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..
40OZ ON REPEAT (2015)
LA Skate Punk band FIDLAR derived their name as an acronym of the skater's mantra Fuck It Dog Life's A Risk, and everyhting about their music and lifestyle is beholden to that ethos. Their 2013 self titled LP spawned cult love with tracks such as 'Cheap Beer' and 'No Wave', but as their sound developed on their second LP 'Too' it was this tune that saw them make waves in the clubs. Audacious and bombastic like a hybrid of the Mighty Bosstones and the Beasties, the video is also a classic..
Alternative dance act Delphic first released this track via legendary dance label R&S in 2009, and got a deserved re-release the following year via Polydor, and gave us the chance to seed it in the alt. clubs. Counterpoint is classic indie dance, heavily influence by the sound of the bygone Factory Records, a tune only a North West band could make. Melodious and peppered with sequencer, this track promised much for the future, but they never quite reached this height again. This remains mint though.
FUN FOR ME (1995)
Led by the kooky genius of Roisin Murphy, Moloko were another of those quirky bands who could find solace in the alt. scene before moving on to bigger things. A meld of trip-hop, electronica and drama pop, their debut LP 'Do You Like My Tight Sweater?' was an oddball assortment, and it was this squelchy and sleazy gem that caught the attention of the indie clubs. They would later become mainstream club royalty with hits like 'Sing It Back' and 'Time Is Now' but this is their alt. club anthem.
Along with Elastica's Justine Frischmann, Sleeper's Louise Wener was one of the few female stars of the male donimated era. Forthright and independent of mind, Wener became an icon for the female role in the indie scene, with a knack for pop melodies and a turn of lyrical phrase that often marked them unfairly as an architypal student band. This track was their first to crash into the charts, and make headway in the clubs, a perfect indie pop record that set them up for bigger things. Classy pop.
I loved The Sandkings, a power pop indie band from Wolverhampton headed by the gawping other worldly Jas Mann. Jas would re-emerge as Babylon Zoo, seemingly hell bent on becoming some kind of new age Bowie, and this was the result. One of the bizzarest tunes to ever top the UK Charts, the original was a plodding affair before Arthur Baker sped up the track intro and sent it into hyperspace. The promo baffled and delighted in equal measure, a rock-dance slice of bonkers brilliance.