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..
PETER, BJORN & JOHN
YOUNG FOLKS (2006)
Another example of a solid gold curve ball coming out of the ether. Known by many people as 'the whistling song', Young Folks turned out to an unexpected anthem, a slow burn that built organically with no hype or bluster. An uncharacteristically light sounding sound for alt. club success, the unique mix of the whistle and a get-under-your-skin bass line combined to create a senational one-off dancefloor winner.
BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY (1997)
I remember the meeting at Virgin Records' offices to discuss The Verve's new album. It was the big room, and everyone was there, so we knew this was going to be a big deal. We congregated by the big speakers, and this belted out in surround sound, everyone was dumbstruck, but with sly smiles on their faces.. as soon as those strings swept in, we all knew this was going to be huge. The rest is history (ha!) One of the most iconic tracks for the 90's that was the last tune at just about every club that year.
If you wanted to get the party started, the Beasties were the go to act. The masters of the punk tinged hip-hop style may have been seen as crass to some, but their majestic way with word play, catchy sampling and Jam Master Jay's old skool techniques meant they were front of box for every DJ. This track sums them up perfectly, and along with the equally masterful Fatboy Slim Remix, ruling the roost for many a month..
THE BEASTIE BOYS
BODY MOVIN' (1998)
Originally released before our time in '94, we were charged with a re-promotion of this all time classic alt. club single alongside the release of their debut album in '95. Elastica were an enigma; achingly cool, angular, and resolutely un-Britpop in their approach (aside from who they dated). Although there's a feeling of effortless simplicity and clear 'borrowing' from other records, it's expertly done, shining in a field of one - female fronted post punk, driven stiff groove and nonchalant vocals. Classic.
ARE YOU GONNA BE MY GIRL? (2003)
Australian acts at this point, weren't known for it's contemporary music making a way into the UK teenage consciousness like they do now, but Jet changed that with their straight up nostalgia blues rock packed with riffs, attitude and catchy hooks. With bands like The Hives already flying high at the time, Jet were able to ride in on the back of a thirst for this rockin' style, a staple of the indie clubs. AYGBMG is their high watermark moment, bristling with energy and feel good vibes. A truly classic tune.