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Slowcore is a subgenre of alternative and indie rock. The music of slowcore artists is generally characterized by bleak lyrics, downbeat melodies, slower tempos and minimalist arrangements. Slowcore is often used interchangeably with the term sadcore.[1][2]


Slowcore is characterised by minimal musical backing [2] played at extremely slow speeds.[3] Guitars are normally clean and undistorted but often feature heavy use of reverb.[4] Some singer-songwriters who have been labelled slowcore include distinctive and unusual vocalists, such as the Swedish singer Stina Nordenstam, and bands with creative drummers, such as Codeine.[2]


Early acts such as Galaxie 500 and American Music Club were hugely influential, but are not generally considered slowcore acts.[4] The genre began in the early 1990s[2] as an act of rebellion against the predominant energy and aggression of Grunge.[4] The genre is linked to the band Low, who began experimentally to play quietly and slowly to traditional rock audiences.[2]

The term slowcore itself is unpopular. It is related to the trend in heavy rock and dance music where the suffix “-core” can be attached to any genre name to distinguish itself.[4] The term has not been widely adopted by the bands it is used to describe nor the music press but, it is still current amongst fans of the genre as a badge of honour.[4]


Slowcore was at best a vaguely associated 'movement' of acts.[4] Bands such as Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon were feted by the British Press but largely rejected in America as too slow and somnambulant.[4] With the demise of grunge, slowcore lost its oppositional status and the genre's constraints were no longer so attractive to musicians.[4] The genre cannot be said to exist as a subculture or trend, although some leading proponents still remain.

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