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Alt Rockers Go Country

by Dan Weiss

Alt Rockers Go Country

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Many were shocked by the jaunty country rock of "Pensacola" on Deerhunter's massively acclaimed 2013 album Monomania for being so uncharacteristic of the band, or The Men's shift from hardcore to strummy pastiche, like on "Candy." But from The Velvet Underground's original Dylanesque arrangement of "I Found a Reason" to Talking Heads' subtly strummed "Creatures of Love," alternative rockers from even before the genre existed have felt the need to dip their spurs in Americana.

The Magnetic Fields departed from their bedroom synth-pop to show Nashville expertise on the now-classic "Papa Was a Rodeo," while Green Day threw away the S&M novelty "Dominated Love Slave" early on. Beck's made somewhat of a second career of creaky tunes like "Canceled Check" and "Sissyneck," while Liz Phair's "Baby Got Going" and Death Cab for Cutie's "Little Bribes" make you wish they'd explore their twangy sides more often. Pearl Jam's Vs. even contained several honky-tonk-worthy guitar lines -- how about that solo in "Daughter"? With that, here's a small history of alt rockers putting on the cowboy hat.

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