Battered Fish – Bent

Battered Fish
1993 (no label)
Aspley, Queensland, Australia

Caleb – Guitar, voice
Jeremy – Bass guitar
Matt – Drumming

  1. My Umbrella
  2. Oath of Silence
  3. The Source
  4. My Shoulder
  5. I Don’t Care

This appears to be the first demo by Australian band Battered Fish, who went on to release a few more albums. This included their most well-known and loved Modern in 2000. This is a good seven years before that, so they had to yet really develop their dreamy, moody modern rock sounds of Modern yet. This sound here is kind of what was typical of early 90’s Australian alt-rock, although more serious than many of those bands tended to be. Still some humor, of course. Kind of humble beginnings for what they would go on to become, but still historically interesting.

L.E.D. – Aluminum

1987 (no label)
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Billy Sutherland

  1. 3-D
  2. Fountain of Youth
  3. El Dorado
  4. Cloud 9
  5. Camelot
  6. You Bet Your Life
  7. Hello Again
  8. Shadow Dancing
  9. Joni
  10. Humpty Dumpty
  11. Saturday Night

I wasn’t aware of this tape until recently – it appears to be a follow-up to 1986’s Mother Goose as Boo. Like that tape, this one starts off sounding very alternative (a strong U2 influence on “3-D”) and goes through several alt rock, modern rock, hard rock, and classic rock sounds. In fact, “3-D” was also the closing track on Mother Goose as Boo. However, the focus on this tape seems to be mostly on new wave, alternative, and modern rock. Except for “Saturday Night” – which is a heavy, brooding, almost horror-punkish rager of a song. Billy Sutherland (and possibly other members of L.E.D.) formed a band called Goodnight Maxine that released a CD called Midnite at Noon in 1989. “3-D” also makes an appearance on that CD as well.

Missing Information: Who played on this tape?

The Confirmation – The Confirmation

The Confirmation
The Confirmation
1987 (no label)
Kalamazoo, Missouri, USA

David Grant – Guitar, vocals
Tom Griffioen – Bass, vocals
Andrew Bennett – Drums

  1. Start Again
  2. Gilded Wings
  3. Leave These Chains Behind
  4. Crossing November Winds
  5. One Hundred Times

This tape will make you immediately nostalgic for the 80s. They have that moody, introspective 80s alternative rock sound down. U2 is an obvious influence, especially earlier U2 as this is a 1987 release. But you also hear other influences like Sting and the Smiths. I always love the driving bass in this style of music. Some might find the lead singer copies Bono a bit much here and there, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m kind of surprised that these guys didn’t get snatched up by one of earlier Christian Alternative labels. Also note that the song order on the j-card is wrong – I have put the correct order above.

Emmaus Road – It’s No Rumor

Emmaus Road
It’s No Rumor
198? (no label)
Holland, Michigan, USA

Side 1:

  1. We’ve Got Spirit
  2. Sing Your Own Song
  3. Cephas / Psalm 96

Side 2:

  1. Who am I
  2. Road to Emmaus
  3. Allegory

Still no list of members on this tape by Emmaus Road like their Parents Asunder cassingle. Also no date, either. But the same person is listed as a contact, so I assume this is the same band. This tape seems to have a bit more of a prog feel to it (slightly, not a huge difference), along with some more classic rock influences here and there (everything from AC/DC to Billy Joel). Male and female lead vocals on this one, whereas the Parents Asunder cover shows only men in the band.

Missing Information: What year was this released? Who played on it?

Urban Nomad – Urban Nomad

Urban Nomad
Urban Nomad
1993 (no label)
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Lauren Brombert – vocals, acoustic guitars, keys
John Becker – Guitars
Ron Hilger – Bass
Phil Creighton – Drums

  1. I’ll Be Waiting
  2. Suitable Man
  3. Shadow of Shame
  4. Stars and Sand

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this demo based on the cover, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear an Americana-esque alternative rock sound coming out of the speakers. Kind of like a mixture of the first Hoi Polloi, the third Greg & Rebecca Sparks, and Lone Justice. The first song is pretty upbeat, while the last three are more somber but moving. It’s a great short demo, but I don’t know if the band went on to do anything else. Note that the song order listed on the j-card above is slightly off. Also, it might be that this is a project by lead vocalist Lauren Brombert who brought in other people to play on the demo by the say they are listed on the j-card (see above).

