LuvzHugz – LuvzHugz

LuvzHugz
LuvzHugz
1996 Too Loud Records
Liberty, Kentucky, USA

Matt Davis – Vocals, background vocals, drum programming
Richard Easterling – Guitars, bass, extra drum programming

  1. Louder Than Words
  2. Kidz “R”
  3. Sin

My first guess on seeing the name of this band was pop punk. But the cover looks more underground noise/experimental. Upon listening to this, the second one was closer. However, the closest comparison I can think of is Situation Taboo. This is electronic music that is someone industrial, somewhat trippy, and somewhat guitar alt rock. They really don’t sound like SitTab, but that is the closest sound that comes to mind. The cassette card lists a song called “The Devil Had a Picnic” that does not appear on the cassette. Very interesting but obscure find.

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Dog Baby – The Incredible Fart Post

Dog Baby
The Incredible Fart Post
1996 That 1 Record Co.
Fountain Valley, California, USA

Matt Bailey – Bass, vocals
Jesse Nason – Drums, vocals
Gary Tucker – Guitar, vocals

Side 1:

  1. Convalescence
  2. Almost Nothing

Side 2:

  1. Just Friends
  2. Knee Slap
  3. Carpet

Finally a bucket list item checked off! Well, not really. But this was a mystery from back in the day for me finally solved. I remember seeing an image for something called “Fart Post” in the corner of an ad in HM magazine back in 1996. I had no idea what it referred to. A few years ago in a Facebook discussion we found out that Dog Baby had actually named their demo that. Yeah, that is at least a “Top 10 Worst Album Names” award right there. It was also strange that after releasing a full-length CD called Donut the year before they would go back to tape – especially in 1996. Ethereal Soul did the same thing about this time. Speaking of Ethereal Soul, that is a good sonic comparison here. Dog baby was a funk metal band like Dig Hay Zoose, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hot Pink Turtle, etc. To my ears, they sound a bit like a cross between Don’t Know and Sage (from the Artcore comp). One of the members mentioned on Facebook that there was a demo before Donut and a second full-length album, but I have found no clue as to what those are.

Riveredge – 1996 Demo

Riveredge
1996 Demo
1996 (no label)

Jason – Drums, vocals
Jeremy – Bass guitar
Chris – Guitars, vocals

Side 1:

  1. Alien
  2. As You Freefall (Wasted)

Side 2:

  1. Youth in Asia
  2. Far Away

This is another random demo that I picked out of the stack because it was short and looked interesting. The sound is kind of a darker alternative rock – the first song based on electric guitar, and the other three on acoustic guitar. Not bad at all, but not really original enough to stand out from the crowd of bands that were also doing this same thing in the mid-90s. They also did that annoying thing of not listing band member last names, so I have no idea if they went on to other bands or not. But they also win the award for “band photo where the band members that look nothing like an actual band.”

The Way Sect Bloom – The Way Sect Bloom

The Way Sect Bloom
The Way Sect Bloom
1996 Flaming Fish Music (ffmcs003)

Jeff Bruce – Guitars, vocals, keyboards, programming, sequencing
Joe Gallagher – Additional guitars and vocals
Mike Cruz – Additional keyboards and vocals

Side 1:

  1. Subsidize
  2. Frustrate
  3. Washed

Side 2:

  1. Illumina
  2. Frustrate (reality edit)

Interesting – I had forgotten that there was a self-titled Way Sect Bloom release on Flaming Fish Music after their God demo, but before their Effloresce full-length. All of the songs here were also on Effloresce. “Illumina” is pretty different from “Illumina (Defenseless)” on Effloresce, and there are also slight differences with “Washed” and Frustrate (reality mix)” as well. The Way Sect Bloom had a unique take on industrial hard rock that I always liked. The first three tracks were recorded by Scott Albert aka Celldweller, so you can hear his influence on the music as well. Kind of more of a collector’s item for the uber fan more than anything else, but still cool none the less.

