The 2000’s Garage Rock Revival Revisit: The Mount Rushmore Bands

In honor of the 20ish anniversary of this blip of a genre, I will be posting a long, personal, rambling series of essays. Some will have stats, most will be very scatterbrained, all will be disputable about one of my favorite genres that may not have been a genre at all… 

The Mount Rushmores. 

Not a bad name for a band of this era, but that’s not what this part’s about. In almost every version of comparative thinking, people come up with the four WHATEVERS who would, essentially, be placed on a figurative Mount Rushmore (if, in fact, such a thing were possible). For example, the Mount Rushmore of the British Invasion would be the Beatles, the Stones, the Kinks and, say, the Dave Clark Five. 

I’ve been trying to think of what the Mount Rushmore groups would be for garage rock revival, and I think I have a solid three with lots of possible number fours. The top three have to be the Strokes, the White Stripes and the Hives. These groups give us the undebatable high-points of the era. We have great music, great style, great names. These are no brainers. 

The fourth, however, is a brainer. 

The first group I thought of were the Vines, but I’m not 100% sold. Outside of their debut, there isn’t another high point. This could also be said about the Strokes — one of our no-brainers! — but their high was so high, that they’ll always be there. Sorry, Vines.

Groups like the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand are disqualified because they feel more like second generation versions of our 3-existing Rushmores. Kings of Leon and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were never big enough while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were big by a single mostly. 

I’m going with the Libertines. Call me gross, but I think one prime criteria is that they look a lot like the Strokes already (the real Mt. Rushmore is all white men, so what are we dealing with here?). They also sound a lot like our genre, which should count for even more. Finally they had a lot of success based on buzz from singles and EP’s and the like, which feels very in line with this genre. Most genres are created by publicists and companies to sell things, and that may have never been more true than with this style. The buzz was a big part of that, and the Libertines lived and died (ugly) by that buzz. 

Welcome to the mountain, guys!

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