Simmons particularly has pointed the finger at many factors that he believes “killed” rock music, such as record companies in 2014. More recently, he blamed streaming services such as Spotify for the supposed demise of the genre.
However, the debate always receives some backlash because it ignores all of the bands that are releasing great music, thereby not only making rock music but expanding the boundaries of what it can be.
To prove that rock is alive and well, at least as far as we’re concerned, here are 10 new bands that prove the genre isn’t dead.
Pop-punk unit Young Culture from Albany, New York, are the product of three childhood friends who reunited after years apart over their love for music. Last year, the trio released their self-titled debut album that sounds like old-school pop punk meets the 1975, which can be heard in tracks such as “Better Off As Friends” and “Fantasy.”
Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band
Nolan Potter’s Nightmare Band prove that prog-rock lives on. The Austin-based group use strings, keys, guitars and other instruments to make music that feels like a lucid dream. While their only studio album is their 2019 LP, Nightmare Forever, we can’t wait to see what they put out next.
POORSTACY is a modern-day rock star, taking edgy SoundCloud rap and giving it a gritty pop-punk spin. He’s skilled in both rapping and singing, so songs such as “Hills Have Eyes” (produced by Travis Barker) compared with “make up” sound like work from two totally different artists. He dropped his full-length debut, The Breakfast Club, in 2020 that not only combines rap and pop punk but also steady emo, dreamy indie and catchy pop to make a sound all his own.
Meet Me @ The Altar
Sorry not sorry. We won’t stop gushing about Meet Me @ The Altar. They’re changing the rules of pop punk, and they haven’t even put out their debut album yet. “Garden” sounds like a Warped Tour anthem with a modern-day spin, and we won’t be surprised if these ladies become the biggest band in the scene.
Brooklyn-based Superbloom sound like Nirvana meets shoegaze. They’re a gritty grunge-leaning band through and through—just listen to their latest track “No Name” or their acoustic EP, Quarantine Dream. And once you hear those, you’ll be just as excited as we are for the quartet to release their debut LP sometime soon.
Courting are making laid-back punk music that’s not in your face but commands your attention. The band are reminiscent of Iggy Pop and Talking Heads, which can be heard in their critique on consumerism, “Popshop!” They’re gearing up to release their debut EP, Grand National, in April, so there’s plenty to come.
Dirty Honey create old-school rock ‘n’ roll with a whole new twist. This L.A. band will trick classic-rock fans into thinking they’re an act from the past. However, they’ve only released one EP in 2019 and a few singles more recently. Check out “California Dreamin’” if you need a heavy dose of guitar jams, which sounds like it could have been a Guns N’ Roses track.
If you’re looking for a modern-day Black Sabbath, look no further than Like Machines. They’re not afraid of heavy guitar, drum solos and a little screaming now and then. If you think rock music is dead, listen to their 2020 EP, Hear Freedom Ring, and come back to us.
U.K.-based surf-rock band Coach Party can be punk and in your face or can create indie tracks that make you feel like heading straight to the beach. And if that sounds like something you need on your playlist, check out their 2020 EP, Party Food.
Spyres have only put out three singles, and it makes us more excited for what’s to come for the U.K.-based band. Perfectly blending pop and guitar rock, their latest track “I Don’t Care” exudes youthful angst in the best way possible.
More on Gene Simmons
All of the way back in 2014, Gene Simmons sparked a massive debate when he said that rock music is dead. Over the past few weeks, the KISS co-vocalist and bassist has revived his controversial claims and caught the attention of many, including Alice Cooper.
Now, Simmons‘ KISS bandmate Paul Stanley is weighing in on the rock is dead debate. In a new interview, the guitarist/co-vocalist explains why he disagrees with Simmons’ views on the state of the genre. In particular, he elaborates on why rock music will never disappear for good.
For nearly seven years, Simmons has continuously expressed his beliefs that rock music is dead. More recently, in February, he revealed why streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music are to blame for the genre’s decline over the years.
During a recent interview with Q104.3’s Out Of The Box, Simmons explained that fans’ use of streaming platforms, where musicians get paid little per stream, has greatly affected this new generation of rock artists. As a result, Simmons says that new acts cannot financially survive and eventually turn away from music to stay afloat.
Now, nearly a month after his latest explanation, Simmons is still discussing this rock debate. During a new interview with Consequence Of Sound, Simmons further elaborates that the early years of rock were when the genre was truly thriving.
“I’ve heard a reaction of Foo Fighters, one of my favorite bands, but you’re kidding yourself,” he says of the comparison. “There’s also the boy bands: *NSYNC, One Direction, BTS and [sarcastically] XYZ, PTA, and good for them that they’ve got success. Don’t kid yourself. As soon as those girls are gonna grow a little bit older, that’s going to go away. It’s like sugar: You taste it, it gives you that little energy boost and then it’s gone forever, and you don’t care. But don’t kid yourself. It ain’t the Beatles. They don’t write songs. They don’t play instruments. It ain’t that. And we all love Elvis, [but he] never wrote a song in his life. There’s just nothing that compares to the Beatles.”
He also reiterates that streaming is to blame for the lost generation of rock musicians. For Simmons, he still believes file-sharing and downloading have ultimately caused the genre’s demise.
“The reason for that is not because there’s a lack of talent, but because young folks, that kid living in his mom’s basement, decided one day that he didn’t want to pay for music,” he continues. “He wanted to download and file share. And that’s what killed the chances for the next generation of great bands. The fact that the music was for free. So nowadays, new bands don’t have a chance.”
Now, Paul Stanley is weighing in on the debate. During a recent interview with SiriusXM‘s Canada Talks, Stanley explains why he disagrees with his KISS bandmate. For him, he believes music in general can never truly be dead. Although it may go through different eras and changes, it only takes one artist to bring back the genre stronger than it was before.
“I think that life, rock, whatever it is, is never a constant,” he says. “Let’s say, for example, if you take somebody’s pulse and it’s weak, it doesn’t mean they’re dead. It means that the pulse is weak. And it doesn’t mean it won’t come back stronger. I don’t think that music can ever be dead. I don’t think that bands can be dead, rock can be dead. It just takes somebody to reignite it to the level that it has been at some time in the past.”
Stanley also touches on Simmons’ views that streaming and file-sharing are what caused rock music’s death. As it turns out, he thinks there are plenty of musicians out there still making good music despite the popularity of music streaming.
“A computer will never take the place of flesh-and-blood people making music,” Stanley continues. “People may be enamored with it, and it may eclipse the other, but ultimately, it all comes full circle—it all comes back. It doesn’t go away. It may be sleeping. But there are bands out there making great music.”
See more: 16 memorable band photos