10 Rock Songs You Need To Know Right Now

Music Lists Best Songs
Share Tweet Submit Pin
10 Rock Songs You Need To Know Right Now

Rock isn’t dead and never was. In 2020, the rock genre takes on many different shapes and sounds, but a lack of coherence doesn’t signify a lack of quality. Over the last few weeks we’ve heard incredible new songs from stalwarts like Angel Olsen and Sufjan Stevens as well as newcomers like Samia and Bartees Strange. Check out the full list below.

Listen to the Rock Songs You Need To Know Right Now playlist on Spotify right here.

1. Angel Olsen: “Whole New Mess”

Veteran singer/songwriter Angel Olsen had an impeccable 2019. Her LP, All Mirrors, was met with immediate acclaim and appreciation for its intense introspection and artistic experimentation. Recently, she announced a solo companion album to last year’s All Mirrors titled Whole New Mess, out Aug. 28 via Jagjaguwar, and its lead single is out now. The new title track is beautiful and vulnerable, and Olsen’s earnest vocals are at the forefront. —Danielle Chelosky

2. Bartees Strange: “Boomer”

Bartees Strange announced his debut album, Live Forever, out on Oct. 2 via Memory Music. The announcement follows the release of the D.C.-based artist’s single “Mustang” from back in July along with his March EP, Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy, which landed on Paste’s list of best EPs of 2020 so far. Strange released the album’s new single, “Boomer,” a tight indie rock track driven by jangly guitars and accompanied by a music video showing Strange performing all the song’s instruments from his home studio. —Jack Meyer

3. Bon Iver: “AUTAC”

Bon Iver recently shared a new song called “AUATC” (short for “Ate Up All The Cake). The single’s artwork labels the track as episode two in Bon Iver’s “Season Five” project, following their charity single, “PDLIF,” from earlier this year. The track comes with a long list of vocal features, including Elsa Jensen, Jenny Lewis, Bruce Springsteen and Jenn Wasner. —Jack Meyer

4. Fontaines D.C.: “Televised Mind”

Their debut LP Dogrel explored the characters of Dublin, and the urban struggles that its everyday people carry, but their recent follow-up album, A Hero’s Death, sounds like an existential crisis—not restricted to any particular city, but focused first and foremost on what makes people tick (or doesn’t). “Televised Mind” is a perfect example of their penchant for dark, beautiful metaphors: “They’re all gulls in the sky / They all mimic love’s cry / And I wish I could die / Me or them.” —Lizzie Manno

5. Future Islands: “Thrill”

As Long As You Are will be Future Islands’ sixth full-length LP and will arrive on Oct. 9 via 4AD. The band will also perform a live-streamed concert on the day of release. This news comes in tandem with a new single, “Thrill,” and its music video starring and created by frontman Samuel T. Herring, which you can check out below. The new single follows previously released single “For Sure,” which will also appear on the album. “Thrill” is slower and sparkling, a true synth ballad delivered by an emotional Herring. Future Islands’ most recent album was 2017’s The Far Field. —Ellen Johnson

6. Ganser: “Lucky”

On “Lucky,” Ganser merge pummeling noise-punk with droll, shared post-punk vocals from Alicia Gaines and Nadia Garofalo. It’s a raucous song about self-sabotage, and when shards of glass start to fly after their ripping guitar solo, it’s best to either hurl yourself into the wreckage or duck and cover. When they spout the album title with an almost maniacal, slow-building tension over combusting guitars, there’s no chance of freeing yourself from their magnetic grip. —Lizzie Manno

7. Illuminati Hotties: “will i get cancelled if i write a song called, ‘if you were a man, you’d be so cancelled’”

Sarah Tudzin’s new mixtape Free I.H. is her best material yet—feisty, super-charged and full of hooks to die for. Lead single “will i get cancelled if i write a song called, ‘if you were a man you’d be so cancelled’” (the title was originally a text message from Tudzin to Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis) is just over a minute-long, but it packs more fury and zeitgeisty one-liners than most tunes. “Let’s smash to a podcast” is easily the most absurd yet iconic opening line of the year, and the juxtaposition of sassy power pop vocals with harsh punk grumbles is such a perfect metaphor for the anger and hysterical comedy of 2020. —Lizzie Manno

8. Protomartyr: “Worm in Heaven”

Detroit-based rock band Protomartyr released their new album, Ultimate Success Today, via Domino Records last month. The band also shared the second single from the record, “Worm in Heaven,” along with a music video reminiscent of Chris Marker’s iconic short film La Jetée. The song’s lyrics bring forth imagery of death and worth, with frontman Joe Casey crooning: “I am a worm in heaven / so close to grace / could lick it off of the boot heels of the blessed.” —Natalia Keogan

9. Samia: “Fit N Full”

Up-and-coming artist Samia has announced her debut album, The Baby, and released a new single, “Fit N Full,” with an accompanying music video directed by Martin MacPherson. The single is an indie rock splash of sunshine with Samia’s dazzling vocals accentuating the track’s lush instrumentation. A summer anthem that tackles the issue of body image, “Fit N Full” is one of Samia’s most upbeat releases to date. —Lia Pikus

10. Sufjan Stevens: “Video Game”

Stevens has unveiled the second single from his new album The Ascension, “Video Game,” with a clip directed by Nicole Ginelli. The video was choreographed by and stars Jalaiah Harmon—the teen behind the viral “Renegade” dance. Much like “America,” “Video Game” relies on electronic instrumentation, but it’s less atmospheric and centers more on compressed ’80s pop and contemporary synthwave. Stevens’ vocals are heavily filtered as he sings about rejecting the desire for validation: “I don’t wanna be the center of the universe / I don’t wanna be a part of that shame / In a way I wanna be my own redeemer / I don’t wanna play your video game.” —Lizzie Manno

Listen to the Rock Songs You Need To Know Right Now playlist on Spotify right here.

Also in Music