A lot of people hate it, but I can't really think of a better term for that kind of music. If you say "country" people think of Toby Keith or Dierks Bently or Blake Shelton. If you say "alternative rock" they're thinking any number of things ranging from Rage Against the Machine to Beck to U2 to whatever.
The music that gets the "alt country" almost always bears a ton of influences from both classic rock and traditional country music, but you can't really call it "rock" or "country". You couldn't play it on country radio, and you couldn't play it on rock radio. Somehow, you have to differentiate that style of music and come up with a commonly understood term to do so. So I guess I'm ok with the term "alt country", although I wish there was something better.
In 1984, I was hospitalized for approaching perfection.
A late entry for me is Alt-J's album An Awesome Wave. This is actually one of the best albums I've heard in years. It's one of those albums that's meant to be listened to start to finish as one listening experience. I usually don't start it unless I know I have 45 minutes to listen to the whole thing.
"Always go swimming with a buddy, work real hard and always study."
--Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Band
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Iowa State vs. George Mason (Diamond Head Classic)