The 20 best rock songs right now

September’s list includes new music from MUNA, IDLES, Parquet Courts, Snail Mail, and more.

October 01, 2021
The 20 best rock songs right now (L-R) Ekkstacy, Snail Mail, Muna   Spencer Chamberlain

Every month The FADER brings you the best rock songs in the world (in no particular order).

MUNA, “Silk Chiffon” feat. Phoebe Bridgers

Saddest Factory signees MUNA recruit their label boss Phoebe Bridgers to talk about the weightless feel of true love on “Silk Chiffon.” Mixing breezy acoustic guitars and big ‘80s pop choruses is a big part of the MUNA DNA and they deliver in droves here, as does Bridgers whose lyrics (“I’m high and I’m feeling anxious, Inside of the CVS”) remain deliciously on brand.

Big Thief, “Certainty”

There’s always been a rustic quality to the best Big Thief songs, as if they’ve been whittled out of wood and discovered by the fireplace of an old lodge. “Certainty” is no different, playing into that image with gnarly lyrics about crooked crows “gnawing on dawn” and an undeniable campfire quality to the instrumentation. These offset a tender love song nicely and, alongside recent releases “Little Things” and “Sparrow,” suggest another great Big Thief album is in the pipeline.

SeeYouSpaceCowboy "Misinterpreting Constellations"

There’s an early 2000s scene quality to “Misinterpreting Constellations” that will be nostalgic for some and positively archaic for others but San Diego hardcore band SeeYouSpaceCowboy delivers it all with the necessary passion and commitment. Plus, hand claps make every song 50% better. That’s just science.

SPICE, “A Better Treatment”

SPICE are a new band from Ceremony’s Ross Farrar. They debuted in 2020 with a self-titled album and returned this month with “A Better Treatment,” their best song so far. Pain stalks all five minutes of the brooding and melodic song, from Farrar’s lyrics about how he “thought loving someone would cure my self-hatred” to the melancholy violins that sit atop dissonant guitars. That said, the song never feels defeated. If anything, it’s the hope that makes this one so special.

Parquet Courts, “Black Widow Spider”

Parquet Courts are groovy now? OK!

Hatchie, “This Enchanted”

Big ‘90s energy from Hatchie on “This Enchanted,” her first single since signing to Secretly Canadian. Heartbreak, lies, and broken promises all play out on a song that disguises its tenderness with confident hooks and walls of distorted guitars.

Amyl and The Sniffers, “Hertz”

Anyone dreaming of escape may find solace in Amyl and The Sniffers’ Amy Taylor barking “Take me to the beach, take me to the country” over buzzsaw guitars. A cure for the landlocked blues aside, “Hertz” is also a taste of The Sniffers’ excellent new album Comfort To Me that dropped this month. The album is bratty and relentless and you’re going to want to check it out.

Snail Mail, “Valentine”

Lindsay Jordan is back with new Snail Mail music and marks her return by examining that awkward moment when an ex moves on a bit quicker than you do. “Why do you want to erase me?” she asks during the track’s exultant chorus. With a new album of the same name dropping November 5, Snail Mail will be hard to forget these next few months.

Andy Shauf, “Spanish on the Beach”

Andy Shauf makes small, folksy songs with narratives that unfurl like a micro-budget indie movie. Sure, the stakes are low, but you’re fully invested from the off. He dropped a surprise album, Wilds, this month and “Spanish on the Beach” taps into Shauf’s neat storytelling ability, introducing a holiday romance that feels monumental and flyaway at the same time.

DVR, “Lowlife”

Dillon van Rensburg is still in his teens and recently signed to XL Recordings to drop his scrappy new song “Lowlife.” His rapid rise may not fit the underdog story he’s telling here but there’s a slacker charm to someone owning their flaws in such a naked manner.

Wet Leg, “Wet Dream”

Wet Leg burst onto the scene earlier this year with their buzzy debut “Chaise Lounge.” This month they returned with another song and the U.K. duo are in a flirtatious mood, offering up Vincent Gallo and chill in a bid to tempt you further. The “Wet Dream” video also posits the theory that wearing lobster hands is very chic right now.

Pillow Queens, “Rats”

Ireland’s Pillow Queens make working in a professional kitchen, surely one of the most stressful jobs in the world, look surprisingly fun in their new video. Maybe it’s the fake cheekbones or maybe it’s the whacking great indie rock songs in the background, either way pass me the chef whites.

Makthaverskan, “This Time”

The first single from Makthaverskan’s upcoming album För Allting (out November 12), “This Time” is another mini-epic from the Swedish band. Mixing driving guitars with vocalist Maja Milner's heartbroken lyrics to great effect, it’s so good to have these guys back.

One Step Closer, "Chrysanthemum"

"Chrysanthemum" is a highlight from the Wilkes-Barre band’s new album This Place You Know, which dropped earlier this month. If this brand of melodic hardcore is your thing then do yourself a favor and check out the whole album. You won’t regret it.

Tasha, “Perfect Wife”

Indie singer-songwriter Tasha's wishes are simple on “Perfect Wife.” She wants 1) Somewhere to dance and B) To wear her favorite pants. It’s hard to argue with such simple demands and also this breezy new song, the first taken from Tasha’s sophomore album, Tell Me What You Miss The Most, due November 5.


“Don’t talk to me about anything except IDLES until 2022,” producer Kenny Beats tweeted when this track dropped this month. Same, Kenny, same.

EKKSTACY, “it only gets worse, i promise”

What Vancouver’s Ekkstacy lacks in motivational speak, he more than makes up for with his brand of lo-fi C86 era indie rock. He’s about to head out on tour with The Drums, a pretty dreamy line-up.

Militarie Gun, “Big Disappointment”

Militarie Gun have released two EPs (All Roads Lead To The Gun and All Roads Lead To The Gun II) this year and both are rock solid guitar music packed with melody and free from literally any frills. Vocalist Ian Shelton barks his way through II highlight “Big Disappointment,” reminding us of his roots in the hardcore world (Shelton leads Regional Justice Center when he’s not making music with Militarie Gun) while also forging an exciting new way forward.

Ovlov, “Land of Steve-O”

The new Jackass movie might have been delayed until 2022 but you can listen to this brilliant new Ovlov song right now AND check out their upcoming album Buds when it drops on November 19.

Slow Pulp, “In Too Deep”

OK, this Sum 41 cover is just great fun.

The 20 best rock songs right now