What Is Modern Alternative Music – The Definition

Posted by Mike Schumacher

Firstly, the definition of “modern alternative music”, we can say that modern alternative music is rock music with less of a punk sound than in previous years and more of an alternative sound in the vein of R.E.M, The National, Superchunk and a whole host of other artists whose music had been influential on indie rock, metal and punk rock acts.

The result being a more melodic form of rock music. The emergence of modern alternative music brought about bands such as The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Arctic Monkeys and The War on Drugs in the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

And a lot of the most recent albums in this genre include Arctic Monkeys’s AM and The National’s High Violet.

In fact, there are many bands that are viewed as part of this new era of alternative rock, such as Foo Fighters, Haim, and The Killers.

The 90’s indie rock scene is known as the start of modern alternative music, which has had a lot of impact on the mainstream pop culture, such as bands like Nirvana.

Nirvana’s impact on mainstream pop culture

drummer playing live

But what other influences are there that have shaped modern alternative music?

The iconic T.Rex’s Do You Believe in Gosh? was released in 1973, the same year that R.E.M released Automatic For The People, and the same year that The Clash released London Calling. The Pixies’ Doolittle was released the same year that Tool’s landmark album Lateralus.

The debut of bands such as Radiohead and The Strokes saw music with a much less aggressive and punk sound than other punk bands, but a whole new sound of alternative rock was found.

Just like punk rock, many alternative musicians came from underground punk and hardcore bands, which is where modern alternative rock gets its name.

The Clash, Radiohead, and the Arctic Monkeys were from these bands. Other bands such as Nirvana, Radiohead, and The Strokes came from bands such as The Libertines, Green Day and The Verve.

The Pixies and The Replacements are bands who started in hardcore bands before venturing into alternative music.

Artists That Made Modern Alternative Music

a guy playing jazz

In recent years, mainstream pop and rock music has been dominated by artists such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran, Ed Sheeran, and their like.

There are a lot of acts such as Little Mix and Demi Lovato whose rock music has been much more pop-focused.

But in terms of alternative music, there have always been a lot of great artists such as R.E.M, The Strokes, The Verve, Busted, Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, and The White Stripes.

Even though a large number of these bands are now firmly in the mainstream and no longer seen as alternative acts, a large number of alternative artists have had their peak and influence in the pop music landscape, and helped give rise to some of the more notable contemporary artists in the modern alternative scene.

Be prepared to hear a lot of artists that have influenced a lot of bands in modern alternative music in the next few paragraphs.

These are some of the most iconic alternative bands of the last 40 years.

The Cure – 1980 – 1994

The Cure is one of the most famous bands in alternative music history. Formed in 1978 by singer and songwriter Robert Smith, the Cure had their first two albums released on the independent record label Epitaph in 1980 and 1981.

These first two albums earned the band a reputation for producing moody music with an intense emotional response from the audience.

Their third album, Three Imaginary Boys (1982) saw them on the esteemed LTM label, which reissued all of the Cure’s singles on compact disc, and they were finally signed by major label EMI in 1984.

The Cure’s first album for EMI, Faith (1985), was produced by ex-Basement Jaxx and Fatboy Slim producer Jim Abbiss.

The band released five studio albums for EMI before leaving the company in 2000 to go on an independent-only hiatus. They later signed with BMG in 2011.

The Cure has sold over 40 million albums and singles, and earned countless awards, including winning the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album for their 2001 compilation Greatest Hits: The Best Of The Cure.

Their 2013 album 4:13 Dream was a mix of singles from the 1980s and three new tracks. The album was a commercial and critical success and was described as a return to form for the band by Billboard.

The Cure released the deluxe edition of the 4:13 Dream in July 2014, and their next album is the much anticipated Blackout on November 4, 2015.

They have announced that they will return to tour this fall, but have no confirmed dates.

Nirvana – 1991 – 1994

a man playing guitar

Nirvana was an alternative rock band formed in Washington State in 1987. In 1991, the band released their first major label album, Nevermind, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time.

The Verve – 1997 – 2002

The Verve was a four-piece British band formed in Manchester, England, in 1989. Formed by guitarist Richard Ashcroft, drummer Mike Joyce, and bassist Simon Jones, the band signed to Virgin Records in 1990.

Their debut album, A Storm in Heaven (1991), was re-released by Virgin in 1992 as Urban Hymns, and was a commercial success, having reached No. 3 in the UK, No. 6 in the US, and No. 2 in Australia.

The Verve later released Trampled Underfoot (1994), which peaked at No. 2 in the UK, No. 14 in the US, and No. 7 in Australia.

The Verve’s fourth and final album, Urban Hymns, was released in the US and UK in 1996, and did not do as well commercially as their previous releases, reaching No. 40 in the UK and No. 102 in the US.

The Verve also released several singles, including “Bittersweet Symphony,” “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” and “The Drugs Don’t Work.”

The band has sold over 14 million albums worldwide.


envelope linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram