Scammers are posing as FADER staffers on Instagram and DistroKid. Read more here.

The 20 best rock songs right now

This month’s list includes new music from Mitski, Knocked Loose, Geese, Parannoul, and more.

November 03, 2021
The 20 best rock songs right now (L-R) Knocked Loose, Mitski, Scowl   Perri Leigh/Ebru Yildiz/Christian Castillo

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

ADVERTISEMENT

Mitski, “Working The Knife”

Mitski returns with a song about creative decisions and the regrets that sometimes come with making big decisions in life. Here’s hoping 2022 brings more from Mitski and less of the crazy discourse that follows her around.

Knocked Loose, “A Tear In The Fabric Of Life”

Kentucky hardcore band Knocked Loose released new EP A Tear In The Fabric Of Life this month and shared a short animated film to accompany it. Director and animator Magnus Jonsson’s short film begins with a fatal car crash and maintains that level of intensity throughout. It’s the band’s heaviest material to date, in every sense of the word, with frontman Bryan Garris telling a story of extreme grief, depression, and guilt across 20 painstaking minutes filled with guttural screams and unforgiving breakdowns.

Black Country, New Road, “Bread Song”

“Bread Song” captures the duality of U.K. band Black Country, New Road nicely. Musically experimental (it was written without a time signature) the song ebbs and flows from intimate to epic. Lyrically, meanwhile, the song is at least in part written about eating toast in bed. Who said you should never mix low and high brow content?

ADVERTISEMENT

Parannoul, “Colors”

Parannoul’s To See The Next Part Of The Dream is one of the year’s most exciting new releases. The one-person shoegaze band is part of a wave of Korean acts making huge steps in expanding the scope of indie music beyond the borders of a select few English-speaking countries. Last month Parannoul lined up alongside like minded acts Asian Glow and sonhos tomam conta on Downfall of the Neon Youth, a collaborative project showcasing a bond between guitar bands from Seoul and beyond. Dive in here and check out the full album ASAP.

NewDad, “Ladybird”

Gather round Greta Gerwig hive, because NewDad, Belfast’s newest dream pop band, have written a song about her stellar 2017 movie. Well, kind of. This “Ladybird” is about the push and pull of a romantic relationship and how similar those feelings can be to that of a parent. Therapists would have a field day but NewDad keep things fuzzy and harmony-filled to keep the heaviness at bay.

Empath, “Born 100 Times”

The “Born 100 Times” video was shot at a fair and it’s fitting because the primal thrills of riding a big wheel and winning an oversized soft toy with your throwing ability is matched by the giddy excitement of Empath’s scuzzy pop gems.

Sunflower Bean, “Baby Don’t Cry”

Sunflower Bean’s “Baby Don’t Cry” tackles hauntology, i.e. the constant presence of the past in the present day. From memories of listening to sad songs in the backseat of a car to hearing bad news on the radio, the New York band have the weight of history on their shoulders. That they chose to excise this feeling with a retro glam ballad of their own only adds layers to the nostalgic onion.

Boy Harsher, “Tower”

Boy Harsher’s upcoming project is not a traditional album ⁠— it’s the soundtrack to a short horror film written, produced, and directed by the duo. “Tower” plays over the beginning of The Runner, which will be released January 2022, and sets an ominous tone. Dark and foreboding, “Tower” merges themes of romantic demise and suffocation with heavy industrial electronics.

ADVERTISEMENT

Strange Ranger, “It’s You”

Strange Ranger’s new mixtape No Light In Heaven, released this month, is the sound of a band experimenting with sounds, throwing indie rock and electronic influences into something that feels half way between a singer-songwriter project and a beat tape. “It’s You” gives an insight into what to expect, warping half-way through from a festival-ready anthem into seedier territory and back again.

Yard Act, “Land of the Blind”

The U.K. steadfastly refuses to stop producing bands who! Shout! Like! This! And are all rather glad that Mark E. Smith is no longer with us, saving them from a withering takedown. Yard Act are at the better end of this raft of Fall acolytes though and “Land of the Blind” is an exciting preview of their forthcoming debut, The Overload, due in early 2022.

Japanese Breakfast, “Say It Ain’t So”

Recorded as part of recent live EP Live At Electric Lady, Michelle Zauner’s take on “Say It Ain’t So” is both electrifying and a reminder that Weezer were not always a band you’re embarrassed to admit you like.

U.S. Velvet, “U.S. Velvet”

Newly signed to Stones Throw, U.S. Velvet’s eponymous new song starts out like New Order’s “Blue Monday” before breaking down into an anxious and creepy post-punk banger. “We live to erase” is a solid mission statement for any new band.

Sasami, “Skin A Rat”

“Skin A Rat” features comic and I Think You Should Leave star Patti Harrison on gang vocals alongside Laetitia Tamko (a.k.a Vagabon). That’s a very cool group, and this devilish metal ripper makes me eager for new music from this unexpectedly fierce duo.

ADVERTISEMENT

Geese, “Projector”

“Projector” is the title track of NYC-natives Geese’s debut album, released last month. Written between school commitments, these teens' love of indie rock history (think Television and Deerhunter) shines brightly, as does the vast potential for where this band could go next.

Angel Du$t, “Big Bite”

Can you name a band having more fun than Angel Du$t are right now? Their new album YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs is packed full of slappers and “Big Bite” is chief among them.

Scowl, “Fuck Around”

Between comedy rapper Zack Fox and Santa Cruz hardcore band, “Fuck around and find out” is clearly the message for late 2021.

Beach Bunny, “Oxygen”

A simple song that understands love, be it romantic or platonic, is a lifeforce we all crave from time to time.

Daine, “Cemetery Dreams”

On upcoming project Quantum Jumping Australian emo-pop star Daine worked with regular collaborator Circle Pitt and Seattle emo stalwart Into It. Over It. to create something that is more rooted in emotion than it is any strict genre. “Cemetery Dreams” sets the melancholy tone, delivering gloom directly to the Gen Z masses.

ADVERTISEMENT

Wolf Alice, “Bobby”

Taken from the deluxe edition of Wolf Alice’s latest album Blue Weekend, this Alex G cover builds the lofi original up into something sweeping and romantic. The country vibe suits these guys.

Slow Pulp, “Shadow”

“Shadow” is crunchy yet soft, the kind of song you can play on a loop for hours and never get tired of. Catch Slow Pulp on tour throughout November and December, including select dates with fellow column stars Strange Ranger.

The 20 best rock songs right now