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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Nine Inch Nails performing live in Munich, Germany in March 2007.
Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock band, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. As its main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Reznor is the only official member of Nine Inch Nails and remains solely responsible for its direction. NIN's music straddles a wide range of genres, while retaining a characteristic sound using electronic instruments and processing. After recording a new album, Reznor usually assembles a live band to perform with him; this live component is a separate entity from Nine Inch Nails in the recording studio. On stage, NIN often employs spectacular visual elements to accompany its performances, which frequently culminate with the band destroying their instruments.

In the past, NIN released major studio albums infrequently; remixes and live albums bridged these gaps in the band's catalog. Reznor cites his personal issues as the cause of these delays, and his songs often confront dark explorations of the self. The most recent Nine Inch Nails album, Year Zero, is an exception to the usually introspective nature of Reznor's songwriting and the long gestation between major releases.

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One Hot Minute is the sixth album by American alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released on September 12, 1995 on Warner Bros. Records. The worldwide success of the band's previous album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, caused guitarist John Frusciante to become uncomfortable with the band's status, and he quit mid-tour in 1992. Former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro had been hired to replace Frusciante, and his presence would alter the band's sound considerably. One Hot Minute contains fewer sexual themes than previous records, and explores darker themes such as drug use, depression, anguish and grief. It also integrated use of heavy metal guitar riffs. Vocalist Anthony Kiedis, who had resumed addictions to speed and heroin in 1994 after being sober for more than five years, approached his lyricism with a reflective outlook on drugs and their harsh effects.

One Hot Minute was a commercial disappointment despite producing three hit singles and reaching #4 on the Billboard Top 200. Blood Sugar Sex Magik, had sold twice as many copies as One Hot Minute and received far more critical acclaim. Navarro was ultimately fired from the band due to creative differences in 1997. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said that "One Hot Minute is as musically ambitious as Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but is even more unfocused, which means it provides the fewest thrills of any of the group's albums."

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Thom Yorke.jpg
Credit: Tim Cochrane
Thom Yorke performs with Radiohead on August 14, 2006.

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