These Are The Greatest Rock Bands You Need To Listen This 2020

Many fans (and haters) of the genre tend to affirm that rock and roll is dead. That might possibly be true, at least regarding mainstream success and chart-topping singles. But don’t worry: adventurous bands who dare merge styles and try new sounds are always emerging, and many stunning albums have appeared this year. Without the pressure to sell hundreds of thousands of records, rock artists may actually be enjoying a great era! Thus, wait no further, here are the greatest bands you need to start listening.

Photo: Courtesy of diso.it

#20. Mi Amigo Invencible

If you haven’t heard any of the hottest bands of the current indie wave in Latin America, Mi Amigo Invencible or El Mató a un Policía Motorizado are two of the safest bets for you to start with. Both bands are from Argentina, but the former has had an extremely active year.

Photo: Courtesy of elbondi.com

Indeed, Mi Amigo Invencible flew to the U.S. to mix their latest studio album, called Dutsiland. These 9 tracks see the large group take a more low-key approach, with calm melodies and eerie yet subtle synth lines and keys that make Dutsiland a great addition to their flawless catalog.

#19. Hinds

Like Mi Amigo Invencible, Hinds also come from a Spanish-speaking country. However, the Spanish quartet prefers to deliver their lyrics in English. This has definitely helped them reach a wider audience and make noise in America lately.

Photo: Courtesy of Indiespot

The all-female band first gained attention back in 2016 with their debut album, Leave Me Alone. Their sophomore effort, I Don’t Run (released in 2018) and their recent single, titled Riding Solo, continue showcasing their fresh garage-rock and indie-pop blend.

#18. Wild Nothing

While Hinds are known for their cheerful tunes and energetic live performances, Wild Nothing represents a more introspective side of the rock spectrum (sometimes called dream-pop), along with other acclaimed bands like Beach House or DIIV (spoiler alert: we’ll talk more about them later).

Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

Jack Tatum is the man who composes every song of theirs, and he probably perfected the most his knack for beautiful melodies on the band’s mesmerizing 2014 album, Nocturne. In 2018, they achieved another high point in their career with Indigo, and they released a great live album this year.

#17. MGMT

MGMT blew up into the mainstream with their ingenious and extremely catchy debut (Oracular Spectacular) in 2007, but since then, the duo’s releases have flown under most people’s radars, unfortunately. It’s always a difficult task to live up to the expectations after such an awesome start, that’s a fact.

Photo: Courtesy of El Quinto Beatle

But Andrew and Ben achieved a full return to form with their last record, Little Dark Age. Heralded as the best synth-pop album to have come out in 2018, Little Dark Age saw MGMT go back to their amusing take on 80s pop and modern indie.

#16. Parquet Courts

But MGMT is showing no signs of stopping whatsoever, since they dropped one of the most promising singles of their career a couple of weeks ago, called In the Afternoon. They’ll be opening for Tame Impala next year, so make sure to catch a ticket for one of those awesome dates!

Photo: Courtesy of El Quinto Beatle

Talking about mindblowing concerts, Parquet Courts have been giving their fans a real treat with their “Wide Awake” tour in 2019. The New Yorkers have been busy with several shows in the last months as they’re still presenting their stunning last album, which was released in 2018.

#15. Sheer Mag

Parquet Courts are known for both their sharp lyrics and post-punk and garage rock sounds, and their prolific creative pace is the cherry on the cake. They tend to release an album every year and a half, so you can expect them to put out another AOTY candidate in 2020!

Photo: Courtesy of London In Stereo

Rising from Philadelphia, Sheer Mag unabashedly combines punk ethos, explosive live performances, and awesome 70s classic rock inspired tunes. This year they released their second full-length album, A Distant Call.

#14. Deerhunter

In A Distant Call, you’ll find Sheer Mag’s typical old-school riffs, but with better production and thoughtful lyrics, as in the song Unfound Manifest, where singer Tina Halladay addresses the refugee crisis. On the other hand, Deerhunter might not have Sheer Mag‘s prolific pace for releasing music every year, but they luckily made a comeback in 2019.

