Cleaners From Venus “Living With Victoria Grey” ( 1986?)
One of the greatest British songwriters and home tapers of all time, Martin Newell’s Cleaners From Venus set the standard for underground pop.
Magic Moments At Twilight Time “Flashbacks” ( 1990?)
Mick Magic led the space rock ensemble, Magic Moments At Twilight Time. Mick also published the Music And Elsewhere zine and later went on to his distribution service ultimately called United World Underground.
Steve Andrews “From venus With Love” ( 1996)
For awhile Steve Andrews was one of the key members of the UK scene. He wrote reviews, did his own music and was a champion of many independent artists. I believe he now lives in Tenerife.
Man’s Hate “Suffer In Silence” ( 1985?)
Man’s Hate was ( and is ) the project of Andy Xport in England. His riffing rock beats are pit against socially conscious lyrics that are cynical, bitter and caustic. He also produced many compilations called International Sound Compilations that became essential collecting for many underground music lovers.
Andy Savage “Supertrouper 16” ( 1992?)
Andy Savage compiled several tapes called Supertrouper. A ragged collection of Brit weirdness, humor and lo fi home taperism.
Andy also did his own humorous and fun music as well. He now calls himself Angelo Gravity.
Moonpump “Patent Pending ( 1995)
Some charming blokes from West Yorkshire, Moonpump, produced a couple of tapes of pleasant pop with a bit of a rock edge.
Canwll Corfe “Cerebral Rejuvenation” ( 1990’s)
Canwll Corfe were a rocking trio from the UK and I believe did a couple of tapes. Not metal but not mellow either. Place them in between somewhere.
Peace And Freedom Band “Life” ( 1989)
Peace And Freedom Band was the project of Paul Rance and mates including Andy Xport and Andy Bruce. Somewhat political in nature with a punk esthetic but incorporating the endearing lo fi, 4 track elements that home tapers were revered and criticized for. Rance also did a publication called Peace And Freedom.
The Inspectors “Thig Avathi” ( early 90s)
I never knew Stream Angel’s name but realized early on that his acid damaged collages were more than just a musical slice of his life. He once sent me an extremely trippy and intricate pen drawing that must have taken many hours with perhaps some chemical influence. At least it appeared that way. His tapes were fascinating and fairly well done collages sending me on my own enlightening trips. On the tape to the right, he calls himself The Inspectors.
Trevor Hall “Tomorrow’s Classics Played Today” ( 1992?)
Robin and I met Trevor Hall and his lovely family in 1996 when we traveled throughout England and Europe on our honeymoon. A delightful and affable fellow, he called his project The Third State and he also released his own solo tapes. His high tenor voice accompanied by guitar, early computer software and punky energy continue to be good stuff even today.
Phil Rhoden “Ratz” ( 1996?)
For awhile, Englishman British artist, Phil Rhoden was sending me regular tapes. He did a lot of keyboards but also some strange humor and oddball Brit nuttiness. His high level of wit and self deprecation were refreshing and enjoyable.
Various Artists “Manna From Heaven” ( mid to late 1990s)
Poet Steve Sneyd joined up with a couple of mate musicians for a free wheeling exercise in wordsmithing on this particular tape. He was from the western part of England and I believe he also wrote science fiction
Shock Treatment “A Man Obsessed With Pork” ( early 1990s)
Shock Treatment was a punk band from England who had one of my favorite titles that year:,” A Man Obsessed With Pork”. They played it hard and fast in the UK tradition of 70s punk rock. I really still like this tape a lot. Energy galore.
Steve Andrews “From Venus With Love” ( 1996)
Released on Mick Magic’s Music And Elsewhere imprint, this collection by Welshman Steve Andrews showcased some of his best songs of the mid to late 90s era. Steve was the key underground man of Wales at that time and wrote about it, sang about it and performed live. His political anger was offset by his hippie charm and manner He now lives in Tenerife.