Spike Lhard – Righteous Dimentia

Spike Lhard
Righteous Dimentia
1990 (no label)
St. Charles, Missouri

Spike Lhard (Dave Steiner) – Vocals, acoustic guitar on “Smash the Guitar”

Side 1:

  1. El Shaddai? (parody of “El Shaddai” by Amy Grant)
  2. Knock Him Down (parody of “Rockettown” by Michael W. Smith)
  3. Trends (parody of “Friends” by Michael W. Smith)
  4. Bartley’s 6 (parody of “Isaiah 6” by One Bad Pig)
  5. Smash the Guitar (acoustic cover of “Smash the Guitar” by One Bad Pig)
  6. I Cover Them, They Cover Me (parody of “He Covers Me” by Steve Camp)

Side 2:

  1. Tutti Fruitti (parody of “Tutti Fruitti” by Little Richard)
  2. Jesus is God (parody of “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry)
  3. Curieux (poetry reading from Dave Steiner’s High Velocity Tribe Music anthology)
  4. I Cover Them, They Cover Me (underground outtake)
  5. I’m not Talkin’ About the Pidgeons (parody of “I’m not Talkin’ About Religion” by the Altar Boys)

So it seems that the tape I reviewed earlier was just the pre-release version of this tape. This one comes with an actual cover, and it seems that an “h” has been added to Spike’s last name. Also, the songs are in a different order. This tape also has all kinds of samples in between songs, from Batman to Rocky and Bullwinkle to Pauly Shore. But it is still Spike singing over either accompaniment tapes or the actual songs themselves making parodies of various Christian songs by Michael W Smith, Amy Grant, One Bad Pig, and the Altar Boys. Also some other classic songs like “Tutti Frutti” and “Johnny B. Goode.” There is also an outtake of “I Cover Them” where the singer tries a lot of different singing voices, and a poetry reading called “Curieux.” This version is missing the intro and epilogue where Spike explains what he is doing here that was on the pre-release.

Ethereal Soul – Not Bad For a White Boy

Ethereal Soul
Not Bad For a White Boy
1995 (no label)
Liberty, Missouri, USA

Jeremy Walla – Vocals, guitar
Mike Minter – Guitar
Grady Merritt – Bass, BGVs
Tyson Brown – Drums, cattle prod

Side 1:

  1. Deified
  2. V’Gain
  3. Bury You With a Smile
  4. Digression
  5. Hindsight ‘95

Side 2:

  1. There’s No Salvation
  2. Loving Dedication
  3. Asinine
  4. Stars in My Eyes
  5. Under

Ethereal Soul is a band name that you might not recognize, but you have heard of them. Their story starts out when some of the members were in a metal band called Abhor Evil. They put out two tapes and got one of their songs on the R.E.X. Demolition II compilation (that is where you have probably heard them). They were going in a heavy funk metal route kind of like Red Hot Chili Peppers. Several labels wanted to sign them, but it was Blonde Vinyl Records that won. Michael Knott just didn’t like the band’s name, so they changed it to Ethereal Soul. They were on their way to record their debut when Knott called them and told them the label had folded. They continued on, even recording a debut CD Sounds Like a Cereal Bowl in 1994. This is where I actually heard them. Jeremy Walla actually joined Dig Hay Zoose (another influence on their sound) as a second guitarist for a tour that I saw DHZ perform on. My friend at the time chatted with Jeremy and decided to buy the Ethereal Soul CD he was also selling. We jammed to it on the long drive home from Dallas to Waco. It was trippy. I regretted not getting a copy. So fast forward to the MySpaxe years. I somehow found Walla online, and he sent me a copy of their CD and this follow-up tape. I love this kind of music, so it was good to hear their other music. Anyways, Walla is an excellent graphic designer now ( and even put all of the music online for you to stream ( Anyways, the music is a mixture of DHZ, RHCP, Michael Knott, and several other sounds to make it their own. Turns out they also had a demo called Heck of It that I had not heard also. Cool stuff.

