The term Alternative, in terms of music at least, can mean one thing and one thing only; doing something different from the mainstream or even just the over-staurated genres/ scenes. It’s used endlessly by mainstream media to describe everything from Post-Black Metal to West Coast Rap and it’s about time someone came up with something better to call it.
Now every genre has its own name. That tends to be a given. Even if it’s an endless stream of sub-genres mashed together. My favourite example being the guy who got me into Fields of The Nephilim calling them Post-Avante Garde New-Romantic Modern Gothic Metal. All said without a flicker of irony or sarcasm in his voice. It’s a rarity, however, that these genre titles are widely used outwith publications concerned with them specifically. The papers will call anything outside of the Top 40 Alternative and television barely even labels anything, instead insisting on just calling it “music” regardless of what the music in question is concerned with. But what is Alternative about some of the music being labeled as such? Still, in spite of what is in my opinion an over-saturated music scene, indie music is called Alternative. Now from personal experience everyone and their grannys pet goldfish is in an indie band in one form or another. Almost every bill I have ever been involved with, unless deliberately aiming otherwise, has included at least 2 indie bands. Now I know that probably within indie music there is sub genres just like every other genre but for quickness’ sake I’m labeling indie as a branch all on it’s own, just like rock or metal or hip hop etc. The charts are forever overflowing with a mixture between indie bands and the usual generic manufactured pop garbage designed to capture the attention of every mindless 14 year old for the next 3-6 weeks. In the wake of the brit-pop movement I find it hard to take someone seriously when they call something like indie Alternative because it has long since stopped being just that. I can abide metal or rock or rap being called Alternative even in spite of numerous chart successes simply because they are few and far between but when bands from the indie genre are topping the charts every few weeks then it can’t really be labeled alternative in any way shape or form can it? Or am I the only one who sees it this way.
I’m not sure what people are qualifying as alternative. Alternative to what exactly? With pop music changing and evolving into an ever more hideous beast all the time what exactly is alternative to it? Calling everything but just your usual pop rubbish alternative waters down the term and leaves a multitude of bands with no common ground all lumped together under one lazy title that does none of them justice. Every genre has its own quirks and oddities and differences that set it apart from other genres and within that it has it’s little sub genres that do the same thing. There’s a world of difference between East Coast and West Coast Rap. Same goes for Post-Black Metal and Black Metal, Blues Rock and Rockabilly and many many more. I don’t really expect everyone to bother themselves to use every bands exact sub-genre specification when talking about them casually since so many bands take it upon themselves to invent their own sub-genre title, my own band being guilty of it ourselves by christening our own brand of music “Narcoleptic Cunt Metal” but when it comes to publications and interviews and the likes then can someone please take steps and make an effort to break away from the use of alternative and allow it to mean something again? I don’t want alternative to mean someone playing 4 minute pop songs with a piano accompaniment because it’s been done a billion and one times before. I want alternative to only be used when someone decides to play 18 minute instrumental banjo music with a saxophone instead of vocals. That is alternative. Albeit I haven’t yet seem it done but when it happens it will be alternative. Not all music that doesn’t suffer some chart success is alternative so please, bother your arses to recognise it for what it is.
Mastodon performing Colony of Birchmen at the MTV Video Music Awards with Joshua Homme (x)
I remember watching this back in ‘07 when it aired and I was so excited, dancing around, flipping my shit…and then the next day I heard about what happened to Brent, and that fuzzy feeling kind of drained out of me.
OH MY GOD!
THE LOOK ON HIS FACE!
GO KENNY! XD