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 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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Wilco performing at the 2004 Austin City Limits festival.
Wilco is an American rock band based in Chicago, Illinois. The band was formed in 1994 by the remaining members of alternative country group Uncle Tupelo following singer Jay Farrar departure from the band. Wilco's lineup has changed frequently, with only singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remaining from the original incarnation. The other current members are guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalists Pat Sansone and Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco has released six studio albums, a live double album, and three collaborations: two with Billy Bragg, and one with The Minus 5.

Wilco garnered media attention for its fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), and the controversy surrounding it. After the recording sessions were complete, Reprise Records rejected the album and dismissed Wilco from the label. As part of a buy-out deal, Reprise gave Wilco the rights to the album for free. After streaming Foxtrot on its website, Wilco sold the album to Nonesuch Records in 2002. Both record labels are subsidiaries of Warner Music Group, leading one critic to say that the album showed "how screwed up the music business [was] in the early twenty-first century." The album was the most successful of Wilco's career, selling over 590,000 copies. Wilco won two Grammy Awards for their fifth studio album, 2004's A Ghost Is Born, including Best Alternative Music Album.

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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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