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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, alt-rock or simply alternative) is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt[clarification needed] to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock (including some examples of punk itself, as well as new wave, and post-punk).

Alternative rock is a broad umbrella term consisting of music that differs greatly in terms of its sound, social context and regional roots. By the end of the 1980s, magazines and zines, college radio airplay, and word of mouth had increased the prominence and highlighted the diversity of alternative rock, helping to define a number of distinct styles (and music scenes) such as noise pop, indie rock, grunge, and shoegaze. Most of these subgenres had achieved minor mainstream notice and a few bands representing them, such as Hüsker Dü and R.E.M., had even signed to major labels. But most alternative bands' commercial success was limited in comparison to other genres of rock and pop music at the time, and most acts remained signed to independent labels and received relatively little attention from mainstream radio, television, or newspapers. With the breakthrough of Nirvana and the popularity of the grunge and Britpop movements in the 1990s, alternative rock entered the musical mainstream and many alternative bands became successful.

By the end of the decade, alternative rock's mainstream prominence declined due to a number of events that caused grunge and Britpop to fade and led to the hiatus of the Lollapalooza festival.

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U2 performing at Madison Square Garden in November 2005
U2 is a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar) and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion).

U2 formed in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. By the mid-1980s, however, the band had become a top international act, noted for their anthemic sound, Bono's impassioned vocals, and The Edge's textural guitar playing. Their success as a live act was greater than their success at selling records, until their 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, increased the band's stature "from heroes to superstars," according to Rolling Stone. U2 significantly reinvented themselves with their 1991 album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour, responding to their own musical stagnation, the dance and alternative rock revolutions, and criticism of their image. Similar experimentation continued for the rest of the 1990s. Since 2000, U2 have pursued a more traditional sound, while maintaining influences from their previous musical explorations. U2 have sold more than 170 million albums worldwide and have won more Grammy Awards than any other band.

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Internationalist is the third studio album by Australian alternative rock band, Powderfinger. The album was released on September 7, 1998 and was often labelled Powderfinger's most adventurous work, with greater experimentation than in previous works. Internationalist received fairly positive reviewers in the Australian press, and cemented Powderfinger's position on the local music scene; however, the album failed to launch the band in the overseas market.

Internationalist followed in the success of its predecessor, Double Allergic, and was certified five times platinum in Australia. Internationalist received four ARIA Music Awards, including "Album of the Year". The album produced many singles for the band, including "The Day You Come", "Don't Wanna Be Left Out", "Good-Day Ray", "Already Gone" and "Passenger", which all appeared on Triple J's Hottest 100 poll in two consecutive years.

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Credit: Orator
Robert Smith of The Cure performing at Southside-Festival in 2004.

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