Over the past quarter of a century under our two monikers Upshot & Revolution, we have delivered over 2,000 DJ promos to the nation's alternative club nights on behalf of our client labels. The Alt. scene has always been hard to pin down, a multi-genre gathering point for young people who are looking for something more fulfilling the mainstream nightlife culture, a place to dance, sing along, hang with friends and make new ones. A safe haven to enjoy a wide range of music created by bands, producers, solo artists, experimental supergroups, an ever changing landscape that shines a light on the cultural nuances of their particular times. The diaspora of club nights under this banner range from indie, rock, left field dance and electronica, plus all it's attendant splintered sub-genres, a melting pot where you can actually see and feel a public reaction to new music.
Over 25 years, times and tastes have changed, begining at the burning embers of Grunge, through the heady days of Britpop, the mash-up meld of indie and rock and sampling that became Big Beat, the infiltration of Electronica, the influence of the internet age with out-of-nowhere one-hit-wonders, the post-punk revival, DIY to the no barriers multi hybrids of sound that make up todays left of centre artists.
As for the list, there's no particular governing rules, much like the spirit of the alt. club scene it's derived from; a mix of the biggest, most influential, some personal favourites, unexpected hits, and game changers. It's by no means a list of the best 100 tracks of the last 25 years in the alt. clubs, just cribbed from ones who passed from our hands as promos to those DJ's who rocked our worlds each weekend. The only rule was no more than 2 tracks from any given artist. It's not here to be judged, just enjoyed. If you ever frequented an alt. club night over the past 25 years, there might be something here you know and love, or something that you may hear for the first time and fall in love with. That's what indie clubbing was all about, after all. Our heartfelt thanks go to all the labels, artists, management companies, DJ's, promoters, and past employees who made this little niche in the music world happen. It's been a heady ride..
SOLOMON BITES THE WORM (1998)
The Bluetones were a big big band of the time, bursting onto the scene with several top 10 singles including 'Slight Return' and 'Are You Blue..?' and a No.1 album 'Expecting To Fly' that pegged them as the clean cut nice guys of the Britpop movement. Catchy guitar pop topped with Mark Morris' soothing vocals, they were often makred as lightweight, but with the release of SBTW they beefed up the sound, turned up the groove, added some blast to their furnace, and had the clubs cutting some rug.
BRA were very much the japesters of the Big Beat scene, bringing an element of slapstick and eccentricity to the party. Formed by former PWEI member Richard March and Mike Stokes with occasional guests James Atkin (EMF) and Fuzz Townsend, their carboot sale approach to music made for a wide pallette of tracks, but it is this one that most defines them, a wonderful squish of samples and sounds on a light and bright background, in contrast to the stoic clang of their peers. Mental.
BENTLEY RHYTHM ACE
BENTLEY'S GONNA WORK IT OUT (1997)
take the long road and walk it (2001)
Indie dance was now front and centre, and it was another northern band in the shape of The Music who gained instant fame with the release of their debut. Released originally by Fierce Panda, it sold out in days, adding to the growing hype for the young lads from Leeds that saddled them unfairly with the 'new Roses' tag. TTLRAWI is one big groove fest, a Zeppeling jam gone stellar, with Rob Harvey's soaring Plantesque vocals soaring over the top, ramping up the energy. Just a magic moment...
I WISH I COULD HAVE LOVED YOU MORE (2006)
I may be biased as I managed Candie in this period, but IWICHLYM is one of the lost classics of the past few decades. Candie had hooked up with Simon Dine, who'd been releasing lost sample-cum-northern soul tunes under the name Noonday Underground, which along with Candie's classic 60's vocal style created a northern soul / mersey beat LP that dripped in nostalgia. This was the title track and highlight, a warped and wonky spy thriller backing and Candie's sweet sorrow vocal. Timeless.
WIDE OPEN SPACE (1997)
As stated earlier, Mansun had built their reputation with some firey and cheeky indie rock nuggets such as 'Take It Easy Chicken', 'Egg Shaped Fred' and 'Stripper Vicar', but with then everything changed. The release of WOS changed the trajectory, suddenly they were a serious, widescreen rock act, with Draper's vocals were released from the contraints of indiedom, and the guitars and drums now dripping with a soaring sheen that promised stadia level stardom. It never came, but they left us this..