I've got to 2nd King Gizzard the Lizard Wizard. Their recent body of work is unparalleled.
Even though pop and hip-hop often steal the spotlight on the charts and at award ceremonies, according to streaming data from PrimeSound, rock is still holding its own as the third most-streamed genre on the top three streaming services. This long lasting popularity wouldn't be possible without new talent emerging to carry the torch from Rock 'n' Roll's storied predecessors. The 21st century has seen an explosion of new bands combining the rebellious spirit of old, with modern technological innovations, cross-genre fusions, and contemporary messages spoken through the lens of newer generations.
This list highlights the best new rock bands of the last 10 years, organizing them in 5-year segments by the release date of their first album, so that the most recent bands are featured at the top and the older ones at the bottom. All of them have been actively producing or performing during the past 10 years, making a bold claim that rock 'n' roll has no intention of fading away. They cover a wide range of diverse sounds across multiple subgenres. So if you came here looking for new music, you're in the right place!
Top Rock Bands Formed Since 2015
These are some of the most recent bands to hit the scene. They are as fresh as they come, most with only one or two albums under their belt. New bands tend to bring raw, new sounds to the table, often less polished but more willing to experiment, showcasing the latest ideas in rock.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Genre: Psychedelic rock, Alternative rock
Finding the best new rock bands of the last 10 years that have only formed within the last 10 years is a difficult task. It takes time for new bands to create a relevant amount of high-quality songs, market and promote those songs, and for the social media algorithms to do their job making us all aware of them. For every overnight sensation, there are hundreds of other bands that are working tirelessly to get recognized. However, a few have already started to emerge, including our first band. If their name hasn't already caught your attention, their music surely will!
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, from Perth, Australia, is an audacious blend of psychedelic rock and garage rock. Their concerts are nothing short of electrifying, often stretching the boundaries of what a live rock show can be. They may not have chart-topping hits, but they've cultivated a devoted following that swears by their musical prowess. You should listen to them if you're in the mood for something unconventional yet deeply rooted in rock traditions.
Genre: Indie rock, Indie pop pock
This New Zealand-based indie pop-rock band is gaining international attention for their catchy tunes and relatable lyrics. Fronted by Elizabeth Stokes, The Beths have a youthful energy that's contagious, both in their recordings and live performances. Their debut album "Future Me Hates Me" has received critical acclaim and marks them as one of the bands to watch. They might not be the biggest name yet, but their ability to craft memorable hooks and thoughtful lyrics makes them a standout. If you're looking for a band that combines the emotional depth of indie rock with the accessibility of pop, The Beths should definitely be on your radar.
Genre: Post-punk rock, Art punk, Punk rock
Hailing from Stockholm, Viagra Boys burst onto the rock scene in 2015. These Swedes specialize in post-punk, with a sound that's as raucous as it is satirical. Imagine combining heavy basslines with wry observations about modern life and you've got an idea of what they're about.
Why are they one of the best new rock bands of the last 10 years? Their blend of biting satire and kick-ass tunes has resonated with a wide audience. Although not exactly mainstream chart-toppers, their popular tracks like "Sports" have raked in millions of streams, making them a noticeable presence in the digital landscape.
Their 2018 album "Street Worms" is a must-listen, touching on social and political issues with their trademark wit. No high-profile collaborations to speak of, but they don't really need it; their unique flair speaks for itself.
Catch them live if you can; their performances are as energetic as they are irreverent. And if you're looking for a band that turns social commentary into an art form, Viagra Boys are a must-listen.
Genre: Indie Rock
Originating from Ellicott City, Maryland, Snail Mail hit the scene in 2015. Led by Lindsey Jordan, their sound fuses indie rock and lo-fi, marked by introspective lyrics and melodic guitars.
Why the buzz? Their emotional depth and 2018 album "Lush" have earned them a devoted following. They've toured with indie heavyweights like Beach House and made standout festival appearances.
If you crave music with emotional nuance and indie flair, Snail Mail is a must-listen and a great live act
Genre: Punk rock, Indie rock
IDLES was technically formed in Bristol in 2009 and had an EP out in 2011. But we're including them here since their first full album didn't drop until 2017. Their sound blends the raw energy of punk with heavier rock influences. Brutal, confrontational, yet deeply intellectual, their music tackles hot-button issues ranging from toxic masculinity to nationalism.
Their albums "Joy as an Act of Resistance" and "Ultra Mono" aren't just critical successes; they've also climbed the charts, proving that their message is getting through. As far as live performances go, IDLES are a force to be reckoned with—audiences walk away from their shows feeling invigorated, if not somewhat challenged.
