Alternative is an umbrella term that refers to an age of music spanning from the late-1980s to the mid-1990s. Yahoo music has a station devoted to '80s alternative, but these bands were not considered alternative in their day. Groups of this particular type had a following, but were often ignored for more established, money-making pop artists. Yet, some of them, such as the now-famous R.E.M. ...
The term Grunge was coined by Mark Arm, who later formed the popular group MudHoney in an attempt to describe this type of music. This term is often used synonymously with alternative music, but that is actually an entirely different genre altogether. Grunge is characterized by its strong guitar, deliberate distortion, and angst-ridden lyrics.