Over last few years, trends in music have pointed to a newfound interest in everything ’90s from hip-hop to house to grunge. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before the attention touched on noise rock, a genre deeply associated with the era, but by its very core, is less primed for revival than for progression. Born out of early experimental, no wave, punk and hardcore channels, by the late-’80s, noise rock became associated with bands as diverse as Big Black, Unsane, Sonic Youth, and The Boredoms, as well as independent labels like Amphetamine Reptile and Touch & Go.
In the alt-rock explosion of the 1990s, interest soared as close as it’s ever going to get to a fever pitch, leading to bands such as The Jesus Lizard and Butthole Surfers signing with major labels, despite their not-so-much commercial music. When the bubble burst, noise rock largely dropped off the media radar, but continued to morph and thrive in its natural environs of the underground. With the rise of Internet listening and the ongoing achievements of long-running groups such as the Melvins and Swans (previously considered some of rock’s ultimate outsiders), generations of new listeners have been increasingly captivated by these unconventional sounds.