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Portal:Alternative rock

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Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth
Alternative rock (also called alternative music or simply alternative) is a genre of rock music that emerged in the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s (see Timeline of alternative rock). The name "alternative" was coined in the 1980s to describe punk rock-inspired bands on independent record labels that didn't fit into the mainstream genres of the time. As a specific genre of music, alternative rock consists of various subgenres that have emerged from the indie music scene since the 1980s, such as grunge, indie rock, Britpop, gothic rock, and indie pop. These genres are unified by their collective debt to the style and/or ethos of punk, which laid the groundwork for alternative music in the 1970s.

Though the genre is considered to be rock, some of its subgenres are influenced by folk music, reggae, electronic music and jazz among other genres. At times alternative rock has been used as a catch-all phrase for rock music from underground artists in the 1980s, all music descended from punk rock (including punk itself, new wave, and post-punk), and, ironically, for rock music in general in the 1990s and 2000s.

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Lead singer Thom Yorke in concert with Radiohead.
Radiohead are an English alternative rock band that formed in Oxfordshire in 1986. The band is composed of Thom Yorke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano, electronics), Jonny Greenwood (lead guitar, other instruments), Ed O'Brien (guitar, backing vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass guitar, synthesisers) and Phil Selway (drums, percussion).

Radiohead released their first single, "Creep", in 1992, and their debut album, Pablo Honey, in 1993. Though initially unsuccessful, "Creep" was a worldwide hit when reissued a year later. Radiohead's popularity in the United Kingdom increased with the release of their second album, The Bends (1995). The band's textured guitar atmospheres and Yorke's falsetto singing were warmly received by critics and fans. With the release of OK Computer (1997), Radiohead were propelled to greater fame worldwide. Featuring an expansive sound and themes of modern alienation, OK Computer has often been acclaimed as a landmark record of the 1990s.

The release of Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001) saw the peak of Radiohead's popularity, although the albums divided critical opinion. This period also marked a change in Radiohead's musical style, with the incorporation of experimental electronic music, Krautrock and jazz influences. Hail to the Thief (2003), Radiohead's sixth album, blended styles from throughout the band's career, mixing guitar-driven rock, electronic influences and contemporary lyrics. Radiohead subsequently left their record label, EMI and released their seventh album, In Rainbows (2007), through their own website as a digital download for which customers selected their own price.

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Kid A is the fourth album by the English rock band Radiohead, released in 2000. A commercial success worldwide, Kid A went platinum in its first week of release in the United Kingdom. Despite the lack of an official single or video as publicity, Kid A became the only Radiohead release to debut at #1 in the United States. This success was credited variously to a unique marketing campaign, the early Internet leak of the album, or anticipation after the band's previous album, OK Computer (1997).

Kid A was recorded in Paris, Copenhagen, Gloucestershire and Oxford with producer Nigel Godrich. The album's songwriting and recording were experimental for Radiohead, as the band replaced the "anthemic" style of their 1997 album OK Computer with a more electronic sound. Influenced by Krautrock, jazz, and 20th century classical music, Radiohead incorporated a wide range of instruments on Kid A, replacing their older three-guitar arrangement with keyboards, the ondes Martenot, and, on certain compositions, horns and trombones. Kid A also contains more minimal and abstract lyrics than the band's previous work. Singer Thom Yorke has said the album was not intended as "art", but reflects the music they listened to at the time. Original artwork by Stanley Donwood and Yorke, and a series of short animated films called "blips", accompanied the album.

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Giant Drag.jpg
Credit: Matt
Giant Drag performing at the SXSW festival in 2006.

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