December 26, 2018
While the consensus is these days that radio, along with Rock and Roll is dead, there are still some areas in the country where Rock and Radio are hanging in there and in some places, actually thriving. The northeastern United States seem to be one of those locations. In the area where I live there is one true Rock station left, the rest are a mixture of Sports Talk, Pop, Country, Hip-Hop, Classical and Jazz. There are a few other Rock stations not too far away but they advertise themselves as “Classic Rock” stations, which is a mix of 70s and 80s Rock and to me, basically oldies stations. Even satellite radio stations stick to a format and a playlist that seldom deviates so you are usually stuck hearing the same songs no matter what sub-genre you have selected. There are very few stations that are playing Rock music by newer artists. One such station is located in Philadelphia. They still play a lot of Classic and Hard Rock from the 70s through the 90s and but lately have been adding newer artists to the mix. This is good because if they don’t attempt to make themselves more current, eventually their listener base is going to get smaller and smaller. To me, the newer bands are a welcome addition. I, for one am tired of hearing the same songs by the same artists that have been garnering most of the airplay since the 80s and 90s. It’s no wonder Rock has been dying. Without an infusion of new blood it is sure to become that which as kids we hated – listening to the same music our parents did. I’ve been on a search for new artists long before this station started playing some of them. Luckily there are a few that have been getting airtime with some I like and others, not as much. So here’s a list I’ve compiled of new guitar-based Rock bands that you might want to check out. Who are they? Read on:
Royal Blood – This offshoot of the Black Keys-style bands with just two instruments gets quite a bit of radio airplay though they don’t resonate with me as much as some of these other bands do. Still, they’re not bad – I just wonder how long a two-piece can continue to make music without adding some studio wizardry and touring musicians to expand their sound.
Ghost – Ghost is a hard rock band that a lot of people like. I think that some of the other bands here are better but all in all, they’re not bad. I saw them open for Avenged Sevenfold and they were well received. They wear their influences on their sleeve (Blue Oyster Cult comes to mind) and their faces for that matter but they do it proudly.
Rival Sons – While not exactly new this southern California quartet harkens back to the hard-rock simplicity of the seventies but with a freshness that makes them worth a listen. They have newer songs out now but this one is my favorite:
Badflower – I like Badflower a lot. They’re edgy, they’re not afraid to write songs about life’s trials and tribulations, they sound fresh and the bottom line is – they rock! Check out their other videos too.
Greta Van Fleet – What can I say about GVF that hasn’t already been said? Accused of plagiarism by some Led Zeppelin fans (which would be like the Zeppelin pot calling the kettle black), I don’t think the public gives them enough credit for being what they are – a group of amazing musicians with a sound that is Blues based but catchier than anything I’ve heard from any other band in years. They lay down an infectious groove that makes you want to sing along (if you only could) and the only band of late that when I hear one of their songs come on I immediately turn the volume up in my car. They are also one of only two of the newer bands I actually have stored on my phone for private listening. This band doesn’t follow trends but is bent on setting them and three Grammy nominations don’t lie. They must be doing something right. I’ll go see them every chance I get. I’m sure you’ve heard “Highway Tune” and “Safari Song” so I give you their latest Grammy-nominated song – “When the Curtain Falls.”
The Pretty Reckless – TPR have been around since 2010 but really didn’t get noticed until their “Going to Hell” album broke through in 2014 with three Number One hits on Billboard’s Rock chart – “Heaven Knows”, “Follow Me Down and “Messed Up World.” They’ve been pretty much missing in action since 2016’s “Who You Selling For?” album. Having lost their producer in a motorcycle accident and Chris Cornell’s death having a devastating effect on sultry singer Taylor Momsen, they have been laying low since. For a rock band, that can be a death knell; especially with the short attention span listeners have these days. Hopefully devastation will turn to inspiration and we will get a new album and tour soon. With GVF being the new sheriff in town, TPR had better reload and get moving. Here’s one of my favorite cuts from them: “Oh My God.”