Everything you ever wanted to know about (BUT WERE TOO OLD TO ASK)

Were you baffled by press descriptions of the Mercury-winning Klaxons? Don't you know your Nu-rave from your Grindcore? You need Jonathan Brown's guide to music's proliferating genres

Acid-rave-sci-fipunk-funk: A brain-spinning sub-sub-genre much mentioned in yesterday's papers in connection with British pop's latest poster boys, the Klaxons (above right), this was specially devised by New Musical Express to describe the Mercury-winners. (See also Nu-rave, which used to be considered an adequate pigeonhole for them.)

Aggrotech: The Goth revival has breathed new life into this depressing techno-inspired early Nineties German techno outcrop. Modern practitioners, such as Norway's Combichrist (right), have inherited the mantle of pioneers such as Kevorkian Death Cycle.



B

Black Ambient: Nothing to do with mid-Eighties crooner Lionel Ritchie but rather a sinister anti-commercial variant of Black Metal overlaid with synthesisers. Middlesbrough-based Axis of Perdition draw on the inspiration of H P Lovecraft to explore such uplifting themes as mental illness and urban squalor.



C

Chemical Breaks: Epitomised by Fatboy Slim, factotum of goodtime geezerdom, who made the effortless transition from puny northern popster to spin some of the fattest tunes in clubland –via the advert-friendly Freak Power. His singalong anthems continue to make him a presence on the dance floor.



D

Darkwave: The early 1980s saw a crop of synth-based bands with floppy fringes and moody lyrics pick up where punk left off: think Depeche Mode and Tubeway Army (before Gary Numan went all Noel Edmonds). Today's exponents include Bangladeshi-born Shikee's Android Lust and tunesome duo Roger Fracé and Summer Bowman's Machine in the Garden. Got it?



E

Electroclash: Developed out of the hedonistic gay nights of the early millennium. High concept, some might say pretentious, adherents wax lyrical about the style's "hyper-sexual, post-feminist, post 9/11 stance". Opponents (and there are many) call it retro dance music for transvestites. The genre's biggest acts include Los Angeles's controversially named Dirty Sanchez.

Emo: Aficionados of emo now consider bands such as Dashboard Confessional and the now defunct Further Seems Forever to be part of the third generation of the so-called emotional music movement – a genre which first took root in Washington DC in the early Eighties. Since then we've had – naturally – emocore and its mid-period offshoot, screamo.



F

Folk Metal, Folktronica, etc: There was a time when a man with a guitar, a beard and a chunky jumper was all you needed to know about folk. Today there is Folk Metal, Freak Folk, Folktronica and even plain old Folk. Amid these sub-delights, south London's neo-medievalists Circulus and Southend balladeer Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly are some of the more colourful characters in the new folk revival.



G

Grindcore: see Hardcore.

Gypsy Punk: If Garage and Goth have become too mainstream (and Grindcore a bit 2005), why not try a dose of Gypsy Punk? Leading exponents are Gogol Bordello (formed by Eugene Hutz, a survivor of the Chernobyl disaster): the band take traditional Ukrainian string sounds and plug them into the mains.



H

Hardbag: Loved-up clubbers who liked to put their hands in the air as part of the life-affirming Handbag scene of the early 1990s were forced to step up the pace when Rollo and Sister Bliss blended the genre with Hardcore (see below) to bring a new grittiness to the dancefloor

Hardcore: Comes in a variety of densities – everything from Melodic to Happy to Christian. Also lends its name to practically every other style – punk, techno, hip-hop, house, bop even jazz – as well as spawning a bastard litter of suffix-influenced styles from Speedcore to Horrorcore. Grindcore, a genre invented in a true Spinal Tap moment by the drummer in Birmingham's very own Napalm Death, has itself split into a dizzying maze of sub divisions, among them Crustgrind, Cybergrind, Deathgrind, Noisegrind and even Pornogrind.



I

Indie: This benevolent umbrella covers a vast expanse of musical terrain – anything from the Smiths to Dirty Pretty Things. Originally referred to groups signed on minor labels but has become a discrete musical genre associated with a penchant for thrift shop clothes and an obsession with guitars. All too often, leading exponents horrify the idealists by hitching their stars to the majors as soon as possible.



J

Janglepop: More than 40 years after the Byrds sought to bridge the gap between the Beatles and Bob Dylan, the jangly guitar sound they spawned continues to influence bands – from the early REM to student stalwarts 10,000 Maniacs.



K

Krautrock: Who said the Germans have no sense of humour? What started as a term of abuse among mid-Seventies, mid-Atlantic rockers, has become a postmodern compliment in a country once thought of as the land that pop music forgot. Krautrock bands from the 1970s such as Tangerine Dream, Faust and Can gave way to Dusseldorf's mighty Kraftwerk who influenced a generation of British groups from post punk to dance.



L

Lovers' Rock: A term originally used to describe British homegrown reggae, it took its name from Dennis Lascelles Harris's New Cross record label. A lighter, more tuneful, less angry, apolitical sound than that bubbling up in other parts of the country such as Steel Pulse's Handsworth, the genre spawned a number of major acts including Aswad and Maxi Priest.



