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.

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.

Straight Up – Demo

Straight Up
Demo
19??

  1. Search It Out
  2. This Time
  3. Joy of a Lifetime

Well, this was kind of a surprise. What you see on the cover is all you get, and based on all the other demos I got, I was expecting this to be a generic rock project. Nope. It’s a pop leaning New Jack Swing project, kind of somewhere between Spunkadelic and Janet Jackson. Probably leaning more towards Janet Jackson because she was briefly adding some crunchy guitars into some songs, which is what they do here as well. Female lead vocals, with male and female backing vocals and rap interludes. The second track is a CCM-ish ballad, and then back to the new jack rock. Maybe even more Euro-pop on the last track? Hard to say. Might just be a mix of all of the above. No songs titles on the tape, so I took a guess at them above.

Missing Information: What year was this released? Who played on it? What are the song titles?

Luke Hurley – First Civilian

Luke Hurley
First Civilian
1990 (no label)
New Zealand

Luke Hurley – Lead vocals, guitar
Nigel Gavin – Classical guitar, bass, Lead guitar, vocals
Kath Tait – Backing vocals
Tony Bracanov – Second guitar

Side 1:

  1. Lord of the Jungle
  2. Greenfields
  3. Precious Time
  4. New York to Paris
  5. Touching Sight – No One is Good

Side 2:

  1. First Civilian
  2. I Could Conquer You
  3. Kyrie Eleison / Follow Me
  4. Rock ‘n Roll to Soul
  5. Not Easy to Tune
  6. History’s Refrain

So the cover of this looks kind of like it would be Americana Rock similar to Rick Elias. But the tape comes from New Zealand, so that is probably not the case. This is really folk music that sounds like acoustic Aussie Rock – its Luke and acoustic guitar for most tracks. It is some pretty intricate guitar work, so it never gets boring if you are into that kind of thing. It also appears from the liner notes that other people added their guitar skills to the recording. The explanation for the title track is pretty sad, as it refers to the first civilian into space that dies when the Challenger died. It is also a full band song. It seems that Luke has had many other releases before and after this tape we well.

Paul Foster & Gary Samuel – Demos

Paul Foster & Gary Samuel
Demos
198? (no label)

Paul Foster – Vocals
Gary Samuel – Vocals, keyboards, drum programming

  1. Solid Ground
  2. Talking Faces
  3. Listen
  4. Love Comes Free

Not really sure about what the stylistic goal of this demo was – its definitely rock, played on keyboards with synthesized drums. Not techno or new wave – mostly straight up rock in sound. But that could be due to the limitations of playing keyboards. Not sure who the two people on the demo are – members of some other band that went solo, or two friends that decided to make music despite having limited access to other musicians? If they had veered a bit more towards cheese this would come across as lounge music. Some of the effects they used almost gives it a Caribbean cruise cover band feel.