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..
HARD TO BEAT (2005)
At this point, straight up classic indie bands were thinning out, but along came Hard-Fi with a crisp and strutting take on the mod sound that freshened up the flagging scene. The previous swagger of breakthrough track Cash Machine had set the precedent, but it was this track detailing a sparking romance through a grimy night on the tiles that caught the zeitgeist, a perfect sentiment for anyone on a sticky dancefloor after a few ales. It's hard to say why they waned so quickly, but this is a moment.
WHIPPIN' PICADILLY (1998)
On the surface, everything about Gomez railed against the indie club grain, all blues rock and psyche-folk, at a time when beats and pomposity were at their height. It's why this track is so special, from the opening clunky acoustic bounce of the opening you know it's gonna be fun. A tale of a night out with the rousing chorus of 'we like lovin' yeh, and the wine we share' that indie clubbers could relate to, this was the track that gained traction for a band that were both so wonderful and unique.
Current day rabble rousers Fat White Family are the perfect rock n roll band. Controversy, strange haircuts, unforgettable live shows, drugs.. and had something of a reputation as an act who would never reach their full potential. However, under the guidance of the indomitable Domino Records, a modern classic was produced in the shape of Feet, a dark disco brooder that has a groove that gets under your skin, and through to your toes.. 'Feet. Don't fail me now' thrums Lias, and by god, they don't.
FAT WHITE FAMILY
DEVIL IN SPORTS CASUAL (1999)
I first met Damien Harris, co-founder of Skint Records - in a cafe when he handed me a white label of Fatboy Slim's debut 'Everybody Loves a 303', a lovely and self effacing chap who would later emerge himself under the moniker Midfield General. This track sums up the Big Beat era as well as any.. the inspired 'Damien..the omen.. you're the devil and you know that' opening sample that beds the track, marshalled by shuddering beats n bass was tailor made for the times, and still sounds fresh today.
PLUG IN BABY (2000)
At the start of the 200o's, Muse were already on a trajectory to the stadium act they are today. There was a relentless push from the label and management for a band whose sound was somewhat at odds with the times. Muse were everywhere, playing every music conference, new band showcase.. and were a class apart, destined to become one of the biggest acts in the world. Live, they were peerless. This track we had the fuel we needed to get the alt. club floors burnin, and they're still on fire.