The New Day: Greta Van Fleet and More Essential Modern Rock Bands

The New Day: Greta Van Fleet and More Essential Modern Rock Bands

Since exploding onto the scene with their debut EP in 2017, Greta Van Fleet has given fans a healthy dose of raw, blues-tinged, classic-inspired rock. Their rise in popularity is no surprise; Greta Van Fleet have managed to walk a fine line, taking heavy inspiration from classic acts while putting their own stamp on rock. Their hotly anticipated third album, Starcatcher, is due out on July 24th, giving us a new look at Greta Van Fleet. Where previous releases veered softly into progressive rock and a more polished sound, the new record's singles offer up a rawer, more energetic tone sure to delight existing fans and attract new ones. In honor of Starcatcher's impending release, we decided to take a look at some more of the best rock bands of the last 20 or so years, including some making an appearance on Greta Van Fleet's upcoming tour. 

The Battle at Garden's Gate (2021) — Greta Van Fleet

It's always fun to watch a young band grow their discography, and Greta Van Fleet is no exception. Greta Van Fleet is a true throwback outfit, with their gritty, distorted guitars, high-register vocals, and electric stage presence conjuring classic groups like Led Zeppelin. GVF has embraced the Led Zep comparison, but go far beyond simple homage, putting a unique spin on the classic formula that saw The Battle at Garden's Gate receive widespread critical acclaim. With Starcatcher due out soon and a massive tour to follow, it's exciting to wonder what else GVF has in store for us. 

Dance Fever (2022) — Florence and the Machine

Five records deep, Florence and the Machine never miss an opportunity to reinvent themselves. From their debut with the heavy indie rock record Lungs to 2022's Dance Fever, frontwoman Florence Welch and her bandmates have toyed with genre and subject matter on each release in between. Welch, always fascinated by the macabre, based the new record on choreomania, a phenomenon of sudden, erratic dancing among large groups of people in early-modern Europe. Dance Fever takes inspiration from pop rock and disco, melding those styles with medieval folk imagery. 

 

Surface Sounds (2021) — Kaleo

Icelandic blues rock band Kaleo scored a hit with 2016's "Way Down We Go" and haven't looked back. Kaleo doubled down on their authentic, bluesy tone on 2021's Surface Sounds, putting out a record that puts them at the forefront of the blues rock revival movement. Dirty guitars blend with the soulful, gritty vocals in a way that conjures the very best of blues. Kaleo will accompany Greta Van Fleet on their upcoming tour, opening up the first leg of shows in the United States. 

The Car (2022) — Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys feels like a group that has been one of the biggest rock bands in the world for so long, it's a bit of a shock when you realize they only released their first record in 2006. Emerging in the aftermath of the Britpop craze, Arctic Monkeys brought a fresher, more garage-oriented sound to the scene. The Car feels like a radical departure from their early days, but the band has grown with each release, so much so that it feels like a natural progression. The Car is a spacy album that dips its toe into multiple genres, including electronica, funk, and jazz.

 

Nothing Yet (2017) — Surf Curse

Surf Curse's rise is a testament to the power of the internet. The band debuted in 2013 with Buds and followed that up with Nothing Yet, a throwback surf rock record that oozed California beach vibes. In 2020, their song "Freaks" from their 2013 debut sudden skyrocketed in popularity due to Tik Tok, introducing the group to an entirely new audience, eager to hear Surf Cruise's nostalgic brand of party jams. Surf Cruise takes over for Kaleo on Greta Van Fleet's 2023 tour, opening the band's August and September dates. 

Mt. Joy (2018) — Mt. Joy

The Philadelphia-based Mt. Joy is next up on the Starcatcher tour, supporting Greta Van Fleet as the tour heads to Europe. Mt. Joy is quickly climbing up the indie rock charts, with a softer brand of alt-rock that leans into its folksy roots. Their eponymous album contains the hit "Silver Lining," an emotional track that features Matt Quinn's strained vocals and the band's signature harmonies. 

Boys & Girls (2012) — Alabama Shakes

With their 2012 debut, Alabama Shakes immediately established themselves as one of the most exciting bands on the scene. Bandleader Brittany Howard's powerhouse vocals and fuzz-drenched guitar gave new life to roots rock, incorporating elements of blues and R&B with a funky groove, spawning hits like "I Found You" and "Future People." Alabama Shakes went on hiatus in 2017 while Howard focused on her solo career, but certainly left us wanting more. 

The Mars Volta (2022) — The Mars Volta

One of the biggest progressive rock bands of the 2000s, the Mars Volta could always be counted on to release albums that managed to combine catchy hooks, experimental music, and on one occasion, two solid minutes of birds chirping. They left a gaping hole in the music scene when they disbanded in 2012, but reunited in secret in 2019, culminating in the release of The Mars Volta in 2022. The album serves as a reintroduction to the band, as they made a conscious decision to step away from prog rock into a more poppy, psychedelic sound, but still manages to capture the inventing spirit of the band. 

The Suburbs (2010) — Arcade Fire

The Suburbs, released in 2010, caused quite the fervor at the 2011 Grammy Awards, beating out the likes of Lady Gaga and Eminem. The Suburbs is an authentic look at life in suburbia and how it influenced the band from a neutral lens. Arcade Fire pushes the envelope on this release, incorporating elements of new wave and electronic music with stripped down indie rock. More than a decade later, Arcade Fire is still one of the biggest rock bands in the world, having released We in 2022. 

Feral Roots (2019) — Rival Sons

Rival Sons opens Feral Roots with their biggest hit to date, "Do Your Worst," a bluesy tune that just begs you to sing along with the chorus. Feral Roots has everything you want in a blues rock album, from raunchy guitar solos and groovy beats to rawer, stripped down acoustic tracks. Rival Sons walks the walk, as well, each member having a particular style and dressing in bespoke clothing to fit the vibe.