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

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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.

Hornswoggle – Bite the Wax Tadpole

Hornswoggle
Bite the Wax Tadpole
1996 Oral Gestation Artefacts (OGA 13)
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Kara Clark
J.W. Case

Side 1:

  1. Track 1
  2. Track 2
  3. Track 3

Side 2:

  1. Track 4
  2. Track 5
  3. Track 6

I was really expecting some dark alternative grunge or something based on the cover, but turns out this is noise. I mean, the music genre “experimental noise” roughly related to industrial, that is. No track names, no people listed, and very little online about this tape (other than that it was recorded live with no overdubs to DAT on Easter morning 1996). It is mostly found noise, distorted samples, and occasional instruments like a recorder played over freeform noise (as opposed to noise music that uses noise to form a discernible rhythm). It is also mostly instrumental, except for the words in the samples and some tracks with trippy spoken word vocals. I did find a page for the band from Automatapedia in the Wayback Machine that gives a few more details, but that is about all there is out there.

Missing Information: Names of tracks, who played what

Engrave – Benediction

Engrave
Benediction
1996 (no label)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Nathan Morris – all instruments and noises

Silver Side:

  1. Lebensgefahr
  2. Euro-Span

Gold Side:

  1. Soul Probe
  2. Intercession

This tape is ambient noise electronic instrumental music that is quite mellow, but also good background music when you are in the right mood for it. Of course, it is not all mellow music, as “Soul Probe” has a nice beat to it. Nathan Morris was apparently the person, or one of the people, behind Velvet Empire Music (which often put out releases with Flaming Fish Music). Engrave had a CD after this demo called Polaris, which had these four songs on it. The interesting thing about this tape itself is that the “Silver Side” is spray painted with metallic silver paint, and the “Gold Side” is spray painted with metallic gold paint. I know these demos didn’t sell huge numbers, but still a nice (but time-consuming) touch for small numbers. But that was often the interesting thing about underground tape scene – details like that would set some demos apart.

Dogmatic Expressions – Demo

Dogmatic Expressions
Demo
1996 (no label)
Myrtle Creek, Oregon, USA

Andrew Causey – Bass guitar, vocals
Bob Collinge – Guitar, lead vocals
Jeremiah Cullett – Drums, vocals

  1. I Belong to Him
  2. Sweet Name
  3. Exodus

Short demo of grungy alternative music. If you listened to underground music from the Northwest region in this time period, you probably know the sound. This would fit well on the Hi! Here’s Our Alternative Music Sampler or the Songs from the Rain Forest compilations. The sound kind of floats around the same area as early Prayer Chain and Asight Unseen mixed with grunge. Or mixed with a bit more grunge, that is. Not much info about this one online, though.

Blah – Demos from 1990-1996

Blah
Demos from 1990-1996
Fullerton, California, USA

Sometimes when looking for stuff on YouTube you come across a goldmine. Such is the case when I found all kinds of demos from 1990’s punk band Blah. They started off as Childhood, releasing a demo called Three Geeks and a Hippie before changing their name to Blah. It seems that the drummer Darrell who posted these was also in an alternative band called Out From Under at the same time. Those two will need their own post. For now, I wanted to cover the Blah demos, as these are good DIY 90s punk. These were all uploaded as one file per demo, some with track lists and some without. I took my best guess on the ones without:

Demo 1990

“BLAH/Born Lost and Hopeless’s first demo since transition from Childhood. Recorded at Casbah Studios, Fullerton, CA.”

Alex Rosas – Vocals
Jacob Garza – Bass
Darrell Leach – Drums
Jeremy Carlson – Guitar

  1. Now I Know the Lord(?)
  2. Blacklist(?)
  3. So Many Idols
  4. Be Careful

Instrumental (unmixed) demo 1995

“Demo tracks recorded in Orange County, California, 1995.”

Alex Rosas – Vocals
Jacob Garza – Bass
Darrell Leach – Drums
Antonio (Tony) Flores – Guitar

  1. Busted (instrumental version unmixed)
  2. Gangster Punk (instrumental version unmixed)
  3. Chaka (instrumental version unmixed)
  4. Clownmaster (instrumental version unmixed)
  5. Throw in the Towel (It’s Not So Funny) (instrumental version unmixed)
  6. Right Through Your Brain (Nathan Winters) (instrumental version unmixed)
  7. The Program (instrumental version unmixed)
  8. “8” (Mouse Music)

Demo 1995

“Recorded in Orange County, CA 1995. Final released demo before signing to Rescue Records.”

Alex Rosas – Vocals
Jacob Garza – Bass
Darrell Leach – Drums
Antonio (Tony) Flores – Guitar

  1. Busted
  2. Gangster Punk
  3. Clownmaster
  4. The Program
  5. Spraypaint My Name
  6. Right Through Your Brain (Nathan Winters)
  7. Throw in the Towel (It’s Not So Funny)

Nerdball

“Recorded at a 1996 practice with Alex, Jeremy, Jacob, Daren and Darrell. Original Childhood Single”

1996 Rehearsal

“Final practice before Cornerstone Festival 1996. Includes never-recorded songs”

Alex Rosas – Vocals
Daren Leonard – Guitar
Jeremy Carlson – Guitar
Jacob Garza – Bass
Darrell Leach – Drums
(Childhood Re-united)

  1. I’m Not Working for You Anymore(?)
  2. I’ll See You Once Again(?)
  3. (?)
  4. Stop Shooting Up
  5. (?)
  6. (?)

After these demos, they signed to Rescue Records for their 1996 debut album and then to Bulletproof for their second album in 1998.

Missing Information: Song titles