― JoB (JoB), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 19:25 (fourteen years ago) link
― Alex in NYC (vassifer), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 19:28 (fourteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 19:29 (fourteen years ago) link
― JoB (JoB), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 19:30 (fourteen years ago) link
― chuck, Wednesday, 16 February 2005 19:33 (fourteen years ago) link
― Daniel Peterson (polkaholic), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 19:55 (fourteen years ago) link
― Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 21:08 (fourteen years ago) link
― Speedhump Bungle (noodle vague), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 21:12 (fourteen years ago) link
― Speedhump Bungle (noodle vague), Wednesday, 16 February 2005 21:13 (fourteen years ago) link
Lots of answers, all true.
I first heard "alternative" as a cultural distinction circa '88 at the Majestic movie theater in Madison, Wisconsin, not far from where Nirvana recorded the Nevermind demos a little later. A co-worker volunteering at the community radio station was talking about how she goes through the New York Times looking for stories that are "more alternative." I asked what that meant, and she said they emphasize "a more alternative perspective." "You mean leftist?" I said.
I honestly don't remember hearing it again until it was everywhere circa '92, but for a couple years, at least, it retained that sense of an entire alternative (and yeah, vaguely leftist) culture, basically the counterculture gone momentarily mainstream (and into comics, queer culture, DIY video, zines, etc.) by sheer force of demographics, with a SPIN/First Avenue/Lollapalooza/mid-'90s-MTV-type embrace of many genres, especially hip hop. I.e. it was mid-'80s punk ten years later, when there were more kids. That sense was quickly lost in "alt-rock," but stuck around in the phrase "alternative newsweeklies" and other uses.
"Indie" took hold at about the same time, but as I remember was almost entirely applied to film. "Indie rock" was more an economic distinction in the '90s (and a leftist one at that) than a stylistic one. It didn't come to be shorthand for a sound until circa 2001. (I remember, because I argued about it with my friend Melissa Maerz! "How can something sound like indie rock?") When "indie" started being applied to music on major labels, the transformation was complete. It's possible this was more popular regionally before, but I never heard "indie rock" in the '80s in Wisconsin.
One reason "indie" and "alternative" gained ground in the '90s was so many people began rejecting "punk," which always struck me as dumb. For me, the scene was an idea and a culture that could absorb a huge variety of music, and maybe create bridges to other scenes. It was always about politics and outrage and a sense of belonging, about creating something that's yours, which is why Public Enemy was such a bolt of electricity--the division from hip hop and metal now obviously racial and class-based.
Today "punk" means either the various DIY moshing undergrounds or a style of Top 40, which is hilarious. The vast in-between and all-around once associated with that scene is now called alternative and indie. The sad thing is that "punk" became a defensive term--anything emphatically not "alternative" (i.e. nothing radio would ever like) or emphatically not "indie" or "college rock" (i.e. nothing college radio would ever like). The emotional/political/community thing wasn't totally lost, but it drew back into a stylistic corner (or a series of them). The hardcore phenomenon of writing lyrics that are inaudible or incomprehensible without a lyric sheet seemed to take over in the '90s and '00s. But wasn't punk supposed to be about urgent communication and provocation?
― Pete Scholtes, Thursday, 16 December 2010 18:32 (eight years ago) link
Oh, and alternative high schools. That actually might be where it's had the longest association with punk rock, no? Sorry, I revived this out of my own interest, not responding to anything on the rock thread...
― Pete Scholtes, Saturday, 18 December 2010 06:51 (eight years ago) link
Not that it proves much, but I found 51 hits for "alternative music" on a news search engine from 1980-'85, nearly 700 for '85-'90 and "more than 3,000" for '90-'95.
― Pete Scholtes, Saturday, 18 December 2010 07:00 (eight years ago) link
pete - you should ch2eck out the google books ngram thread that jaymc started yesterday. I plotted the prevalence of "alternative rock" vs "indie rock" between 75 and 95, I think.
