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..
BUCK ROGERS (1995)
Feeder were one of the first bands we worked with across several promotional areas, and were proof that a dedicated label and management, with some fine tunes and a focussed plan, you didn't need hype or to chase the zeitgeist to make it. A solid build over a couple of albums was rewarded in spades with the emergence of BR. A straight up indie rock anthem that smashed through the alt. clubs, pulling rock and indie fans together in a collective 'drink cider from a lemon' chant.
We were very close with Liverpool label Deltasonic, headed up by the eccentric and affable Alan Wills, a tour de force, who launched acts such as The Coral and The Zutons. TVS were his final project before his untimely passing a few years ago, and were an ethereal rock pop act very much in Alan's image. The band released a string of exceptional mid-paced tracks such as Deep Blue Skies and Air, before finally finding club favour with this more uptempo slice of psychedelic pop brilliance.
THE VRYLL SOCIETY
SHADOW OF A WAVE (2017)
THE DIVINE COMEDY
NATIONAL EXPRESS (1999)
I'd been a huge fan of Divine Comedy since the release of their debut album 'Fanfare For The Comic Muse' in 1990. It's fair to say that Hannon's wry and witty chamber pop was more suited to the theatre than the dancefloor, but after breaking through to the edges of the clubs with 'Something For The Weekend', DC became front and centre with this fun canter through a journey on every student's favourite mode of transport. Finally an anthem for the bookish during the boorish Bristpop era.
SPANDEX MAN (1999)
Mr. Scruff, aka Andrew Carthy was an unlikely hero of the early cut n paste electronic scene, as noted for his tea drinking and line drawings as his music. That changed with his 'Keep It Unreal' LP, which included samples from the likes of David Bellamy. It spawned a defacto 'hit' with 'Get A Move On', but it is this wonky track that blew up on the floors, coming across like a daft kids TV show theme that never was, that put a smile on your face and some brio in your feet. A slice of bonkers brilliance.
Aussie duo Confidence Man came into our lives as a breath of fresh air a couple of years ago, an act tailor made for the alt. floors with their oddball take on disco, dance and all things colourful. This was one of their first releases, and simply tore through the clubs like a glitter cannon, at a time when the vibe was somewhat sombre. Coming across like Dee-Lite meets The Avalanches, Bubblegm feels like an eighties NYC tickertape parade through East Village, a perfect camp groove. Fabulous.