Aug 222012

On the way to the Phils game last night (don’t get me started) we were listening to the classic rock channel. My wife turned to me and said “Rock is dead.”

Although I nodded silently, it struck me how heavy and huge a pronouncement this was. And, I’m sad to say, pretty true.

I know I’m out of it, but I do try to keep up with a lot of music the youngin’s are listening to these days—mostly through my own kids. They’re pretty much up on a lot of stuff—but nothing is what I’d call Rock with a capital R.

I know it’s a broad term—and there are some throwback bands doing all sorts of rock derivatives. I, for instance, like what small amount I’ve heard from The Hentchmen—but they are throwback garage rock.

No, what I’m talking about is Power-and-Glory Rock. Anyone (besides some stuff I’ve heard from Jack White) doing this sorta thing nowadays?

Or is my wife correct? Is Rock dead?


  17 Responses to “Dark Time Indeed”

  1. cliff sovinsanity

    While I think this is an important question that should be asked, I’m not sure it can easily summed up in this kind of forum.
    My short answer is no. Rock is not dead, but it is in serious need of lead band to carry the flag. There are a lot of bands out there, but they are not exposed(radio,mtv) like in the past.
    If there is one band that is “bringing it all back”, it would have to be The Black Keys.
    Don’t forget that rock is measured these days by single downloads. Kids aren’t buying albums or investing in artists like in the past. It’s a new landscape and it’s flat.

    If I’m in denial and rock is truly dead, then we all lose.

  2. BigSteve

    It’s not dead, but it sure smells funny.

  3. 2000 Man

    I think the first thing I thought of was The Black Keys, just because they’re putting asses in seats like no other current Rock band. Jack White is the other heavy hitter, but there’s a lot of cool Rock bands. Not just the garage rockers, either (I hate that garage rock revival term – that kind of music never goes away) there’s plenty of great Rock out there. Wild Flag is killing it, and Carrie Brownstein’s guitar playing is twice a down and dirty as almost all the boys from the 70’s. Black Mountain has plenty of thunder, and another Canadian band I really love, Ladyhawk, has a new album coming out on a new label. There’s too much great new stuff for me to start naming all of them. The new Buffalo Killers album is pretty terrific, too.

    But I can certainly see how listening to a station playing music by a generation that’s starting to die off at a rapid rate could make you think Rock is dead, though.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    We’re going to see The Men in a couple of weeks. They are my great hope for the Power and Glory of Rock.

    Trigmo, if you are around, want to meet up? Sept. 2 at The Independent.

  5. machinery

    Thanks for the list 2000. I will have to check some of these guys out. I might be one of the causes of the death of Rock. Since I’m at the age where I can compare new acts to old ones, I always seem to find the new ones lacking in some respect.

    My hope is that this new generation of kids can latch onto a Rock band without the baggage that comes with our generation’s “spot the influence” game.

  6. The Power and The Glory is hard to come by.

    Gaslight Anthem – they deliver the goods every time
    The Killers – get better with every record and are a solid live act
    Jack White CD is pretty damn good
    The Decemberists – the live album is pretty ROCK for all of their folk-influenced songs.
    Wilco – they are about to be a 20 year old band but still have it.

    Have I seen a new band or even heard a new bands song that gave me some hope? Not in a long time

  7. If all the bands mentioned so far are the best we’ve got, I think your wife is right.

  8. Also, I really don’t see how The Hentchmen (who’ve been active since ’92, so they’re hardly “new”) are any more of a “throwback” than any of these other bands. As far as what I can hear, EVERYTHING is a throwback nowadays.

  9. machinery

    See how out of it I am??!!! I thought they were relatively new.

  10. 2000 Man

    I went to pick up one of their lp’s the other day after the post you made, and they were sold out! But they said they’d probably have more next time.

  11. 2000 Man

    What does it have to be to be good? Unlike anything you’ve ever heard? If so, then what do you have, like three Rock albums in your collection? Early Rock was busy ripping off blues and R&B players that came before them, and they were probably ripping off people that just never got recorded. If you’re just looking for good songs, a lot of the bands mentioned so far are writing plenty of good songs, and that’s good enough for me.

  12. ladymisskirroyale

    The second album is more “user friendly” and the first is rawer. The first also includes a 10 minute death drone track that features the singer hocking up a lougie about 8 minutes in.

  13. Sorry, but my main point was the labeling of one band as “throwbacks”, when, in my opinion, they aren’t any bigger throwbacks than any of these other groups. It’s all pretty well-worn territory, “good songs” or not.

  14. mockcarr

    This dead genre stuff kind of reminds me of a watch wearing argument. There are enormous diver watches that do all this crap, there are functional cheap ones, classic looking ones, expensive designer ones, one you maybe get as a gift that you wear to be nice, etc. This is aside from the lucky people who don’t care what time it is. You pretty much end up getting a few compliments on the item no matter what, but a lot of people will wonder why you still bother to wear a watch, since there’s one in your cell phone. Has Rock been absorbed by pop music technology with all the interesting stuff about it taken out?

  15. Doesn’t every Rock genre have a run of 5 to 10 years, and then die? 50s original rock, British invasion, late 60s to early 70s Heavy rock, Disco, 1st Punk invasion/New wave, etc. There are probably vibrant rock genres going on right now, but we just don’t care that much about them because we’ve already glommed onto our respective favorite types. Everything that continues after that window seems like a throwback even if it is of high quality. But, overall you don’t want any genre to continue to be that dominant after the first burst. Rock dies all the time. Long live rock.

  16. trigmogigmo

    Sounds like fun! That day works. I will have to come up to speed on these guys beforehand.

    Mr. Mod — can you forward my email address to LMKR or vice versa? Thanks.

  17. I’ll chip in an extra vote for Decemberists and Gaslight Anthem.

    I did have hopes for My Chemical Romance (quiet, you!) but “Danger Days” was a train wreck after “Black Parade”.

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