M

Mathrock: Mathrock fans are still celebrating the news that New York indie rock band Chavez had reformed. They are inheritors of a musical tradition that can trace its origins back to some of the more outlandish experiments with the 4/4 timing carried out by Captain Beefheart (above left) aka Don Van Vliet.

Musique Concrete: Invented by the French composer Pierre Schaeffer in the late 1940s, Frank Zappa flirted with this technological sound during one of his more inaccessible periods – witness The Apostolic Blurch Injector. The Beatles, buoyed by the success of the Concrete loop on "Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite", experimented with it on their most unlistenable track, "Revolution 9". It is enjoying an unlikely revival through the work of British DJ Squarepusher better known as Tom Jenkinson.



N

Nu-rave, Nu-prog, Nu-skool, etc: The addition of the word New – or more trendily Nu – has done for music exactly what it did for that tired old brand the British Labour Party. Klaxons, who scooped last night's Nationwide Mercury prize, are at the forefront of Nu-rave (the non-Nu version having gone out of fashion around the same time as Smilee T-shirts and Vicks Vaporub were a must have addition to a Saturday night out). Then there are Nu-prog, Nu-disco, Nu-folk and Nu-funk. Not to mention Nu-skool (once known as Old-skool), Nu-jazz, Nu Metal and Nu-nu-rave.



O

Obscuro: Music without a clear definitive genre. The United States of America and classic singer Lee Hazlewood are among the artists falling into this abyss.

Outsider Music: Places the Daniel Johnston's and sadly deceased Syd Barrett in a Camus-esque musical zone. Put it another way – it's music for loners.



P

Porn Rock: Find it on the top shelf of your local HMV (not), it tries to bridge the gap between sexuality and music. Bands use their lyrics, the way they behave onstage and their choice of (or lack of) dress to get their point across. Leading practitioners the Genitorturers have built something of an obsessive live following in their native US, Japan and Europe.

Power Pop: For something a little more sedate, Power Pop evokes an more genteel era when bands could get away with miming to a soundtrack on Top of the Pops. Brighton girl group the Pipettes keep the genre fresh with their singing-into-a-hairbrush harmonies and big choruses.



Q

Queercore: Forget disco, boystown or any of those other euphemisms from the dark old closet days of the 1970s. Queercore preaches a homosexual punk doctrine of misunderstood sexual and gender identity. It exists outside the mainstream, self-promoting by e-zines and fanzines operating away from both gay and straight scenes.



R

Riot Grrl: Technically this should be Neo-Riot Grrl but let's not split hairs. This is music for politically grown up Spice Girls' fans. Gossip are the new icons of the genre along with Le Tigre and Beth Ditto. Their philosophy is 'make yourself who you want to be'. Punk for feminists.



S

Shoegaze: Shoegaze was a phrase coined to describe the kind of band where the lead singer looks uncomfortably down at their shoes rather than desperately gazing into the audience hoping to feel the love. Yet, the music is far from boring, with fuzzy guitars and a wall of sound making the vocal sound tiny in comparison. The newly reformed Jesus and Mary Chain are past masters at the game.

T

Twee Pop: Dreamy, sickly-sweet melodies, jingley-jangley guitars and lead singers dressed to the nines in tweed, Twee Pop will have you reaching for your literary classics and buying new albums on vinyl. Listening to Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura or The Decemberists is bound to make your cheeks hurt from smiling ridiculously wide, while darning your socks.



U

Urban Jazz: The kind of thing 50 Cent might listen to on a Sunday morning before walking the pitbull. This is cool jazz with rap thrown in.



V

Vocal House: Big beefy bass lines, massive vocals by powerhouses such as Loleatta Holloway will make you dance, sing and hug strangers and tell them you love them. Basement Jaxx (left) are the ruling chart masters.

Video Gaming: Others are turning to the multibillion-pound Video Gaming Music market to make their fortune. Here bleeps and blips against drum machines mixed with pumping synth bass lines keep the kids clicking away on the consoles. Watch out for trendy newcomers Crystal Castles: they will be huge when this goes mainstream.



W

World Fusion: For those who find world music a little bit too Peter Gabriel, World Fusion blends sounds from across the globe which wouldn't – and some say shouldn't – be put together. Sri Lankan-born Briton M.I.A.'s latest offering, Kala, offers a good introduction.



X

Xoomii: Asian yodelling popularised for a Western audience by Bjork (far left) with her "challenging" 2004 vocal album Medulla. The sound is like nothing you've heard before, mixing heavy breathing and the swirling of phlegm to make something which some may find akin to the sound of fingernails on a blackboard.



Y

Yo-pop: Yo-pop: Catch it at Womad, this sound is huge in Lagos. Its biggest star is Segan Adewale (above left).



Z

Zombi Hip-Hop: Damon Albarn's virtual group Gorillaz (left) invented Zombie Hip-Hop as a phrase to describe themselves. It infuses elements of New York rap over slow burn grooves and electronics to create a dark, brooding sound which will release the flesh-eating monster within.



Additional reporting by Martin Broadley.

In

PAGES 10-11

They've won the Mercury – but will the Klaxons last?

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders