As promised, I am giving you my personal top 100 songs of the century so far. For rock fans, this is a nice alternative to Rolling Stone’s list, which I talked about in last week’s blog post.
Keep in mind this list is all my opinion. You might disagree with me and that’s okay. Music is personal and we all have different tastes, and that’s a good thing. My top 100 isn’t your top 100. I’d love to start a trend here among music bloggers to share their personal favourite songs of 2000-present.
I asked followers and fans for their opinions and I’ll be thanking them throughout the post, as well as blogs that got me into different bands.
I had a few rules and guidelines for myself when making this list. If this is going to be a challenge among music bloggers, then you may follow these rules or adjust them to what fits best for your blog/following. Rock & Roll is about breaking the rules.
- Rule #1: no more than two songs per musician/band (although side projects are slightly different). They can be from the same album though.
- This rule has two purposes, one so this list is not lazy, because I could easily just make the list with a handful of albums by a handful of bands. The second reason is so I can branch out, be open-minded, and listen to different things.
- With this rule in place, it made it very difficult to narrow down my favourites, and it was probably one of the most difficult things about making this list.
- Rule #2: all songs must be within the rock umbrella and preferably, reminiscent of music of the classic rock era.
- This rule is in place because this is primarily a classic rock blog and I wanted to tailor this list for you guys. Pop music is fun and all, but it’s not really what you came here for.
- Don’t get me wrong, I still like pop music, but that’s not what my blog is about.
- I used to be that kind of person who said there is no good music today and that rock is dead. This list is also for people who think like this. I understand where you’re coming from and I want to help people find some great music and use this blog post to start a conversation about new rock music.
- Guideline #1: I want to make sure that I don’t just include big acts that are on the radio, but also smaller acts that deserve more attention and love.
- I could make this list all Strokes, Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead, etc, but I’m not going to do that. I’ll include some of these bands alongside other bands that aren’t as well known.
- Guideline #1.1: Avoid including classic rock bands/musicians (60s, 70s, 80s) who have made new material in the 2000s/2010s.
- This isn’t to invalidate classic rock bands/musicians and what they do today. Not all new music by old musicians is bad or just mediocre rehashings of old songs or old songs from the vault that haven’t been heard before.
- However, it’s a new generation and it’s time for new acts to shine. The older rock bands had their glory days and they’re still very much loved, but I want to give newer bands the spotlight for once.
- Guideline #2: Try to make this list as eclectic and diverse as possible so there’s something for everyone and because I like all kinds of sounds.
- This is The Diversity of Classic Rock, so it’s only right to make this list diverse in sound too and not just make it 100% psychedelic rock, as much as I love it.
- Guideline #3: No ranking here. These songs are all great and this is in no particular order.
- The Spotify playlist order is random, perfect if you want to shuffle it.
- If you’re on the computer, you can order it alphabetically by artist name or song title, if you like to play it in order.
Without further ado, here is the complete playlist:
Artists: Why I picked them, Who they are, and How I found out about them:
Agusa: Swedish prog rock band. I picked the first song I heard from them, “Kärlek från Agusa”. I can’t exactly remember how I found out about this band, but I think it was a suggestion from YouTube. Never underestimate YouTube suggestions.
It’s very 70s-esque prog rock, complete with jazz influences. If you’re into that, you’ll like them.
Allah-Las: Rock band formed in Los Angeles in 2008. They released their first album, Allah-Las, in 2012. I picked the song, “Catamaran” from that album. I found out about this band from Spotify’s suggestions for me. This song reminds me of the 60s and takes me to the beach, with its guitars and call-and-response vocals. The album itself is absolutely worth listening to.
Alvvays: Indie pop band formed in Toronto in 2011. I picked one of their most popular songs, “Archie, Marry Me”. It was one of the songs on Rolling Stone’s list that I liked. It has kind of a shoegaze sound and last year I was getting into that subgenre. Shoegaze’s roots are in psychedelia, garage rock, and alternative rock of today.
Arcade Fire: I found out about this band from a CBC podcast and I heard their song, “Rebellion (Lies)” from their 2004 album Funeral on YouTube somewhere and I really liked it. Before I got into classic rock, I liked indie rock because I was tired of top 40 music.
Arctic Monkeys: Not entirely sure how I found out about them, but they’re one of the most talked about rock bands of today. I think I started listening to a couple of their songs in 2011 or 2012. The first song I heard by them was the upbeat sounding “Fluorescent Adolescent” and that’s what got me into them. I liked their poppy songs and the first album of theirs I listened to in its entirety was Suck it and See. I was sold and I got into their harder songs from their earlier albums. My personal favourite era is the Favourite Worst Nightmare era and I picked “505” as the other song (since I have a 2 song/artist limit). Love the lyrics of this one.
