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In simple terms, alternative refers to another possibility. When it comes to alternative music, alternative usually means a possibility beyond the mainstream choices. One of those catch-all genres, it can manifest in tons of different sounds. To learn more about alternative music and concerts in the genre, keep reading.
Alternative music—besides for being something “other” in the music world—is derived from several key genres: rock, punk, post-punk, heavy metal, punk rock and new wave. Some subgenres, such as alternative country, work other genres or inspirations into the mix, too. What gives alternative music a distinctive quality is that its melodies are distorted, its lyrics are subversive or controversial, and its audience is smaller. This is the type of music that springs up in underground venues, such as basements, garages, and other private, pulled together spaces. In its purest form, it is created by free-thinking, independent artists. Alternative music may also be called something like alternative rock, college rock, experimental rock, goth rock, indie, indie rock, progressive rock, shoegaze, or steampunk.
Long before alt was a marketing term or media management buzzword, alternative was used to describe new, developing sounds that were contrary to traditions and norms in other genres. In fact, it signified a type of counter-culture, almost as if in protest. Many consider this history of alternative music to be based on 1980s and 1990s countercultures, taking off in Europe before storming the United States in the punk era. Others pinpoint 1965 to its inception, when the Velvet Underground, MC5, and Captain Beefhart started creating novel sounds, in New York City, Detroit, and California, respectively.
Today, alternative is used broadly by labels to categorize anything that is not mainstream or designed for mass appeal. When searching for alternative music, groups that will surface include R.E.M., The Pixies, Nirvana, The Cult, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Radiohead, Soundgarden, Weezer, Sonic Youth, The Smiths, Muse, Stone Temple Pilots, Arctic Monkeys, Fall Out Boy, Foo Fighters, The Replacements, The Killers, The Black Keys, Husker Du, No Doubt, The Strokes, System of a Down, and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Regardless of your preferred persuasion of alternative music, there are a variety of artists, albums, songs and concerts within alternative to have your pick. There is something powerful and moving about seeing alternative music performed live. Musicians are unrestrained, creating something clamored together, of-the-moment, commenting on modern life. Even more watered-down adaptations of alternative are fascinating to listen to, capturing the musical style, even if the philosophical approach differs from alternative’s original incarnations in the music scene. Venture out and find your niche in the realm of alternative by buying some tickets now.