Photo: Courtesy of Associated Press

And what a comeback! Undoubtedly one of indie rock’s most legendary and diverse bands, Deerhunter dropped their “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” LP back in January. It had been 4 years since the group’s last record, and 9 since Halycon Digest, which is regarded as their most mindblowing project.

#13. Chastity Belt

If you’re fond of rich textures and great rock songs which display the band’s palpable chemistry, give Deerhunter‘s latest release a shot! Chastity Belt might be more inexperienced than the indie rock titans, but they have definitely brought some freshness to the genre.

Photo: Courtesy of Soundcheck

Formed in Washington 9 years ago, Chastity Belt has already dropped 4 albums, and they’re incredibly consistent! I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone, from 2017, and their self-titled album, which came out a couple of months ago, showcases the band’s maturity regarding the lyrical content.

#12. Tame Impala

Julia Shapiro, the lead singer of Chastity Belt, has a mesmerizing voice which can sometimes be reminiscent of Florence Welch’s powerful vocals (Julia has a more mellow delivery, though). Despite his young age, Kevin Parker, also known as the mastermind behind Tame Impala, is already a huge name in the music industry.

Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

The Australian multi-instrumentalist and producer has collaborated with the likes of Travis Scott and Kanye, but he’s also released two of the most hypnotizing psychedelic-rock albums of the decade. Yes, we’re talking about Lonerism, which came out in 2012, and Currents, which blew everyone away in 2015.

#11. Xiu Xiu

This year, Tame Impala has finally returned with new music, and it’s as fantastic as always. So far, Kevin has recently released 4 songs, and some of them will make it into the band’s 2020 album, called The Slow Rush. The Aussie psych-rock kings also headlined Coachella in 2019 and their show certainly met everyone’s high expectations!

Photo: Courtesy of Tumblr

And since we’re talking about experimental bands that push the genre’s boundaries and take adventurous risks with their sound, we must say something about Xiu Xiu. Though they formed in 2002, Xiu Xiu has already released 11 studio albums, most of them to overwhelming acclaim, so it might be hard to decide where to start with their discography.

#10. Idles

Here’s our personal recommendation: listen to Forget, which saw the band succeed at a more pop-oriented style two years ago. After that, if you have the necessary courage, you can dive into Girl with Basket of Fruit, which has been heralded as the best album in 2019 by several critics. Brace yourself for a powerful experience though, this record is dark and overwhelming!

Photo: Courtesy of Monster Children

Idles are probably the most important punk band to emerge from the U.K this decade. The stakes were high after Brutalism, their amazing debut, which dropped in 2017. But only one year later they released their stunning sophomore LP, called Joy as an Act of Resistance.

#9. Kero Kero Bonito

Throughout the record’s 12 track, Idles combine their explosive sound with thoughtful lyrics about toxic masculinity, Brexit, and other topics. This year they continued to show the world their unparalleled live set, and they released “A Beautiful Thing: Idles Live at Le Bataclan”.

Photo: Courtesy of Tickefly

Though Kero Kero Bonito is also from the U.K., the sound its members go for has nothing to do with Idles’ post-punk aggression. This band has a pretty unique sound, with its innovative combination of indie, shoegaze, J-pop, and other styles.

#8. Glass Beach

Civilisation I, Kero Kero Bonito‘s recent EP, which came out in September, sees the group exploring its synth-pop influences throughout 3 wonderful tracks, so check it out if you haven’t already! Glass Beach, perhaps the rookies of the year, share a trait with Kero Kero: they have a remarkable talent for blending genres.

Photo: Courtesy of Bandcamp

This picture shows the beautiful and intriguing cover of their debut album, which came out this past 2019. Many rock fans admitted that they went into this record expecting one of those bands that attempt to sound and look edgy but ultimately fail to produce anything interesting… but this was definitely not one of those cases, that’s for sure!

#7. The Raconteurs

Indeed, Glass Beach has given us one of the weirdest and most compelling albums of 2019: these songs can go from emo to jazz fusion passages and punk adrenaline. The Californians destroy the barriers that separate genres, and somehow the result makes complete sense.

