Brett Alan wrote:
Huh. I really don't know what Piper meant by that category. I can certainly say that with the major exception of #8, this isn't what I thought of when I saw the category name. I'm looking at it based on the college radio I was familiar with at the time (I worked at WNUR in Chicago). These bands were mainstream enough to get played on commercial stations. I was going to suggest Sonic Youth as number one and Big Black high on the list.
But maybe either way the grouping is just too vague.
"college rock" was a major and well known part in the history of Alternative radio.
Kind of surprised you consider R.E.M. "too mainstream" for such stations back then considering that for most of their early career, they heavily relied on college radio.
Well, to an extent. At the same time, though, they were getting mainstream radio play. "Radio Free Europe" hit number 25 on the Billboard rock chart and made the Hot 100. By 1987 they were having top ten hits. At the college radio station I worked at, and the ones we considered our peers around the country, they were too mainstream and didn't get played.
Such stations - and the artists they played - are mentioned often in histories of alternative music. Check out this Wikipedia
article and this Allmusic one
Neither of those give any sort of definition of what the term means. Clearly Tracy Chapman and Sonic Youth, who both appear on the Allmusic list, weren't part of the same genre, you know? Do you have a definition in mind?