The "Alternative" Thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by JCM, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    Nirvana was just a hyped up flavor of the month, not unlike Susan Boyle.
     
  2. JCM

    JCM Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    "Violator" is a good record but I agree about Songs of Faith, it definitely tried to hop on the train to "alternative nation". The Cure after "Disintegration" were certainly a mixed bag. "A Letter to Elise" is one of the prettiest songs they ever did. That single is terrific, but the rest of "Wish" and pretty much everything after are a tough slog for me too. I still liked U2 through "Zooropa" although they had basically turned into a parody of themselves by then, don't get me started on "Pop". Their last fully solid outing was probably "Achtung Baby" but even with that record you can tell they were struggling with who they wanted to be going forward.

    My take on REM is that my favorites of theirs are with Scott Litt producing ("Document" through "New Adventures in Hifi"). And I fully at admit "Monster" is a mixed bag as is "Out of Time". And after Bill Berry left — forget it. Of course love the early IRS stuff to, it's probably technically their best.

    Sometimes bands don't know when to quit. REM probably should've quit after Bill Berry left. U2 probably should've quit after "Zooropa". The Cure probably should've been done after "Wild Mood Swings".

    Then some bands like Pavement quit before they tarnished their legacy. And no I'm not saying the other bands tarnished their legacy, they just kept the train rolling way past the station.
     
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  3. JCM

    JCM Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    You cannot be serious.
     
  4. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    Wow, you couldn't possibly be more wrong.

    Nevermind's popularity was organic, not manufactured. A month after it was released, it was just another grunge album. Rolling Stone wrote a short, fairly dismissive review, and moved on. It wasn't until a few months *later* that it began to skyrocket. If there was ever an example in music of lots of people loving something simply because they heard it, it was Nevermind. As another pointed out, Nevermind was able to distill the zeitgeist and combine it with catchy choruses.
     
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  5. Rocky's Owner

    Rocky's Owner I Don't Rent Air

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Trouser Press Record Guide! I used to read that cover to cover and found all kinds of cool bands, it was a real goldmine. I think I had the 3rd edition too.
     
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  6. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    It was the best edition before the 4th removed a ton of entries to make room for newer bands.
     
  7. Rocky's Owner

    Rocky's Owner I Don't Rent Air

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    And stolen riffs from Killing Joke. I was surprised when that album blew up. I remember buying it the month it came out and thinking "meh". Then a year or so later it was the biggest thing in the 90s.
     
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  8. zphage

    zphage inappropriately touching the out of touch

    One of great re-imagining of a band's orientation direction, but the first three had their own ethereal power during a time of many power chords.
     
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  9. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    I was never the biggest fan (the only Nirvana albums I still play at all are In Utero and Unplugged, and really not all that much). I'm just talking about the phenomena of Nirvana. Whatever else they became *after* they became famous, I don't think that they got famous because of marketing, but because Nevermind connected with audiences organically.
     
  10. JCM

    JCM Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    One riff, for "Come As You Are"; which Killing Joke got from The Damned.

     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  11. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    I saw nothing "catchy" about Nirvana or most things 90's. I equate the album's success to the same sort of saturated influence that has young people buying new vinyl today, playing it on a $99 turntable with a ballpoint "needle" plugged into a USB port on their PC and and thinking it sounds so "warm" compared to a CD. I watched people who didn't care for the album start claiming to like it after it was continuously shoved down their throat and told how cool and "revolutional" regurgitated punk was.
     
  12. Rocky's Owner

    Rocky's Owner I Don't Rent Air

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Ha ha yeah I forgot about The Damned.
     
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  13. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    I might feel differently if I was a bit older. But I was still a kid in the early '80s and didn't hear about U2 until 1984/85 or so.
     
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  14. Scott Davies

    Scott Davies Forum Resident

    I was a kid in the early 80's and MTV played their videos regularly, but I didn't buy my first U2 album until 1984. So for me the holy trilogy is October/War/Unforgettable Fire. Not discounting Boy but I prefer the others, save the occasional preachy single, i.e. Sunday and Pride.
     
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  15. JCM

    JCM Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    Indeed. Everything about Nirvana's ascendancy was organic. Geffen originally pressed 20,000 tapes, albums and cds so clearly they didn't think it would blow up. Danny Goldberg recalls in his Kurt Cobain book that KC expected to maybe sell 30,000. Even at the time the Pixies were only selling 80,000 to 100,000 units.

    NEVERMIND blew up because of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" dropping into the rotation of MTV during daylight hours. And it did that because Amy Finnerty famously gave it a chance on "120 Minutes" to begin with and it took off like a rocket.

    Organic is the word I come back to. The scene needed curators and taste-makers but the success was wholly organic and driven by demand of viewers and listeners.
     
  16. vinyl diehard

    vinyl diehard Two-Channel Forever

    Funny that much alternative music was revitalization of the older styles that came before it.
     
  17. JCM

    JCM Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    I would be a fool to try and refute this, so I won't. Indeed I would argue that the end of the "alternative era" (whatever that is to reader...1994...1996...1999...whatever) is really the end of something larger.

    But that's probably for another thread.
     
