I winced when a CMJ panelist predicted guitar-based rock had just another 10 or 15 years left as the dominant strain in popular music. It was the first time I heard someone articulate the reality that, after people spent decades trying to get new sounds out of it, the instrument most central to indie rock was maybe starting to sound old. This was 2004, and rock n’ roll suddenly had an expiration date.
Guitars are far from fading into obscurity, of course, but in the face of machines’ boundless potential and a subsequent collective interest in the multitude of electro subgenres, it’s been a good few years since Brooklyn’s most exciting music has come from bands relying on the instrument without souped-up effects or being teamed with electronic components. But the guitar has been making a case for itself in the new year, no longer leaving Brooklynites to envy San Francisco with their Segalls, Dwyers and Owens. Rock music is doing just fine here on the East Coast, largely thanks to these five bands.