In the wake of Princess Dismal, December 2020’s album’s worth of outtakes that proved just as compelling as his typical “proper” album material, Rock Island’s resident drone kingpin and improbably prolific composer Terry Skaggs hovers back into view with a new batch of extended ambient meditations titled My Atlas of Never-Taken Paths.

Late in 2019, Iowa City's ZUUL dragged a large pile of small amps into a warehouse in Washington, Iowa. Even with a half-dozen amplifiers, an organ, drums, and sundry recording equipment, the three-piece barely took up more than a corner. The intention: to capture the minimalist intensity of their howling noise rock in a cavernous empty space, with microphones placed at intervals near and far to catch it all.

The Quad Cities-based doom-metal duo Murnau return to sizzle our brain stems with their new record Salamander, due on March 1 via the band’s own Wilhelm & Sons Entertainment Company.

When Ryuichi Sakamoto, the electronic music pioneer and esteemed elder statesman of the Japanese and international music scenes, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014, it felt like a crippling blow to the canon of living legends that walk, perform, and dine among us.

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.

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.”

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.

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