MMM Top Ten: 10 Alternative Rock Bands You Should be Listening to in 2023
While groups like Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age continue to fill arenas all over the world, there are also some really interesting newcomers that might be able to shake things up. Here are ten alternative rock bands that you should be listening to in 2023!
#10. Foo Fighters
Photo Credit: Danny Clinch
Last year Dave Grohl lost not only his mother Virginia Grohl, but also long-time Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins. Processing his losses on their eleventh studio album, But Here We Are, the band returns with their most inspired songwriting, powerful performances, and consistent album to date. By avoiding both repeating themselves as well as desperate attempts to stay relevant in the modern era, the band here returns to their roots, providing their most consistent album in ages. Enjoy the driving hard-rock of “Rescue” and “Over It,” the monolithic 10-minute “The Teacher,” and the spine-chilling message-to-the-other-side, “Rest.”
#9. Queens of the Stone Age
Photo Credit: Andreas Neumann
Alternative rock and stoner rock champions Queens of the Stone Age have just returned with their eighth studio album, In Times New Roman, released on Matador Records. The band’s first new album since 2017’s Villains, partly recorded at Rick Rubin’s famous Shangri-La studio in Malibu, California, it marks the conclusion of their Matador trilogy that began with 2013’s …Like Clockwork. The record has been described as their heaviest work since 2007’s Era Vulgaris, restoring the band to their bluesy primitivity. Familiar-sounding, angry, and introspective, In Times New Roman upholds the band’s position as one of the world’s greatest alt-rock bands.
#8. 100 gecs
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Skullcandy
Laura Les and Dylan Brady’s music is anti-rock as much as it’s alt-rock, metal-shredding as much as it’s metal-mockery, Blink-182-tribute as much as it’s Weird “Al” Yankovic. Their latest album, 10,000 gecs, released earlier this year, is an exploding face emoji in musical form, constantly surprising the listener with everything from hard-driving 2000s alt-rock chords and whimsical 2-tone to some of the best alt-rock guitar riffs I’ve heard for quite some time. Essential alternative rock listening: “Hollywood Baby” and “mememe.”
#7. Fall Out Boy
Photo Credit: Pamela Littky
A great return to form for the Chicago rock band consisting of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, drummer Andy Hurley, and lead guitarist Joe Trohman, their eighth album So Much (for) Stardust is the group’s most well-received record since 2008’s Folie à Deux and miles ahead of their electro-pop-infused 2018 release M A N I A. Fast-paced, driving songs like “Flu Game,” “Love from the Other Side,” and “Heartbreak Feels So Good” should be on any new-school-alt-rock fan’s playlists.
Photo Credit: Dominique Falcone
On her self-titled debut album, released on Partisan Records earlier this year, 25-year-old Sabrina Teitelbaum explores themes of heartbreak, anger, toxic relationships, queerness, addiction, social anxiety, teenage shows, and substance abuse while taking inspiration from work such as Hole’s 1994 Live Through This and the Smashing Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream. Praised for its sharp lyricism and untrammeled honesty, Blondshell is one of the year’s greatest debut albums so far, with highlights “Salad” and “Kiss City” being essential listening for any rock fan.
#5. The Replacements
Photo Credit: Paul Natkin
I recently heard the Replacements’ 1984 release Let It Be for the first time (yes, I know…), and I can’t forgive myself for not doing that earlier. A cornerstone of alternative rock, this was the point where punk rock had to give way for something more articulated, something that rocked every bit as hard, but was smarter and could be enjoyed even when you didn’t feel like punching someone in their face. Following Let It Be, the band would also release the almost equally praised Tim one year later, featuring the group’s most well-known song “Swingin’ Party.”
Photo Credit: Zachary Gray
After two successful solo projects, lead vocalist Hayley Williams finally regrouped with guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro to record Paramore’s first new album since 2017’s After Laughter. Their brilliant sixth album, This Is Why, is not only their greatest set of songs ever, but also their greatest commercial success since their self-titled 2013 hit record. Combining edgy post-punk with new wave traditions, twitchy dance punk, and 2000s alt-rock, This Is Why traces Talking Heads, Foals, and Bloc Party with songs like the title track, “The News,” “Running Out of Time,” and “Big Man, Little Dignity” becoming instant Paramore favorites.
#3. The Mysterines
One of my greatest discoveries last year, Liverpool’s the Mysterines led by 21-year-old singer and guitarist Lia Metcalfe released their debut album Reeling to critical acclaim about a year ago. The album, which charted at number nine on the British Album Chart, is produced by Catherine Marks (Foals, Manchester Orchestra, the Killers, Wolf Alice, the Big Moon, etc.) and features raw hooks, storming vocals, and electrifying choruses, resembling the Stooges and Hole in equal manners.
#2. The Hives
Photo Credit: Bisse Bengtsson
Swedish alternative rockers the Hives, known for songs such as 2000’s “Hate to Say I Told You So” as well as 2007’s “Tick Tick Boom,” returns with their sixth and first album since 2012, titled The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons, scheduled to be released in August this year. Pre-released singles “Bogus Operandi” and “Countdown to Shutdown” resemble the same high-octane energy that recognized their best work. Described by band leader Pelle Almqvist as “a perpetual teenager,” expect no ballads…
With albums like their self-titled 1993 debut and 1996’s Coming Up, London’s Suede established themselves as one of the greatest forces in the Britpop wave. Some thirty years later, Brett Anderson and his band are as muscular and alive as ever. After a string of largely orchestral and cinematically themed albums, their latest album, 2022’s Autofiction, takes us back to their early post-punk influences. Opener “She Still Leads Me On,” about Brett’s love for his mother, introduces the group’s new phase with the greatest song they’ve written in years, continuing with another ten equally compelling songs that saw both musicOMH and Louder Than War naming Autofiction as ‘Album of the Year’ in 2022.