The 20 best rock songs right now

The 20 best rock songs right now

(L-R) Fazerdaze, Lowertown, Miya Folick


Joey Clough/Savannah Hughes/Ariel Fish

“Life is a rollercoaster, just got to ride it,” as a wise Irish sage once said. Dazy’s streak of releasing super-catchy pop-punk rippers continues with this wistful new effort.

Come September 16, Hudson Valley hardcore band Mindforce will release New Lords, their long-awaited follow-up to 2018’s Excalibur. It’s one of the most eagerly-anticipated heavy music albums of the year and “Survival Is Vengeance” sets the scene for impending carnage. Fast, punchy, and direct: this is music that takes no prisoners.

Saxophone and springy basslines do battle on U.K. trio Drahla’s first new material in over three years. A welcome return for the underrated post-punk band.

Speaking of returns, here is new music from New Zealand’s Fazerdaze. Amelia Murray’s second new song since 2017 is about embracing authentic feelings and not being afraid to admit to being jaded and over things. Her fizzy melodies and warm guitar tones balance out the healthy cynicism nicely.

Big widescreen indie-pop from Columbus band Snarls. Written as a love letter to a BFF who moved across the country, lead singer Chlo White distills a platonic love into something that feels as tender and meaningful as any traditional romance.

World Of Pleasure & Friends is a new project from Calgary-based hardcore band World Of Pleasure that brings Despize’s Shaun Alexander, Safe And Sound’s Jaxon Craig, and Witness Chamber’s Chad Pingree along to the party. The whole thing is worth a listen but this opening song, featuring True Love’s Dominic Vargaz, feels like the walls collapsing around you and discovering it is sunny outside.

Let the cool dads in your life know immediately, The National and Bon Iver have made a song together. It’s all too easy to clown on this pairing but, inevitably, the glitched out melancholy they conjur is stunning.

Co-written with Mitski, Miya Folick took inspiration from an unforgettable hangover for her latest single. There’s plenty of regret in her lyrics (“Told my mom it was the last time”) but, as the headache clears and the mood changes, Folick comes out of it in a positive place. The new song is taken from her forthcoming EP, 2007, due September 9.

“Aftershook”, taken from upcoming Frankie Cosmos album Inner World Peace, is about finding an equilibrium in life between hope and reality. Greta Kline’s songwriting paints vivid images of this balancing act, conjuring up small portraits that tell much bigger stories.

British metalcore band Ithaca’s They Fear Us, released earlier this month, is a blend of big riffs and stadium-sized choruses that celebrate radical ways of thinking. “Camera Eats First” captures that blend nicely, its pretty choruses barely masking the rage that lays underneath.

Perma-chill Australian indie duo Royel Otis dropped their charming Bar N’ Grill EP this month. “Motels” carries a distinct Mrs. Robinson vibe with its story of a young man with an older woman but the carefree guitars and breezy production ensure a happy ending.

French art-punk band Birds In Row will release new album Gris Klein on October 14. It’s an album the group say is about letting people know that “they’re not alone, and that they can count on each other.” Led single “Nympheas” gallops into sight to spread the good word.

Brooklyn band Altopalo wrote a diss track about themselves. “Love That 4 U” sees the band aim a scornful eye inwards as they point out “average flaws” like living a privileged life and being a lost cause. Bartees Strange, meanwhile, reckons with a changing lifestyle as he achieves a degree of indie fame. Altopalo’s forthcoming new album, frenemy, is due September 23.

Fugitive are a new band from Texas led by former Power Trip guitarist Blake Ibanez. Their debut EP Maniac landed out of nowhere this month and that shit hits hard. Check out opening track “The Javelin” but make sure you hold on to face, lest it melt off on impact.

“Bucktooth” is Atlanta duo Lowertown’s ode to their southern upbringing as well as an acknowledgement of the toxic elements of extremist behavior. The song might be about a bucktooth cowboy and his fellow bandits but the line “I can’t handle any more guns,” less of a rejection than an admission of defeat, says more about the present than the past.

Some fans may crave a return to Arctic Monkeys’ buzzy guitar band sound but Alex Turner has always had a knack for a stunning break-up song and this new single is up there among his best.

Taken from the U.K. band’s upcoming album Tableau, due October 7, “BEAM/S” is a near 8-minute dreamy epic that touches on midwestern slowcore as well as afrobeat-style percussion. That it simply ends up sounding like an Orielles song is testament to their uniqueness.

Nick Hakim’s psychedelic songwriting has taken him in jazz and soul directions in the past but new song “Happen” pushes him more toward an indie/folk sound, a move backed up by having Alex G playing piano alongside him. There is a sadness at the root of happen that Hakim is sure to dig into further on forthcoming album Cometa, out on October 21.

Fidlar, a band who have written songs about cheap beer, cocaine, and bad habits, return with a love letter to getting fucked up. You could dismiss this is reckless frivolity or take the “Fuck it dog, life’s a risk” message on board and embrace the chaos of being alive.

Comedian Whitmer Thomas’ songs were always too good to exist solely as part of his stand-up sets and, as he continues to release more straight material, he is slowly marking himself out as a songwriter to watch. “Most Likely” is a bittersweet sigh as Thomas reflects on the social anxiety of feeling like you messed up in front of a group of people. His perfectly titled album The Older I Get the Funnier I Was is out on Hardly Art Records on October 21.