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..
MCalmont & butler
On the face of it, an unlikely alliance between Theives' David McAlmont and his famed three octave range sugar sweet vocals, and guitarist Bernard Butler, erstwhile guitarist from Suede. 'Yes' was a massive success in the clubs, all wind-swept strings, sheened 60's style arrangement and that pure timbre vocal added up to a fresh slice of pop dripping in nostalgic vibes. It was destined to be a one-off in the clubs, but that just adds to it's retained charm as a 'classic pop single'.
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS
THE MAN DON'T GIVE A FUCK (1996)
My favourite band of all time. SFA brought a blend of psyche, acid rock, acid house, sixties pop and straight up rock like no other, but never in the usual packaging. This track breaks all the rules, with no 4 to the floor beat until 90 seconds in, but then.. BOOM. It worked better than it should in the clubs, creating more of a gig atmosphere with breathers in the verses before the mass pogo and chant of the momentous chorus. giving the DJ's something a bit different to break up the Britpop fayre of the time.
This was FF's debut, and helped usher in the emerging Tropical Indie Electronica sound alongside the likes of Klaxons, Everything Everything and The Maccabees. Paris is soft and pliable, but also expansive, washed in shoegazey synth and peppered with trippiity drums, and an overall warm breeze of expectancy. It lit up dusky floors the nation over in 2008, and the band continued to flourish whilst others of their ilk waned, but this slice of alt.pop finery remains their best moment. Exhilerating..
KUNG FU (1995)
Ash were indie rock pop legends in the mid-90's with a host of hit singles such as Angel Interceptor, Shining Light and Girl From Mars, but Kung Fu was their breakthrough moment, a sweet beast of a track that chopped and roundhoused it's was through the clubs in '95, heralding the arrival of the N Irish three piece. Tinged in elements of grunge but with the UK indie style of the times, Kung Fu had the place jumping, with the line 'c'mon Jackie Chan oh-ah-oh-ah-o-oh' belted in unison. Black belt tune.
THE CEDAR ROOM (2000)
When we recieved a white label 7 inch from a new incarnation called Doves who had risen from the ashes of disco club outfit Sub Sub, the last thing we expected to hear coming from the turntable was a track of such indie majesty as TCR. I think we played it a dozen times on the spin. The shuddering drums, shoegaze chime guitars and Jimi Goodwin's heartfelt vocals washed through you, and it was no surprise Doves would go on to be one of the most reverred bands of the period. An all time favourite.