MGMT has been a household name since their slew of hits in the late 2000’s. Cuts from their debut album, Oracular Spectacular, catapulted the band to stardom; for a time, “Kids” dominated the airwaves. But, despite their apparent knack for pop songwriting, MGMT has a nostalgic inclination for the 1980’s. Though traces can be heard in their early instrumentation, their latest release, Little Dark Age, has the band leaning in to their favorite genre.
It’s weird to have been born in the ’80s but not have distinct memories from the ’80s — while also having a nostalgic leaning toward the 80s. It’s definitely in our blood — Talking Heads, OMD.
Andrew VanWygarden, NOISEY
Those inspirations are crystal clear on Little Dark Age — their leading single for the album, “Me and Michael,” features all of the irresistible mainstays of ’80s synth rock. Though, it would not be MGMT without their typical contemporary flare.
MGMT uses Regular Slinky guitar strings.
Listen to the best of MGMT down below.
If you’re looking for quality surf rock coming from the modern era, look no further than The Buttertones. Though the band primarily plays garage-rockin’ tunes with suave confidence, their influences come from all over — that is clear in their music. Drawing on inspiration from ’60s pop to ’90s grunge and even jazz, their work is a beautiful blend of classic sounds in one modern package.
We all can relate to certain artists, but we each have our own heroes and holy trinities. We’re all over the map.
Richard Araiza, i-D
The Buttertones have unique stage presence, between their dapper dress, their charming good looks, and their varied instrumentation that includes saxophone. That style is apparent on their latest release, Midnight in a Moonless Dream, which has character for miles, chock-full of unique tracks that expand upon that unmistakable “Buttertones” sound.
Step into the time machine that is The Buttertones down below.
The Canadian rock group, PUP, is one to watch in the realm of pop-punk. Their 2019 album, Morbid Stuff, was well-received in the community, featuring 11-straight songs of pure, jovial angst; since this release, they have been selling out shows over triple as large as they were used to.
Our type of music is not in the spotlight right now, I guess. It’s uncommon to see a guitar band up there, especially one as roughshod as ours. We don’t [play along to backing] tracks. We’re just four dudes yelling. I find that untypical of that sort of attention.
Zach Mykula, Billboard
The band is just as independent as their music would imply; they even went to the lengths of starting their own record label, Little Dipper, in order to keep complete creative freedom over their sound. Check out their official video for their cut, “Sibling Rivalry,” featured above.
Get your angst out with the top PUP tracks below.
Forerunners of the second-wave Ska movement (also known as two-tone), The Toasters have been “skankin’ on since 1981.” Located at the beautiful intersection between new wave, punk, and ska, this band nestles into the pocket of that sound; The Toasters love a big brass section and lots of upstrokes.
Not at all. In fact, if you had told me then at the beginning that we would still be out on the road playing shows 35 plus years later, then I would have probably thought you were mad. But, then, here we are, so I guess I am the crazy one.
The Toasters, Metal Invader
Nearly 40 years later and The Toasters keep rocking without missing a beat. To catch them live in-action, be sure to take a look at their tour dates on their official website.
Do some homework and listen to the origins of two-tone with The Toasters down below.
Bob Kulick is a Grammy award-winning producer that can do quite a bit of shredding himself. Older brother and producer of the legendary KISS, Bob Kulick understands what it takes to create top-caliber music.
I make great music; I don’t settle. I never went for the easy way: ‘Oh, just take the money.’ I never did that; it’s just not me.
Bob Kulick, Ultimate Classic Rock
That’s why it should not be surprising that Kulick has some great tracks of his own. His 2017 solo album, Skeletons in the Closet, has some face-melting tracks on it. But, most are probably well-acquainted with one of Kulick’s unforgettable tracks, “Sweet Victory.” This song was featured in SpongeBob Squarepants, reached 23rd on the Hot Rock Songs chart, and has gone down in the legacy of one of the most beloved children’s cartoons of all time.
Check out Bob Kulick‘s top tracks down below.