The Babe Rainbow: I heard about this band from my friend Fei, who showed me this one cool band from Byron Bay (one of her favourite places in Australia) that perfectly embody the 60s from the aesthetic to the sound. Listening to them made me want to travel to Byron Bay and that wish came true last year during my honeymoon. I picked two psychedelic songs, “Secret Enchanted Broccoli Forest” and “Evolution 1964”. The latter doesn’t really sound 1964, but that’s just my music nerd side of me talking. Still love you guys!
The Baron Four: I think I found out about these guys on Bandcamp. I was really impressed with their 60s beat/garage sound on the album, Out of the Wild Come. They beautifully combine American and British sounds of the era. Two of my favourite tracks on the album are “Be My Girl” and “Just My Luck”.
Beady Eye/Liam Gallagher: We all know about Oasis and how Noel and Liam are basically the 90s’ answer to Ray and Dave Davies with their sibling rivalry. He formed the band Beady Eye in 2009 and released his first solo album last year. I picked one Beady Eye song, “The Roller”, which totally reminds me a bit of John Lennon, and one Liam Gallagher song, “Wall of Glass”.
Benjamin Booker: Found his music on similar artists on Spotify. He is based in New Orleans and his sound is described as a combination of electric blues and garage punk. I picked the opening track, “Violent Shiver” from his 2014 debut album, Benjamin Booker. Want to hear some good blues rock? Listen to him.
Blac Rabbit: Identical twins Amiri and Rahiem Tayler who founded this NYC band went viral for videos of their amazing Beatles covers played while busking in the subway. Their original music is worth listening to, so I picked two of my favourite songs of theirs, “Over the Rainbow” and “I Don’t Mind if You Are Around”. I found out about them from my friend Tekena sharing videos of them. If you love bands like Tame Impala and can’t get enough of them, you’ll love Blac Rabbit. I can’t wait for more of their music!
The Black Keys: I think I first heard about them at the university radio station. Thought their music was pretty good. They formed in Akron, Ohio in 2001 and they are often compared with contemporaries, The White Stripes. I remember hearing “Lonely Boy” a lot, liking it, and for a while I didn’t know it was theirs. It’s my favourite song of theirs and I absolutely love the album, El Camino. It’s even on my Perfect Albums Pinterest Board. They are very inspired by blues rock.
Blood Ceremony: I believe I found out about them because of a Spotify suggestion for fans of Purson. Blood Ceremony were formed in 2006 in Toronto. Just like you’d expect from their name, they are hard rock and very witchy/pagan inspired. I picked the song, “Witchwood”, which has some amazing organs that remind me of 70s hard rock. Recently I’ve gotten more into the witchy/goth aesthetic (actually liking it better than mod fashion now) and then the music.
Blues Pills: I think I saw this as another Spotify suggestion and checked it out. I was impressed with what I heard. The band were formed in Sweden in 2011. The rhythm section of the band were alumni of Story City, Iowa rock band Radio Moscow. I love the guitars by Dorian Sorriaux and the vocals by Elin Larsson. I picked the song “Ain’t No Change” from their 2014 self-titled debut.
Broken Social Scene: Found out about this well-loved Canadian indie rock supergroup (seriously, they probably have more members than Yes ever had) from a CBC podcast. It was hard to pick one song, between “7/4 (Shoreline)” and “It’s All Gonna Break”, but I decided to pick the former, which has great vocals by Feist and got me into the band. Their earlier stuff is work checking out if you like ambient music.
Craft Spells: Found out about them because of a roommate’s playlist. I heard the dream pop song “Your Tomb” playing and I asked her who they were and I wrote it down. It’s a beautiful song and gives me serious 80s vibes, with some throwback sounds of the 60s and 70s. The band were formed in California in 2009.
Creatures: I saw this band open for Temples when I saw them in Berlin. I saw them come out in these cowboy like clothes and I was like, “are they gonna play some country music?” but they played psychedelic rock that Temples fans would like. I take that thought back, don’t judge a book by its cover, guys.
DIIV: I found them through either YouTube suggestions or someone posting their music on Instagram. I really don’t remember. This band were love at first listen and definitely one of my favourite spontaneous clicks ever, really a happy accident how I found out about their music. DIIV (pronounced like Dive) were formed in New York City in 2011 and have a sound that combines shoegaze, new wave, post punk, and dream pop. The bad news is that they only have released two albums, Oshin in 2012 and Is The Is Are in 2016. It was so hard to pick a favourite from their discography, but I prefer their debut album, which is perfect from start to finish. I picked “How Long Have You Known” because it has a really vintage looking music video, that looks simple and low budget (in a good way) and has that MTV 80s/90s feel. You’re missing out if you don’t listen to DIIV.
Dungen: I think I found out about this band from Tekena. This Swedish band, formed in 1999 have a sound that is a combination of progg (not to be confused with prog rock) and psychedelia. Progg is an alternative youth movement that started in Sweden in the 60s and under that movement there was a variety of sounds. It was a bit political too, with most proggare being far left, against capitalism and commercialism. I picked their instrumental “Fredag” from their 2008 album, 4, which reminds me a bit of Tame Impala.
Elephant Stone: I believe this Montreal indie band’s name is a reference to The Stone Roses’ song of the same title. They were formed in 2008 and the song I chose, “How Long”, was one I heard on a CBC podcast, from their 2009 debut, The Seven Seas. This song is similar to stuff I’ve heard from the Allah-Las (even though their stuff is newer). If you like 60s garage rock, you’ll like this band.
Elliott Smith: A musician I didn’t really listen to until recently, I saw my friend, Paul, talk a lot about his music and even get a tattoo inspired by him. I wanted to listen to his music and I started with his 2000 classic, Figure 8, which is actually the last album he released while he was alive. He was well known for his sad lyrics, well sounds good to me because I love Steven Wilson, Ian Curtis, and Nick Drake. From that album, I chose the opening track, “Son of Sam”. Elliott Smith was born Steven Smith in Omaha, later living in Texas and Oregon.
Florence + The Machine: Back in first year of university, I had shoulder length ginger hair and my roommate compared me to Florence Welch, trying her hardest to convince me that I am pretty. Around that time, I fell in love with her song “Dog Days Are Over”. Recently, one of my readers, Tony, mentioned that the fact that Florence was not on Rolling Stone’s list and he was shocked, he also described “Dog Days Are Over” as a song “waiting to be a classic.” His comments jogged my memory and made me remember what made her amazing. Welch’s biggest classic rock inspiration is Grace Slick, which I can definitely hear in her voice.
Foxygen: I think I heard about them on Tumblr. I can’t really remember. Anyway, the first song I heard of theirs was “Follow the Leader”, which totally reminds me of ELO, with those strings. Los Angeles-area based Foxygen are made up of Jonathan Rado and Sam France and they are best known for Sam’s odd behaviour when performing.
Green Day: Well, they need no introduction. This modern punk band have been releasing music since the 90s, with classics like “Basket Case” and “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life”. In 2004, they made a comeback with the concept album, American Idiot, which tells the story of teenage anti-hero Jesus of Suburbia. What a comeback it was, with 5 singles released on that album. Two of my favourites are “American Idiot” and “Holiday/Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. A stage adaptation of American Idiot was performed in 2009. It’s still relatable today in an America under Trump, rather than an America under Bush. I have a better appreciation for it now as an almost 24-year-old than as a 10-year-old.
Greta Van Fleet: By far, one of the most exciting rock bands in recent years. I heard about them on Instagram and I just had to have a listen because everyone was talking about them. When I listened to them, I was like, is this Led Zeppelin? I mentioned them on my Facebook page and Mike commented that he agreed that they give rock music today hope. I looked more into the band and here’s what I found out. They are made up of three brothers: Josh, Jake, and Sam Kiszka and drummer Danny Wagner. The name comes from the name of a local from their hometown of Frankenmuth, Michigan named Gretna Van Fleet. I also love that their logo uses the same font as the Stranger Things logo. Last year, they released an EP called From the Fires. It was so hard to pick just two great songs, but I picked the very Zeppelin-esque “Safari Song” (hearing a bit of “Black Dog” here with Josh’s vocals) and the powerful “Black Smoke Rising”.
My reaction the first time I heard Greta Van Fleet.
Habibi: This was a last-minute addition to this list. Just before publishing it I decided to listen to this band and I was impressed. They are an indie pop quintet from Brooklyn who take inspiration from 60s girl groups and combine it with pop and punk. Reminds me of a modern day version of The Pleasure Seekers. It was hard to pick just one song to include in the list because they’re all so good, but I loved the call and response of “I’ve Got the Moves”.
HAIM: I think I heard about them on Tumblr. Their name is pronounced like the Hebrew word, Chaim (I know, it’s tricky to get the guttural ch sound right, but it rhymes with “time”, not aim), which means life. They are made up of three Israeli-American sisters: Este, Danielle, and Alana Haim. Middle sister Danielle was the first to get discovered. Jenny Lewis spotted her in Laurel Canyon and invited her to tour with her in her band. From there, Julian Casablancas invited her to play guitar and percussion on his tour. Danielle wanted to tour with her sisters, so she turned down an offer to be in Cee-Lo Green’s backing band. HAIM released their first album, Days Are Gone in 2013 and four years later, they followed up with Something to Tell You. Classic rockers even like them, with Stevie Nicks being a fan of them and re-recording “Rhiannon” with them. The song I chose for this list was the first one I heard of theirs, the funky “Falling”. The music video has such an Instagram vibe to it and I love it. Can I look like this video?
Haken: First heard about this prog-metal band from my friend, William. He is a big fan of prog rock, loving bands like Rush, Yes, ELP, and Genesis. I remember he shared their song “1985” from their 2016 album, Affinity, and I really liked that because it’s a throwback in sound, true to the song title. It’s got all that you love about prog rock: odd time signatures, synths, good rhythm section, and futuristic sounds. For those who watch my YouTube channel, you might notice that my intro music is really prog inspired. Haken were formed in London in 2007. If you’re into metal and prog rock, you’ll love them.
The Horrors: My friend, Tekena, really likes this band and sent this to me as one of his recommendations for the list. His particular recommendation was their 2009 album, Primary Colours. The band were formed in Southend-on-Sea in 2005 and combine garage rock, shoegaze, gothic rock, and post punk into their sound. I picked the song, “Mirror’s Image” from Primary Colours. It has a shoegaze/ambient sort of sound to it and I like that. As an honourable mention, another song I found worth listening to was “Chasing Shadows” from their 2014 album, Luminous.
The Island: This Swedish psychedelic rock band commented on my Instagram recommending their own song, “Rabies” and I gave it a listen, I like what I heard and I like that it had some Eastern influences in it. It’s worth listening to. If you go on their Spotify profile, you can find a playlist full of their diverse influences like Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Nina Simone, and Fleetwood Mac.
Jacco Gardner: I think I found out about this musician on Instagram from Juliette talking about his music. I gave his 2013 album, Cabinet of Curiosities, a listen and I was impressed. It was beautiful and definitely Perfect Albums worthy. Recently, Tekena jogged my memory by sharing that album with me. Jacco Gardner was born in 1989 in the Netherlands. His music is heavily influenced by the 60s.
Japanese Breakfast: Another one of Tekena’s recommendations. He shared her 2017 album, Soft Sounds From Another Planet. I originally chose the opening track of the album, “Diving Woman”, but instead I chose “Rugged Country” from her 2016 album, Psychopomp, since I like her more rock sound. Japanese Breakfast is Michelle Zauner of Little Big League. While she is not of Japanese descent (actually is half Jewish half Korean), she related a lot to Japanese culture in her childhood. Her music is chill, and experimental.
Juleah: Found out about this band through YouTube suggestions. Hey, don’t knock them! I was recommended their 2015 album, Melt into the Sun. Since I like Tess Parks, I really liked this album. It was hard to pick a favourite, but I chose the song, “Sommertraum.” Juleah are led by Julia Hummer, who originally started the project doing covers. If you like psychedelia and shoegaze, you’ll like Juleah.
Kadavar: Found out about this band from my cousin’s friend’s boyfriend, who was in a band in Chicago called Dead Feathers. He suggested this band to me because I love hard rock and 70s music. Kadavar are a psychedelic and stoner rock band from Berlin who are very influenced by heavy metal and hard rock of the 70s, like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Two of my favourite songs by them are “Come Back Life” and “Purple Sage”.
The Keepers: An up and coming young band from Northampton. I’ve spoken to Jordan, the lead singer of the band in the past on this blog. My favourite song of theirs is “Here Comes Spring”. I get a bit of Beatles, Arctic Monkeys, and Miles Kane from this song and it’s got psychedelic effects in it, which I love.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard: Easily the coolest band name on this list. I think I found out about this band on Instagram because of a couple of fans of the band I follow, one of them is my friend William. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard combine psychedelic rock, prog rock, stoner rock, and metal and they are very prolific and diverse in sound. Nonagon Infinity is one of my favourite albums of theirs, so it was hard to just pick one song from it, but I picked “Big Fig Wasp” as an example of their harder rock sound. The other song I picked of theirs was “The River”, which shows another side of them. If you’re not into really heavy music, you might like “The River” better.
L.A. Witch: I think I found out about them on Facebook. Their sound is psychedelic, garage, and punk. I picked their song “Kill My Baby Tonight”, very badass sounding, love it.
The Last Shadow Puppets: A side project of Alex Turner and Miles Kane. I adored their first album, The Age of the Understatement, from 2008. So many great songs and it was hard to narrow it down to just two, but I ended up picking two very different sounding ones, the title track and “The Meeting Place”. I love the lyrics of “The Age of the Understatement”, especially this one, “kiss me properly and pull me apart”. The latter is so beautiful sounding and I love the acoustic guitars and it reminds me a bit of the 60s.
Liam Gallagher: I can relate a lot to him because he swears a lot and has great style (if only I could afford his clothing line, Pretty Green, and if only they made smaller clothing, I’m too small for a men’s XS). “Wall of Glass” is really bluesy and I love a good blues inspired rock song.
Little Man: I interviewed Chris Perricelli, of this Minneapolis based rock band and when he first contacted me telling me about his music, I was really impressed. His latest song, “BLVD” is modern glam rock and it got stuck in my head, great summer song. Perfect for a stroll outside, brightening my day. The music video is also super fitting, very pop art and tells a story.
Local Natives: I found out about this band from my favourite video game, Life is Strange. Last year, I was hanging out with some friends and they told me that I would love the game and that I remind them of the main character, Max. I quickly got through the choose your own adventure like game and I loved the soundtrack. My favourite song on the soundtrack was the very sombre “Mt Washington”. I have to say with how sad this year has been so far, this song was fitting, part of my life’s soundtrack.
Los Campesinos!: Found out about this band through a podcast. I can’t remember if it was Indiefeed or KEXP, but I really love their song “You! Me! Dancing!”. It starts off slow, speeds up, and has so much energy, cheering me up – love the riff and the chimes. Los Campesinos! are not Latin American, but actually from Wales. You can hear the accents in the song, and I love that.
Los Padrinos: I’m not just putting them on here because lead singer, Esteban is a friend and a huge inspiration to me. Their music is really amazing, great example of what pop music really is and how to make the 60s fresh. Their album, Lo Que Vendrá is a great listen and it was hard to pick a favourite song, but I picked the opening track, the upbeat, power pop “Pop Matters!” A close second would have been the beautiful, “Si Hay Lluvia Es Mejor”.
Melody’s Echo Chamber: I saw people talking a lot about Melody’s Echo Chamber online and I really wish I got into her music sooner. Her 2012 debut is amazing, and it was hard to pick just one great song, but I picked “Crystallized” because it is an example of the future of psychedelia, combining electronic with rock. Her latest album, Bon Voyage, is also worth listening to and you can read my review of it here.
MGMT: Saw their music being talked about on Tumblr. At first, I was very much a rock and roll kind of purist, not really liking electronic sounds. Now, I think that was closed minded of me and I was wrong, this is really the future of psychedelia. You learn and grow over time. My friend, Jonah jogged my memory and suggested I include them on the list, calling Congratulations one of the best albums of the decade. I picked their songs “Kids” from 2007 and “Someone’s Missing” from 2010. MGMT are a duo, Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser. They got started in 2002 in Connecticut and rose to fame when Spin named them the artist of the day for 5 October 2007. The following year, Rolling Stone named them in their top 10 artists to watch list. I picked the more psychedelic “Someone’s Missing” from Congratulations and the band’s biggest hit, the electronic and psychedelic “Kids” from Oracular Spectacular.
Michael Kiwanuka: I can’t remember how I originally found out about him, but my friend, Dylan suggested his song, “Cold Little Heart” because of its psychedelic soul sound. Another song I like from the album Love & Hate is “Black Man in a White World”. Michael Kiwanuka is from Muswell Hill, London and his biggest influences are Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Van Morrison, and The Temptations. I hear a bit of prog in “Cold Little Heart”, reminding me of Pink Floyd, but also I hear some Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield.
Miles Kane: This singer from the Liverpool area also makes great solo music. When I first heard his music in 2012, I loved how he reminded me a bit of Paul Weller. Truly, a modern mod. It was hard to pick which song I would include in this list, but I picked “Rearrange” since that’s what got me into his music in the first place. Used to blast it a lot in second year of university. I also love “Come Closer” and “Don’t Forget Who You Are”.