Dan Michaels – Reveal

Dan Michaels
1991 Winter Spirit
Pomona, California, USA

Dan Michaels – Vocals, keyboards, saxophone, lyricon, wind synthesizer
Andy Prickett – Guitars, bass
Tim Chandler – Bass
Steve Hindalong – Drums

  1. Pages From the Past
  2. Heavy Rain
  3. More Than Words
  4. Valadez in the Country
  5. Reveal

So this is the first and only solo album by Dan Michaels of The Choir. At one time I thought this was available online somewhere, but I guess I imagined that. You would also think this sounds a lot like The Choir, especially since Steve Hindalong helps out. Not really. Dan’s vocals are very different than Derri or Steve’s for one thing. The opening song sounds almost like a less grunge Plague of Ethyls at times. With male vocals, of course. Other songs do show some more similarities to The Choir in instrumentation, but the song writing and vocals keep putting it in its own space. “Valadez in the Country” is an instrumental that show off Dan’s talents on various instruments. It’s a great EP of music that seems to be getting buried to history.

Ethereal Soul – Heck of It

Ethereal Soul
Heck of It
1993? Independent
Liberty, Missouri, USA

Jeremy Walla – Guitars, vocals
Brett Haas – Bass
Tyson Brown – Drums
Jarrod Roark or Mike Minter? – Guitars

  1. And She Wept for Her Son
  2. Patchwork
  3. Cloudy Mind of Mine
  4. Focality
  5. Zone Zong
  6. Nausea
  7. Dry
  8. Limbo

I wasn’t aware of this release until it appeared on the Ethereal Soul website (where you can listen to it). I don’t know what year it was recorded, or even if it was ever officially released or not, but I would guess it was at least 1993 or so – after they changed names from Abhor Evil, but before their first release Sounds Like a Cereal Bowl. In fact, “Patchwork” and “Zone Zong” are new versions of Abhor Evil songs from Wisconsin Tapes. Also, ”And She Wept for Her Son,” “Cloudy Mind of Mine,” “Focality,” “Nausea,” and “Dry” were re-recorded for Sounds Like a Cereal Bowl. It seems like “Limbo” is the only exclusive song here. I also don’t know if this is before or after Jarrod was out of the band and Mike was in. But their transition from thrash metal to heavy alternative funk metal is complete with this recording. They went on to release Sounds Like a Cereal Bowl in 1994 on CD and Not Bad for a White Boy on tape in 1996.

Robert Barngrover – Heartbeat

Robert Barngrover
1992 CRS Records
Huntington Beach, California, USA

Robert Barngrover – Vocals, guitars
Eric Bogart – Bass guitar
Dan Lloyd Deeble – Piano
Jeff Suri – Drums
Tent Thomason – Vocals

Tom Barille – Drums on “Great Awakening”
Joey Caffman – Guitar on “Heartbeat of My Soul”
Dr. Dave – Bass on “Great Awakening”
Steve Light – Guitar on “Longing”

Side 1:

  1. Heartbeat of My Soul
  2. Great Awakening
  3. Esau’s Heel
  4. To Rule the Night

Side 2:

  1. I Want to See You
  2. Longing
  3. B.C.
  4. Reality

This appears to be the only solo album by Robert Barngrover of Bargrover/Light, Blue Shift, etc fame. Bandmates from those other bands like Steve Light and Dan Deeble also play on this album. The songs are mostly instrumental guitar solo songs, all in the rock / hard rock / blues rock vein. There are a few songs with vocals – “Great Awakening,” “I Want to See You,” and “Reality.” Just note this is not a neo-classical or Vai-influenced guitar shred album – its more along the lines of blues jam trio music.