The return of rock: Part three

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By Griffith Fuller

By Griffith Fuller

As the 21st century approached, it became evident that heaviness didn’t determine the quality of rock music.

New bands started to emerge with a “garage rock” sound.

The first handful of these bands revived great sounding rock music with simplistic guitar chords, and a lack of complexity.

The downside to “garage rock” was corporate companies taking the idea, marketing it, and recruiting bands that sounded just like The Strokes.

The popularity of the New York based band left older fans with mixed feelings.

However, the resurgence of this alternative rock had its benefits. The White Stripes, comprised of Meg and Jack White, formed in 1997.

The duo toured with Pavement and Sleater-Kinney in 1999 and 2000. It followed its self-titled debut album with “De Stijl,” released in 2000. The band’s popularity grew with the release of “White Blood Cells” in 2001. Rock fans across the country were introduced to the band with its first big single, “Fell in Love with a Girl.” The song’s corky and creative Lego block music video was constantly in rotation on MTV, and radio stations couldn’t get enough of the song, either.

The song was so catchy that it even inspired British soul singer Joss Stone to cover it in 2003.

“Elephant,” released in 2003, was even bigger than its third album. It was catapulted into the mainstream with the widespread popularity of “Seven Nation Army,” and “The Hardest Button To Button.” The album surpassed many other rock albums out at the time as far as its quality. The Detroit based band incorporates blues, folk, ’70s style power rock, and alternative post-punk into its music, as it was evident on “Elephant” and its previous albums.

As with The Black Keys and The Mars Volta, it’s normal for songs on the albums and performed live to reach up to 15 minutes. “Get Behind Me Satan” was released in 2005, promoted by its first single “Blue Orchid.”As the mainstream popularity of the “garage rock” revival declined in 2003, newer bands with a heavy influence of late ’70s/early ’80s style post-punk surfaced. One of those bands, Interpol, comprised of New York University students, formed in 1998.

The band released its debut LP, “Turn On the Bright Lights,” in 2002. It was followed up by “Antics” in September 2004. A hit single from that album, (“Evil”) increased the popularity of the band.

Another post-punk style band, with a “disco rock” edge, dominated rock radio stations with its fresh sound in the haze of cloned modern rock is The Killers.

Hailing from Las Vegas, (with a British sound) The Killers took America by storm with “Somebody Told Me.” “Mr. Brightside,” originally released in 2003, further propelled them into the spotlight as the band to watch.

Unfortunate side-effects to its popularity included a guest appearance on Fox’s hit drama “The O.C.” and an army of trendy followers.

Following the footsteps of retro-style hit-makers Franz Ferdinand and The Killers, Bloc Party took America by storm in 2005.

Its debut album, “Silent Alarm” includes roaring powerful dance-rock songs such as “She’s Hearing Voices,” “Luno,” (which was ironically covered by Death From Above 1979) and its first American single, “Banquet.”

Its glass shattering guitar solos and nostalgic echoes of The Cure and Sonic Youth establish it as a great band of today’s rock, and not just another dance-rock band. Further interest can be taken in the fact that vocalist/guitarist Kele Okereke is black, as well as The Dear’s frontman, Murray Lightburn. Bloc Party recently released a remix album to “Silent Alarm.”

Another alternative rock band shaking things up in the genre is Kasabian. Its experimental electronic rock nods at Radiohead and early Pink Floyd. Its inspiration came from their parents old ’60s and ’70s psychedelic rock record collection.

Its self-titled debut album was created while lounging around a farmhouse near Leicester in rural England.

British band, the Kaiser Chiefs caught the attention of alternative rock fans with their college radio hit, “I Predict A Riot.”

Also from England, Muse has taken its progressive art-rock to new heights.

Its fourth album, Absolution, earned them new fans with the release of such singles as “Time Is Running Out” and “Hysteria.” Not too many bands can match the epic sound of “Apocalypse Please.”

The band, which formed when all three members were 13, is one of the most underrated bands out today.

A truly innovative band from Washington, (and roots in Ohio) formed in 1993 led by vocalist/guitarist Isaac Brock.

Modest Mouse’s ship really sailed 11 years after its establishment. “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” included the band’s first hits “Float On” and “Ocean Breathes Salty.” Its albums throughout the years are made up of folk, bluegrass, and lengthy psychedelic jams. Its history of music is definitely recommended to be researched.

Music from today and music from 30 and 40 years ago have one major thing in common.

That is, both speak for its time. And the music that inspired the previously mentioned bands couldn’t be a better example of that.

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