Clockwise from top left: Drive-By Truckers, The War on Drugs, Black Lips.
The roots-rock genre may not be cutting-edge, but these perennially brilliant bands, all releasing must-hear albums, prove it's still fertile ground.
English Oceans (out March 4)
A sweeping tour of the Americana landscape, like Exile on Main St. with a 21st-century political bent, by the tight-as-hell quintet that Stereogum recently called "perhaps the greatest extant American rock and roll band."
The War on Drugs
Lost in the Dream (out March 18)
This Philly four-piece delivers anthems in the Springsteen-Petty vein—with hard-charging kick drums, percussive acoustic guitars, and New Wave-y synths—which sound best when you're driving away from a bad breakup.
Underneath the Rainbow (out March 18)
These debaucherous garage rockers recorded part of their latest album in Nashville with the Black Keys' Patrick Carney. They sound rootsier than ever before, especially on "Boys in the Wood," a swampy ode to Lynyrd Skynyrd.