Photo: Courtesy of Indie Hoy

One thing is certain in rock and roll: you can always count on Jack White’s insatiable creative drive. The ex-leader of The White Stripes focused on his solo career in 2018 and got experimental with Boarding House Reach. This year, he decided to reunite with his other former band: The Raconteurs.

#6. Foals

Fans of The Raconteurs were surprised, albeit worried: would their chemistry be the same after a decade? Turns out they still got it, since their new album, Help Us Stranger, is maybe their best one yet! Foals can boast an achievement that only one more band in this list has accomplished: they released not one but two albums in 2019!

Photo: Courtesy of El Quinto Beatle

That’s right, Foals have been unstoppable during this end of the decade. Both parts of Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost are great, but if I had to pick one, I’d go with Part 1. Just look at its mesmerizing cover, you just know that you’re up for something special with such a unique artwork!

#5. Big Thief

Having enough ideas and motivation to drop two solid albums in one year is a notable feat, we can all agree with that. We already know that Foals is one of the two bands in this list that accomplished this, and here’s the other one.

Photo: Courtesy of The Fader

Big Thief has pleased its fans like never before in 2019: they first put out U.F.O.F., which includes striking songs like Betsy and the tantalizing Jenni. Only a couple of months later they released another folk-rock inspired Album of the Year contender, called Two Hands.

#4. Black Midi

On their latest effort, Big Thief sound more intimate than ever, you’re gonna feel you’re right there beside them while they play these striking songs. Two Hands received the Best New Music honor by Pitchfork (they give this to any album that’s rated an 8.2/10 or higher). Black Midi‘s debut album also came out in 2019, and it received the Best New Music treatment as well.

Photo: Courtesy of dlso.it

Ask any rock fan who’s usually updated on the latest news, and this person will probably tell you this: Black Midi is the new band you need to listen to ASAP. Black Midi perfectly conveyed the sheer craziness of their live shows in the songs of their debut, Schalgenheim.

#3. DIIV

The Londoners combine art-rock, experimental rock, and post-punk, and the result is dazzling. If you think we’re exaggerating, check out their KEXP performance on YouTube! We also have high hopes for DIIVs future: the Brooklyn band keeps evolving on their brilliant third LP, called Deceiver.

Photo: Courtesy of El Quinto Beatle

DIIV‘s first two albums consolidated them as one of the best indie and shoegaze bands of the decade, but Zachary Cole Smith went through some rough time while undergoing rehab, and his group’s future remained a mystery to many. His struggle and the lessons learned in the process are reflected in Deceiver‘s lyrics as the band also moves away from their traditional reverb-filled guitars and vocals.

#2. Vampire Weekend

Indeed, DIIV seem more Sonic-Youth inspired on their recent LP, especially on its aggressive yet mesmerizing tunes like Horsehead and Blankenship. DIIV might be on a roll right now, but no indie rock band enjoys a streak as consistent as Vampire Weekend‘s one.

Photo: Courtesy of La Voz

Their self-titled debut from 2008 constituted a much-needed breeze of fresh air for rock and roll. Their sophomore LP and their third record were also acclaimed by critics and fans alike. But 6 years had already passed since Modern Vampires of the City had been released in 2013… could Ezra Koenig pull off another classic?

#1. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Spoiler alert in case you haven’t listened to Father of the Bride… he still has it! Vampire Weekend‘s cheerful double album sees the band explore a wide array of sounds, as they show how pop can sound ambitious and engaging. You know we said that Vampire Weekend‘s streak is unparalleled in rock? Well, we kinda lied actually.

Photo: Courtesy of Indie Hoy

Of course, it’s subjective, but King Gizzard & The Lizzard Wizard is just as unstoppable as Koenig and company. The Australian psych-rock band has dropped a jaw-dropping amount of 15 studio albums in 8 years and in 2019 they gave thrash-metal a try for the first time in the awesome Infest the Rats’ Nest. Don’t know where to start in their discography? Nonagon Infinity and Polygondwanaland are usually regarded as their greatest records, so check those out first!

Related posts: