Music History

Alt-Rock: The 90s Are Back. Music is Also Turning Harder and Angrier. Thank God.

Blink-182. The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Prophets of Rage is an excellent facsimile of Rage Against the Machine. Rumours of a new Tool album. Garbage has an album and tour. Beck is on the radio with a new single. Weezer keeps plugging away with new material and tours. Add in new records from 00’s bands like The Strokes, Billy Talent, Hot Hot Heat, Sum 41, Yellowcard and Good Charlotte and it’s starting to feel like the pre-iPhone era all over again.

There’s more, too.

  • David Bowie has the year’s biggest-selling vinyl record with Blackstar. He hasn’t done this well with a record since the Earthling album in 1997.
  • DJ Shadow is back with The Mountain Will Fall, which some people are comparing to 1996’s Endtroducing
  • Dinosaur Jr. will release a new album entitled Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not August 5.
  • There’s a goddamn Descendents album, fer crissakes! Hypercaffium Spazzinate is their first record in 12 years!

Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but I get the feeling that alt-rock has turned a corner and is beginning to move away from the softer, introspective period that began to settle in after the success of banjo-era Mumford & Sons. Why? Because the world seems to be going to hell. It’s been a depressing year so far. A long, long list of celebrity (especially musician) deaths. ISIS. Massacres at home and abroad. Mass shootings. Zika. Suicide bombers. Brexit. Police shootings (them doing the shooting and also getting shot).

And it’s not going to let up anytime soon. Consider:

  • The Rio Olympics has the potential to be a financial, political, humanitarian disaster.
  • The far right is rising in Europe in response to immigration and violence.
  • The US election is the most divisive political campaign I’ve seen in our lifetime.
  • Donald Trump.

If all this doesn’t result in people responding with hard music expressing their anger, frustration and confusion, nothing will. But we’ll see, won’t we?

On a related note, MTV is launching a classic channel. From Rolling Stone:

MTV plans to rebrand VH1 Classic as MTV Classic starting on August 1st. According to a statement from the company, the new channel will focus on “an eclectic mix of fan-favorite MTV series and music programming drawn from across its rich history, with a special focus on the 1990s and early 2000s.”

The August 1st switch date has special significance, commemorating the launch of MTV 35 years ago on August 1st, 1981. The debut hour of MTV Classic will replicate the first hour of programming in MTV’s history. In a nod to modern technology, fans will also be able to watch “MTV Hour One” via Facebook Live on the channel’s Facebook page.

Read the whole article here. (Via Phil)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37843 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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