Mr. Quimby’s Beard “self titled” (mid 1994)
Produced by Tim Jones and released on his Stone Premonitions label in 1994, Mr. Quimby’s Beard was a space rocking quartet. They went on to release at least one CD although I seem to have lost track of them now.
Tristis “self titled” ( 1992)
Tristis was the two, person group of Kate Berry and Steve Patterson from Plymouth , England. Spacey yet organic, their sound brought together elements of ambient, celtic and even psychedelia for a very pleasant ride. The 1992 tape was all I ever got from them I believe.
Wild Rain “Showcase” ( 1997)
Wild Rain was a quartet from London that dealt out rock material sometimes with a punk energy but not the 3 chord power. A little emo, a bit shoegaze, a touch of grunge, this tape featured live tracks along with some studio material. From 1997.
The Many Few “Casing The Joint” ( 1992)
I believe this was the one man project of John Norman from Surrey dabbling in funereal and wandering keyboard flights of moody playfulness. From 1992.
Various Artists “Sensible People Live In Free Fishtanks” ( 1996)
To the right, a 1996 compilation put together by the late Fred Frantic in Wiltshire, west of London. Rambling shamelessly from geek to punk rock, comedic bits and even poetry, this was released on Fred’s Spliff Tapes.
Mudfish “self titled” ( 1998)
Self titled 3 song 1998 cassette by Mudfish recorded live. Don’t remember much about this band right now but their sound was pretty good. Kinda power pop but with more rock presence. A bit like Oasis’ rockier moments.
The Third State “Alone In The Crowd” ( 1989)
Another tape from England’s Trevor Hall and his long time moniker, The Third State. This 1989 release on his Obscure Delight label doles out more of his distinctive voice, slashing electric guitars, strummed 70s style acoustics and drum machine, almost always peppered with hooks and sing along goodness. Great stuff.
Barra “self titled” ( mid 90s)
This 6 song EP by British band Barra still sounds wonderful. I doubt this was a home studio effort because it is crystal clear. I’m guessing this tape was from the early-mid 90s and featured a sound not unlike the group Renaissance. Fronted by female vocals ( sorry, can’t remember her name) that soared and an extremely competent band of guitar, keys, bass and drums. Man, this is nice. Where are they now?
Warser Gate “Mirage” ( 1998)
Jagged post punk by Britain’s Warser Gate released on Italy’s Best Kept Secret label in 1998. This trio shoots feedback, distortion and properly sloppy backings into the ear with mournful vocals by Kev Flynn. They had a slew of releases on other labels I believe as well.
Mark Ritchie “I Am Mark Ritchie” ( 2002)
The plaintive lo fi sounds of Mark Ritchie on his 2002 tape pour out emotional hardship, lament and a dour outlook. Mark also recorded as Frank Peck for awhile and his band, Shy Rights Movement, was a fine, moody ensemble. He also ran the KAW label that distributed a few other artists as well.
Shy Rights Movement “Live & Dead” ( late 1990s)
This bootleg quality live recording on the KAW label would be a “fans only” document I’d say because of the ultra lo fidelity sound but the sadcore essence comes through anyway. I’ll bet there were pints being poured and consumed.
Idiom “Who Stole The Sun” ( late 90s)
A lovely, lilting, melodic venture from this British quartet. They recorded a couple of tapes that I know of. This one was from the late 90s. Very nice work.
*Venus Fly Trap “Forgotten Souls” ( early 90s)
Headed up by vocalist Alex Novak, Venus Fly Trap sometimes got lumped into the goth category although it is hard to see why now. The vocals are sinister at times but the music is dynamic, well done rock with insistent riffing and dramatic pauses. Oh, I guess that was a hallmark of some gothic material after all. Still, this one climbs out of the dungeon into your head. Really good tape.
Dream Baby Dream “self titled” ( 1993)
Dream Baby Dream had the heavenly voice of Sian Price and the group had a distinctive Britrock sound, occasionally roughing it up a bit. This 1993 may have been their second tape.
