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Portal:Alternative rock

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The Alternative Rock Portal

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 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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Pixies performing in Kansas City in 2004
The Pixies are an American alternative rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1985. The band disbanded in 1993 in acrimonious circumstances but reunited in 2004. Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal, and David Lovering have been the band's continual members. The Pixies found only modest success in their home country, but were significantly more successful in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe, although never achieving mainstream success with their studio albums.

The group is frequently posited as the immediate forebearer of the alternative rock boom of the early 1990s, though they disbanded before reaping any of the benefits this might have brought them. Avowed fan Kurt Cobain's acknowledgement of the debt Nirvana owed to the Pixies, along with similar tributes by other alternative bands, ensured that the Pixies' legacy and influence grew substantially in the years following their demise.

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Pinkerton is the second album by the American rock band Weezer, released September 24, 1996. Rivers Cuomo, the band's lead singer and guitarist, wrote all of its songs, most of them after a painful leg surgery; as a result, they were written in first-position on his guitar's fretboard so that he would not have to move too much to play them.

Pinkerton is named after the character B.F. Pinkerton from Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, and the album plays as a concept album based loosely around the opera. Like the Puccini opera, the album includes other references to Japan, Japanese people, and Japanese culture from the perspective of an outsider who considers Japan fragile and sensual. It was originally planned as Songs from the Black Hole, which Cuomo deemed a "space opera." The initial concept was scrapped, but the band incorporated several of the songs into Pinkerton. The artwork on the album's cover is Kambara yoru no yuki ("Night Snow at Kambara"), a print by Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige.

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Elliott Smith live NYC.jpg
Credit: alexis
Elliott Smith's last-ever New York City performance at Lit on 2003-01-29.

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  • The Alternative music WikiProject is a project that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Alternative music related articles.
  • The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to Alternative music, as well as to create missing articles.
  • To become a member of this WikiProject (anyone may join), simply click here - and add {{user|username}}.
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