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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Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab playing a Moog synthesizer during a live performance.
Stereolab are an English alternative music band formed in 1990 in London. The band originally comprised Tim Gane (guitar/keyboards) and Lætitia Sadier (vocals/keyboards/guitar), both of whom have remained at the helm across many lineup changes. Other long-time and former members include Andrew Ramsay (drums) and Mary Hansen (vocals/keyboards/guitar). Ramsay joined the group in 1993, while Hansen joined ten years before her accidental death in 2002.

Stereolab have been called "one of the most fiercely independent and original groups of the Nineties", and were one of the first bands to be termed "post-rock". Their primary musical influence is 1970s krautrock, which they combine with lounge, 1960s pop, and experimental music. They are noted for their heavy use of vintage electronic keyboards, and their sound often overlays a repetitive "motorik" beat with female vocals sung in English or French. Stereolab have stirred up controversy for the socio-political themes they incorporate into their work. Some critics say the group's lyrics carry a strong Marxist message, and Gane and Sadier admit to being influenced by the Surrealist and Situationist cultural and political movements. However, Gane is skeptical of labels such as "Marxist pop", and defends the band against accusations of "sloganeering".

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Sky Blue Sky is the sixth studio album by Chicago rock band Wilco, released on May 15, 2007 by Nonesuch Records. Originally announced on January 17, 2007 at a show in Nashville, Tennessee, it was the band's first studio album with guitarist Nels Cline and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone. Before its release, the band streamed the entire album on its official website and offered a free download of "What Light".

Sky Blue Sky was Wilco's highest debuting album on the Billboard 200 at number four. The self-produced album received mostly favorable reviews by critics. Publications such as PopMatters and Rolling Stone praised its maturity, while PlayLouder and Pitchfork Media criticized its "dad-rock" sound. While some critics praised the direct lyrical approach, others criticised it when compared to previous Wilco albums. The band licensed six songs from the Sky Blue Sky sessions to a Volkswagen advertisement campaign, a move that generated criticism from fans and the media.

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Credit: Jason Roth
Morningwood is a band from New York City, founded in 2001.

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