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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, alt-rock or simply alternative) is a style of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular in the 1990s. In this instance, the word "alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream rock music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music. At times, "alternative" has been used as a catch-all description for music from underground rock artists that receives mainstream recognition, or for any music, whether rock or not, that is seen to be descended from punk rock (including some examples of punk itself, as well as new wave, and post-punk).

Alternative rock is a broad umbrella term consisting of music that differs greatly in terms of its sound, social context and regional roots. By the end of the 1980s, magazines and zines, college radio airplay, and word of mouth had increased the prominence and highlighted the diversity of alternative rock, helping to define a number of distinct styles (and music scenes) such as noise pop, indie rock, grunge, and shoegaze. Most of these subgenres had achieved minor mainstream notice and a few bands representing them, such as Hüsker Dü and R.E.M., had even signed to major labels. But most alternative bands' commercial success was limited in comparison to other genres of rock and pop music at the time, and most acts remained signed to independent labels and received relatively little attention from mainstream radio, television, or newspapers. With the breakthrough of Nirvana and the popularity of the grunge and Britpop movements in the 1990s, alternative rock entered the musical mainstream and many alternative bands became successful.

By the end of the decade, alternative rock's mainstream prominence declined due to a number of events that caused grunge and Britpop to fade and led to the hiatus of the Lollapalooza festival.

Selected article

Elliott Smith in 1998
Steven Paul Smith, better known as Elliott Smith, was an American singer-songwriter and musician. His primary instrument was the guitar, but he was also proficient at piano, clarinet, bass, harmonica and drums. Smith had a distinctive vocal style characterized by his "whispery, spiderweb-thin delivery", and use of multi-tracking to create vocal harmonies. Although born in the Midwest and raised primarily in Texas, Smith spent the majority of his life in Portland, Oregon.

After playing in the rock band Heatmiser for several years, Smith began his solo career in 1994 with releases on the independent record labels Cavity Search and Kill Rock Stars. He eventually signed a major label contract with DreamWorks Records in 1997, for which he recorded two albums. Smith rose to mainstream prominence when his song "Miss Misery", written for the film Good Will Hunting, was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category in 1998.

Selected album

Internationalist is the third studio album by Australian alternative rock band, Powderfinger. The album was released on September 7, 1998 and was often labelled Powderfinger's most adventurous work, with greater experimentation than in previous works. Internationalist received fairly positive reviewers in the Australian press, and cemented Powderfinger's position on the local music scene; however, the album failed to launch the band in the overseas market.

Internationalist followed in the success of its predecessor, Double Allergic, and was certified five times platinum in Australia. Internationalist received four ARIA Music Awards, including "Album of the Year". The album produced many singles for the band, including "The Day You Come", "Don't Wanna Be Left Out", "Good-Day Ray", "Already Gone" and "Passenger", which all appeared on Triple J's Hottest 100 poll in two consecutive years.

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KristinHershmikebaehrbw2b.jpg
Credit: Mike Baehr
Kristin Hersh performing with 50 Foot Wave at the Tractor Tavern, Seattle, Washington on 27 February 2004.

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  • The Alternative music WikiProject is a project that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in Alternative music related articles.
  • The aim of this project is to standardize and improve articles related to Alternative music, as well as to create missing articles.
  • To become a member of this WikiProject (anyone may join), simply click here - and add {{user|username}}.
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