With few surprising pieces, this year's Quad City Symphony Orchestra season is best described as "solid." By relying on repertoire mainstays like Beethoven's Third Symphony, Brahms' Fourth, and the Verdi Requiem, music director and conductor Donald Schleicher has created a season that will surely please the Adler crowd but offer them sparse originality.

You remember rock, don’t you? That arena sound that required no hair spray, no leather, no preening, no showy solos, no attitude? The only things you needed were guitar, drums, bass, and a singer.
That’s exactly what the local band Blue Ash Ink has on its self-titled, self-released album.

Progressive rock has never been cool. It has sometimes been respected, but those periods have been fleeting and hastily apologized for.
The genre had many practitioners in the early 1970s, bands unafraid of releasing 30-minute pieces (they can’t properly be called songs) rife with self-indulgence and pomposity.

There’s nothing fancy-pants about Kelly Pardekooper’s music. It’s as unassuming, familiar, comfortable, and rugged as denim.
That’s not to say it’s pedestrian. Far from it. Pardekooper’s new album, Johnson County Snow (on the well-regarded Trailer Records label), is simply spectacular, with 10 beautifully crafted pieces of corn-fed rock from Iowa City.

There are times when I’m out and about that I feel the Quad Cities are a great place to catch a symphony, listen to some jazz, or ponder art, and the most recent Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) pops concert left me in a state of cultural bliss.

We’ve all heard confessional lyrics, but how does one go about writing soul-baring music?
Listening to Shannon Wright’s striking Maps of Tactic (her second album on Chicago’s Quarterstick Records) feels like looking at somebody’s innards.

The Nixons sound needy.
I don't want to make too much of it, but if you go to see them at the Pig Pen in Clinton on August 24, please give the guys a hug and tell 'em you love 'em.
Listen to Scott Bush, the brand spanking new guitarist for the Dallas-based band, after fumbling around looking for a description of his band's sound: "They can call it whatever they want, as long as they like it.

Say this for Veruca Salt: Static it ain’t.
The Chicago-based band, which makes good on a canceled show at RIBCO this Thursday at 10 p.m. with Ophur, is hardly the same outfit that made a minor splash in 1994 with American Thighs and the single “Seether.

Ya Maka My Weekend has built quite a reputation since its inception in 1992 as the inaugural festival of Rock Island's The District.
Not only has it grown from a festival for residents of the Quad Cities to a regional destination, but reggae bands fight for a place on the two stages.

I first heard these guys last summer at the Prairie Dog Blues Fest in Wisconsin. I wanted to see if they lived up to their name, and they do. I saw them again last year at the Rocking Rib Fest in Davenport, but last Friday I only had to roll down the hill to The District to catch my fellow man of the cloth, the Rev.

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