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The 20 best rock songs right now

October’s list includes Tame Impala, The 1975, Julien Baker, and more.

October 31, 2019
The 20 best rock songs right now Tame Impala   Neil Krug

Every month The FADER brings you the best rock songs in the world (in no particular order). Subscribe to the updating playlist on Apple Music.

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1

Tame Impala, “It Might Be Time”

Kevin Parker has seemingly settled into a groove. “It Might Be Time” is another glossy and addictive psych-pop bullet to the heart.

2

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The 1975, “Frail State of Mind”

This sounds like The 1975's “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME” remixed by Four Tet — something we can all get behind.

3

Matt Berninger and Phoebe Bridgers, “Walking on a String”

A song written for Between Two Ferns: The Movie has no right to be this good.

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4

Big Thief, “Forgotten Eyes”

Stream this beautiful moment from Big Thief’s latest and then go listen to all of Two Hands immediately.

5

Ex-Vöid, “Only One”

Former Joanna Gruesome members Lan and Owen return with the jangly, Sarah Records-esque “Only One” from new band Ex-Vöid.

6

Sorry, “Right Round The Clock”

Sorry’s new song is sleazy and bittersweet, like hearing Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” past your bedtime.

7

La Neve, “I Wanna Be Adored”

The Vital Cord, the new solo album from the drag alter ego of Downtown Boys’ Joey DeFrancesco, is a no-budget punk-funk workout. This cover of the Stone Roses’ iconic 1991 proto Britpop banger is its clear high point.

8

Hovvdy, “Ruin My Ride”

The nights are drawing in and there’s a chill in the air. Now is the time for womb-like indie rock, and Hovvdy’s Heavy Lifter album is your soundtrack for these long autumn nights. Remember to wrap up warm.

9

Julien Baker, “Tokyo”

“Tokyo” begins with an almost math rock-like intro — but don’t fear, misery hounds, Julien Baker hasn’t gone all Cap n’ Jazz on us. Like all of Baker’s best songs, it’s easy to imagine “Tokyo” being sung on top of a mountain in the rain. “Don’t wanna stay here / But I’ll crash anyway,” she howls at one point, comparing life to a motor vehicle pile-up.

10

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, “Waiting For You”

Nick Cave’s surprise album Ghosteen is a sprawling and meditative work that often feels otherworldly in its beauty. “Waiting For You,” the deeply personal subject matter of which will be recognizable to those familiar with Cave’s recent familial loss, is a gut-punch delivered with typical grace.

11

Kim Gordon, “Hungry Baby”

In a world where her peers are happy to trade on nostalgia and past glories, Kim Gordon has delivered a searing assault on the senses. “Hungry Baby” is a favorite from new album No Home Record, but go stream the whole thing now.

12

Automatic, “Signal”

Taken from the L.A. trio’s tightly-wound, endlessly replayable debut album just out on Stones Throw, “Signal” is the sound of buzzing insouciance.

13

Frances Quinlan, “Rare Thing”

“Rare Thing,” the first single from Hop Along singer Quinlan’s 2020 solo album Likewise, has a lo-fi electronic scrappiness to it that lends her diaristic lyrics a neat pop sheen. On this song, she sings about budding romance and reluctantly embracing happiness.

14

Squirrel Flower, “Red Shoulder”

Boston-based singer-songwriter Ella O'Connor Williams’s songs extrapolate big feeling from small beginnings. “Red Shoulder” is no different, delivering a gut-punch ending to an all-too-familiar tale of lost love.

15

The Japanese House, “Something Has To Change”

Dirty Hit — home to the 1975, Pale Waves, and the Japanese House — do a great stock in trade of catchy heartfelt melancholia. “Something Has To Change” is an excellent addition to the canon.

16

Jack Larsen, “Rigid”

Chicago’s Jack Larsen wrote an album about getting sick from his crappy, mold-filled apartment. Anyone with a terrible landlord can relate to “Rigid”’s choppy psych-pop.

17

Spencer., “Automatic”

It’s testament to Steve Lacy’s impact that a label as steeped in indie history as 4AD are signing acts that sound this funky.

18

Matt Maltese, “Jupiter”

Produced by Frank Ocean’s buddy Vegyn, “Jupiter” is a hazy and yearning love song that will have you singing “I need you like a fire needs a log” in an instant.

19

Beabadoobee, “Space Cadet”

Taken from Bea’s new EP of the same name, “Space Cadet” is the sound of an artist embracing possibility and grabbing opportunities with both hands. Call it growth.

20

The Orielles, “Come On Down Jupiter”

These British teens furrow their own brow, making charmingly idiosyncratic psych-rock that never veers too far into the groove as to lose sight of a perfectly off-kilter pop song. 2020 could be big for them.


The 20 best rock songs right now