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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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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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Spiderland is the second studio album by the American indie rock band Slint, released on March 27, 1991 on Touch and Go Records. Featuring dramatically alternating dynamics and vocals ranging from spoken word to shouting, the album contains narrative lyrics that emphasize alienation. Spiderland was Slint's first release on Touch and Go, and the group's last record.

The recording of Spiderland in 1990 is often said to have been emotionally demanding for members of Slint. Although Spiderland was not widely recognized on its initial release, it eventually sold more than 50,000 copies and became a landmark album in underground music after Slint broke up. The album has been highly influential on the styles of many bands in the post-rock and math rock genres, including Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and has been named a favorite of several indie rock musicians. In 2007, Slint reunited for a tour consisting of performances of Spiderland in its entirety.

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KristinHershmikebaehrbw2b.jpg
Credit: Mike Baehr
Kristin Hersh performing with 50 Foot Wave at the Tractor Tavern, Seattle, Washington on 27 February 2004.

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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.
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