff and the Dropkick Murphys were still making music?!

Gallery of Skewered Swine was released on November 5, 2022. This second full-length album release finds musicians Pit Lord in their Davenport stronghold: a forbidding, unwelcoming, cyclopean structure looming over the industrial stench of the West End. They glare from their thrones, two heads of a table gouged with countless blade and stained by sauces unknown.

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.”