Rock music has been long defined by its rhythm, its 4/4 time, and instrumentation that’s based heavily in electric guitar, bass, and driving percussion. Rock music is recognized by “strong”, amplified electric sound. But according to these definitions, rock music and pop are not so different.
Because what really differentiates these two genres has more to do with attitude. Rock musicians and their fans are distinguished ideologically—especially as the sonics between rock and pop become more similar each year. And it may seem like the rock music base is shrinking every year, but the truth is, you just have to know where to look.
Here are some of the Best New Rock Artists we started listening to in 2019, musicians who prove that the long loved genre of dissonance still exists today.
The GLorious Sons
Though they formed back in 2011, it wasn’t until last year when they toured with Greta Van Fleet that fans outside of Canada were aware of just how much these guys rock. The Glorious Sons—with a sound that is like Weezer meets the grittiness of Cage the Elephant—dropped their third full-length album A War On Everything this year. Led by the dark, angsty, and joyously anthemic single “Panic Attack”, the latest Glorious Sons release vacillates between the hard and heavy to the guitar-strumming soft. The Glorious Sons follow the modern rock template of edgy sensitivity, first designed by rockers such as Fall Out Boy and All Time Low, making them digestible for years to come. Check out “Panic Attack”, below.
They’ve been on the scene for only a year, but already Liily has garnered the attention and fandom that usually results in longevity. Los Angeles rockers with a jagged sound all their own, Liily is a prime candidate to be in the middle of a raucous, electric guitar-led revolution. One where the cacophonous mosh pit—which Liily has already managed to generate at their visceral live shows—returns as the designating event of a rock concert. Think Foals meets Rage Against the Machine. And if that’s too weird a comparison, we heavily suggest seeing Liily for yourself. Check out their latest single “Wash”, below.
Cherry Glazerr falls in the crowd of female rockers who are leading with confession, with who they are. A Los Angeles rock band fronted by Clementine Creevy, Cherry Glazerr embraces the shred and punctuating percussion. Creevy’s vocals, delicate but strong, remind us of a young Karen O, or Arcade Fire’s Regine Chassange. The first album which garnered Cherry Glazerr recognition was 2017’s Apocalipstick, a perfectly named record for the grungy, self-aware, heavy-hitting rock album. This year’s Stuffed & Ready—even edgier than Apocalipstick—finds Creevy and co. short-tempered and vulnerable. But the music is all the better for those real, tangible, heard feelings. Check out “Daddi”, below.
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Okay, we promise that isn’t Patrick Stump you’re hearing—it’s the English rock-pop band Barns Courtney, whose lead vocals and sound have borrowed cues from bands such as Fall Out Boy, Young the Giant, and The 1975. Their sophomore LP 404 arrived this year and was led with the percussion-heavy anthem “London Girls”. And make no mistake, even though Barns Courtney is in the arena of softer rock, the man can shred. From boot-stomping rounds to contemporary songwriting and sonics, Barns Courtney seems like he was born to do it all. Check out “The Kids Are Alright”, below.
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Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown
Looking at photos and videos of Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, you’d think you were staring at a young Led Zeppelin. The point: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown not only have the talent, they have the look of professional rockers. Though they’ve been releasing albums since 2013—their latest, Truth And Lies being their third LP—it took touring behind acts such as Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Guns N’ Roses to accrue the recognition they have today. Electric guitar and percussion heavy, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown remind us most of Cage the Elephant—due to their rockabilly edge. Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown have the make to become headlining artists, but at the very least, we imagine they will remain on the touring circuit. Check out “On To The Next”, below.
Composed of sisters Jessie and Jennifer Clavin, punk-rockers Bleached have come a long way since their initial statement back in 2013. Now sober and out with their third album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?, the sisters sound fresh, crisp, and poignant as ever. It’s as if the fog was lifted from their sound. They’ve elevated from grungy beach vibes to personal, punchier rock standards we can imagine hearing in any era. Sometimes clarity provides the ability to become timeless. Check out “Daydream” from this year’s LP, below.
New Jersey rockers Deal Casino have been playing together since 2013, but it took awhile before listeners received their first full-length album—2017’s eponymous record, which contained the instant hit single “Red Balloon”. Calling back to the alternative styles of Motion City Soundtrack, Modest Mouse—and, dare we say it, a little Wolf Parade—Deal Casino is a lick of fresh air in what has been a quiet sub-genre of rock. Their latest hit “bangbangbang” is filled with desperate love and wanderlust. It careens on its side for a ballad-like breakdown before garnering its former energy for an explosive finish. Deal Casino—with their large, sweeping vision—have the material to stick around, in our ears, and to our bones.
This garage-rock duo from Brighton has been making music since 2017. ARXX, composed of drummer Clara Townsend and singer Hannah Pidduck, have released two incredible singles this year: “Iron Lung” and “Y.G.W.Y.W (You Got What You Want)”—the latter of which reminds us so much of Courtney Barnett that we wonder if they’ve hung out with the Australian recording artist. Self-described as a “Garage Rock Gal Pal Duo”, ARXX is better positioned now than ever to drop some game-changing singles. Maybe we could even see them touring behind Haim or Sleater-Kinney in the near future. Check out their latest single “Y.G.W.Y.W”, below.
It’s been a year since Thunderpussy dropped their self-titled debut. In those two years, the Seattle rockers have managed to cultivate amazing, energetic live performances, a distinct 70’s-rock inspired sound, and even judiciary action. But unlike the RiotGrrl movement, there’s no feminist intent behind Thunderpussy. They are simply a rock band, composed of women. It’s not about purveying a message or statement. It’s about the music. Rowdy, percussive, and at times jazzy, Thunderpussy—much like Greta Van fleet—are reviving a classic rock sound, one which long-defined the genre. Check out “Speed Queen” from their debut LP, below.
Gnashing guitars. Guttural beats and even more guttural the vocals. A hybrid of hip-hop, rock, and activism. Fever 333 sounds like a younger, more naive reincarnate of Linkin Park. A Linkin Park—or Twenty One Pilots—without their commercialism. Though Fever 333 best appeals a stranger, heavier rock palette, we can see their model shifting in the future to accommodate larger audiences. Give Fever 333 a listen, as they are one of the few bands who are paving a road where hip-hop, metal, and feverish politics convene.
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