Is Rock Dead? Not If Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, More Can Help It

Rock bands had a hard time breaking through in 2010, but our critics say new indie groups might be nirvana for the genre.

By Gil Kaufman

Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig

Photo: Karl Walter/Getty Images

There was a time not long ago when good-old fashioned meat-and-potatoes rockers like Nickelback, Hinder and Disturbed frequently landed albums in the top 10 and reeled off solid chart singles. Then came a new generation of bands like Mgmt, Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire who were heralded as the saviors of a limping-along genre that had been overtaken by pop cuties like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.

"In 2010, we just didn't see the people like the MGMTs, who potentially could have taken over the top from being a great niche artist to being a pop sensation [take off]," said Noah Callahan-Bever, editor in chief of Complex magazine, addressing the psychedelic duo's confounding, sometimes confusing second album,

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