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Noise Pop

A subgenre of alternative/indie rock, noise pop is just what it says -- pop music wrapped in barbed-wire kisses of feedback, dissonance, and abrasion. It occupies the halfway point between bubblegum and the avant-garde, a collision between conventional pop songcraft and the sonic assault of white noise. Noise pop often has a hazy, narcotic feel, as melodies drift through the swirling guitar textures. But it can also be bright and lively, or angular and challenging. Noise pop's earliest roots lie in the Velvet Underground's experiments with feedback, distortion, and drones. Its most recognizable forebears, however, are American alternative rock bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., who wedded rock song structures to thick sheets of guitar distortion. The first proper noise pop band was the Jesus & Mary Chain, whose groundbreaking 1986 debut Psychocandy pretty much birthed the style. Yo La Tengo, perhaps the most prolific and long-lived noise-pop band, debuted around the same time. In the late '80s, noise pop was the chief inspiration for the British shoegazing movement, which made the lyrics more introspective and the melodies more fragile. All through the '90s, noise pop continued to enjoy an important and influential presence on the indie rock scene.

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