Despite many loud protests to the contrary, rock is not dead in 2017. Is it at the forefront of popular culture? Not really. Do the sales come close to reaching the levels of either hip-hop or pop? Again, not so much. But look around and it’s not hard to find a bevy of exciting newer bands making exciting new music. This week’s The War On Drugs record A Deeper Understanding is a great example. Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy is another excellent entry into the canon. Sheer Mag’s Need To Feel Your Love is another. Or Waxahatchee’s Out Of The Storm, or Jay Som’s Everybody Works.
In terms of diversity of sound, and even more crucially, diversity of gender and background, it’s easy to argue that we’re living through a tremendously welcoming period for new rock music. It’s actually that very reality that makes the list of nominees in the rock categories at this year’s VMA’s especially frustrating.