Blue Trapeze – Mask and Marqee

Blue Trapeze
Mask and Marqee
1986 Fullspeak Records
Fullerton, California, USA

Dan Koenig – Guitar, vocals
Roger Arendse – Bass, backing vocals
Lisa Klive-Koenig – Drums, vocals, keyboards

James D. Murray – Bass clarinet

  1. Mask and Marqee
  2. Afraid of Real
  3. A Reason
  4. See Them Turn
  5. The Old Home
  6. Midnight Sun

Blue Trapeze was kind of a fixture and/or central band in the Christian alternative rock/modern rock underground. They released at least 4 albums that are still spoken of in high regard by those in the know today. This album is probably the band’s most well-known (well, either this one or 1990’s The World Won’t Fit My Skull). Before this was 1985’s Sanctuary and 1984’s Who Were You Then? I have all of their releases – the first three on vinyl even – as well as a 2001 compilation called Stillborn Dreams with a bunch of unreleased songs that I can find no explanation about online. Anyways, it was good to hear the tape version as my vinyl version is a bit scratchy. The sound here is a good mixture of all the big mid-80s alternative crowd, but in a way that sound unique to them.

Modern Innocence – Demo

Modern Innocence
1986 (no label)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Side 1:

  1. Son City
  2. Alive Alive

Side 2:

  1. Deep End
  2. Knock’n

Another mystery tape with no information. This one didn’t even bother to label which one was side 1 or 2. It seems like “Son City” seems like more of an opening song, so I went with that one. But I could be wrong. The sound is mainly alternative rock, but a bit more hard rock at times than the band name would imply. The opening track is kind of that soft-spoken vocal alt rock you heard a lot in the 80s, but “Alive Alive”  has song grinding guitars that are somewhere between punk and hard rock. Maybe even a bit of a surf vibe? “Deep End” and “Knock’n” continue with the grinding guitar, so I guess the opening track was the outlier. If I am not mistaken, I think I detect a noticeable Mark Krischak influence on these tracks.

Missing Information: Who played on this? Which side is Side 1?

Solid Air Way – Past Bedtime

Solid Air
Way Past Bedtime
1986 Plankton Records
London, England, United Kingdom

Rue Randall – Guitars, vocals
Iain Trundle – Guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Jeff Reynolds – Bass guitar, backing vocals
Gaz Weatherall – Drums, backing vocals

Paul Northridge – Additional guitar
Gill & Helena – Additional backing vocals

Side 1:

  1. Anti-Anti
  2. Now That I’ve Found Your Love
  3. Restless Love

Side 2:

  1. Living in a Real World
  2. Stranger to Myself
  3. All of My Dreams

There seems to be this whole world of underground British alternative in the 1980s that has only been partially unearthed. Some have been released digitally, but others are hard to find – like Solid Air. Their sound on this demo is kind of pop alternative rock with some new wave and techno influences here and there. To some, it is all just 80s rock. But they did a good job of it. They have at least five releases, with this one sitting between 1984’s It Ain’t Gonna Happen and 1990’s Pride and Pain. I am not sure how this one stacks up to those, or if this was their regular style or not. But I like it.

A.W.O.L. – At the Will Of the Lord

At the Will Of the Lord
1986 Jirah Records
Merritt Island, Florida, USA

Paul Peters, Jr. – Lead vocals, lead guitar
Amy Howald – Lead vocals, harmonizing vocals, synthesizer
Erich Mahnke – Lead guitar
C. J. Martin – Bass guitar
Syboy James – Percussion
Stephen Ty Keller – Percussion

Side 1:

  1. Tanya
  2. Got the Spirit
  3. We’re Gonna Win
  4. Road to Zion
  5. Risque

Side 2:

  1. Jesus
  2. Save Me
  3. Blowin’ the Amps
  4. El Shaddai

The front cover of this looks kind of metal, but the sound is pretty light rock overall. It’s basically an early 80s sound from a band that was in the mid-80s. The weird thing is that there is a release from this band in 1992 that is… funk metal. Well, there is an ep and a longer version, and I have only heard the ep version. But they do a cover of 24/7 Spyz version of Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” – because that is the style they are going for in the 90s. It is almost like someone told them they were too dated at some point in the 80s, and they came back with an updated sound and a few new members. Also, the 1992 release seems to be mostly political commentary, while this tape is very Christian. It’s just a really weird transition to see, because this tape barely touches on any kind of hard rock here and there (songs like “Risque” and “Blowin’ the Amps” do rock out).

Pete Ward – Distance Grows

Pete Ward
Distance Grows
1986 Plankton Records
London, England, United Kingdom

Pete Ward – Guitar, vocals
Roman J.J. Solze – Bass
Simon Law – Guitars
Mags Law – Keyboards
Ali Byworth – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Shameful Secret
  2. My Time is Yours

Side 2:

  1. (Can’t Bear) This Pain
  2. Distance Grows

An older, short tape from across the big pond. Pete Ward plays alternative rock that is a bit on the quirky and pop side. This is pretty typical of British alt rock – but he does it very well. Simon and Mags Law of Sea Stone / Intransit / Fresh Claim fame play on this tape, along with Ali Byworth of Tribe of Dan fame. You can find this on Spotify and many other streaming/download purchase websites, so it is not particularly rare to find these songs. I would highly recommend seeking it out if you haven’t heard this tape yet. This is at least Ward’s fifth release, after other albums like Unusual Shade and Between the Eyes. Not to mention a split 7-inch with Intransit.

Blackhouse – Five Minutes After I Die

Five Minutes After I Die
1986 Ladd-Frith
Eureka, California, USA

Ivo Cutler
Sterling Cross

Side 1:

  1. Five Minutes After I Die

Side 2:

  1. His Zion
  2. Halo Hearth
  3. Answer for You
  4. A Thousand Tongues
  5. Numerology
  6. Five Minutes After I Die (Reprise)

The third album by Blackhouse finds the band expanding their industrial / noise sound into new directions. Following after 1985’s Hope Like a Candle, this one has one long song on side 1, and a few shorter and longer songs on side 2. However, the title track has several different parts to it, so you really have to follow the vocals to know it is one song. On the other hand, all of the songs on side 2 run into each other, so again you have to go by vocals (where present) to let you know these are different songs. This one has also been re-issued on vinyl and CD several times, but I don’t think any of those had bonus tracks like re-issues of their first tape Pro-Life did.

Tempus Fugit – King of the Realm

Tempus Fugit
King of the Realm
1986? (no label)
Enfield, Connecticut, USA

  1. King of the Realm
  2. Tempus Fugit
  3. You
  4. Look at the People
  5. Keep the Fire Burning
  6. Escape
  7. Breakout
  8. Journey to Fantasy

This is a second demo by Tempus Fugit. I’m not sure if it is before or after Second Coming. My guess is that it is earlier demo, probably from 1986 (or earlier) as the title song “King of the Realm” appears on the Iron Tyrants Waging War compilation from 1986. As you can see, several songs from Second Coming appear here, although these are different recordings with slightly better production. The biggest difference is in the song “King of the Realm” – which has the intro singing back-masked for some reason, and doesn’t have that awesome multi-octave yell after that. The other songs on here that are not on Second Coming (“Look at the People,” “Escape,” “Breakout,” and “Journey to Fantasy”) I had to guess at their song titles. These songs sound a bit more progressive metal than the others. Also, the song “Keep the Fire Burning” would not play straight no matter how much I tried. The tape looked fine there, but there was obviously some kind of stretching or something that just made it garbled. Fortunately, it sounds almost just like the version on Second Coming.