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Underground music is music with practices perceived as outside, or somehow opposed to, mainstream popular music culture. Underground music is intimately tied to popular music culture as a whole, so there are important tensions within underground music because it appears to both assimilate and resist the forms and processes of popular music culture.
Underground music may be perceived as expressing sincerity, intimacy, freedom of creative expression in opposition to those practices deemed formulaic or commercially driven. Notions of individuality non-conformity are also commonly deployed in extolling the virtue of underground music. There are examples of underground music that are particularly difficult to encounter, such as the underground rock scenes in the pre-Mikhail Gorbachev Soviet Union, in which has amassed a devoted following over the years (most notably for bands such as Kino). However, most underground music is readily accessible, although performances and recordings may be difficult for the uninitiated to find.[ citation needed ]
Some underground styles eventually became mainstream, commercialized pop styles, such as the underground hip hop style of the early 1980s.[ citation needed ] In the 2000s, the increasing availability of the Internet and digital music technologies has made underground music easier to distribute using streaming audio and podcasts. Some experts in cultural studies now argue that "there is no underground" because the Internet has made what was underground music accessible to everyone at the click of a mouse. One expert, Martin Raymond, of London-based company The Future Laboratory, commented in an article in The Independent , saying trends in music, art, and politics are:
... now transmitted laterally and collaboratively via the internet. You once had a series of gatekeepers in the adoption of a trend: the innovator, the early adopter, the late adopter, the early mainstream, the late mainstream, and finally the conservative. But now it goes straight from the innovator to the mainstream.
In effect, this means a boy band (for instance) could be influenced by a (formerly) obscure 1960s garage rock, early 1980s post punk, noise rock or composers of avant-garde classical music while maintaining recognizability as a boy band.
The term "underground music" has been applied to various artistic movements, for instance the psychedelic music movement of the mid-1960s, but the term has in more recent decades come to be defined by any musicians who tend to avoid the trappings of the mainstream commercial music industry. Frank Zappa attempted to define "underground" by noting that the "mainstream comes to you, but you have to go to the underground."In the 1960s, the term "underground" was associated with the hippie counterculture and psychedelic drugs, and applied to journalism and film as well as music, as they sought to communicate psychedelic experiences and free love ideals. In modern popular music, the term "underground" refers to performers or bands ranging from artists that do DIY guerrilla concerts and self-recorded shows to those that are signed to small independent labels. In some musical styles, the term "underground" is used to assert that the content of the music is illegal or controversial, as in the case of early 1990s death metal bands in the US such as Cannibal Corpse for their gory cover art and lyrical themes. Black metal is also an underground form of music and its Norwegian scene are notorious for their association with church burnings, the occult, murders and their Anti-Christian views. All of extreme metal is considered underground music for its extreme nature. Gothic and Industrial are two other types of underground music originating in the late 1970s to mid 1990s with goth rock centering around vampires, black magic and the occult and Industrial using primarily computer generated sounds and hard driving beats.
In a CounterPunch article, Twiin argues that "Underground music is free media", because by working "independently, you can say anything in your music" and be free of corporate censorship.The genre of post-punk is often considered a "catchall category for underground, indie, or lo-fi guitar rock" bands which "initially avoided major record labels in the pursuit of artistic freedom, and out of an 'us against them' stance towards the corporate rock world", spreading "west over college station airwaves, small clubs, fanzines, and independent record stores." Underground music of this type is often promoted through word-of-mouth or by community radio DJs. In the early underground scenes, such as the Grateful Dead jam band fan scenes or the 1970s punk scenes, crude home-made tapes were traded (in the case of Deadheads) or sold from the stage or from the trunk of a car (in the punk scene). In the 2000s, underground music became easier to distribute, using streaming audio and podcasts.
A music underground can also refer to the culture of underground music in a city and its accompanying performance venues. The Kitchen is an example of what was an important New York City underground music venue in the 1960s and 1970s. CBGBis another famous New York City underground music venue claiming to be "Home of Underground Rock since 1973".
Punk rock is a music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s. Rooted in 1960s garage rock, punk bands rejected the perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often shouted political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.
The punk subculture includes a diverse and widely known array of ideologies, fashion, and other forms of expression, visual art, dance, literature and film. Largely characterised by anti-establishment views, the promotion of individual freedom, and the DIY ethics, the culture originated from punk rock.
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, developing into a range of different styles in the mid-1960s and later, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style that drew directly from the blues and rhythm and blues genres of African-American music and from country music. Rock also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical, and other musical styles. For instrumentation, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass guitar, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music with a 4
4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
Alternative rock, or alt-rock, is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1990s. "Alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream or commercial rock or pop music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to musicians influenced by the musical style or independent, DIY ethos of late-1970s punk rock.
