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..
STEAL MY SUNSHINE (2008)
Canadian band Len were originally a punk outfit, releasing two albums before finding new direction with third LP 'You Can't Stop The Bumrush', a heady mix of hip-hop, dance and indie. SMS was the big moment, and remains their one universally known track; a wonderous feel good tune of lolloping bass and crisp beats that rolled like thunder through the alt. clubs in '08 before huge chart success. The true magic is underpinned by the male/female vocal interplay, setting a unique stamp on a fine tune.
YOU'RE NOT ALONE (2001)
Alongside the royalty of Portishead, Massive Attack and Tricky, there was a phalanx of acts dubbed trip-hop at this time. Mainly producer led, acts such as Sneaker Pimps and The Aloof produced one-off hits, and Olive were one such act. YNA is a washed out synth club classic, that - along with an army of remix versions - strode through indie nights like a giant, the sentiment of the lyrics perfect for the collective experience of a sweaty dancefloor. It's no surptise this is still rolling today on TV adverts.
IT CHANGES (2017)
Utrecht's Annolette De Graff, AKA Amber Arcades, is another in the growing surge of female artists making strides in the modern alternative scene. Like many mainland European acts before her, AA bring a distinct new flavour to the party, drawing on UK and US tropes, but adding an air of sophistication. It Changes is a beautiful rolling indie track, tinges of shoegaze and americana, gelled by sweet vocals, opening out in the chorus into a wonderous lithe and carefree landscape. Effortless cool.
LIFE'S TOO LONG (1996)
An ungoldy mix of mono Glam and Art Rock, pulled backwards through Mark E Smiths hedge, Earl Brutus were the menacing hooligans who came to break up the Cool Britannia party, and we LOVED THEM. Their chaotic live shows involving revolving garage signs, lit up wreaths, on stage smoking 'bouncers' and kung fu demonstrations was everything Britpop was not, perfectly summed up byt this opening salvo from their acclaimed 'Your Majesty..We Are Here' LP. Scary, messy and brilliant.
POWER TO THE BEATS (2000)
Utah Saints (or U-U-U-Utah Saints) were a major part of the electronic dance royalty in the early 90's after the inspired sampling of Eurythmics and Kate Bush respectively on the hits 'What Can You Do For Me' and 'Something Good'. After a haitus, the band returned with a new LP 'Two' which contained this monster rock dance track featuring the vocals of Chuck D. Whilst unable to reach the heights of their first forays, this tune proved they still had plenty to offer and was perfect for the indie floors.