alternative rock

alternative rock - page 9

early-1990s > Cocktail

Cocktail Music is essentially a revival of kitschy ’50s and ’60s easy listening genres like exotica, space age pop, and lounge music. Cocktail bands like Combustible Edison emerged in the early ’90s. They adapted the sound and style of lounge music, writing their own music and performing it affectionately, but with their tongue firmly planted in cheek.

dark wave > early 1990s > neue deutsche todeskunst

neue deutsche todeskunst (translated as “new german death art”):

stylistic origins: dark wave / gothic rock /neoclassical / german rock / german philosophy
cultural origins: early 1990s, Germany

Neue Deutsche Todeskunst (NDT, translated as “New German Death Art”) is a musical genre that developed in Germany in the late 1980s. It is credited with establishing the German language in the dark wave movement, although there were already such German bands as Xmal Deutschland, Geisterfahrer, and Malaria!

In the late 1980s, a number of German musicians combined music in neo-classical, gothic rock, and Darkwave styles with German philosophical texts and a highly theatrical stage show. The music was based on post-punk, cold wave, and gothic rock of bands such as Joy Division, The Cure, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the synthesizer-based new wave sound of bands like Depeche Mode. The words often paid deep homage to German philosophers like Andreas Gryphius, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche and Gottfried Benn, as well as international poets such as Georg Trakl,[3] Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The concerts of these groups put a great emphasis on costumes, lights, and pyrotechnics. The performances were designed to stimulate all the senses and convey an overall dark, brooding atmosphere. Lyrical themes include transience, evil, nihilism, surrealism, expressionism, existential philosophy, criticism of religion, violence, madness, isolation, depression, and especially death. As part of this movement, a number of bands use Classical Latin for their lyrics and album names.

The greatest Neue Deutsche Todeskunst hits include Gottes Tod by Das Ich (1990), Verflucht by Relatives Menschsein (1991), Der Ketzer by Lacrimosa (1991), Das Ende by Goethes Erben (1992) and Regentanz by Endraum (1992). Many NDT artists gravitated to the Danse Macabre record label.

Das Ich – Gottes Tod; Relatives Menschsein – Verflucht; Lacrimosa – Der Ketzer:


grunge > early 1990s > post-grunge


stylistic origins: grunge / alternative rock
cultural origins: early to mid-1990s, United States

Although it is a subgenre of alternative rock and hard rock, post-grunge was also originally a label that was used almost pejoratively on grunge bands that emulated the grunge sound and that emerged when grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam were popular.

Bands that were labeled almost pejoratively as post-grunge include Bush, Candlebox and Collective Soul. Post-grunge morphed in the late 1990s, with many bands different from the earliest post-grunge bands emerging.

Bush – Comedown; Candlebox – Far Behind; Collective Soul – Shine:

During the late 1990s, post-grunge morphed into a derivative of grunge that uses the sounds and aesthetics of grunge, but with a more commercially accessible tone. Post-grunge became popular in the 1990s and continued being popular in the 2000s. Post-grunge bands such as Foo Fighters, Puddle of Mudd, Staind, Nickelback, Creed, and Matchbox Twenty all achieved mainstream success.

Foo Fighters – The Sky Is A Neighborhood; Puddle Of Mudd – Stoned; Nickelback – Savin’ Me:


early 1990s > indietronica


stylistic origins: rock / electronic / krautrock / synthpop / dance music
cultural origins: early 1990s


early 1990s > britpop


stylistic origins: alternative rock / madchester / baggy / glam rock / punk rock / mod revival / power pop / baroque pop / hard rock
cultural origins: early 1990s, United Kingdom

britpop subgenres: new wave of new wave (NWONW), post-britpop

Britpop is a UK based music and culture movement in the mid-1990s which emphasized “Britishness”, and produced brighter, catchier alternative rock, partly in reaction to the popularity of the darker lyrical themes of the US-led grunge music, an alternative rock genre, and to the UK’s own shoegazing music scene.

The most successful bands linked with the movement are Oasis, Blur, Suede, and Pulp; those groups would come to be known as its “big four”.

Oasis – Wonderwall; Blur – Song 2; Pulp – Disco 2000:

The timespan of Britpop is generally considered to be 1993-1997, with 1994-1995, and a chart battle between Blur and Oasis dubbed “The Battle of Britpop”, being the epicenter of activity.

While the music was the main focus, fashion, art, and politics also got involved, with artists such as Damien Hirst being involved in creating videos for Blur, and being labeled as Britart or Britpop artists, and Tony Blair and New Labour aligning themselves with the movement.

Fans of Britpop also tended to be fans of dance acts such as The Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers. (Both having played at Knebworth in 1996)

Britpop bands show elements from the British pop music of the Sixties, glam rock and punk rock of the Seventies, and indie pop of the Eighties in their music, attitude, and clothing.

Alternative rock acts from the indie scene of the Eighties and early Nineties were the direct ancestors of the Britpop movement.

The influence of the Smiths is common to the majority of Britpop artists.


Neo-glam is not a term for ’80s hair-metal bands, but rather an offshoot of Britpop that, like the Britpop movement itself, was ushered in by Suede.

Suede set the style for neo-glam by taking the stomping rockers and sweeping ballads of glam-era David Bowie and combining them with Morrissey’s introspective romanticism — a fusion that was, naturally, heavy on male androgyny.

The Britpop bands who followed Suede also looked to quintessentially British influences, but a small cadre concentrated specifically on reviving the stylish excess of ’70s glam — bands including the Auteurs, Nancy Boy, Placebo, and Spacehog. The neo-glam phenomenon was largely confined to Britain, although Spacehog (not coincidentally the least androgynous of the bunch) did manage a small breakthrough with American audiences.

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