Notably, the band has no qualms about speaking their mind on social issues like gender equality and anti-racism. They've been in the news for their outspoken views, but that's part of what makes them so compelling. The most crucial reason to give IDLES a listen? They're not just making music; they're igniting conversations that need to be had.
Top Rock Bands Formed Since 2010
These bands have been tearing it up for at least 5 years, with sounds that are becoming mature and polished. Some are even starting to get recognized with a few awards or nominations.
Author's Top Pick
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Genre: Psychedelic rock, Garage rock, Heavy metal
If you only listen to one new band from this list, it should be King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard! Making them my top recommendation for best new rock bands of the last 10 years.
This can't-miss Australian act is nothing short of a musical rollercoaster. With a crazy name like that you'd expect them to be unconventional, and they don't disappoint. They explore subgenres from psychedelic rock to thrash metal, often in the same album. You never know what you're going to get, but you do know you'll either love it or at least be intrigued.
They've released a staggering five albums in one year, demonstrating not just creativity but an extraordinary work ethic. Although the verdict is still out for me on whether or not putting out so much material is the best approach. Spending more time arranging and revising new songs to refine them may result in fewer, but more polished albums that appeal to a broader audience. However, I have a feeling a more traditional approach to music production isn't what King Gizzard or their diehard fans are going for.
Their live performances are wild as well, with interactive experiences that leave audiences gasping for more. Listening to them isn't just about enjoying rock; it's about embracing unpredictability.
The Pretty Reckless
Genre: Hard rock, Alternative rock
Fronted by Taylor Momsen, The Pretty Reckless brings a blend of grunge and alternative rock that's both classic and refreshing. They've earned their stripes as one of the best rock bands in the last decade with best-selling albums like "Going to Hell." Although not at the top of the streaming charts, they have a dedicated fan following that swears by their live performances.
The band has stayed away from notable collaborations or controversies but is outspoken about mental health issues. This makes their music not just sonically pleasing but also emotionally resonant. If you're seeking a band that blends great rock sound with substance, The Pretty Reckless is a band you should explore.
Genre: Psychedelic rock, Indie rock
Australian project Tame Impala, led by Kevin Parker, has redefined psychedelic rock for the modern age. With a sound that combines 60s rock influences with contemporary production techniques, Tame Impala has become a leader in streaming platforms. Hits like "The Less I Know The Better" have won critical acclaim, earning them a spot among the best rock bands of the decade.
Their live shows are a visual feast, complemented by their trippy soundscapes. They have engaged in collaborations with artists like Travis Scott, expanding their sonic boundaries. While not steeped in controversies or overtly social messages, their music often explores personal and existential themes. Tame Impala is perfect for those looking for a psychedelic experience that transcends time and genres.
Genre: Pop rock
If you've tuned into the radio over the past decade, you've almost certainly heard an Imagine Dragons hit. With their indie rock sound that incorporates elements of pop and electronic music, this Las Vegas-based band has made them a household among the best new rock bands of the last 10 years. They've owned the airwaves with chart-topping songs like "Radioactive" and "Demons." With multiple best-selling albums, they've proven their worth as one of the best rock bands around.
Their live shows are as energetic as they are emotional, often featuring an array of dazzling visual effects. While they haven't had many collaborations in the traditional sense, they've lent their music to various blockbuster films and commercials, expanding their reach. As for social issues, the band has been vocal about mental health and LGBTQ+ rights. Why listen to them? Imagine Dragons offers a sound that's both modern and deeply emotional, making them a staple in today's rock scene.
Genre: Pop rock
The 1975, based in England, could easily be one of the most versatile rock bands in recent years. They gracefully blur the lines between indie rock, pop, and electronic music. Their messages are deeply rooted in the times we live in, often commenting on society, politics, and environmental concerns. Hits like "Love It If We Made It" have garnered massive streaming numbers, and their live shows are a sensory feast. What makes them essential listening is their knack for capturing the zeitgeist in a way that's both sonically appealing and intellectually stimulating.
Genre: Black metal, Progressive rock
Ghost isn't just a rock band; they're a whole experience. Emerging from Sweden, Ghost incorporates elements of heavy metal and hard rock, but with a theatrical flair that's rare in the genre. With the enigmatic frontman known only as Papa Emeritus, the band delves into themes of anti-establishment and religious skepticism. Their live shows are a spectacle, featuring costumed musicians and a stage setup that could rival Broadway productions. Their albums like "Meliora" have solidified their presence, making them a force to be reckoned with in rock music today. Why should you listen to Ghost? If you're looking for something more than just music, something that challenges both your auditory and visual senses while provoking thought, Ghost is a band you can't afford to miss.
