Hey, if you’re into the softer, melodic pop turn alt-rock has taken over the last five years, great. We’ve enjoyed songs from Hozier, Vance Joy, Lorde, Alessia Cara, Dear Rouge, Mumford and Sons, Cold War Kids, Banners, X-Ambassadors, George Ezra, et al. But outside of the Foo Fighters, Death from Above 1979, Royal Blood, AWOLNATION and a few others, things haven’t really been that, you know, rockin’. I’ve been in the alt-rock game since 1986 and I’ve never seen the overall sound so soft.
But to everything there is a season. Five years is long enough for a cohort of fans to age through to their next level of musical needs. All those Justin Bieber and One Direction fans have grown older and might be ready for something with a little more substance and aggression. Meanwhile, the pop-alt-rock people could be growing tired of the down-to-mid-tempo ultra-introspective nature of the current scene. Maybe all these two new groups need is a little push.
A long-range sensor look at 2016 seems to indicate that alt-rock will take a turn for the harder. There should be a new album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Wolfmother has an album coming in February. Rumours are strong that there will be a Pearl Jam record to go with their tour. The Deftones, Gorillaz, the Offspring, the Strokes, Kings of Leon, Beck, Sum 41 and Soundgarden are all scheduled to release something in 2016. And now Trent Reznor has confirmed that he will be back in the guise of Nine Inch Nails.
Once these old-guard bands start flooding the market with new material, will the tastes of the current alt-rock crowd shift to the harder end of the spectrum? And will this allow new like-minded artists to break through?