Five new bands you need to hear if you love Smashing Pumpkins

Smashing Pumpkins, Slow Crush, Teenage Wrist, Tigercub
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/WireImage, Press)

The Smashing Pumpkins always felt like the odd ones out during the alternative rock boom of the 1990s. The Chicago quartet were hugely successful, certainly, but where most of the grunge and skate-punk bands that broke big in the first half of that decade favoured rather rudimentary songwriting and a stripped back, raw sound, Billy Corgan’s crew aimed for lavish, complex and sweeping compositions.

Throughout their career, the Pumpkins went in all manner of different musical directions, with Corgan even famously claiming that rock was dead at one point, but it is definitely their more guitar-centric material that has best stood the test of time. And despite being out of step for the era, they still captured the imagination of many, many young musicians; here are five new bands that take inspiration from that unique mix of suspense, big riffs, eerie atmosphere and perfect melodies.

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Teenage Wrist

They might be a little on the punky side to sound like a carbon copy of The Pumpkins, but there is no way that you could listen to the fuzzed-up, squalling guitars on a song like recent single Sunshine and not think that LA’s Teenage Wrist aren’t inspired by the work of Billy Corgan. The band have been around for nearly a decade now, but it seems that larger numbers of people are starting to wake up to the band. The excitement for their forthcoming third album Still Love, which is due for release in August, is noticeably building. Investigate them before they explode.


A familiar name on the UK underground circuit for a while now, Tigercub have only recently been making good on their potential. Recent album The Perfume of Decay, released on Stone Gossard's Loosegroove label, is well worth a listen, full of exceptional hard rock riffs, memorable choruses and some dreamy, quiet, reflective passages that are pure Pumpkins. It’s not the only thing the band do, with some very clear and obvious nods to everyone from Soundgarden to Queens of the Stone Age to Biffy Clyro amongst their tunes, but that Smashing Pumpkins influence looms largest and is impossible to deny.

Slow Crush

Coming from a variety of extreme metal bands, but now interested in creating dreamy shoegaze, Belgium’s Slow Crush provide the perfect balance of light and shade, weightless and leaden. Their 2021 album Hush is a great listen, a darkly melancholic masterpiece, that most certainly recalls Smashing Pumpkins at their gloriously sombre best. The whole album is essential, but try listening to the fuzzy Swoon and not have your mind recall Siamese Dream.

Soul Blind

Everything about this New York quartet screams a love of the halcyon, glory days of '90s alternative rock. From their look, to their album covers (which look as though they were released on Creation Records in 1991) to their brand of melodic shoegaze mixed with crushing, sun blistered riffs. Soul Blind have released only one full-length album, 2022’s brilliant Feel it All Around, but it’s on their 2019 single Falling Asleep that you can really hear the influence of Gish-era Pumpkins come to the fore.


There is precious little biographical information on Mexican outfit Blueish. They appear to have been making music since 2019, but only have a trio of singles and a rather fine EP, all released in 2023, to their name. Still, although it’s a little rough and ready compared to the work of Billy Corgan, Blueish’s harsh sounding, driving guitars and gorgeous melodies could have been lifted straight from the Gish recording sessions.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.