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..
Smashing Pumpkins were one of the biggest bands on the planet, but had oddly found it hard to findconsistent favour on the alt. dancefloors over the years, perhaps due to their abrasive sonics and Corgan's vampiric shrill. It took the release of this track - one of their most melancholic and understated - to break that cycle, SP on 'indie mode' in a more caressing role than usual. Corgan sounds amazing here over a simple beat and bass backing before opening up in the chorus. Sublime.
More recently, a rebound of punk fused ideology has been taking hold via the likes of Slaves, IDLES and Fontaines DC, and Shame are one of the vanguard. Concrete is a fractious, driving tune, showing much more control than the output of their peers, with a tinge of bygone Britpop style adding the attendant swagger. The dual vocals add extra edge to a tension and release track that just chugs with burning ambition, showing a band who have plenty more to offer in a bright looking future. Mighty.
White Town - Jyoti Mishra - was another bedroom producer taking advantage of the new digital tools available fuelling the home recording boom which was producing some out-of-the-blue monster hits at this time. YW is probably one of the best known one-hit wonders, crashing straight to No.1 in the UK Charts and subsequently went worldwide. Built on the haunting trumpet solo from Al Bowlly's 'My Woman', it's a masterful piece of whispered electronic pop that endures to this day.
YOUR WOMAN (1997)
FIRST OF THE GANG TO DIE (2004)
Before descending into the heinous fool he has become, there is little doubt that as a solo performer, Moz has made some of the most enduring indie pop of the past few decades. Morrissey has always been a 'singles man' and FOTGTD was the highlight single of his last great album, You Are The Quarry. Mired in his customary barbed wit and nostalgic iconography, packaged in a pure indie pop capsule, it chimes and charms and stands as one of his best works.
LITTLE DISCOURAGE (2000)
We'd been working with Idlewild on their early releases, at that point very much a young and furiously shouty outfit, with tracks such as 'Captain' and 'I'm A Message' garnering a modicum of success in the alt. clubs and a small cult following. LD was a seachange, the opening gambit from their vaunted LP '100 Broken Windows', which saw the band harness the fury, add melody and finesse to their writing - as we put it - going 'they found the REM pedal' - and it just went stellar. Great band, great tune.