The Molochs: Another one of Tekena’s recommendations. Their album, America’s Velvet Glory is one of my recent additions to my Perfect Albums Pinterest board. I chose the songs “Ten Thousand” and “The One I Love”. I love the intro of “Ten Thousand” and it’s a great example of indie rock. “The One I Love” reminds me a bit of “Ticket to Ride”.
The Murlocs: I think I was recommended this Australian psych band by Spotify. I picked the very garage rock songs “Save Me Now” and “Space Cadet”. Their 2014 album, Loopholes is definitely worth checking out.
Mystic Braves: I found out about this band from Instagram and I’m glad I gave them a listen. I know there’s a lot of neo-psychedelia on this list, but this list isn’t complete without them. I picked the psychedelic/garage/surf rock sounding “Bright Day Blue Haze” from their 2014 album, Desert Island and the psychedelic “Trippin’ Like I Do” from their 2012 self-titled debut.
Night Beats: I learnt about them from Quora. I picked their song “Playing Dead”, which has some surf rock sounding guitar and cool sound effects in it. They are a trio from Seattle.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Since a lot of people on my Facebook friends list and Instagram feed love Oasis, I heard Noel Gallagher’s 2015 album, Chasing Yesterday, being talked about a lot. My favourite track on the album is “In The Heat of the Moment”. Great stuff from the primary songwriter of Oasis.
Parquet Courts: Admittedly, I learnt about them from Rolling Stone‘s Top 100 list, and I liked the song that was on the list. Something good came out of it, I suppose. “Stoned and Starving” has a punk sound to it and I love it. I decided to listen to some of their new music too while I’m at it. One of their more popular new songs, “Wide Awake”, has kind of a disco sound to it. From the same album as “Stoned and Starving”, is “Light Up Gold II”, also really punk sounding.
Phoenix: I found out about them from a podcast and I really liked their music. They were formed in Versailles in 1997 and began as a garage rock band. I’m not a huge fan of their newer stuff, but their older songs are way better. They had some mainstream success with “1901” and “Lisztomania”, but if I had to pick a favourite, I’d pick the disco inspired “If I Ever Feel Better” from their 2000 album, United. “Too Young” is also another good song on that album.
Pond: Found out about this band because of my friend, William and I saw them live when I was in Melbourne. Nick Allbrook and Jay Watson also have worked with Tame Impala, who I will be talking about later, of course. They were formed in Perth in 2008. Their sound is very electronic and they combine that with psychedelic rock, garage rock, and space rock. I picked the long “Man it Feels Like Space Again”, which reminds me a bit of Yes’ “Starship Trooper” (particularly Part 3, “Wurm” – my favourite part of the song because of Steve Howe’s guitar playing) and the very descriptive of today’s society “30,000 Megatons”. These songs were amazing to hear live.
Porcupine Tree: I found out about them on Facebook because William is a huge fan of Steven Wilson. This was the band Steven Wilson was in before doing solo work. I picked the fan favourite “Trains” from their 2002 album, In Absentia. It’s a classic to me and I love the acoustic guitar intro.
Purson: Found out about this band from Facebook friends, Fei, Caylie, and Paul. I really wish I could have seen them live. Sadly, the band broke up last year. Lead singer Rosalie Cunningham has an amazing voice. There are a lot of songs I like from this band, but I picked the psychedelic and gothic “The Contract” from the band’s 2013 album The Circle and the Blue Door. An honourable mention would be “Electric Landlady” from their 2016 album Desire’s Magic Theatre. If you like Coven and Black Sabbath, you’ll like Purson.
Real Estate: Found out about this band on Instagram. I picked the beautifully poppy, kinda 70s “Darling”. Real Estate formed in New Jersey in 2009 and their sound is indie rock with breezy melodies, as described on their Spotify bio.
The Record Company: I heard about this blues rock band on Quora when trying to find more songs for the list. I was impressed. This LA power trio were formed in 2011 and they love the sounds of blues and punk music, which inspires their sound. They’ve opened for BB King and Buddy Guy. They had a few minor hits on the US Adult Alternative Charts with “Off The Ground” (has some country influences in it), “Baby I’m Broken”, and “Life to Fix”. Ultimately, I picked their latest hit, “Life to Fix” – it’s bluesy and punk and I love the bassline. If you like The Black Keys, you’ll like The Record Company.
Siena Root: Another recommendation from my cousin’s friend’s boyfriend. This Swedish rock band are very 60s and 70s influenced with organs, guitars, and a great rhythm section. If you like hard rock, psychedelic rock, and prog rock from that time period, you’ll like Siena Root. My favourite album of theirs is Kaleidoscope from 2006 and A Dream of Lasting Peace from 2017. They also have some great songs with Indian influences, and I picked “Bhairavi Dhun” from Kaleidoscope to represent that side of their sound. As for their hard rock sound, I picked “Mountain 1” from their single, Mountain Songs.
St. Vincent: A lot of people I know online love their music and I was late to get into it. Tekena sent some St. Vincent songs as suggestions to me for this list and I was really impressed and really wondering why I didn’t give her music a chance sooner. She really reminds me a lot of Kate Bush, especially the song I picked for the list, “Chloe in the Afternoon” from her 2011 album Strange Mercy.
Steven Wilson: I got into his music two years ago thanks to my Facebook friends, William and Kayden, who are really into progressive rock. The first albums of his I got into were The Raven That Refused to Sing from 2013 and Hand. Cannot. Erase. from 2015. I loved that his music was very reminiscent of prog rock of the 70s, but that he is not afraid to try different things. Steven Wilson truly is an artist. I picked two songs of his that show the different sides, the very Rush-esque “Luminol” and the ABBA-esque “Permanating”. Who said rockers can’t make good pop music?
The Strokes: Everyone knows them and I don’t think I have to explain much about them. Definitely one of my favourites of the noughties. I picked the more poppy “Machu Picchu” from their 2011 album, Angles and the 2001 classic “Someday” from Is This It. The latter is the song that got me into the band.
The Struts: I think I found out about them on Spotify and I was really impressed. They’re very glam and hard rock sounding, with some people comparing them to Queen and their style being described as “unabashedly over the top, retro-fetishist classic rock”. Well, that sounds like my kind of band. They were formed in Derby in 2009 and released their debut album in 2014, Everybody Wants, which is absolutely worth listening to. Frontman Luke Spiller grew up in a Christian family and was raised on gospel music, but at the age of 11 he started listening to classic rock. It was difficult to pick a song for the list, but I picked the song that got me interested in them, “Kiss This”.
The Strypes: I found out about this Irish blues rock band on Tumblr. One thing that surprised me about them is they are all younger than me. I saw them live back in 2014 with my boyfriend, now my husband. They were amazing live. I picked their most famous song, “Blue Collar Jane” from their 2013 album Snapshot, which got me into the band. If you like The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, and Them, you’ll like The Strypes.
The Surfragettes: Saw a viral video of this Toronto surf rock cover band covering Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and I fell in love. I’m a fan of stuff like Postmodern Jukebox, which cover new songs in a vintage way. If you are a fan of surf rock, you’ll love them. It’s so interesting hearing a poppy song that does not have a bit of guitar in it in a 60s surf rock style.
Tame Impala: First heard about them on Tumblr from Tekena. He said that Kevin Parker basically sounds like John Lennon and shared the song, “Solitude is Bliss” from their 2010 album Innerspeaker. I fell in love with that song and I had to listen to more. That is one of the songs I put on the list and it was hard to pick another because I love both their earlier more rock and roll approach and their more electronic approach as seen on their more recent albums. In the end I picked “Half Full Glass of Wine” from the same album. Honestly, I could put the whole album on this list, but that would be lazy of me and I want to listen to more stuff and showcase more on the list.
Temples: First heard about them on Tumblr from Tekena, another spot on recommendation. Another love at first listen band and I love both albums they released: their 2014 debut, Sun Structures and 2017 sophomore album Volcano. It was another difficult choice to pick which songs to add to the list, but in the end I picked the very psychedelic “Colours to Life” and the more electronic “Certainty” – my husband loves singing the “parallelograms” lyric a lot.
Tess Parks: I saw her being talked about on Instagram and I decided to listen to her music. She’s originally from Canada, but moved to the UK. As well, I was told by my friend Paul that I look like her and I had to listen to her music. I started with the first song on her album, Blood Hot, “Somedays” and I was really impressed and she reminds me a lot of Patti Smith.
Thenewno2: One of Dhani Harrison’s projects. Dhani doesn’t like to make a big deal of being George’s son and he wants to show that he is a good musician in his own right. It’s also nice that he sounds like George. When I was getting into the Beatles I wanted to hear the music that their children made and my favourite was definitely Dhani. I picked “Choose What You’re Watching” because I love the message and the lyrics.