59 Reasons “January 1995)
The short tape by 59 Reasons featured some good, solid rocking material and husky vocals of Lynn Curtis. 4 songs from 1995.
Ruth Sherbourne “Ragdoll” ( late 90s)
Singer-songwriter Ruth Sherbourne really touched a nerve with me. Her sadcore approach and ethereal but earthy way was an oxymoron in a way. This is like touching an exposed electric wire. Her heart and soul hurts and she conveys it very well. Her acoustic guitar strums adequately behind her like something she is holding so that she doesn’t fall over. I only heard two tapes by her and wonder what ever happened. This one was released on Mark Ritchie’s KAW label in the late 90s I believe.
Dog Food “beware The Polythene Monster” ( 1990)
Inspired by equal parts punk, garage home taperism and British fey pop, Dog Food’s 1990 short tape was pretty entertaining overall. I don’t recall getting anything else from them.
All Too Human “A Year Spent In Eternity” ( 1994)
From 1994, the Scottish band All Too Human released their “Demos Of A Year Spent In Eternity” on the KAW label. Britpunk is the main theme here but they occasionally veer off into jangleland briefly before they return to some thrashing.
Aled Hughes “self titled” ( 2000)
On this 2000 tape, Welsh singer songwriter, Aled Hughes’ music was a straight forward crisp and clean, acoustic guitar and voice affair. His upbeat and charming songs would include repetition of lyrics delivered with his high tenor voice.
Trevor Hall & The Third State “Lights In The Darkness” ( 1997)
For many years Trevor Hall from near Norfolk on Britain’s windy north coast worked under the moniker of The Third State producing his fine tapes of socially conscious bedroom rock. By 1997 he was switching over to using his real name ( although he still lists The Third State too) and had gone over to the early use of computer based recording. Long before Garageband or Pro Tools, Trevor was using an Atari system to good effect to produce his unique and interesting songs that would rock but also would be of a thoughtful, almost classical orientation. To me, Trevor’s music were some of my favorite home tapes out of England.
Deathsquad “The Graveyard Shift EP” ( early 2000’s)
I believe this Deathsquad tape was from the early 2000’s and should not be confused with the San Francisco group of the same name. This British home taper lot used spoken-sung vocals incanted over relentless drum box not far from the sound of The Moth or even Andy Savage ( but without the charming humor).
Mugwump “Echoes Of The Future” ( early 2000’s)
A 4 song tape from English quartet, Mugwump that mixes rock, some slight goth, and nice group interplay with lead singer Mark Shilvock’s narrow but effective range on top. This might have been their best tape of the few I received.
Andy Savage/ TUOB “split tape” ( mid 90s)
A spilt tape from the mid 90s featuring the irreverent Andy Savage on one side with endearing drum machine driven humor pop, and on the flip TUOB, a frizzled morass of spoken word, drum machine, cheap keyboards and more.
Various Artists “10 Items Or Less” ( late 90s)
A lovely compilation tape put together by Mark Ritchie for his KAW label in the late 90s that mainly featured British and American artists: Timo, Gary K, Kenyata Sullivan, Shy Rights Movement and others.
Stan “self titled” ( 1997)
A five song rock pop effort from this British quartet released in 1997. Nicely produced and obviously not a home taped job this appears to be aiming for commercial appeal and is consistently good.
Thameshead Rollers “Nothing’s Sacred” ( mid-late 80s)
Like so many of their British indie brethren, The Thameshead Rollers were hoping for something bigger then home tape trading with their pop rock sound. This two song EP was from their full length tape album, “Nothing’s Sacred” distributed by Mick Magic’s Music And Elsewhere label in the mid-late 1980s I believe.
Steve Andrews “Bootlegged In The Backroom” ( mid 90s)
Dishing out social and political commentary from his Welsh studio, this was one of Steve Andrews best efforts. Backed by his acoustic guitar , some real drums occasionally and urgent sounding vocals, this tape from the early-mid 90s stands the test of time very honorably.