NME C86 was a giveaway cassette with an NME issue in that year. It was also later released as a compilation LP by Rough Trade. It included such mid-80s British indie luminaries such as Primal Scream, The Pastels, McCarthy, Bodines, The Wedding Present and many others.

A "C86" band came to mean a jangly indie-pop band, even though C86 only consisted of about half jangly pop bands - the LP also included slightly odder stuff like Stump and Half Man Half Biscuit. An example of the archetypal sound to which C86 refers would be the "George Best" album by The Wedding Present. Any of the early Sarah Records releases also share much in common with this sound.

NME C86, the cassette title, was a reference to the NME C81 cassette, which included bands of the like of Orange Juice and the Blue Orchids. That cassette became a benchmark for post-punk Rough Trade-centered semi-experimental New Wave, in the way that C86 did for jangly indie-pop.