Twenty One Pilots: I saw a post on Facebook talking about how versatile this band are. If you want reggae, rock, and rap, Twenty One Pilots are for you. I loved “Stressed Out” and it is one of those songs that mixes so many genres together and it’s relatable too.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Ruban Neilson founded this New Zealand psychedelic rock band in 2010 and the following year they started releasing studio albums. On the band’s Spotify, you can find a playlist called Ruban Radio that shows a lot of influences from jazz to prog to funk to grunge. I picked the funky/psychedelic “Necessary Evil” for the list.
The Urges: I met this band and went to one of their shows in Dublin. I think I found out about them because Juliette talked about them on Instagram. They have a psychedelic garage rock sound. They’re very good live. I have a copy of their latest album, Echoes Softly, released in 2016. Their debut album, released in 2007, was great, but their sophomore album is even better because it’s more layered and complex. It was hard to pick one favourite track, but I decided on “Now I See”.
Vampire Weekend: Found out about them on MySpace because someone had A-Punk as their profile song. Fell in love with that song and had to include it on this list.
Viv and the Sect: Found out about this Mexican psychedelic garage band on either Instagram or Spotify. I can’t remember. I was really impressed with their album, This Will Pass. “Now You’re Gone” is very garage rock and it’s my favourite song on the album. Definitely gets stuck in my head. They also have some music in Spanish and you can find that on their Bandcamp.
Vulfpeck: A recommendation from my friend Leanne because she knows I like soul, funk, and R&B. I started listening to them and I really liked what I heard. “Dean Town” really stood out to me as really funky and made me want to keep listening to them. I also like their really upbeat song “Animal Spirits” (kinda reminds me of The Jackson 5).
White Denim: I heard about them from Steve For the Deaf and I decided to give them a listen because they’re really classic rock and 90s influenced. I chose the opening track of their 2016 album Stiff, “Had 2 Know (Personal)” which really has a prog feel to it and I’m living for it. Also love the name. One of my favourite pairs of pants is white denim bell bottoms, kinda like Jimmy Page’s.
White Wizzard: Metalheads, I didn’t forget you. I found out about these guys just doing a Google search for modern day hard rock and I saw this band being recommended a lot so I decided to check them out and I was impressed with what I heard. If you’re into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, you’ll love them. Unfortunately, only their latest album is on Spotify, but it does have some great stuff on it. The twin lead guitar harmonies, I’m living for them! They were formed in LA in 2007 and their true to the 80s heavy metal sound was in response to the angsty screamo music that dominated the hard rock scene of the time (aaah yes the MySpace emo/scene years). Great stuff.
Whitney: I heard them on Spotify probably through radio or a playlist and Tekena jogged my memory and recommended me one of their albums, Light Upon the Lake, for this list. I remember I really liked the poppy, acoustic song “No Woman” – kind of reminds me of the Life is Strange video game series. A lot of their music has a bit of a country sound to it and if you’re into country music, you’ll like them.
The Young Veins: Found out about this side project of Ryan Ross and Jon Walker from Panic! at the Disco from Tumblr. I’m not a fan of Panic! at the Disco, just not my taste, but The Young Veins are totally different, very 60s influenced – particularly Beatles, Zombies, and Beach Boys, and I like that, 60s music is what got me into classic rock and it shaped the music of the 70s, no doubt. “Take A Vacation” totally combines Beach Boys and Zombies and I dig it. What’s really a pity is that they only released one album, Take a Vacation!. I really want to hear more from them.
Writing up this list and re-listening to songs I loved from the recent past and learning about new ones was really rewarding and makes me feel more optimistic about today’s music. It really opened my mind and encouraged me to get out of the classic rock box and think beyond that, look to the future of rock as well, but never forget about celebrating the classics that inspired today’s stuff.
Look beyond the Top 40, you’ll never know what you’ll find. Like classic rock is more than meets the eye and ear, so is today’s music. Smaller bands have a lot to offer and make sure to support them so we can hear more great stuff from them. Buy their music, go to their shows, buy official merch (because if you buy unofficial fan made stuff, no shade to the fans – you guys are awesome and make good artwork, none of the money goes to the band).
I think the biggest lesson I can share with you is: When listening to music, keep an open mind. There is something for everyone in every decade.
I’m sure I missed a lot of great music. This is only my top 100 rock songs from 2000-2018 right now, it could change over time with new releases. Share your favourite songs and bands in the comments section. If there’s anything you want me to listen to, talk to me about it! I always want to hear new stuff and I think it helps keep the blog fresh.
I invite all of my readers and fellow bloggers to share their favourite songs from 2000 to today. I want this top 100 list to be kind of a challenge and I want to inspire you.
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