Alternative Rock: The Connections


Cage The Elephant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, NV

This week in Visual Music, we will be looking into alternative rock, which is my personal favorite genre. The magic of alt-rock is that it is so diverse, and so connected. So many different artists capture so many different sounds that all fit under the same category, so there is something for everyone.

Alt-rock’s roots are in classic rock and punk, but it branched out into a bunch of different subgenres, including grunge, britpop, and indie rock.


Alt-J at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA

Grunge music was established in the late 80’s to early 90’s, and completely shook the world’s perception of rock music. The most iconic grunge band was Nirvana, whose unique sound defied all the normalities of rock. They paired thought-provoking, controversial lyrics and clashing experimental chord progressions and rhythms with Kurt Cobain’s legendary voice to create a sound that no one had ever heard before. This gave rise to bands who achieved similar success, including Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and more.

Britpop was a British movement to take over grunge music and join the global alt-rock scene. This new music was similar to grunge, and it swept billboard charts when it first came out, proving Britain had a prominent place in the rock industry. Some of the most noteworthy bands that came out of this era include: Blur, Oasis, The Verve, and Radiohead.

Indie rock was the most modern form of rock music, and has a mass appeal, but not in the same way grunge and britpop do. Although it borrowed sounds from both genres, indie rock is known for staying out of the mainstream light. However, that did not mean indie artists went unrecognized. Indie music developed its own vast following that was separate from most popular music. Some of the pioneers for this genre were Beck, PJ Harvey, and Alanis Morissette.


Cage the Elephant playing The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, NV

Over the years, these main alt-rock subgenres have split apart, and created plenty more branches of alternative music. Let me know who your favorite bands/artists are in the comments below!

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Nothing But Thieves at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA

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