alternative rock

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jangle pop > mid 1980s > paisley underground

paisley underground:

stylistic origins: psychedelia / post-punk / garage rock revival / jangle pop
cultural origins: mid 1980s, California, US

The Paisley Underground was the most distinctive subgenre of jangle pop in the mid-’80s. Like jangle pop, the bands in the paisley underground revived the clean, chiming textures of folk rock, but they had a more psychedelic bent to their sound. Jangle-pop bands weren’t necessarily revivalists — they updated the ringing guitars and melodies of ’60s guitar pop for the ’80s — but the paisley underground was determined to keep the sound of the ’60s alive, through their music and their appearance. The paisley underground gained a dedicated following in the American underground during the mid-’80s, but their audience declined in the late ’80s and the scene soon disappeared.1“Paisley Underground Music Genre Overview | Allmusic.” Allmusic, 2018, http://www.allmusic.com/style/paisley-underground-ma0000012089.

The Dream Syndicate – Tell Me When It’s OverSalvation Army – She Turns To FlowersThe Three O’Clock – Jet Fighter:


neo-psychedelia > mid 1980s > dream pop

dream pop (or dreampop):

stylistic origins: alternative rock / gothic rock / neo-psychedelia
cultural origins: mid to late 1980s, United Kingdom

Dream Pop is an atmospheric subgenre of alternative rock that relies on sonic textures as much as melody. Dream pop often features breathy vocals and processed echo-laden guitars and synthesizers. Though the Cocteau Twins, with their indecipherable vocals and languid soundscapes, are frequently seen as the leaders of dream pop, the genre has more stylistic diversity than their slow, electronic textures. Dream pop also encompasses the post-Velvet Underground guitar rock of Galaxie 500, as well as the loud, shimmering feedback of My Bloody Valentine. It is all tied together by a reliance on sonic texture, both in terms of instruments and vocals.2“Dream Pop Music Genre Overview | Allmusic.” Allmusic, 2018, https://www.allmusic.com/style/dream-pop-ma0000012303.

My Bloody Valentine – SoonGalaxie 500 – Fourth of JulySpiritualized – Electricity:

fusion genres: ambient pop


mid 1980s > noise pop

noise pop:

stylistic origins: alternative rock / indie rock / pop / noise / drone / bubblegum / avant-garde
cultural origins: mid-1980s, United Kingdom and United States

Noise pop is a subgenre of alternative/indie rock developed in the mid-1980s in the UK and US that mixes dissonant noise or feedback with the songcraft more often found in pop music.

AllMusic: “Noise pop’s earliest roots lie in the Velvet Underground’s experiments with feedback, distortion, and drones. Its most recognizable forebears, however, are American alternative rock bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., who wedded rock song structures to thick sheets of guitar distortion. The first proper noise pop band was the Jesus & Mary Chain, whose groundbreaking 1986 debut Psychocandy pretty much birthed the style. Yo La Tengo, perhaps the most prolific and long-lived noise-pop band, debuted around the same time.

All through the ’90s, noise pop continued to enjoy an important and influential presence on the indie rock scene.”

The Flaming Lips – Shine on Sweet JesusThe Jesus And Mary Chain – Never UnderstandMercury Rev – Chasing a bee:

derivative forms: shoegazing


neo-psychedelia >1980s > shoegazing

shoegazing (shoegaze):

stylistic origins: indie rock / alternative rock / neo-psychedelia / dream pop / post-punk / noise pop / garage rock / experimental pop
cultural origins: mid to late 1980s, United Kingdom

The term “shoegazing” was coined by the British music press to ridicule the stage presence of a wave of groups who stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, often with their heads down; the heavy use of effects pedals meant the performers were often looking down at their feet during concerts. The term was often used contemporaneously with “dream pop”.

A loose label given to the shoegazing scene and other affiliated bands in London in the early 1990s was The Scene That Celebrates Itself. In the early 1990s, shoegazing groups were pushed aside by the American grunge movement and early Britpop acts such as Suede, forcing the relatively unknown bands to break up or reinvent their style altogether. In the 2000s, there was renewed interest in the genre among “nu-gaze” bands.

My Bloody Valentine – Only ShallowRide – Vapour TrailSlowdive – Slowdive:

shoegaze fusion genres: blackgaze, post-metal

shoegaze derivative forms: nu-gaze, post-rock


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