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Studio Rock

'00s Studio Rock

by Barry Walters

'00s Studio Rock


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As alternative rock morphed into indie during the first decade of the new millennium, it also ramped up its studio chops. The garage rock trend coincided with the release of two hugely influential records absolutely antithetical to the back-to basics movement – Radiohead's Kid A and Sigur Rós' Ágætis byrjun. Experimental and awash with sound manipulation beyond the call of duty, these records didn't make lo-fi unhip, but they did suggest how contemporary bands could embrace technology wholeheartedly without sounding the least bit corporate.

Within a few years, even garage rockers like The Hives had embraced the new digital toys with dazzling hi-fi results. Keen to escape confining tags like "pop punk" and "emo," bands known for blaring buzz-saw guitars embraced the pomp and circumstance of prog, glam, baroque pop, psychedelia and other decidedly non-punk genres, and did it by polishing and expanding their studio game. The music industry may have crashed in the 2000s, but you wouldn't know it from all the mondo-produced sonic extravaganzas that sprung from even relatively modest home-recording rigs.

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