Genre: Indie rock
Parquet Courts is a blend of modern life encapsulated in musical form. Hailing from New York, their style melds indie rock with punk influences, producing a sound that's both current and timeless. More than just musicians, they're commentators on the socio-political landscape. Their live shows often feature improvisational elements, making each performance unique. They may not be mainstream chart-toppers, but in the indie circles, they're royalty. If you're having a hard time deciding which of the best new rock bands of the last 10 years to listen to, go with Parquet Courts if you want a rock band that challenges you to think, while also nodding your head.
Top Rock Bands Formed Since 2005
With 10 or more years under their belt, they've fine-tuned their sound and built a loyal fan base that trusts their new material will be solid. These rock bands know who they are and what their fans want.
Genre: Indie rock, Garage rock
Arctic Monkeys emerged from Sheffield, England, and have been a force to reckon with in the Garage Rock scene. With a raw sound that harkens back to early rock 'n' roll but with a modern twist, they've carved a niche for themselves. They made headlines in the past decade with chart-toppers like "Do I Wanna Know?" and "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?".
Their unique blend of sounds and lyrical witticisms make them one of the best rock bands of the last 10 years. Although not always leading the streaming charts, they've sold millions of albums worldwide, making them one of the most commercially successful garage rock bands in recent history. Their live performances are electrifying, often leaving fans yearning for more. No notable collaborations or social messages define them, but their raw energy speaks for itself. If you're seeking a band that captures the essence of garage rock with a modern flair, Arctic Monkeys should be on your playlist.
Genre: Indie rock, Psychedelic rock
If I had a 2nd top pick for best new rock bands of the last 10 years, it would probably be MGMT. This band defies the norm with a unique blend of Indie and Psychedelic Rock. Based in the U.S., their sound is an eclectic mix of electronica, rock, and pop elements. Hits like "Kids" and "Electric Feel" have topped charts and are streaming favorites. They've made significant contributions to the rock scene over the past 10 years, with their unique sonic explorations.
While they haven't collaborated much with other artists, their live shows are an audio-visual treat. The band is not known for being overtly political or controversial but their music often touches upon existential themes. If you're seeking something outside the mainstream rock box, MGMT offers a fresh, mind-bending auditory experience.
Genre: Heavy metal, Progressive rock, Hard rock
In the realm of Heavy and Progressive Metal, Avenged Sevenfold has left an indelible mark. Their sound is a powerful amalgamation of screaming guitars, pounding drums, and soaring vocals. Over the past 10 years, they've been leaders in the streaming platforms, with tracks like "Hail to the King" making waves.
Though not known for collaborations, their live performances are a spectacle, complete with pyrotechnics and stage antics. They've occasionally courted controversy with their lyrical themes, but it only adds to their allure. If you're in for an adrenaline-pumping musical experience, Avenged Sevenfold is the band for you. They offer more than just music; they offer an experience that resonates long after the last note has played.
Genre: Indie rock, Funk rock
The Heavy, a British rock band formed in 2007, have earned a reputation for their electrifying performances and genre-blending sound that mixes rock, soul, and funk. Their hit song "How You Like Me Now?" skyrocketed them to fame and became a staple in commercials, video games, and movies. The band is anything but a one-hit-wonder; their albums like "The House That Dirt Built" and "Hurt & the Merciless" have received critical acclaim and showcase their versatility. If you're a fan of seeing bands live, The Heavy does not disappoint. Their energetic stage presence and knack for engaging with the audience make their shows unforgettable experiences. With over a decade in the game, The Heavy has honed a sound that is uniquely theirs, making them a must-listen for anyone who enjoys rock music that pushes boundaries. They may not be the newest band on the block, but they continue to keep the rock 'n' roll spirit alive and kicking.
The Dead Weather
Genre: Alternative rock, Blues rock
The Dead Weather is a no-brainer for the best new rock bands of the last 10 years. This all star cast that includes White Stripes' frontman Jack White, brings pure, unadulterated rock 'n' roll to your ear drums. Comprising members are also included from Queens of the Stone Age, their credentials are rock-solid. Their sound is grounded in hard rock, blues, and garage elements, providing a counterpoint to the highly-produced music often heard today. They might not be embroiled in controversies, but their music speaks volumes. With hits like "I Cut Like A Buffalo," they've managed to earn both critical and commercial acclaim.
If you're in search of bona fide rock without the frills, The Dead Weather is your go-to. You won't be dissapointed.
Twenty One Pilots
Genre: Rap rock, Alternative rock
This Ohio-based duo has carved a unique niche in the alternative rock and rap rock world. With hits like "Stressed Out" and "Ride," they have topped both streaming and sales charts. Their sound fuses elements of rock, rap, and electronic music, offering something genuinely different.
They have also garnered a reputation for their dynamic live shows, often involving crowd interaction and unique visual elements. While not known for any significant collaborations or controversies, they're vocal advocates for mental health. Listen to Twenty One Pilots if you're looking for a band that defies genre constraints and provides a multi-layered musical experience.
Genre: Hard rock, Post-grunge
Rocking the hard rock genre is Halestorm, led by the dynamic Lzzy Hale. With hits like "Love Bites (So Do I)," they've carved out a place for themselves as one of the decade's top rock acts.
They're a treat to watch live, delivering performances filled with energy and prowess. While not necessarily a streaming leader, they’ve got a slew of best-selling albums under their belt. They haven’t been mired in controversies, and they haven’t ventured much into social issues either. However, they have participated in some intriguing collaborations within the rock world. Halestorm is a must-listen for anyone who appreciates hard-hitting riffs, powerhouse vocals, and a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to rock.
Cage The Elephant
Genre: Alternative rock, Indie rock
This Kentucky-based band straddles the line between alternative rock and indie rock. With infectious melodies and hits like "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," they've become a favorite among both critics and fans as one of the best new rock bands of the last 10 years.
Their live shows are particularly compelling, often featuring energetic performances from frontman Matt Shultz. While not leaders in streaming, they’ve enjoyed strong album sales and even snagged a Grammy. Although they've mostly steered clear of controversies, they're often involved in social causes, particularly environmental sustainability. So why listen to Cage The Elephant? If you’re after an eclectic blend of rock that's as thought-provoking as it is foot-tapping, this band’s for you.
Genre: Indie Rock
Vampire Weekend offers a blend of indie rock infused with world music influences. They've given us hits like "Harmony Hall" and are well-regarded for their sophisticated sound. Over the past decade, their albums like "Father of the Bride" have consistently performed well, solidifying their position as one of the best rock bands around.
Though not known for social messages or controversies, their live performances are energetic and engaging, often featuring a variety of instruments that you wouldn't typically see in a rock concert. While they haven't done many high-profile collaborations, their sound itself is a fascinating collaboration of various musical influences. Listen to Vampire Weekend for a cultured and intricate take on indie rock.
Five Finger Death Punch
Genre: Heavy Metal, Groove Metal
Five Finger Death Punch (often abbreviated as 5FDP) from Las Vegas brings a robust, no-holds-barred approach to heavy metal. Their powerful lyrics and hard-hitting guitar riffs are a calling card. With hits like "Wrong Side of Heaven," they've made their mark as one of the decade's best rock bands.
They also have a reputation for exhilarating live performances, complete with pyrotechnics and on-stage antics. The band has even dabbled in some newsworthy controversies, often related to their unabashed political stances. While they haven't been at the forefront of streaming platforms, their loyal fan base ensures robust album sales. Listen to 5FDP if you want your rock served heavy, with a side of rebellious spirit.
Florence + The Machine
Genre: Indie rock, Baroque pop
With Florence Welch at the helm, this British indie rock band delivers powerful vocals and lush instrumentals, as a newcomer to our list of best new rock bands of the last 10 years. Known for hits like "Dog Days Are Over" and "Shake It Out," they've garnered substantial commercial and critical success.
Their concerts are more like spiritual experiences than mere gigs, with Florence often engaging deeply with the audience. They've not been involved in major controversies but are vocal about feminist issues. So why listen? Florence + The Machine offer an emotionally charged, soulful take on indie rock that you won't easily forget.
Top Rock Bands Formed Since 2000
The veterans of the 21st century, but they're not vintage yet! They've harnessed just enough longevity to be at the top of their game, while still producing and performing great rock music recently enough to be included one of the best new rock bands of the last 10 years.
Genre: Pop rock, Alternative rock
Coldplay, an alternative rock band hailing from London, has captured the hearts of millions worldwide. Why should you listen to them? Their sound blends emotive lyrics with melodic compositions, creating a unique musical journey for the listener. They're undoubtedly one of the best rock bands of the last decade, demonstrated by their astronomical streaming numbers and chart-topping hits like "Paradise" and "Adventure of a Lifetime."
The band is also known for their exceptional live performances. Their concerts often feel like a spiritual experience, filled with colorful visuals and emotional depths. They've had notable collaborations with artists like Rihanna and The Chainsmokers, broadening their musical landscape. While they've mostly steered clear of controversies, they actively support various social issues through their philanthropic efforts. Coldplay provides a soul-touching musical experience that you don't want to miss.
Thirty Seconds To Mars
Genre: Alternative Rock
Jared Leto and his bandmates have turned Thirty Seconds To Mars into an alternative rock powerhouse. Their sound is a rich tapestry of electronic elements, anthemic choruses, and rock instrumentation. Over the past decade, they've consistently produced chart-topping songs like "Walk on Water" that have kept fans engaged.
What sets them apart as one of the best rock bands in the last ten years is not just their music but their live performances. Often described as electrifying, their concerts are both a visual and aural spectacle. While the band hasn't been involved in too many controversies, they do voice their concerns on environmental issues, giving fans more reason to connect with them. With their enigmatic stage presence and socially conscious messages, Thirty Seconds To Mars is a band that offers far more than just music.
The Black Keys
Genre: Blues rock
Ohio's The Black Keys offer a unique blend of garage rock and blues rock that's both nostalgic and fresh. The duo, made up of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, has hits like "Lonely Boy" that have topped charts and become staples on streaming platforms as one of the best new rock bands of the last 10 years.
In terms of live performances, they’re known for their minimalistic yet impactful shows. While they haven't made headlines for controversies or social messages, they've had some noteworthy collaborations, such as their work with legendary producer Danger Mouse. They've also bagged several awards, further cementing their reputation as one of the decade’s best rock bands. With their back-to-the-basics approach, The Black Keys offer a raw, unfiltered rock experience.
Fall Out Boy
Genre: Pop-punk, Pop rock
Originating from Chicago, Fall Out Boy has evolved from a pop-punk and emo band to encompass a broader alternative rock sound. With chart-topping hits like "Centuries," they've stayed relevant for over a decade. Their best-selling albums have cemented their legacy as one of the best rock bands of recent times.
Known for their energetic live performances, they are also vocal about social issues such as LGBTQ+ rights. While they haven't been involved in many controversies, they’ve had notable collaborations with artists like John Mayer and Demi Lovato. Their music speaks to a generation, making them a must-listen for anyone who enjoys a mix of emotive lyrics and catchy rock melodies.
Genre: Indie rock, Art rock
If you're a fan of indie rock with depth and versatility, Arcade Fire is a band you need to know. This Canadian ensemble has been around for a while but particularly thrived in the last decade. Known for songs like "The Suburbs" and "Reflektor," they've also topped charts and gained critical acclaim.
Their concerts are not just musical events; they're theatrical experiences that immerse the audience in a mix of visuals and sound. While they haven't made headlines for any significant controversies, they have used their platform to voice social and political issues, including advocating for Haiti relief. So, why should you tune in? Arcade Fire's captivating storytelling and eclectic sound make them one of the decade's most compelling listens in the indie rock scene.
Kings Of Leon
Genre: Alternative Rock, Southern Rock
Hailing from Nashville, Kings of Leon has been a staple in the alternative rock scene. Over the past decade, they've produced several chart-topping hits like "Use Somebody" and "Sex on Fire," keeping their fan base ever-growing, and solidifying them as one of the best new rock bands of the last 10 years.
Live shows by Kings of Leon are known for their high energy and strong musicianship. They have a number of best-selling albums but haven't led the pack in streaming. Their music doesn’t just dwell on rock but incorporates elements of Southern soul, giving you a multifaceted listening experience. Listen to them for a classic yet fresh take on alternative rock.
New Pioneers Rooted in Tradition
The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible—and achieve it, generation after generation.Pearl S. Buck
The power of rock music lies not just in its electrifying riffs and loud vocals but also in its ability to constantly evolve while staying rooted in the groundwork that got it here. The best new rock bands of the last 10 years are trailblazers in their own right, utilizing the time-honored tradition of rock 'n' roll across modern platforms and technologies, to connect with audiences in ways that were never possible before.
The next time you pull up your streaming service of choice, consider giving one of these bands a listen. They're the ones keeping rock alive, pushing its boundaries, and redefining what it means for generations to come. So go ahead, press play, and join in on the next chapter of rock's unfolding legacy.
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King Gizzard has been on a tear lately!