In a world where shitty music is starting to reign supreme, it should be pointed out that there are still bands out there kicking ass and making quality music. From high energy live shows to albums that you can listen to over and over again, these five bands have restored the faith that good music is alive and well. If you haven’t given these bands a listen, you should. This is just a small sample of bands/musicians that are bringing the heat, so keep in mind that there is plenty more from where these came from. The future has become the present, and these five are here to stay.
5. Twin Peaks
A bunch of young dudes from Chicago who keep taking their garage rock to the next level. Their first album was super lo-fi and mostly about what most guys that age sing about: weed and other sorts of good clean fun. Their second album Wild Onion kept the garage feel to it, but it was a bit more polished since they had a real studio to work in. Tunes like ‘Making Breakfast’ and ‘Strawberry Smoothie’ will get stuck in your head, but you won’t be complaining about it.
They recently opened up for another band on this list (see number 1) in the late summer/early fall and they made their presence known. They made me a believer at the Boston show. Just from that one night the crowd knew they weren’t half assing anything and meant what they were playing, which is refreshing to see. You know what else is refreshing? They announced on Instagram that they just finished recording album #3 in the Berkshires, so we even have something new to look forward to.
Remember what I said about a bunch of young dudes from Chicago who keep on keepin’ on? The same can be said for The Orwells. They really blew up with ‘Who Needs You’, one of the better rock anthems in recent years that was so good it made Letterman beg for more. They seem comparable to a modern day Ramones, including a tall, skinny frontman with a distinctive voice that stands out pretty easily on stage (like an angelic Joey Ramone).
The Orwells have the ability to write songs about getting messed up and trying to get laid to writing political, anti-war stuff. The ability to mix it up and have a bit for everyone, serious and lighthearted, is huge for a band trying to grow an audience. ‘The Righteous One’ off of Disgraceland and ‘Mallrats (La La La)’ off of Remember When are just two examples of songs that put them in the forefront of promising alt rock. Their guitar riffs and choruses are contagious, and before you know it you’ll be seeing when they’re in town next. It’s also scary to think that they were looking up to Twin Peaks in high school, which gives you a feel of just how young they are.
With two (official) albums under their belt, The Orwells seem on pace for big things ahead. They made people aware with ‘Who Needs You’ but they will keep turning out loud, fast songs that will make them stay put in people’s minds.
You don’t have to look very hard to find a skate punk band that knows how to party hard and make good music about it. FIDLAR has certainly lived it up since 2009, and just listening to their lyrics makes that notion crystal clear.
Their debut, self titled album gained a lot of steam on the internet with songs about doing drugs, not having a care in the world and drinking cheap beer (literally). That album, along with a couple of awesome music videos and a growing legend of their insane live shows, vaulted FIDLAR into one of the most interesting bands out there. Kids are intrigued by their antics, people their age can relate to what they’re doing, and older people reminisced on their partying days of past by listening to their music. That album had some dark moments to it, like ‘No Waves’ and ‘Whore’, but a lot of people looked past it to just partying too hard.
“They are a true punk band in 2015, which is pretty rare.”
With their second album, Too, which came out in September, people really learned just how dark the partying had turned. Too features many songs about the hangover of partying and doing so many drugs. The album itself is more polished than the first, but what sets it apart are the absurdly honest lyrics, as singer/guitarist Zac Carper tells his story of overdosing, rehab and loss. It’s a deep album that still has fun party moments such as ‘West Coast’ and lesser problems like the concept of selling out to pay the rent in ‘40oz on Repeat’. FIDLAR is growing up, which, you know, happens to everyone even for a band whose name stands for Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk. They are a true punk band in 2015, which is pretty rare. The music is worth listening to time and time again, and hopefully there is much more to come.
For being two guys just rocking out, Japandroids is fantastic at what they do. They caught the attention of the blogosphere with their first album Post-Nothing by just using guitars and drums to create fast paced songs like ‘Wet Hair’ and ‘Young Hearts Spark Fire’. What they did with that attention when their second album Celebration Rock was simple: take advantage of it.
Celebration Rock is one of those albums that you love so much that you hate the fact that it’s only 8 songs and 35 minutes. Their most beloved song, ‘The House That Heaven Built’ is one of those anthems that makes everything better in an instant. Hell, it’s so good that it’ll make you want to write a thank you note to Canada for giving us these two musical geniuses. Even besides that, the album is full of fast-paced, energized songs, with ‘Evil’s Sway’ and ‘Younger Us’ being prime examples.
Anyone who has seen them perform live will leave their respective venue drenched in sweat and with a sore jaw from having it hit the floor. Celebration Rock came out in 2012, and they played over 200 shows touring between March 2012-November 2013 in support of it. Since then, there has been nothing to report, which is starting to get fans of the band a bit antsy. After touring that amount, it’s perfectly understandable to be a bit worn out, but it’s tough when everyone is expecting a follow up to such a wonderful album. Whenever these guys come out of hibernation, the expectations will be high, but everyone also has faith that they will exceed those, and knock album number 3 out of the fucking park.
Nathan Williams of Wavves is the current rock version of a fine wine that keeps getting better with age. It should be noted that Williams is still only 29. Each album, from the very lo-fi Wavves in 2008 to the recently released V, has shown a ton of growth in both music and lyrics.
Wavves started to really gain steam with King of the Beach, which featured poppy surf-punk songs surrounding around self-loathing in the sunshine, as seen on the title track and ‘Super Soaker’. The follow up, Afraid of Heights had an even more polished feel to it, with songs a bit more dragged out (in a good way) and more use of guitars to go along with being in your mid-twenties and realizing you’re not gonna be young forever and maybe life isn’t all that bad like on ‘Sail to the Sun’.
Wavves sometimes toys with a sound that will make you think back to when Nirvana was ruling the airwaves, and that was apparent on their new album, V. This is their best album yet, and according to a recent tweet, it went along with their best tour yet. Songs like ‘All the Same’, ‘Way Too Much’ and ‘My Head Hurts’ have a bit of pop to them, but it’s catchy rock through and through.
Wavves has fully hit their stride and they make sure to play from their full catalogue of songs, which has now grown to an impressive list. Their shows are full of energy and you can be sure to see some sort of crazy stage antics, be it from a “simple” stage dive to a suicidal, wrestling-stunt-worthy dive off of a second floor balcony into the crowd. Williams is a front man you won’t soon forget, and his music is the sort of stuff that will give you an argument the next time someone says that rock music is dead.