Rock Subgenres


Music is a versatile thing.  It seems like there is a genre for everyone.  Whether it falls under the category of country, hip-hop, or rock, there is something out there for everyone.  But maybe your perfect match isn’t just one of the major genres. There are, after all, hundreds of subgenres out there.  So here is a basic rundown of a few of them.



     Ska punk originated in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s, however, it saw its first look at mainstream success in the 1990’s, fusing elements of ska and punk rock together. Ska punk is generally associated with brass instruments, including horns like the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone, muted down strokes followed by quick upstrokes, and simple yet catchy bass lines. Throughout the 80’s ska punk didn’t have a large following. It mainly consisted of bands such as The Clash and The Deadbeats had 2-tone ska elements in some of their songs, but couldn’t be entirely classified as a band of the genre.

     The 1990’s is when ska punk had its mainstream success, with bands such as Sublime and No Doubt. Other influential Ska Punk bands of the time include Less Than Jake, Big Reel Fish, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Some notable albums of the time Include, Sublime – Sublime, Losing Streak – Less Than Jake, Let’s Face It – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Tragic Kingdom – No Doubt.

Suggested Song: Same In The End – Sublime



     New Wave is a genre that is derived from classic rock n roll. New Wave is notable from moving away from the classic blues-inspired sound of rock. It has deep ties within punk rock, however, while punk often included challenging themes, New Wave is much more simple and pure. It has a light, pop-like sound and and is a stand out in the music from the late 1970s to early 1980s. Mainstream artists from this genre include Blondie, The Cars, The Cure, and The Smiths.

Suggested Song: Just What I Needed – The Cars



     Shoegazing emerged from the UK in the late 1980’s grabbing its coined term from neo-psychedelic groups (also called acid punk) who stood focusing on the heavy use of effect guitar pedals during live shows, earning this subgenre its name. The genre is also known for the singers’ obscure vocals and loud volume. This genre’s influences can be credited to influential bands such as The Velvet Underground and The Cure. Popular artists from this genre include My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Blur.

Suggested Song: Snow – Colour Of Spring



     Known as Rogue Punk in its early days, Folk Punk was popularized in the early 1980’s with bands such as The Violent Femmes and The Pogues mixing elements of folk and punk rock. Throughout the 2000’s more and more DIY bands starting popping up all having different influential sounds and lyrics including Pat The Bunny, AJJ, and Mischief Brew. Although this genre had some mainstream success, it has mainly stayed a niche hit among listeners.  Some distinguishable elements of the genre include the use of mandolins, banjos, violins, and accordions. It can be also argued that Folk Punk has a history of political writings with “Leftist” views.

Suggested Song: Condition 11:11 – Defiance, Ohio


     Whether you’re into synthesizers, banjos, or horn sections in the middle of a punk song there’s bound to be a genre of music made for you. From Punk to New Wave, there are many subgenres of Rock that are not widely known, but have and will continue to be favorites.