The music of New York is a diverse and important field in the world of music. It has long been a thriving home for popular genres such as jazz, rock, soul music, R&B, funk, and the urban blues, as well as classical and art music. It is the birthplace of hip hop, garage house, boogaloo, doo wop, bebop, punk rock, disco, and new wave. It is also the birthplace of salsa music, born from a fusion of Cuban and Puerto Rican influences that came together in New York's Latino neighborhoods in the 1960s. The city's culture, a melting pot of nations from around the world, has produced vital folk music scenes such as Irish-American music and Jewish klezmer. Beginning with the rise of popular sheet music in the early 20th century, New York's Broadway musical theater, and Tin Pan Alley's songcraft, New York has been a major part of the American music industry.
The Music of South Korea has evolved over the course of the decades since the end of the Korean War, and has its roots in the music of the Korean people, who have inhabited the Korean peninsula for over a millennium. Contemporary South Korean music can be divided into three different main categories: Traditional Korean folk music, popular music, or K-pop, and Western-influenced non-popular music.
Popular music of the United Kingdom in the 1980s built on the post-punk and new wave movements, incorporating different sources of inspiration from subgenres and what is now classed as world music in the shape of Jamaican and Indian music. It also explored the consequences of new technology and social change in the electronic music of synthpop. In the early years of the decade, while subgenres like heavy metal music continued to develop separately, there was a considerable crossover between rock and more commercial popular music, with a large number of more "serious" bands, like The Police and UB40, enjoying considerable single chart success. The advent of MTV and cable video helped spur what has been seen as a Second British Invasion in the early years of the decade, with British bands enjoying more success in America than they had since the height of the Beatles' popularity in the 1960s. However, by the end of the decade a fragmentation has been observed, with many new forms of music and sub-cultures, including hip hop and house music, while the single charts were once again dominated by pop artists, now often associated with the Hi-NRG hit factory of Stock Aitken Waterman. The rise of the indie rock scene was partly a response to this, and marked a shift away from the major music labels and towards the importance of local scenes like Madchester and subgenres, like gothic rock.
Australian indie rock is part of the overall flow of Australian rock history but has a distinct history somewhat separate from mainstream rock in Australia, largely from the end of the punk rock era onwards.
Acid rock is a loosely defined type of rock music that evolved out of the mid-1960s garage punk movement and helped launch the psychedelic subculture. Named after lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), the style is generally defined by heavy, distorted guitars, lyrics with drug references, and long improvised jams. Much of the style overlaps with 1960s garage punk, proto-metal, and early heavy, blues-based hard rock.
American rock has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and country music, and also drew on folk music, jazz, blues, and classical music. American rock music was further influenced by the British Invasion of the American pop charts from 1964 and resulted in the development of psychedelic rock.
German rock music (Deutschrock) came into its own only by the late 1960s, but spawned many bands spanning genres such as krautrock, Neue Deutsche Welle, heavy metal, punk, and industrial.
Rock music and its subgenres are very popular in Portugal. The history of the Portuguese rock music scene spans several decades.
Music history of the United States includes many styles of folk, popular and classical music. Some of the best-known genres of American music are blues, jazz, rock and roll, rock, hip hop, house, and country. The history began with the Native Americans, the first people to populate North America. The music of these people was highly varied in form, and was mostly religious in purpose.
American popular music has had a profound effect on music across the world. The country has seen the rise of popular styles that have had a significant influence on global culture, including ragtime, blues, jazz, swing, rock, bluegrass, country, R&B, doo wop, gospel, soul, funk, punk, disco, house, techno, salsa, grunge and hip hop. In addition, the American music industry is quite diverse, supporting a number of regional styles such as zydeco, klezmer and slack-key.
While Denver may not be as recognized for historical musical prominence like such cities as Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago or New York City, it still manages to have a very active popular, jazz, and classical music scene, which has nurtured many artists and genres to regional, national, and even international attention. Though nearby Boulder, Colorado has its own very distinct music scene, they are intertwined and often artists based there also play in Denver.
Neo-psychedelia is a diverse genre of psychedelic music and a subgenre of alternative rock that originated in the 1970s. Its practitioners drew from the unusual sounds of 1960s psychedelia, either updating or copying the approaches from that era. It initially developed as an outgrowth of the British post-punk scene, where its alternative name acid punk was originated. After post-punk, neo-psychedelia flourished into a more widespread and international movement of artists who applied the spirit of psychedelic rock to new sounds and techniques.
Psychedelic music is a wide range of popular music styles and genres influenced by 1960s psychedelia, a subculture of people who used psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, and cannabis to experience synesthesia and altered states of consciousness. Psychedelic music may also aim to enhance the experience of using these drugs and has been found to have a significant influence on psychedelic therapy.
The history of the punk subculture involves the history of punk rock, the history of various punk ideologies, punk fashion, punk visual art, punk literature, dance, and punk film. Since emerging in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in the mid-1970s, the punk subculture has spread around the globe and evolved into a number of different forms. The history of punk plays an important part in the history of subcultures in the 20th century.
Garage punk is a rock music fusion genre combining the influences of garage rock, punk rock, and other forms, that took shape in the indie rock underground between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Bands drew heavily from 1960s garage rock, stripped-down 1970s punk rock, and Detroit proto-punk, and often incorporated numerous other styles into their approach, such as power pop, 1960s girl groups, hardcore punk, blues and early R&B, and surf rock.