Rock & Roll,Alternative/Indie-Rock

Industrial

Alternative Pop/Rock

Adult Alternative Pop/Rock

Dream pop

Goth Rock

Lo-Fi

Grunge

Shoegaze

Space Rock

Britpop

Post-Rock/Experimental

Funk Metal

Indie Rock

Paisley Underground

Jangle Pop

Alternative Country-Rock

Punk Revival

Post-Grunge

Third Wave Ska Revival

Neo-Psychedelia

Riot Grrrl


Rock

Rock & Roll is often used as a generic term, but its sound is rarely predictable. From the outset, when the early rockers merged country and blues, rock has been defined by its energy, rebellion and catchy hooks, but as the genre aged, it began to shed those very characteristics, placing equal emphasis on craftmanship and pushing the boundaries of the music. As a result, everything from Chuck Berry's pounding, three-chord rockers and the sweet harmonies of the Beatles to the soulful pleas of Otis Redding and the jarring, atonal white noise of Sonic Youth has been categorized as "rock." That's accurate — rock & roll had a specific sound and image for only a handful of years. For most of its life, rock has been fragmented, spinning off new styles and variations every few years, from Brill Building Pop and heavy metal to dance-pop and grunge. And that's only natural for a genre that began its life as a fusion of styles.


Alternative/Indie-Rock

Alternative pop/rock is essentially a catch-all term for post-punk bands from the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s. There is a multitude of musical styles within alternative rock, from the sweet melodies of jangle-pop to the disturbing metallic grind of industrial, yet are all tied together by a similar aesthetic — they all existed and operated oustide of the mainstream. In some ways, there are two waves of alternative bands, with Nirvana's unprecedented crossover success in 1991 acting as a dividing point. Throughout the '80s, the majority of alternative bands were on independent labels; those that eventually signed to major labels, such as Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, didn't break through to the mainstream and thereby were able to keep their hip credentials alive. If anything, Alternative Rock of the '80s was even more diverse and fractured than the mainstream; among the styles classified as alternative was roots rock, alternative dance, jangle-pop, post-hardcore punk, funk-metal, punk-pop, and experimental rock. All of these genres made into the mainstream, in some form or another, after Nirvana's success in 1991, but their edges were sanded down since many of the new alternative bands were signed by majors. Consequently, '90s altenative rock often sounds more sanitized and homogenous than its counterpart, especially since the heavier material proved to have greater commercial appeal than the quieter or quirkier elements of alternative rock. Most of these idiosyncratic bands didn't sign to majors (those that did quickly disappeared), deciding to stick to independent labels, where they had more artistic freedom. These bands were grouped together under the term indie rock. Although the term had been around since the '80s, in the '90s it connotated bands that were dedicated to their own independent status, either for musical or hipness reasons.

Indie Rock

Indie rock takes its name from "independent," which describes both the do-it-yourself attitudes of its bands and the small, lower-budget nature of the labels that release the music. The biggest indie labels might strike distribution deals with major corporate labels, but their decision-making processes remain autonomous. As such, indie rock is free to explore sounds, emotions, and lyrical subjects that don't appeal to large, mainstream audiences — profit isn't as much of a concern as personal taste (though the labels do, after all, want to stay in business). It's very much rooted in the sound and sensibility of American underground and alternative rock of the '80s, albeit with a few differences that account for the changes in underground rock since then. In the sense that
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us the term is most widely used, indie rock truly separated itself from alternative rock around the time that Nirvana hit the mainstream. Mainstream tastes gradually reshaped alternative into a new form of serious-minded hard rock, in the process making it more predictable and testosterone-driven. Indie rock was a reaction against that phenomenon; not all strains of alternative rock crossed over in Nirvana's wake, and not all of them wanted to, either. Yet while indie rock definitely shares the punk community's concerns about commercialism, it isn't as particular about whether bands remain independent or "sell out"; the general assumption is that it's virtually impossible to make indie rock's varying musical approaches compatible with mainstream tastes in the first place. There are almost as many reasons for that incompatibility as there are indie-rock bands, but following are some of the most common: the music may be too whimsical and innocent; too weird; too sensitive and melancholy; too soft and delicate; too dreamy and hypnotic; too personal and intimately revealing in its lyrics; too low-fidelity and low-budget in its production; too angular in its melodies and riffs; too raw, skronky and abrasive; wrapped in too many sheets of Sonic Youth/Dinosaur Jr./Pixies/Jesus & Mary Chain-style guitar noise; too oblique and fractured in its song structures; too influenced by experimental or otherwise unpopular musical styles. Regardless of the specifics, it's rock made by and for outsiders — much like alternative once was, except that thanks to its crossover, indie rock has a far greater wariness of excess testosterone. It's certainly not that indie rock is never visceral or powerful; it's just rarely — if ever — macho about it. As the '90s wore on, indie rock developed quite a few substyles and close cousins (indie pop, dream pop, noise-pop, lo-fi, math rock, post-rock, space rock, sadcore, and emo among them), all of which seemed poised to remain strictly underground phenomena.
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