Collection: Essential Alternative Albums

There have always been outliers in the music industry, artists who don't represent the popular interests of the time. For the first few decades of recorded music, those voices were rarely captured. As pop music sales soared in the 1950's outsider music, the iconoclasts that help to define subcultures, started to get more representation in the medium of recordings. More often than not these non-conforming artists are the avant-garde which the mainstream slowly comes to absorb and imitate until the once experimental sound itself becomes the status quo. 1960's Garage Rock is arguably the prototype for this pattern, small bands who took the early rock sound and made raw, high energy, aggressive music that paved the way for Punk. Starting in the mid to late 70's a greater number of small record labels began releasing music that didn't follow the rules of mainstream popular rock. Ironically these dissenters often become centers of conformity themselves, as new outlying voices rise from burgeoning underground scenes in other pockets of the music world to take their place as the alternative sound. This small collection encompasses Punk, Post-punk, 80's College Rock, Goth, Shoegaze, Grunge, Indie, and other counter culture rock sounds that have augmented or outright rejected pop sensibilities every step of the way. - Scott Boutin