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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Seattle based Grunge band Alice in Chains in 2007
Grunge music (sometimes referred to as the Seattle Sound) is a genre of alternative rock inspired by hardcore punk, heavy metal, and indie rock. Grunge was created in the mid-1980s by bands from Washington state, particularly in the Seattle area.

Grunge music is generally characterized by "dirty" guitar, strong riffs, and heavy drumming. The "dirty" sound resulted both from the common use of heavy guitar distortion and feedback, and from a stylistic change in the standard method of playing punk rock. Grunge involves slower tempos and dissonant harmonies that are generally not found in punk. The lyrics concern similar themes such as social alienation, apathy, entrapment and a desire for freedom. They are typically angst-filled — anger, frustration, ennui, fear, depression and drug addiction are often explored in grunge songs. The lyricism bears similarities to those of punk and the perceptions of Generation X.

It became commercially successful in the first half of the 1990s, due mainly to the release of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. The genre is closely associated with Generation X in the US, since the popularity of the genre and usage of the generational term rose simultaneously. Grunge was an early defining musical phenomenon of the 1990s, which distinguished 1990s rock music from that of the 1980s.

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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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