The 20 best rock songs right now

This month’s list includes new music from Scowl, Water From Your Eyes, Gel, Bully, Indigo De Souza, and more.

March 03, 2023
The 20 best rock songs right now (L-R) Scowl, Water From Your Eyes, Indigo De Souza   Ariel Fisher/Angella Choe

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

Scowl, “Opening Night”

Hardcore band Scowl come through with the clean vocals and garage rock guitars on “Opening Night,” the lead single from upcoming EP Psychic Dance Routine, out April 7. You could totally imagine hearing this song played at Gasworks, the club in Wayne’s World.

Squid, “(Swing) In A Dream”

Squid return with “In A Dream,” a song that suggests their new album O Monolith (due June 9) will retain all of the intensity and sense of adventure that made their 2021 debut Bright Green Field essential listening for post-punk fans.

Nightbus, “Way Past Three”

London-based trio Nightbus dedicate this excellent debut to “all the ones that stayed out a little too late and, a little too often.....” That feeling of night blurring into day comes through in the band’s sparse and pacey sound, almost as if life is flashing before their eyes as they try to grasp hold of it.

Foyer Red, “Plumbers Unite!”

“Plumbers Unite!” the lead single from Brooklyn band Foyer Red’s upcoming debut Yarn The Hours Away, is written about Elana Riordan’s childhood belief that she might upset her Nintendo Gamecube. It’s a great introduction to a band whose wonky pop songwriting blends with surreal lyricism and moments of alt-rock mayhem.

Water From Your Eyes, “Barley”

Nobody is doing it quite like NYC duo Rachel Brown and Nate Amos. “Barley” is the first taste of the band’s new album Everyone’s Crushed, which also marks their arrival on new label Matador. Brown’s deadpan vocals, mainly preoccupied with counting mountains and wondering of the sky is jealous of them, dominate while a mix of synth and guitars buzz away manically in the distance.

Annie DiRusso, “Frisco Forever”

Nashville’s Annie DiRusso draws up a timeline of the long journey back from a painful break up on the darkly humorous yet still devastating “Frisco Forever.” “I’d do anything to get out of this place, But if I could forget you then I’d stay,” she sings over the kind of chugging guitar riff that saves the sentiment from wallowing in the pain of the memories attached.

Feeble Little Horse, “Tin Man”

Pittsburgh band Feeble Little Horse might come with a meek name but singer/bassist Lydia Slocum delivers a slow kill to an ex on “Tin Man.” “Took him apart and I found nobody,” she sings of the vacuous man. It’s not all going her way though as she sings “But when I dent you, I end up bruised.” The song will appear on the band’s upcoming album Girl With Fish, due June 9.

Twink Obliterator, “Spooky Woods Background Dot JPeg”

Twink Obliterator is the relentlessly noisy project of Hannah Monsanto. Their LIKENESSMONSTER EP dropped this month and is an all out assault on the senses that nevertheless retains a degree of softness and fun.

Indigo De Souza, “Younger & Dumber”

Indigo De Souza ushers in the arrival of forthcoming album All Of This Will End with a song that recognises how often nostalgia comes laced with feelings of regret and remorse. The way De Souza’s voice quivers as she sings, “When I was younger… I was nobody” is a killer.

Florry, “Cowgirl In A Ditch”

Joining bands such as Wednesday and Dougie Poole in mixing a little country in with their indie rock are Philadelphia band Florry. Their excellent Sweet Guitar Solos EP dropped late last month and this song, augmented by lap steel guitar and fiddle, is a clear highlight.

Sidney Gish, “Filming School”

If you’re rushing to catch all of the Oscar-nominated movies before this year’s ceremony then let Sidney Gish give you some tips on how best to enjoy the cinematic experience. “On occasion there will be plot points, On occasion there'll be art, On occasion there'll be long pretentious things,” Gish sings on this wry oddity that feels as much a paean to her student days as it does a dismissal of boring auteurist bullshit.

Leith Ross, “(You) On My Arm”

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Leith Ross might just be your new obsession, with their new single “You On My Arm” stitching a bittersweet tale of romance filled with small observations that speak to a big love. “I wanna sit around and watch you do your hair, Talk it all into the ground and have a ceremony there,” is just one example of Ross’s deftly economical use of words here.

Gel, “Honed Blade”

Gel's debut LP, Only Constant, comes out March 31 via Convulse Records and looks set to be one of the year’s most vital hardcore releases. “Honed Blade” has a lot going for it, not least a sick title and the bit halfway through when it goes into double speed as vocalist Sami Kaiser wretches down the mic.

Bdrmm, “It’s Just A Bit Of Blood”

U.K. shoegaze band bdrmm announced their signing to Mogwai’s Rock Action label this month and, with it, came the suitably gargantuan new single “It’s Just A Bit Of Blood.” prepare to hear this and more cavernous material from the group when they release their second album, I Don’t Know, in June.

Militarie Gun, “Do It Faster”

Militarie Gun continue to bring big pop hooks and clean guitar riffs to the hardcore faithful with new song “Do It Faster.” This could be a future classic in the “stick it to the man” genre. Play it the next time you walk out of a job you hate.

Slow Pulp, “Cramps”

Slow Pulp go for broke with their gauzy new single, which captures that feeling of having big ambitions and not quite living up to the potential. The frustration is palpable as vocalist Emily Massey voices her frustration through the squall.

Island of Love, “Grow/ Blues 2000”

Island of Love are signed to Jack White’s Third Man label but don’t hold that against them. “Grow/Blues 2000” are two tracks on the London band’s self-titled debut, due May 12, that display a clear love of all things Hüsker Dü/Dinosaur Jr et al while still retaining a youthful vigor and sense of attack.

Bully x Soccer Mommy, “Lose You”

The rasp in Alicia Bognanno’s voice makes everything she sings engaging and she uses the pain inherent in that croak to great effect on “Lose You,” written about the prospect of the death of a loved one. Soccer Mommy’s Sophia Allison, who wrote so powerfully about a similar subject on 2020 album Color Theory, joins her here on backing vocals.

Girl Ray, “Everybody’s Saying That”

U.K. indie band Girl Ray lean into the disco revival sound on “Everybody’s Saying That,” essentially the kind of song Dua Lipa would make if she was more used to playing pubs than arenas. The omnipresent influence of Daft Punk cloaks Girl Ray’s world, too, with the band managing to inject enough personality into the song to make it stand out as more than merely homage.

Initiate, “Alone At The Bottom”

Crystal Pak of California hardcore band Initiate has a truly great voice for this kind of thing, a gargantuan roar that leaves her bandmates playing catch up as they look to match the size and scale of what she’s throwing out into the world.

The 20 best rock songs right now