― Auto Mall Maniac (kkvgz), Saturday, 18 December 2010 12:27 (eight years ago) link
here's a few cool recent headlines from bold alternative rock music magazine Alternative Nation:
Kurt Cobain's Daughter Shows Off Backside In Hot Coachella PhotoVan Halen Disturbing List of Drugs at Show Allegedly RevealedEddie Vedder Has Surprising Reaction to Small Crowd at ShowSlipknot's Corey Taylor Makes Bold Quitting AnnouncementMetallica Intimidated Ozzy Osbourne In Front of Famous ActorKurt Cobain's Girlfriend Reveals If He Enjoyed Getting HeadMetallica Icon Gross Photo After Using Toilet RevealedOzzy Osbourne Disgusting Bathroom Accident RevealedSteven Tyler Filmed Pulling Down Pants at Aerosmith ShowKurt Cobain's Daughter Filmed Swimming in BikiniGavin Rossdale Reveals Bold Truth About Billy CorganLimp Bizkit Make Bizarre Kurt Cobain JokeKeith Richards Bizarre Shitless Photo RevealedVan Halen Icon Reveals What He Did With Keith Richards DaughtersSlash Reacts to Michael Jackson Pedophile AccusationsMick Jagger Brutal Disrespect of Led Zeppelin RevealedMotley Crue Reveal If They Hated Pearl JamKurt Cobain's Girlfriend Reveals How He Was 'Little Bitch'Red Hot Chili Peppers Singer Bizarre Haircut Revealed
― del griffith, Saturday, 27 April 2019 18:24 (seven months ago) link
― ☮ (peace, man), Saturday, 27 April 2019 18:43 (seven months ago) link
sorry, typo! should've been "Shit-Smeared"
― del griffith, Sunday, 28 April 2019 00:17 (seven months ago) link
this drives me mad at stores that still insist on maximizing their genre sections. Other day I noticed Joy Division was in Alt and New Order was PopRocks. what is that?! Did New Order overcome bring Alt?Nevermind there's also a fkn "Electronic" section!
― maffew12, Sunday, 28 April 2019 05:13 (seven months ago) link
Spotify have an Alternative 60s playlist which features The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals and other obscurities.
― Dan Worsley, Sunday, 28 April 2019 09:27 (seven months ago) link
OMG, that list is really bad. In what way is France Gall "alternative" besides the fact that she's French? I saw the "alternative 70s" playlist, and clicked on it thinking I'd find obscure German tracks and weird prog rock...but it had all stuff I've heard before, plus Blue Oyster Cult and Pink Floyd.
― Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? (I M Losted), Monday, 29 April 2019 00:46 (seven months ago) link
bet you didn't think anything interesting was still happening in the world of alternative music. well guess what? you were wrong and Brett Buchanan from Alternative Nation is right:
Eddie Van Halen Disgusting Kurt Cobain Bombshell Finally RevealedGuns N' Roses Icon Reveals Who Sexually Molested WomenHoward Stern Reveals What Really Killed Scott WeilandGuns n' Roses Icon Reveals Disturbing List of Drugs He DidVan Halen Icon Massive Bill for Alcohol RevealedBilly Corgan Reveals Heartbreaking Reason He Gained WeightChris Cornell's Widow Emotionally Reaches Out to Billy CorganVan Halen Icon Reveals Dark Kurt Cobain SecretDave Grohl Makes Bizarre Food Demand at ConcertKurt Cobain's Daughter Reveals Bizarre Chest PhotoEddie Vedder Made Bold Remark to A-List Star at BeachSteven Tyler Finally Reveals If He Dislikes Joe PerryCorey Taylor Fiance Reveals Slipknot Gay SurpriseEddie Van Halen Emotional Text to Sammy Hagar RevealedKurt Cobain's Daughter Shows Off Hot Abs TattooEddie Vedder Reacts to Bug Flying On Him During Performance
― del griffith, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 18:00 (six months ago) link
Tell me all your thoughts on God
― brimstead, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 18:32 (six months ago) link
Eddie Van Halen Disgusting Kurt Cobain Bombshell Finally Revealed
Sadly I searched that out, and from what I can gather the disgusting bombshell is that Kurt kissed Eddie hello upon meeting him backstage after a Nirvana show?
― Sam Weller, Wednesday, 29 May 2019 07:29 (six months ago) link
pic.twitter.com/NQz0VFqIr9— Silver Jews (@silverjews) July 12, 2019
― del griffith, Thursday, 8 August 2019 16:04 (four months ago) link