A Conversation About American Rock Part 4: Has the Influence of Rock Died?


This blog post is the fourth and final part of a conversation on the cultural influence of American rock. See part 1 at A Conversation About American Rock Part 1: Has The Influence of Rock Died? (oldmanindie.com) In this part blogger Dane Casteel and Old Man suggest rock bands that readers should get to know.


Continued from Part 3:

Old Man: I know who my next band is. I have a hunch I know who your next band will be. I can’t wait to see if I’m right.


Dane: Before I do that, let me just say wow! Bartees Strange has a truly unique sound. More and more artists are starting to create "post-genre" music. I would still consider him a rock and roll artist, but he's difficult to categorize past that. Twenty-One Pilots occupied that space for a few years, maybe Bartees Strange can have a similar appeal one day.


My final American rock and roll artist that could return the genre to prominence is Snail Mail. Lindsey Jordan, aka Snail Mail's second album Valentine was released to wide critical acclaim and saw the album’s lead single "Valentine" reach number 32 on the Alternative Billboard charts. Jordan has a chance to break through because of the groundswell surrounding the Gen-Z female grunge sound. Artists like Beabadoobee and Soccer Mommy are leading a new sound that could cross over into alternative radio as Gen-Z gets older. Snail Mail is also benefiting as a fringe member of the sad-core female artists. Acts like Phoebe Bridgers, Mitski, and Lucy Dacus have all broken through, to a certain extent. Most importantly, I think that Snail Mail breaks through because of Jordan's stellar songwriting. With Valentine only being her second album, I think that she can improve her songwriting even more and become an alternative radio mainstay But if she never breaks through, she'll continue to be one of my favorite songwriters.


Old Man: I really enjoyed the Valentine album and their 2019 single “The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl in the World” is a favorite. But I thought you were going to go with Kiwi, Jr. Another band I know we both like. I was going to counter with Duck Ltd. Then I realized they’re both Canadian (possible Canadian music posts in the future?).


My final band is Origami Angel. Pop/Punk fifth-wave emo Washington DC-based duo that just keep cranking out good music. Ryland Heagy’s vocals stretch from poppy fun and hardcore blurs that work because his guitar licks can change as quickly as his vocals. The band’s 2021 album, Gami Gang, is packed with great tunes. I’m partial to “Neutrigena Spektor” which blends hardcore musicianship with super pop vocals. A great song to cut your teeth on is 2019 track “24 Hr. Drive-Thru.”


So that’s it, gang. American rock is not in a great place when it comes to having a big influence on culture. It’s hard to argue with Dane’s premise. But there are great bands for you to listen to and they are the hope of a more influential tomorrow. So, check out these bands and support your favorite bands. Go to shows and buy merch. That’s how we help these bands grow and eventually start to gain the influence that was once such a big part of the American music scene.

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