The 20 best rock songs right now

January’s list includes new music from Mitski, Ho99o9, The Smile, and more.

February 03, 2022
The 20 best rock songs right now (L-R) The Smile, Mitski, Ho99o9   Ebru Yildiz, Dan Regan

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

The Smile, “You’ll Never Work In Television Again”

The Smile are some members of Radiohead but not actually Radiohead and they make songs that sound a lot like Radiohead. If you like Radiohead, chances are you’ll like The Smile. Just remember, they are not Radiohead.

Mitski, “Love Me More”

Mitski is somewhat ironically spending the run up to new album Laurel Hell giving lots of interviews in which she expresses her complete lack of interest in being famous. Superstardom is often only one song away, though, and “Love Me More” is one of her most perfect pop moments to date. Let’s hope she finds the balance between making universally popular music and the attention that so often brings with it.

Soul Glo, "Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future))"

I just want Soul Glo to become the biggest band in the world. Is that too much to ask?

NoSo, “Honey Understand”

Abby Hwong is a cool new artist who grew up in the Chicago town that the comedy classic Mean Girls was based on. “Honey Understand” also takes its influence from cinema, chiefly the screenplays Hwong wrote during a period of musical writer’s block in quarantine. There’s a darkness to the song with Hwong singing about how “it’s me against the crowds” that’s offset by a killer chorus that positively explodes into life.

Anxious, “You When You’re Gone”

Little Green House is one of the strongest albums that came out of the heavy music scene this past month, a collection of pop-punk and emo songs to scratch that nagging Jimmy Eat World itch you may still have. “You When You’re Gone” is both a highlight and a curveball, pushing guest vocalist Stella Branstool to the middle and the band as her backdrop. Regardless, the tender moment cuts through the noise and adds depth to an already memorable record.

Nilüfer Yanya, “Midnight Sun”

There’s a distinct Radiohead vibe to the way Nilüfer Yanya’s guitar chimes throughout “Midnight Sun” and the vocals put in mind Neneh Cherry’s “7 Seconds,” too. This isn’t all ‘90s nostalgia, though, with Yanya adding gauzy atmospherics and a deep melancholia to keep things interesting.

Yard Act, “Rich”

British band Yard Act very nearly got a No.1 album in their home country this month with The Overload. The Leeds-based post-punk group’s wiry and anxious sound is the perfect backdrop for frontman James Smith’s wry observations, as heard on “Rich,” a taught and satirical look at the problems having lots of cash brings you.

Girlpool, “Lie Love Lullaby”

Any year with a new Girlpool album in it is one to be excited for and 2022 is bringing us Forgiveness on April 29. “Lie Love Lullaby” sets the scene in austere fashion with a dark and stormy techno beat combining with lyrics about a troubling romance., “The Killing Womb”

There’s something undeniably “Ozzfest 2001” about’s very nu-metal sounding material right now but “The Killing Womb” suggests the band’s upcoming album This World Is Going To Ruin You will be more of a reinvention of the much-maligned genre than a needless rehash.

PUP, “Robot Writes A Love Song”

Are PUP, whisper it, evolving? “Robot Writes A Love Song” certainly suggests that the angry and wry pop-punk band are moving into a more widescreen and epic direction. PUP have always made anthemic songs, they haven’t always sounded like that was intended, though. It’s an exciting move forwards and whets the appetite for new album The Unraveling Of Puptheband, due April 1.

KAINA, “Apple”

KAINA’s upcoming album It Was A Home features appearances from Helado Negro and Sleater-Kinney, among others. “Apple” is a super-catchy song about accepting yourself and finding value within that comes accompanied by a cue, puppet-filled video.

Fontaines DC, “Jackie Down The Line”

Irish band Fontaines DC are one of the most prolific groups around with the upcoming Skinty Fia, due April 22, set to be their third album in just four years. ”Jackie Down The Line” is the first single and combines an Oasis-like snarl with the band’s trademark stormy atmospherics and subtle girl group melodies.

Barrie, “Quarry”

"Quarry” is taken from Barrie’s forthcoming album Barbara set for March 25. The album was written during a difficult period in Barrie Lindsay’s life when she left New York to be with her father in his dying days. “Quarry” is a love song about having someone that helps you through the hardest moments in life and comes with a video that culminates with a possibly ill-advised DIY haircut situation.

Drug Church, “World Impact”

Drug Church’s new album Hygiene, due March 11, absolutely rips. Get ready for the whirlwind coming your way with “World Impact,” a song that charts the life of a troubled soul from adolescence through to a difficult adulthood.

Hatchie, “Quicksand”

The new Hatchie album Giving The World Away is due on April 22 and “Quicksand” is precisely the kind of nostalgic and lovelorn anthem she does so well.

Father John Misty, “Funny Girl”

It seems like the internet has made up its mind about Father John Misty, filing him as a punchline alongside podcasters and unread copies of Infinite Jest. Perhaps that’s fair (it certainly wasn’t uninvited on his part) but “Funny Girl” shows that there’s much more to Josh Tillerman than easy caricature. This lush and romantic ballad is taken off the upcoming album Chloë and The Next 20th Century, out April 8.

Loathe, “Dimorphous Display”

When British metalcore band Loathe released this new track at the start of July they said it represented the ”rawest incarnation” of their sound to date. Having released the excellent I Let It In And It Took Everything in 2020 and surprise ambient project The Things They Believe a year later this latest single bodes well for another year of greatness.

Ho99o9, “Battery Not Included”

Ho9909 are one of what seems like thousands of bands to have been in the studio with Travis Barker in recent times, but it’s fair to say they’re not interested in any pop-punk nostalgia. “Battery Not Included” is pure, uncut nihilism with the duo creating a world in which processed beats rub up against blood-curdling vocals and jagged guitars. Expect it to sound huge when Ho99o9 open for Slipknot later this year.

Alto Arc, “Bordello”

You won’t have had “Deafheaven and Danny L Harle supergroup” on your 2022 bingo card because, honestly, it wouldn’t make any sense. Alto Arc is the reality, though, with frontman George Clarke and Harle joined by Trayer Tryon of Hundred Waters and British creative director Isamaya Ffrench in the mix, too. “Bordello” is their coming out moment, a creepy and baroque black metal song as camp as it is heavy. File this one under intriguing.

Ex-Void, “Churchyard”

From the ashes of the excellent indie-pop band Joanna Gruesome rise Ex-Void. Owen Williams and Alanna McArdle’s new band usher in upcoming album Bigger Than Before, out March 25 via Don Giovanni, with a chunky and sweet song about romance and boredom.

The 20 best rock songs right now