Alternative pop/rock is essentially a catch-all term for post-punk bands from the mid-'80s to the mid-'90s. There is a multitude of musical styles within alternative rock, from the sweet melodies of jangle-pop to the disturbing metallic grind of industrial, yet are all tied together by a similar aesthetic - they all existed and operated oustide of the mainstream. In some ways, there are two waves of alternative bands, with Nirvana's unprecedented crossover success in 1991 acting as a dividing point. Throughout the '80s, the majority of alternative bands were on independent labels; those that eventually signed to major labels, such as Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, didn't break through to the mainstream and thereby were able to keep their hip credentials alive. If anything, Alternative Rock of the '80s was even more diverse and fractured than the mainstream; among the styles classified as alternative was roots rock, alternative dance, jangle-pop, post-hardcore punk, funk-metal, punk-pop, and experimental rock. All of these genres made into the mainstream, in some form or another, after Nirvana's success in 1991, but their edges were sanded down since many of the new alternative bands were signed by majors. Consequently, '90s altenative rock often sounds more sanitized and homogenous than its counterpart, especially since the heavier material proved to have greater commercial appeal than the quieter or quirkier elements of alternative rock. Most of these idiosyncratic bands didn't sign to majors (those that did quickly disappeared), deciding to stick to independent labels, where they had more artistic freedom. These bands were grouped together under the term indie rock. Although the term had been around since the '80s, in the '90s it connotated bands that were dedicated to their own independent status, either for musical or hipness reasons.
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