VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell
Rock and roll will never die so long as these iconic musicians keep doing their thing! For this list, we'll be looking at prominent artists who are making the most exciting rock music today. Our countdown of modern musicians who are keeping rock and roll alive includes Greta Van Fleet, Arctic Monkeys, Dave Grohl, and more!
Top 10 Modern Musicians Who Are Keeping Rock n' Roll Alive
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Modern Musicians Who Are Keeping Rock n' Roll Alive.
For this list, we'll be looking at prominent artists who are making the most exciting rock music today. We'll be avoiding acts that lean in a more metal direction, as they deserve their own list.
What rock acts are you currently loving? Let us know in the comments!
#10: Royal Blood
Riff rock got a booster shot when Royal Blood vocalist Mike Kerr decided to pick up bass instead of guitar. The English duo make more noise than you'd expect from two people and keep their licks dark and grimy. By using the bass, the band's sound is also much heavier and extreme than their guitar-based counterparts. Though bands like Death From Above opened the door for them, Royal Blood really flesh out the instrument's spectrum of sound. Since their debut, they’ve expanded their sound into other genres, like dance-rock. Their unforgettable writing however, is why the duo still draws massive crowds.
From emo to pop, Paramore blends all kinds of styles. Hayley Williams keeps the energy high on every track with her extraordinary vocals. Some might love her earlier work on hits like "Misery Business," while others might connect more to the Grammy-winning track "Ain't It Fun." Always willing to try something new, the group have changed their lineup and sound over the years without compromising their talent. Full of everything from eclectic riffs to catchy melodies, their catalog can make you sing along with every track. Their excellent 2023 release “This Is Why” showed why Paramore have been so beloved for so long.
#8: Greta Van Fleet
Between their high energy and sultry riffs, Greta Van Fleet blends blues and rock beautifully. Their secret weapon, however, is Josh Kiszka's ridiculous vocal range, earning the band plenty of Led Zeppelin comparisons. However, the band's skilled songwriting proves they’re more than just a strong tribute act. The live synergy of the three Kiska brothers also makes any of their live shows a truly religious experience. With three albums all debuting in the top 10 on the Billboard albums chart, Greta Van Fleet shows how some sounds never truly go out of style.
#7: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
With Karen O as their singer, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have defied easy description since their inception. The New York band can turn simple riffs into artistic flourishes, such as on their timeless rock ballad "Maps." They can also work in the electronic space or even turn up the volume for heavier fare. O and her bandmates’ ability to blend experimental ideas with more mainstream ones has earned them a devoted following. For their fifth album "Cool It Down," the group have returned with a fresh sound that includes collaborations with artists like Perfume Genius.
#6: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
In the modern revival of psychedelic rock, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard stand out. And it’s not just their name. The Australian band's lack of boundaries combines multiple drummers, detuned pianos and even Eastern instruments like the zurna. In 2017, the group released five very different albums as both a stunt and personal challenge, a feat they repeated in 2022. Whether you like trippy breakdowns, fiery solos or even a bit of jazz in your rock music, King Gizzard has it all. And if you want a truly unforgettable experience, try and see them live.
#5: The Strokes
In the early 2000s, buzzy bands like Interpol were at the forefront of an exciting revival in groovy guitar rock. And New York band The Strokes was one of the biggest acts to emerge from this movement. Powered by the lead vocals of Julian Casablancas, the band is a talented ensemble that mixes gritty tunes with insightful lyrics. Their first album, "Is This It,” was a game-changer that inspired plenty of knockoffs. Over two decades later, the band is still going strong, winning their first Grammy for their sixth album, “The New Abnormal.”
#4: Arctic Monkeys
Breaking into the mainstream in the mid-2000s, the Arctic Monkeys arrived like a shot out of a cannon. Their wildly successful debut signaled a new international sensation. With fast guitars and memorable hooks, the band created punk and alternative music that got you on the dance floor. Later albums, like 2018’s “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino,” have explored different forms of rock by slowing things down and becoming more introspective. Through it all, there's always Alex Turner's sharp voice and songwriting abilities. He's always ready with a witty line or an expressive phrase to turn each composition on its head.
#3: Tame Impala
Since the early days of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker has pulled from a wide range of influences. Parker's eclectic taste mixes the guitar work of Cream with elements from pop and electronic music. The immense sound is all the more impressive considering Parker also writes and plays most of the music himself on record. He’s also practically a vocal dead ringer for John Lennon. Though the first two Tame Impala albums have a guitar-driven rock sound, “Currents” and “The Slow Rush” have delved into styles like R&B and disco. Parker’s unique sound has also led to collaborations with pop acts like Lady Gaga and Rihanna. There’s truly no taming Tame Impala.
#2: Jack White
When rock needed a jolt of energy, Jack White arrived to revamp the old model. His work in the White Stripes stripped down the medium to its essence. Powered by his slick guitar moves, White and drummer Meg White reignited the blues influence in rock music, further emphasized by bands like The Black Keys. Though the Stripes called it quits in 2011, White has stayed incredibly active, releasing his own albums and ones with bands like The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. The musician collaborates and pushes the limits of rock with every new project. His current run as a solo artist also allows him to remind everyone of his technical skills.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
Car Seat Headrest
Will Toledo’s Unique Songwriting and Personal Lyrics Have Made This Band a Favorite Among the Indie Crowd
The Underrated Art-Pop Artist Redefines the Limits of Being a Rock Singer/Songwriter
This Canadian Punk Band Has Energy For Days
The Acclaimed Trio of Sisters Brings Throwback Thrills to Their Pop-Rock Releases
This Experimental Rock Band Has Earned Comparisons to Iconic Acts Like King Crimson
#1: Dave Grohl
Flying the rock flag for many years, Dave Grohl has earned an excellent reputation. He first achieved recognition as the drummer for Nirvana, where he earned accolades as one of his generation's greatest drummers. The performer went on to form Foo Fighters after Kurt Cobain's tragic passing, channeling his grief into one of the more enduring acts of the last three decades. He’s also found time for side projects like Them Crooked Vultures which put him together with other greats like John Paul Jones and Josh Homme. As a singer, guitarist, and percussionist, the frontman has a prolific work ethic that even includes filmmaking. He's directed documentaries such as "Sound City" that teach younger generations about music history.