  18. vinyl diehard

    vinyl diehard Two-Channel Forever

    I get your points though. I enjoyed the 90, 91, 92 years in alternative music. Bands like Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, AiC, etc made me feel like music was back on track. For a little while anyway.:)
     
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  19. zphage

    zphage inappropriately touching the out of touch

    The underside of these commercial break outs was college radio supporting the Godfathers, Hoodoo Gurus, Replacements, Screaming Blue Messiahs, Dead Can Dance, Legendary Pink Dots, Volcano Suns, Silos, Husker Du, all the SST bands, Homestead bands, pre Geffen Sonic Youth and the rest of NYC's art damage losers, etc., By '87 Sinead O'Connor was gonna come up roaring big with her debut.
     
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  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    Sadly U2's popularity has led to folks forgetting that the brilliant first three U2 albums were alternative and groundbreaking in their own way at the time.
    Unforgettable Fire was a step in another, musically and commercially successful direction, and Joshua Tree was the same again. Rattle And Hum would probably have been better received as just a straight new studio album, but the studio tracks are still excellent. Then there is Achtung Baby, which was another step in another different direction that was musically and commercially successful. Zoopropa the same again, and although I am not a fan of "Pop", they did it again.
    U2's first 8-9 albums are all remarkably strong, and they kept on diving into new territory. ... These days people seem more concerned about whether they like Bono or not lol
     
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  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    I have been buying music since 1980. I will be the first to admit that, depending on where you were looking, the late eighties had a bit of a lull.

    When "grunge" "Alternate" "insert tag here" hit, I enjoyed it. To me though, it was just a return to rock... I honestly didn't get the whole big deal about this new form of music", it was just rock music to me. Good rock music, sure, but I didn't find it amazingly groundbreaking. Perhaps from an industry point of view it was, I honestly don't know.
    I certainly saw some music videos in the eighties, they were like a scar on the tv. They were certainly a stain on the industry in many ways, because everyone knew that to get to the tv generation, you just needed a good video .. the song became an afterthought in many zones. I never watched MTV, to me it was like the pop charts - some good stuff, and a lot of stuff that was just there, and popular at the time.
    anyhow.... lets get back to that depending on where you were looking thing.

    Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
    1986 - Your Funeral My Trial
    1988 - Tender Prey
    1990 - The Good Son
    1992 - Henry's Dream
    Totally alternative to anything that was huge. They were musical, lyrical and of their own design.

    Go Betweens
    1986 - Liberty Belle and The Black Diamond Express
    1987 - Tallulah
    1988 - 16 Lovers Lane
    Indie, alternative, excellent

    The Triffids
    1986 - Born sandy Devotional
    1986 - In The Pines
    1087 - Calenture

    The Scientists
    1985 - You Get What You Deserve
    1986 - Weird Love
    1987 - The Human Jukebox
    Certainly indie and alternative. Kim Salmon the band leader went on to form several bands, and they were all alternative, indie bands.

    The Stems
    1987 - At First Sight, Violets Are Blue

    The Church
    1985 - Hey Day
    1988 - Starfish
    1990 - Gold Afternoon Fix.

    Hoodoo Gurus
    1984 - Stoneage Romeos
    1985 - Mars Needs Guitars
    1987 - Blow Your Cool
    1989 - Magnum Cum Louder

    I mean the list can go on and on, but they are all alternative, indie, rock bands, making music against the trend.

    I often feel that the US was in a musical rut perhaps, and that is why so many were so effected by the onset of 1991/2.
    There is always great music around, and I personally don't believe the hype of any of the particular eras that are constantly getting hyped about how great that small section in time was compared to everything else.

    I am just thankful that there is, and has always been great music around if one is looking for it.
     
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  22. wellhamsrus

    wellhamsrus Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Canberra
    I think this is a myth. He actually killed himself, but what do I know?
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  23. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road

    The only thing I know Kurt Cobain was upset about, was he felt that Nevermind was produced like a hard rock, metal album.
    He wasn't trying to avoid selling albums, or becoming popular for their music. The real strain Kurt had was balancing off his indie credibility, with the bands sudden enormous success. Unfortunately having developed an addiction issue didn't help him much with dealing with the situation.
     
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  24. JCM

    JCM Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    He did indeed, but I don’t believe his suicide the end result of his success.

    Take this for what it’s worth. While promoting his book about his time working for KC, Danny Goldberg said the following:

    BBC Music: The general perception of Kurt Cobain is someone who was immensely talented but complex, dark and, in many ways, an unwilling participant of Nirvana's success. But you paint another picture, of a person who was much more in control and calculating about the band's image and success.

    Goldberg: Oh, he was the architect of Nirvana's success. He made every single decision. He wrote all the songs, all the famous songs, anyway, the lyrics and the music. He made the final decisions about every mix, about the mastering. He designed the album covers. He was the lead singer and the lead guitar player. He did most of the interviews. He storyboarded the videos. He designed the T-shirts, and he paid attention 24/7 to this career that he had imagined when he was younger, and that he executed in an extremely sophisticated level. There were aspects of the results of success that he didn’t like. He certainly detested the media interest in his personal life, and he wasn't crazy about being recognised if he went to the store or something like that. But he created it. It didn’t happen by accident.
     
  25. zphage

    zphage inappropriately touching the out of touch

    @mark winstanley

    From '84 onward there was a very steady and healthy stream of Australian bands, many Citadel acts, touring and getting college radio airplay in the US: Hard Ons, Screaming Tribesman, Lime Spiders, Celibate Rifles, feedtime, turnbuckles, along with major label acts like the Oils, cruel sea, Australian Crawl, Hoodoos, etc.,
     
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