6 Contemporary Indie Songs To Listen to if You’re a Diehard Classic Rock Fan

For the most avid of classic rock fans, nothing can compare to the creative golden age of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s—but we’d argue that these contemporary indie tracks come close. Most importantly, they do so in a way that pays homage to decades past, not directly rips them off.

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From psychedelic soundscapes to doom metal to sunny SoCal pop-rock, we bet that if you like any of these popular classic rock bands from back in the day, you’ll also be a fan of these contemporary indie tunes. So, go ahead. Take a gander at something new.

Those vinyls from somewhere circa 1975 will still be waiting for you when you get back from this musical journey.

For Led Zeppelin Fans: Dr. Dog’s “The Ark”

Philadelphia-based rock band Dr. Dog has been around since the late 90s, but you wouldn’t know it just from browsing their discography. With each new release, the indie rock outfit dons a new era of sonic aesthetics, from their native early aughts alt-rock to early 1970s blues. In the case of their 2008 album ‘Fate,’ the band clearly dons the latter. 

We recommend starting with “The Ark,” which embodies the same grinding guitar riffs and desperately soulful vocals of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.” It’s the darkest shade of blues that makes you immediately twist your face into a scowl and start bobbing your head.

For Pink Floyd Fans: Jonathan Wilson’s “Trafalgar Square”

You know you’ve mastered a band’s sound when its original bassist asks you to perform on tour with him. Such was the case for contemporary producer, musician, and songwriter Jonathan Wilson, who joined classic rock icon Roger Waters on two of his solo tours, Us + Them and This Is Not a Drill, after first appearing on the U.K. bassist’s album ‘Is This the Life We Really Want?’

On his 2018 solo album ‘Rare Birds,’ Wilson creates sprawling soundscapes that sound like Pink Floyd’s heyday reincarnate. “Trafalgar Square” could easily be an early 1970s Pink track, from its swirling lap steel to its quick transitions to funky, hypnotic bass lines.

For The Doors Fans: The Growlers’ “A Man With No God”

The Doors’ seedy, SoCal persona was hard to define and, in turn, imitate. However, we’d argue that the same could be said about The Growlers, another southern California band that some listeners have described as “beach goth.” Their sound evokes images of sun-soaked cityscapes dissolving into neon-filled nights, much like the best of the Doors.

The Growlers’ debut album ‘Are You In or Out’ features a particularly jangly, drawling, and mysterious track called “A Man With No God” that one could easily imagine Doors’ frontman Jim Morrison swaying to himself. Indeed, it’s likely how he would’ve enjoyed describing his onstage persona, too.

For The Eagles Fans: The Wild Feathers’ “Out on the Road”

Whether you’re a tried and true Eagles fan or prefer the band members’ subsequent classic rock solo spinoffs, there is a clear musical connection between the Eagles in their prime and contemporary Nashville-based quintet The Wild Feathers. Because you know what’s better than listening to one killer rock vocalist? Listening to four of them blending in perfect harmony. 

The Wild Feathers combine Southern rock, blues, and Americana elements to create a sound similar to the Eagles and other easy-listening rockers like Tom Petty. We recommend starting with the Feathers’ “Out on the Road,” which gives us all the solo Joe Walsh vibes and then some.

For Black Sabbath Fans: Electric Wizard’s “Funeralopolis”

When Black Sabbath first released their eponymous debut in 1970, they changed the face of rock and roll forever. Long gone were the days of pop-rock or blues with little in between. Heavy metal and doom had arrived, and they were here to stay. Two decades later, Electric Wizard threw their hat into the ring of fuzzy, scuzzy, stoner metal.

If you find yourself revisiting Black Sabbath’s earliest discography time and time again, then you’d likely be a fan of Electric Wizard’s “Funeralopolis,” which combines the best elements of Black Sabbath, from their laid-back, ultra-chill interludes to their dirtiest half-time riffs.

For Beach Boys Fans: The Lemon Twigs “Corner Of My Eye”

While some could argue the Beach Boys favored pop more heavily than rock, their influence on the classic rock genre as a whole is undeniable. Nearly 50 years after the West Coast band released their iconic ‘Pet Sounds’ album, a musical duo formed on the East Coast that would adopt the same surfy, sunny, and ever-romantic attitude. 

The Lemon Twigs are a rock duo from Long Island, New York (so, maybe it’s something in the saltwater) that feature the same falsetto harmonies, puppy love lyricism, and earworm hooks as the Beach Boys. “Corner of My Eye,” off their fourth studio album ‘Everything Harmony,’ exemplifies the best of these qualities.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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