There is a scene in “The Big Chill” when the character Harold proclaims that there has been no good music released for years. He is clearly a classic rock holdover and refuses to allow any new music into his life. We all know people like that, for goodness sakes you might be one of them. And that’s ok. The music from 1965-1985 may never be duplicated however there are some bands around today that are worth a listen. The problem is where do you start?
Today it’s tough just finding a band that is, well, a band. Numerous acts today either start as a song and morph into a band due to record company pressure (Foster The People) or are really DIY projects of a single talented musician who is challenged to bring their music to the live stage (Bon Iver amongst many).
That’s why I’d like to offer you a primer of new music. Look at it as “If you loved (classic artists) you might like (new artist). “ Now, I am not saying these artist are on equal with the founders of rock however, they are worth further investigation. These are current bands that are near their peak, performing live frequently with enchanting shows, and have released more than one strong album. No one hit wonders here.
So for example, if you love The Who you might like My Morning Jacket. MMJ has released a number of great studio albums and perform raucous shows exhibiting every bit of the talent and rocking presence on stage as The Who in their hey day.
Jackson Browne—Dawes- This band tries with great success to duplicate the sound and feeling of a modern day Laurel Canyon. And though sometimes they miss, they more times than not knock it out of the park. You will hear a lot of Southern California influence here presented in an updated way.
Crosby Stills Nash And Young—Band Of Horses – If you just download “Dumpster World” by this band you’ll understand. It starts as near vintage CSN and then turns into a rollicking finish as if Neil himself joined the band. They don’t quite match the distinct harmonies just yet, but then again who ever will?
Smashing Pumpkins- The Joy Formidable- These days Billy Corgan is trying his hardest to duplicate the sound that sold millions in the 1990s but with two major cogs in that success refusing to play with him, he sounds lost. That’s where the Joy Formidable come in. Just two albums into their career they have perfected the sound Corgan has been searching for the last 15 years.
ABC- Fitz and The Tantrums- Now I know it’s a bit of a stretch posing ABC in this solid list of Rock and Roll giants, but Fitz is just such a perfect example of a dated sound being updated. Just two albums into their career they have amassed the popularity of ABC, so I’m not sure they’ll be around much longer so enjoy them while you can.
Roxy Music- Moon Taxi- This Nashville band apparently puts on legendary live shows which of course Roxy was famous for, and the consistency they exhibited on their first four albums has made me a true fan. Art pop combined with thoughtful lyrics with a modern sound approach has this band at the top of the progressive rock list.
Dire Straits—Yea right no one will ever sound like them so just go buy the new Mark Knopfler double album if you still need a DS fix.