It’s no secret that traditional modern rock bands have struggled in recent years. If you know where to look, you’ll always find a seemingly endless amount of great music, but if you haven’t done your due diligence, you might just feel like the genre is lacking air.
Bands like Imagine Dragons, The 1975, Bastille and Twenty One Pilots have dominated the rock charts and radio stations in recent years. While they don’t even fit into the traditional “rock” category, they have all skyrocketed in popularity, selling tons of records, merchandise, and tickets, and their singles have infiltrated TV commercials and malls. While these bands have done extremely well with poor production, bands that actually play rock music and have mind-blowing discographies have done only moderately well. Acts like Car Seat Headrest, Courtney Barnett and Parquet Courts don’t even come close to reflecting the success of the Imagine Dragons of the World.
If you’ve been aware of alternative rock circles, you already know that women have provided the genre with much-needed vital support. Fairly new bands like Hop Along, Alvvays, Waxahatchee, Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Vagabon, Sheer Mag and many more have received critical acclaim and moderate commercial success, but they have not achieved the status of mastodon and it’s frustrating. Groundbreaking groups from the early 2000s like The Strokes, The White Stripes, Arcade Fire, and Arctic Monkeys became fast global sensations with their debut albums, but that no longer seems possible given the genre’s fall from the popular musical hierarchy.
A decent segment of the genre just struggles to navigate the current musical landscape, with many bands trying to decide if the typical guitar-bass-drums formula is enough to hold people’s attention and compete with the rise of hip-hop. hop, pop, EDM and country music. As a result, many bands have tried to branch out into other genres, but often with mixed results. Additionally, many new bands are more than happy to be outdated, uninspired reincarnations of bands that already existed, while veteran bands are often reluctant to deviate from their proven formula.
Indie rock still has tons of great bands, if you know where to look, but you may still feel disillusioned with the genre and want to listen to something different, even if it’s only for the afternoon. Luckily, there is one chewable rock subgenre that consistently impresses and has secretly thrived: post-punk.
Just look at the main characters of the subgenre, especially the newcomers. The Atlanta trio Omni caused a stir on the scene in 2016 with their thorny debut album, Luxury and the equally exciting follow-up to last year, Multitask. Omni expertly displays its influences (Wire, Television) while cultivating its own distinct sound through a more lo-fi and garage rock approach. They infuse tantalizing personality and energy, not only into Philip Frobos’ lively impatience, but also into their frenzied and colorful guitar riffs and intoxicating stop-start tempos.
Another young American post-punk band who has planted their flag is the Los Angeles trio, Moaning. After signing with Sub Pop, the band released their self-titled debut album in March, and their dark, synth-laden post-punk brand is just as electrifying as it is disorienting. Frontman Sean Solomon’s reverberant drenched voice displays a level of restraint that allows him to seductively hold the listener in the palm of his hand thanks to his refusal to succumb to the chaotic nature of instrumentation via basslines. pompous and anarchic guitars.
Cross the northeastern border of America and you will find the Montreal Corridor in four parts. Although this Franco-Canadian group doesn’t sing in English, their music is so moving and catchy that you won’t be put off by your lack of a foreign language. Their jangly, synth-pop sound will delight fans of the genre as well as post-punk beginners. On their last LP, Supermarket, post-punk fans will gravitate towards their tight, groomed percussion and spasmodic guitars while others will lose themselves in their brilliant vocals and haunting soundscapes.
Fly over the Atlantic and you’ll find British bands like Shame and Idles who both released powerful debut albums that overturn tons of stereotypes of misogynistic and angry rock dudes. shame Songs of praise will become one of this year’s best LPs with his scathing assault on guitar and drums and the thundering roar of conductor Charlie Steen, witty lyrics and stunning stage presence. Like Shame, Bristol’s Idles also made waves here in the US with their 2017 debut LP, Brutalism, who has also made appearances on numerous album of the year lists. Songs like “Mother” and “Well Done” display the macabre and volatile vocals of Joe Talbot and the no-frills band, pedal to the rhythm section of the coin, while dismantling male standards and taking on the many. burning issues like class war and sexuality. violence. The band quickly released a follow-up LP, Joy as an act of resistance, released on August 31 via Partisan Records and it focuses on self-discovery, even into adulthood, and optimism, especially in the face of internal struggle or grief.
In the lower lands there is Melbourne, Australian RVG who released his moving debut album, A quality of mercy, at the end of last year. Their music is a melting pot of the band’s influences, drawing inspiration from the atmospheric post-punk of Echo and the Bunnymen, the austere vocals of The Go-Betweens, the gothic appearance of The Cure and the emotional longing of The Smiths. . As derivative as their music might be, it would be unfair to think of them as a retro act as none of their influences sang on the things singer Romy Vager tackles in her songs like fate of being a trans woman, addiction. modern times. to the Internet or to the danger of mythologizing artists.
Despite the rather turbulent Spanish political climate, the Catalan quartet MOURN is not interested in singing about the growing rift between Catalonia and the rest of Spain. The band had bigger fish to fry in the form of a rebellion against their old label which allegedly withheld the band’s hard-earned money and tried to stop them from releasing their second album. Their last LP, Sorpresa Familia, released earlier this year, focuses on the deliberate manipulation of their record label as well as the peaks and troughs of youth. Led by the powerful guitar, vocals and lyrics team of childhood friends Jazz Rodriguez and Carla Perez, the group creates a powerful, adrenalized post-punk that’s moving enough to paint poetic lyrical landscapes and with a sufficiently rhythmic section. qualified to impress fans of virtuoso hardcore. , metal or hard rock.
Post-punk has no shortage of exciting and diverse new bands, but it’s also worth mentioning that the pillars of the genre have provided high-quality art as well. Established bands like Iceage, Protomartyr, Ought, Savages, Algiers and Preoccupations have all released jaw-dropping recent albums that have wowed critics — London’s Savages with 2016’s Worship life, Detroit Protomartyr with 2017 Parents in descent, Atlanta of Algiers with 2017 The underside of power, the ice age of Denmark with this year Beyond, The duty of Montreal with this year Room inside the world and Calgary’s concerns with New material.
There are even legendary bands that still show their endurance like Gang of Four (who recently released an EP), The Raincoats (who still do concerts and whose debut album has been the subject of a new 33 1 book. / 3 by Jenn Pelly), “the prince of darkness” Nick Cave (who is still on tour and whose last LP, Skeleton Tree was hailed as a modern classic) and until the recent death of frontman Mark E. Smith, The Fall (who refused to stop touring despite Smith’s savage and visible deterioration on stage before his eventual death and whose 32 studio albums included their critically acclaimed 2017 album, New facts emerge).
Post-punk is not going through an existential crisis or an identity crisis. In fact, the genre is arguably as alive as it ever was. And while modern indie rock offers a lot of choices, especially from young female artists, the general genre tends to be hit or miss. Post-punk, meanwhile, has its own mediocre bands, but they seem to be vastly outnumbered by all the talented, new, established and veteran artists. So if you haven’t already, start digging through the post-punk crates at your local record store and see if they help fill the void that disappointing indie rock bands may have created for you.