Back in the 90s, a series of compilation albums called ‘Indie Top 20’ provided exciting listening for a generation of NME readers. The series of cassettes (and latterly CDs) brought together 20 indie hits and underground bangers of the day, providing what would become an important time capsule for future generations.
The compilers were unafraid to pitch the era’s heavyweights Pop Will Eat Itself and Carter USM against the then up and coming Sleeper and Salad; it also gave a huge platform to bands that now seem too often forgotten, like Tiny Monroe and 18 Wheeler. Whatever appeared, fans absorbed like sponges. Those compilations were often responsible for creating cast iron favourites.
Although streaming services have rendered such compilations redundant for new discoveries, the spirit of ‘Indie Top 20’ lives on. It’s really obvious in bands like Fightmilk, Muncie Girls and Wolf Girl. DIY labels like Reckless Yes and Sheer Luck Records seem to have taken the same spirit very much to heart, often supplying retro indie sounds for the original fans of those cassettes – listeners now in their late 40s – and pretty much always offering the world something interesting.
In our playlist below, we’ve shared some of the most retro sounding indie bangers from recent years. In tribute to the much-missed ‘Indie Top 20’ we’ve rounded up a selection of brilliant tracks we feel shouldn’t be missed.
Read Dave Bryant’s excellent blog about Indie Top 20 here.