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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 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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Anodyne is the fourth and final studio album by alternative country band Uncle Tupelo, released on October 5, 1993. The recording of the album was preceded by the departure of the original drummer Mike Heidorn and the addition of three new band members: bassist John Stirratt, drummer Ken Coomer, and multi-instrumentalist Max Johnston. The band signed with Sire Records shortly before recording the album; Anodyne was Uncle Tupelo's only major label release until 89/93: An Anthology in 2002.

Recorded in Austin, Texas, Anodyne featured a split in songwriting credits between singers Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, plus a cover version of the Doug Sahm song "Give Back the Key to My Heart", with Sahm on vocals. The lyrical themes were influenced by country music and—more than their preceding releases—touched on interpersonal relationships. After two promotional tours for the album, tensions between Farrar and Tweedy culminated in the breakup of Uncle Tupelo. Well-received upon its initial release, Anodyne was re-mastered and re-released in 2003 by Rhino Entertainment including five bonus tracks.

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