The death of commercial alternative music radio stations is about done. When New York City doesn’t even have an alternative station anymore, you know the genre is dead on commercial radio. Reasons for this are abundant, with MP3 players and satellite radio right at the top.
Alternative rock channels began to appear on commercial radio during the early 90’s grunge movement. While initially successful, these channels began to get more narrow in the focus of their playlists by the turn of the century, with most going harder edge, especially when the rap-metal thing happened.
Sadly, most of the bands that I have listed below get no commercial airplay, as they don’t fit a format that exists today. I have chosen 20 songs by 20 different artists. All of these songs were released over the past few years and I’ve tried to choose ones released since 2005, with only a few exceptions. I focused on a more post-punk type sound. This is the first of a regular series I plan on doing, listing Top 20 songs for different genres that you ought to check out.
The Killers- When We Were Young
The Bravery- Fearless
Artic Monkeys- I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor
Bloc Party- Banquet
The Strokes- 12:51
I was not a big fan of the initial effort of the Killers, but their newest release takes a large leap, as they go from Vegas’ version of Duran Duran to writing something that could have been a single on one of U2’s first few albums. The Bravery have been compared to the Killers and I thought their first album was superior. The other 3 bands I’ve listed here have been over-hyped, but each of these songs are worth downloading.
Gang of Four- Damaged Goods
The Futureheads- Skip to the End
Tapes ‘n Tapes- Just Drums
Kaiser Chiefs- I Predict a Riot
Interpol- Slow Hands
Last year, Gang of Four rerecorded a bunch of their older songs and they sounded better than ever. Like The Velvet Underground and The Fall, they influenced many, without having large record sales themselves. All of the bands I’ve listed below them must have been influenced by their sound. The Futureheads “Skip to the End” is one of the best songs of 2006.
The White Stripes- The Denial Twist
Eagles of Death Metal- Cherry Cola
Louis XIV- Finding Out True Love is Blind
The Vines- Ride
The Von Bondies- C’mon C’mon
If you like catchy hooks in your indie rock scene, check all 5 of these retro rockers. The Stripes have been the best band of this new century, with “The Denial Twist” demonstrating what Led Zeppelin might have sounded like with a funky beat. While the last 2 songs listed are a few years old, they both have great post-punk hooks that are the best that these bands have recorded.
Deadman and Elephant Boy- Stop, I’m Already Dead
Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Maps
Franz Ferdinand- Do You Want To
Hot Hot Heat- Middle of Nowhere
Razorlight- In the Morning
“Stop, I’m Already Dead” is my favorite song of 2006. While Karen O. and her band released an album in 2006, “Fever to Tell” was a far superior work, with the single “Maps” one of the best of this decade. Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” is on that same list of top singles, but I chose the equally as good “Do You Want To”, as it is more of a recent release.
Rise Against- Ready to Fall
The bonus track is the latest release by Rise Against, which is the best Bad Religion-influenced song in years. Check it out.