"Demo Reviews"

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Blackened Earth

1613 Elizabeth, Lansing, MI 48912
This four song demo shows a band with definite potential. The vocalist shines well above most with a powerful delivery and broad range. The music stands firmly in the classic metal vein, bringing to mind a cross between Metallica and Rainbow (no keyboards here, though). I'm going to be looking for a full length recording from these guys, hopefully soon.

- Patrick Ondrus

Invisible Lisa - EIGHTEEN DAYS

P.O. Box 279, Houghton Lake, MI 48629
Cindy Shedd's strong, rock 'n roll vocals and the band's '90s spin on a classic rock base give Houghton Lake-based Invisible Lisa a style that could easily fill an open niche on the music scene. From a growling power on my favorite cut "Randy's Experiment" to a booming, deep Heart-esque voice on ballad "And It Feels," this is one solid outfit. And check out Mike Wagner's percussion work and the unique, rhythmic hook of "Things Get Too Serious." I can't wait for this band's next area live gig.

- Geoff Wilbur

D-Oz & Alisa Monet - NOTHING TO PROVE

Both Country Music Association award winners from the association's 1994 and 1995 awards shows in Las Vegas, D-Oz and Alisa Monet tackle more soft pop-based material on NOTHING TO PROVE, some of it suitable, perhaps, for Vegas itself.

- Geoff Wilbur


P.O. Box 284, Wildwood, PA 15109-0284
This hip-hop group takes a variety of approaches on the twelve tracks listed, plus the thirteenth (hidden bonus) track. Want to hear something really strange? Listen to "Special Time" -- proof these guys know the Muppets. SCROOGE MCROCK is a fun romp.

- Geoff Wilbur


996 Eastlawn Dr., Highland Hts., OH 44143
Seven of these eight raw, distorted, somewhat ethereal tracks were written and performed entirely by Rich. They have a hip, sometimes almost psychedelic coffeehouse crowd appeal. Catchiest tune: "Mystery Girl."

- Geoff Wilbur

Spat! - ULA

4451 Kensington, Detroit, MI 48224
Aggressive, light, female-fronted alternative pop/rock with Deb Toscano's tuneful screaming (that alternative rock hybrid of yodelling) style of vocals powering jangly guitar-based music. It's a toss-up whether "Full Moon" or "Heir to the Throne of Fear," with its insistent growls, is the catchiest track here.

- Geoff Wilbur


750 West Drayton, Ferndale, MI 48220
There's a folky AND bluesy edge to Jere Stormer's soft-touch yet powerful, acoustic music. Often, as on "Royal Oak P.O.," Jere's songs make you think, too. Other top songs include "The Only Good Rock 'N Roller Is a Dead Rock 'N Roller," "After the Future," and the instrumental "Suite Potato," which leads into "Company Man."

- Geoff Wilbur


7055 Aurelius Rd., Lansing, MI 48911
Progressive rockers Betwixt show that we've got some TOP NOTCH local talent that not many people know about. Many of Betwixt's songs actually remind me of the kind of music RENEGADE writer Michael Fuller's band Work Shop plays, which is why Michael reviewed Betwixt's disc for a RENEGADE Industry Edition. But I wanted to let local music fans know about 'em, too. In addition to the normal progressive rock fret dancing, Betwixt gets a little heavy for a moment here and there, notably in the grinding guitars and pounding drums in parts of "Waiting For Yesterday" and "To Be a Dream." And for those of you who like long songs, final cut "The Weeping of Reality" is a prog-riffic 10:58. From beginning to end of HOW MUCH FOR JUST THE UNIVERSE?, Betwixt shows a versatility to cover the whole prog rock spectrum.

- Geoff Wilbur

The Freakin' Cads - INTO THE PINK

220 Monmouth St., Gloucester City, NJ 08030
The band is floating in a hot air balloon that's actually a brain on the album cover, one of the band members vomits hot pink on the back cover, and they thank "God, Satan, and everyone in between" in the liner notes. Yes, The Freakin' Cads are a ska band, and, of course, they're silly. If you were a Global Village fan who was suddenly transplanted from East Lansing to Philadelphia, you'd be going to Freakin' Cads shows. Lotsa horns, lotsa fun, lotsa jumpin' around, I'm sure.

- Geoff Wilbur
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