Smash Your Idols – Smash Your Idols

Smash Your Idols
Smash Your Idols
1996? (no label)
Colonial Heights, Virginia, USA

Lin Doak – Guitar, vocals
Kevin Poynter – Guitar, vocals
Doug Fletcher – Bass guitar
Swayne Castillo – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Hate Things
  2. Looking for Jesus
  3. Lost Soul
  4. Lies
  5. That’s Not What Love Is

Side 2:

  1. Waiting
  2. The Dark Side is Calling
  3. All I Wanna Do
  4. My Rock

No date on this one, but I picked 1996 because that is the copyright date on the archive of their website, which has this tape for sale (but it could have been earlier). They label themselves as “modern rock” – which is a pretty good description. In the mid-90s, it was a good way to identify the bands that wanted to rock out with loud guitars while not being full-on grunge or alternative. This was often because the lead singer sang in a higher range than grunge, or the guitar player wanted to do metal solos, or both. “Smash Your Idols” doesn’t really work that well as a band name, but they do a pretty good job at their chosen style of music. Their website indicates they were planning on releasing this on CD – wonder if that ever happened? Unfortunately, even though this is a fairly newer tape, there is a lot of tape warble in the last two songs on side 1 and the first two on side 2 (“The Dark Side is Calling” nearly grinds to a stop from tape damage).

Missing Information: Confirmation of release date

Moses Creeble – Bible & Bubblegum

Moses Creeble
Bible & Bubblegum
1996 (no label)
The Netherlands

Eric Naus – Guitar, tambourine, vocals
Paul Rinsma – Bass, vocals
Sijbren Albers – Drums, vocals

  1. Bible & Bubblegum (3:09)
  2. Jesus Loves You (3:28)
  3. Hello God (4:48)
  4. I Will Follow Jesus (4:48)
  5. The Flying Dutchman (’96 version) (3:07)
  6. Jesus Gets Me Higher Than Cocaine (’96 version) (3:39)
  7. Jump for Jesus (’96 version) (3:57)

This band has a few tape releases that I will probably get to, but I had to skip to this one for the title of the CD and the song “Jesus Gets Me Higher Than Cocaine.” I mean – how could you not check those out? The lyrics on this ep are very Christian and very trippy. This is typically described as garage rock, which is a good way to describe it – but there are times that it leans more towards alternative rock, and other times it has a discernible grunge influence. But it is still pretty good. I am surprised that it didn’t get any notice in America. I know the lyrics would have caused evangelicals fits, but that alone should have guaranteed some exposure. I don’t have this album – I had to listen to it n YouTube. They used to have all of their albums up for download on their website, but those links are sadly broken now.

Champion Birdwatchers – Perihelion

Champion Birdwatchers
Perihelion
1996 Bionic Family Records
Hayden, Idaho, USA

Nathan Wesley Johnson – Guitar, vocals
Ryan David Johnson – Drums, gong
PJ Paul – Cello, piccolo bass, bass
Justin David Power – Bass, piccolo bass, gong holding

Side 1:

  1. A Translation of Merganser Part 3: An Allegorical History of…
  2. A Translation of Merganser Part 4: An Allegorical History of…

Side 2:

  1. Jupiter’s Moon
  2. Solid

You might have heard of Champion Birdwatchers from their full-length release The Inconsolable Longing in 1998, or from having the last song on this demo included on the Sparkler compilation. The sound here is an interesting mix of shoegaze (especially SF59 on the first track), emo, space rock, and post/math/etc rock. Of course, the mid-90s was when many of those genres had a major “purity” push, so genre-bending music like this probably got rejected by those that demanded their style sound only one way. Bionic Family Records was the same label that worked with Tom Fest and put out bands like Twin Sister. Also, the first two tracks are shortened all the way down to “Merganser3” and “Merganser 4” on the tape itself.