Active Faith – Life in the Modern World

Active Faith
Life in the Modern World
1987 Worthless Records
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – Lead vocals, keyboards, sequence programming, BGVs
Toby Drummond – All guitars, BGVs
Phil Bachelder – Bass guitar, speaking on “Remember Me,” BGVs
Jeff Evan – Drums, BGVs

  1. Life in the Modern World
  2. Job Insecurity
  3. No Consolation
  4. Naked
  5. Live It Up
  6. Pandemonium
  7. Remember Me

This is apparently Scott Roman’s band before he joined No Laughing Matter (also before he put out any solo tapes). It is mostly in the alternative rock general category, with some progressive and new wave influences that take it outside of the typical 80s alt rock genre. You can read some about this and download it for free online, so the only thing I am really adding is a scan of the original tape cover. But even though this isn’t as dark as No Laughing Matter, I still like it a lot, so I would recommend downloading it.

Simon Elvin – Apart From Me

Simon Elvin
Apart From Me
1985 Broken Records
Plymouth, Devonshire, England

Simon Elvin – Lead vocals, piano, synthesizers, clarinet, acoustic guitar, drums, rhythm programmes

Dave Wellington – Backing vocals
Linda Nicols – Backing vocals, duet on “The Need in Me”
Steve Wheeler – Lead guitar, backing vocals on “Warriors”

Side 1:

  1. Feeling the Love
  2. Party
  3. Years Go By
  4. The Need in Me
  5. Little Star

Side 2:

  1. Can’t Waste Another Day
  2. Every Day
  3. One in a Million
  4. Suddenly
  5. Warriors
  6. His Love

Another tape that seems to have been lost to the sands of time. The sound on this one is early/mid 80s rock, kind of somewhere between Billy Joel and Elton John. If you have ever thought the song “My Life” could rock out a bit more, then this is the tape for you. Songs like “Party” and others rip out some killer guitar leads – so this is more than your average pop rock wanna-be. I can’t find much more information about Elvin online, other than he had at least one follow up to this tape called Somewhere in Time on Myrrh Records in 1987. Also, this tape notes that it was engineered by *the* Famous Gnome I have wondered about in the past – Julian Payne. But no Famous Gnome logo on this one, unfortunately.

Camel Society Kings – C.S.K.

Camel Society Kings
C.S.K.
1987 (no label)
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA

Michael Angelino – Vocals, percussion
Anthony Lancenese – Bass
Timm Marsh – Guitars

  1. Love Runs Deep
  2. Soul Divide
  3. In The Shadow

I believe that this is the second demo by Camel Society Kings, a year after their self-titled demo, but before their A Pile of Stones demo. They really know how to nail that 80s alternative rock sound. U2 is the most noticeable influence, which I love, but you can hear other influences from The Smiths to Depeche Mode. That is a wide range of sounds, but they meld it together into something that is a coherent sound of their own. This band seems to have only produced twelve songs over three demos, but they are all great quality mid to late 80s alternative/modern rock.

Smell of Wonder – Three-Star Demo

Smell of Wonder
Three-Star Demo
1996 (no label)
Orange Park, Florida, USA

Mike
Danny
Brian
Ray

  1. SADDIE
  2. Zoom
  3. In the Garden
  4. Soul Food
  5. Don’t Be Shy

This is really one that I grabbed because it looked like it would be a good tape of unknown 90s alt. Sure enough, it is. No last names on the members, and not much information out there about it. The sound is kind of a mix of Plankeye, Sometime Sunday, and occasional fuzzy guitars that are almost Morella’s Forest levels. But Plankeye probably being the main influence. I haven’t heard of any other demos by this band, or if the members went to join other bands after this.

Driver – Driver EP

Driver
Driver EP
1990 Worldwide Records
Somersville, Connecticut, USA

Rob Rock – Vocals
Roy Z – Guitars
Emil Brando – Bass
Bill Zappa – Drums

Greg Shultz – Keyboards
Reynold Carlson – Drums

  1. Warrior
  2. Heart’s on Fire
  3. Only Love Can Save Me Now
  4. Fly Away
  5. I Believe in Love

Finally got this one to transfer. The tape would start out fine, but then began to drag and finally stop by the third song. This just happens with old tapes – they sit too long in storage and things get stuck. Sometimes they are lost forever, other times they just need to get back in shape. After about 4 listens, I got to where I could listen to the first four songs on side 1 and the last two songs on side 2 with no problems. A few more listens and it would probably all be fine, but I only need one good transfer of each of the five songs. Anyways, this is one of the top tier metal demos, as Rob Rock and company were at the top of their game here. I don’t think they ever really came down from that level, either. These songs have gone on to be re-recorded by Rock’s various bands and solo projects – some a few times. Elite power/commercial metal hybrid that should have been huge. I don’t think this was ever meant as a “Christian” project per se, but Rock’s Christian beliefs comet through in all his music, meaning this tape and his other music often made their way into many Christian metal head collections.

Bob – Logride

Bob
Logride
1992 Sonic Hope Records
Glendora, California, USA

Chad B. Edmundson – Vocals, rhythm guitar
J.D. Carnes – Lead guitar, vocals
John R. Williamson – Bass guitar, vocals
Eric C. Paulsen – Drums, vocal

Side 1:

  1. Aspect
  2. Short of a Revolution
  3. Snowdogs
  4. Eric’s Song
  5. Logride

Side 2:

  1. Underbelly
  2. Thank God
  3. Lackluster
  4. Saving Grace / And for a Reason
  5. Bob

So this is not the Bob that was on Fingerprint Records that released Tales From the House of the Wholly Bobble as far as I can tell. This seems to be a super-group made up of various solo folk artists from the Sonic Hope Records label. Except they are not doing folk rock – it is more like alternative/indie rock that seems to share many influences with Joe Christmas. Which makes me wonder if this is a later version of Household Morgan? Chad Bryant Edmundson and John R. Williamson both have solo tapes, and maybe the other two do as well that I just haven’t heard (Paulsen has played on tapes by Edmundson and Williamson). “Lackluster” is a cover of a David Finley song, but they start off with the chords from the 77s “I Can’t Get Over It” before transitioning into the song. The song that I have labeled as “Bob” is not listed – it’s basically people singing “Bob” in a bunch of funny ways.

Jo Carter – More Than Meets the Eye

Jo Carter
More Than Meets the Eye
1990 (no label)
Pennant Hills, New South Wales, Australia

Jo Carter – All vocals, keyboards
Rob Smith – Guitars
Darren Hills – Bass
John Waller – Drums

Bruce Allan – Saxophone
Phillip Hartl – Violin
Steve Gilfillan – Drum programming
Jeff Todd – Drum programming

Side 1:

  1. Always
  2. Someone Like You
  3. Without You
  4. In My Heart
  5. Leave Our Children Alone

Side 2:

  1. Poor Johnny
  2. Written on His Face
  3. There is Hope
  4. Time is Running Out
  5. From the Soul

The first track kind of comes across like a Shelley Rodgers track – adult pop or the various names for mellow music played by musicians that put a bit more jazz proficiency into the songs rather than the typical pop simplicity. Then the second track kicks into a prog/hard rock-ish level. It’s still pop, but there is a darkness to it that rockers will like. The thing is, each song starts off like a piano ballad, before changing after the intro. Someone quickly previewing each song might totally miss all of this. Maybe that explains the album title? There are several songs that are slower ballads, so overall this is still a pop album. There is just more in there to some of the songs that, well, first meets the eye. “Poor Johnny” and “Time is Running Out” are other rockers that you don’t see coming.