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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alts vs Alts

posted by on August 28 at 13:30 PM

Picking up on yesterday’s “alternative” vs “indie” thread (with respects due to Michaelangelo Matos’ fine Idolator post on the subject), allow me to direct your attention to the Stranger’s Bumbershoot Guide, in which you’ll find Monsters of Alt, a chart of the careers of Bumbershoot’s ’90s heavyweights—Superchunk, Beck, Stone Temple Pilots, and the Offspring. The piece props up the idea of “alt” that Matos (I think convincingly) rails against, that it’s specific to the ’90s. But hair-splitting aside, it’s really just an excuse to make fun of Scott Weiland for being a junkie and Beck for being a Scientologist.

But, if we can get serious again for a moment, Stranger reader Paul Waldrop II writes in with some important corrections:

Errors of note conserning STP in your Article:

No. 4 was released in 1999 not ‘97.

You failed to mention their 2001 album “Shangri-La Dee Da”

Paul Waldrop
Instictional Designer

Sent from my iPhone

Thank you, Paul. Our sincere apologies to anyone who’s ever listened to either of those albums, whenever they came out.

RSS icon Comments


Matos railed against "indie" in favor of "alternative".

Posted by josh | August 28, 2008 4:52 PM

Try again, Josh. I wrote:

The piece props up the idea of “alt” that Matos (I think convincingly) rails against, that it’s specific to the ’90s.

In his post on the subject, Matos rails agains the idea of "alt" being a term specific to only '90s rock, arguing that it makes more sense to use today than does "indie."

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 28, 2008 4:59 PM

Sorry. I might have misread your sentence. Or, at least I read it before I read the "Monsters of Alt" charticle.

I guess the reason I was confused is your parenthetical "convincingly". Does that mean that, joking about Bumbershoot's nostalgia rock acts aside, you also think that "alt" shouldn't be chained only to the 90s?

On intellectual grounds, I agree with the argument that "indie" is an even flimsier term and less tenable term. Emotionally, however, I'm not sure that I'm onboard for an "alt" revival. Alternative wasn't a great term then, a passing decade didn't make it any better. Why not kick them both into the dustbin of history and come up with something new?

To clarify: you're in favor of "alt" being a 90s-only term and

Posted by josh | August 28, 2008 6:47 PM

(ack! feel free to delete that last sentence fragment. it got lost in the text box.)

Posted by josh | August 28, 2008 6:49 PM

Did Scott Weiland beat up your grandma or something? Jesus Christ, man.

Posted by laterite | August 28, 2008 11:49 PM

@3, 4 - I think alternative and indie both have pretty specific meanings, neither of which need be tied to an actual genre/sound of music. independent is antithetical to corporate; alternative is antithetical to mainstream. Neither of those define a style of music so much as a place that music occupies in the market/culture. It's when those words become shorthand for style and lose their more literal meanings that we get into trouble. So, in short, I think both can still be valid but both are too often misused.

@5 - Yes. Yes he did.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 29, 2008 8:37 AM

Another error in your charticle, Grandy: "Mellow Gold" was not produced by the Dust Brothers. That was "Odelay."

Posted by Salmondave | August 29, 2008 2:11 PM

Thanks, Dave. That one I actually am bummed to have screwed up.

Posted by Eric Grandy | August 29, 2008 2:16 PM

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